Garden Flowers


<
Plant List-->
Ajuga
Allamanda
Alyssum
Alyssum
Amaranthus, torch
Aubrieta
Balsam (Lady's Slipper)
Blanket Flower
Bougainvillea
Brunnera
Butterfly Bush
Calendula
California Poppy
Cannas
Cardinal Climber
Catalpa speciosa
Cerinthe
Cleomes
Coleus
Coralbean
Creeping Phlox
Crocus
Cyclamen
Daffodils
Daphne
Daylillies
Dianthus
Echinacea
Elephant Ears
Esperanza
Euphorbia
Flax
Gaillardia
Gaillardia 2
Geraniums
Globe Amaranth/Batch.Button
Goldenrod
Heuchera
Hibiscus
Horseherb
Impatiens wallerana
Impatiens New Guinea
Iris
Iris, Dwarf
Ironweed
Joe Pye Weed
Lambsquarters
Lantana
Marigolds
Mandevilla
MexicanBirdofParadise
Mexican Milkweed
Milkweeds
Moonflower Vine
Morning Glories
Muscari[GrapeHyacinth]
Nigella
Old Man's Beard
Pansies
Penstemons
Pentas
Petunias
Phlox
Plateau Goldeneye
Poppies
Primroses
Primulas
Purslane
Salvia
Scilla
Snapdragons
Snapdragon Vine
Spiraea
Stocks
Sunflowers
Sweet Peas
Tansy
Torenia
Verbascum
Vetch
Violas
Wandering Jew
Yesterday,Today,Tomorrow
Zinnias
Links-->
Birth Flowers
Fall Planting
Landscape
Zone 8 1/2
Why Grow Bulbs?
Hanging Baskets
Timing
Planting Time Ref

Hot Weather Groundcovers/Plants-->
Lantana
Allamanda
Spiraea
Vetch

Vines-->
Mandevilla
Snapdragon Vine
Moonflower Vine
Morning Glories

Weeds/Grass-->
For wildscapes, see Birds
Horseherb
Plateau Goldeneye
Purslane
Lambsquarters
Old Man's Beard

Wildflowers, Native-->
Native to SA
Wildflower Notes
Mitchell Lake
Goldenrod
Lantana
Catalpa speciosa
Milkweeds
Penstemons
Ironweed

Rock Gardens-->
Rock Gardens
Penstemons
Ironweed

Perennials-->
Perennials
More on Perennials
Biennials
Blanket Flower
Cannas
Elephant Ears
Gaillardia
Milkweeds
Iris
Penstemons

Annuals-->
Alyssum
Amaranthus, torch
Balsam (Lady's Slipper)
Calendula
California Poppy
Cardinal Climber
Cleomes
Coleus
Cyclamen
Dianthus
Flax
Gaillardia
Globe Amaranth/Batch.Button
Impatiens wallerana
Impatiens New Guinea
Marigolds
Moonflower Vine
Morning Glories
Nigella
Pansies
Petunias
Phlox
Poppies
Primulas
Salvia
Snapdragons
Stocks
Sweet Peas
Tansy
Torenia
Violas
Zinnias

Backyard -->
Mexican Milkweed
Backyard Rose
Mexican Bird of Paradise
Esperanza
Horseherb
Verbascum
Cerinthe
Butterfly Bush Peach Cobbler
Milkweeds
Penstemons
Sunflowers
Ironweed

Front Yard-->
Esperanza
Impatiens
Mexican Bird of Paradise
Bougainvillea
Spiraea
Hibiscus Lord Baltimore
Butterfly Bush Peach Cobbler
Echinacea Glowing Dream
Rock Gardens

Side Yard-->

Bushes/Shrubs-->
Page on Shrubs

Partial Shade w/ Sun-->
Impatiens
Muscari [Grape Hyacinth]
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Verbascum
Iris
Wandering Jew

Full Sun Plants-->
Impatiens
Irises
Esperanza
Hot Summer Notes
Daylillies
Spiraea
Verbascum
Cerinthe
Echinacea Glowing Dream
Butterfly Bush Peach Cobbler
Marigolds
Nigella
Ironweed

Bulbs -->
Bulbs
Daffodils
Crocus
Daylillies
Irises
Bulb Companions

Groundcovers-->
Ajuga
Alyssum
Aubrieta
Brunnera
Daphne
Euphorbia
Nigella
Phlox
Primroses
Snapdragon Vine
Viola
Wandering Jew

Winter Garden-->
Winter Blooms

Hell Strip at Street-->
Creeping Phlox
Cerinthe
Echinacea Glowing Dream
Penstemons
Ironweed

Geraniums

Shade Garden-->
Torenia

CTG Notes



Garden Path

GOLD STAR ESPERANZA

This heat loving semi-evergreen shrub has golden-yellow bell-shaped flowers late spring through fall. Ideal for large containers, flower beds, butterfly and hummingbird gardens. 12” ready to use pot regularly $24.99*


Gold Star Esperanza

Texas Superstar winner judged from the many satisfied gardeners in San Antonio and throughout the State of Texas. This evergreen shrub produces yellow, ..


Roses

Large Shrubs for Area Landscapes

Landscapes are better balanced and make better habitats for the birds if they not only include tall shade trees and groundcovers, but everything in between, including perennials, small and large shrubs and small trees.

In the large shrub category, consider butterfly rose, primrose jasmine, pyracantha and standard yaupon holly.


Purple Rose

A tough old-fashioned rose, such as the butterfly rose, is a great choice to be a transition plant in a landscape. Butterfly rose qualifies as a xeriscape plant because it will survive without any supplemental irrigation. Despite blooming eight to nine months of the year, butterfly rose is not bothered by diseases or insects. It will grow to fill a space 10 feet tall at 15 feet in diameter if planted in full sun. The thorns make it more desirable as a wildlife plant, but do make it hard to prune or shape. Select butterfly rose if you have enough space to let it grow to full size and glory.


Butterfly Rose

Selecting, Buying and Planting a New Rose Here’s my advice for selecting, buying, and planting a new rose:

Step 1: Tea is for drinking.

If, like me, you are not interested in entering into a lifelong regimen of spraying from an arsenal of chemicals, then you’ll select rose plants known for disease resistance. In general, these will not be hybrid teas, but rose varieties that grow in old-fashioned bushy shapes – “shrub roses” -- nearly as wide as they are tall.

Also, you may find that some of the healthiest rose varieties only bloom once, which may affect your choice. There are also new rugged varieties from which to choose; these will clearly state their disease resistance on the label or catalog description.

Step 2: Choose a suitable place for your new roses.

For best results, the location should receive no less than six hours of direct sunlight. You can test a spot by placing stakes or flags in the ground where you hope to grow the roses and watch to see how much sunlight and shade actually passes over the flag during the day. Consider shade from trees above, and plants already growing nearby.

Step 3: Choose your vendor carefully.

That is, try to buy from a source that

• If possible, sell roses grown on their own roots, not grafted roses

• ship Bare-root roses: plants that have been washed of soil and shipped with naked roots, or

• roses potted in containers

Do Not purchase roses that

• are in a box (the roots are growing a plant-it-all degradable box) or

• plants with roots encased in sawdust in a plastic bag (often sold at drug, discount home-improvement stores and supermarkets. You get what you pay for).

If you are new to the concept of “bare-root” roses, you might be shocked when you open the shipping carton to find brown sticks wrapped in moist paper and in a plastic bag. Let me reassure you that this is a perfectly acceptable, if not preferred way to receive roses. Why? Because bare-root roses are dormant plants that have been held in cold storage and usually do not suffer from transplant shock (die-back of stems and/or delayed growth). They are ready and waiting to grow once they are exposed to spring temperatures.

The one drawback for those of us living hectic lives is that bare-root roses should be planted within a day or two after they arrive. If you cannot plant them right away, try and squeeze them into the refrigerator, or worst case scenario, soak the roots in a bucket of water. The roses should be placed in water in a deep container up to the spot where the roots meet the stems. In the case of grafted roses, which will be most of the bare-root ones, there will be a large gnarled growth at the spot where they were grafted, the bud union. Place the bucket in a shaded, cool spot in the basement if unheated, or outdoors if it is above 32 degrees F.

Step 3

: To plant when the roses arrive, follow these instructions. Take the plants out of the box and place the roots in a bucket of water—for up to 24 hours—to re-hydrate them. Prepare the hole (step 4), and after the soak, plant immediately taking care to not let the roots dry out (cover with a moist towel if you have to plant many).

Step 4: Prepare the soil.

Roses need great (rich in organic matter) soil that is cool and moisture retentive. Dig a big hole and incorporate lots of humus (compost) into the excavated soil before planting. Excavate a hole large enough so that the bare-roots will not be bent in the hole. Create a cone of soil in the middle of the hole and spread the roots around the cone. Then fill in with the compost-amended soil, pressing down to remove any large air pockets-- but do not step on the soil or “muddy” the rose into place unless you have very sandy soil. You don’t want to fill in all the spaces in the soil, forcing out essential.

If the plants were grafted, bury the bud union two to four inches below the soil. In my Zone 6 garden, I plant them about two inches below grade. In colder climates I would recommend planting the bud union even deeper. Water when you plant, and be consistent about watering deeply and frequently, at least for the first two growing seasons. Mulch the surface of the soil after planting, being sure to not let the mulch touch the stem of any plant. Feed regularly with an organic rose food, following the manufacturers’ recommended rates and methods of application.

Step 5: Roses in the border.

I want to grow roses like other plants, as if they were shrubs or perennials to incorporate into mixed plantings. That is out of the question with the disease-prone hybrid teas, but shrub roses have a chance once established. When first planted, do not allow competition either above or below the ground – shade from taller plants, plants that block the breeze, or ones that will steel moisture form the rose’s roots. Once the roses have caught on, you can allow other, lower plants in front, taller plants in back, to move closer.

In other words, while the idea of adding roses to a mixed planting is an excellent way to use roses, wait a year or two before you plant perennials nearby. This notion will not be popular with those in need of instant results. I’m afraid to play off the old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” roses can’t be grown in a day. But one thing people can do, is to plant three of a kind. Three rose plants near each other, so that in two years, the impact is substantial, and the triplets will have a better chance to stake their ground.

Pruning shrub roses is different than pruning the long-stemmed hybrids bred for cut flowers. Shape the plants -- first by removing dead wood and any crossed branches -- then by encouraging an open, vase shape for the plant. Cut roses back to spots just above buds that face away form the center of the plant. To prune after blooming, cut down to the just above the first five-leaflet leaf with an outward facing bud.

Louis Philippe Rose


Louis Philippe Rose

Louis Philippe Rose avail. at Niche Gardens


Natchitoches Noisette Rose

Natchitoches Noisette Rose


Peggy Martin Rose

Peggy Martin Rose climbing rose


Peachy Cream Rose

OSO Easy Peachy Cream Landscape Rose at Sooner Plant Farm 25.99


Honey Bun Rose

Honey Bun Rose You'll love that Oso Easy® Honey Bun Rose Has the highest level of disease resistance and that it produces an abundance of semi-double blooms. The unique flower color ranges from blush-pink to butter yellow to creamy white.


Honey Bun Rose

Apricot Drift Rose Exhibits a true ground cover habit and offers a fresh look to the series. Double apricot colored flowers begin flowering in spring and display a season-long show of color. It is just as tough and disease resistant as others in the Drift® series.


Roses from Princess Yorkshire


Jack Benny Rose


Rose Cécile Brunner


Honey Bun Rose


Rosa Choix Realité


Rosa Ketchup Mustard


Rosa Miss Thang


Rosa Pink Promise

Hybrid Tea.


Rosa Singin' the Blues

Heirloom RosesHeirloom rose. With an exceptional citrus and verbena fragrance, this rose shows off deep lavender blooms with a light lavender reverse. The large pointed buds open to cupped blooms that 3.5” in diameter on average. They grow in small clusters and have an expanded bloom form. This bush, upright plant has semi-glossy, medium green foliage and grows between 5’-6’ with a width of 2’-3’. Singin’ the Blues should not be pruned heavily. $27.

 


Rosa Easy Going

Jackson & Perkins Floribunda rose. 2-quart $20. This sport of Livin' Easy™ is fragrant, beautiful, and super-tough! Sometimes the very best plants are accidents. Easy Going™ was discovered growing at Harkness Nursery in England in 1996, a golden-apricot sport among all the orange-apricot Livin Easy™ roses. Covered in thorns, very bushy and upright, the shrub was absolutely covered in healthy foliage. And it stayed that way all season, untroubled by blackspot and other foliar diseases that plague many roses. Here was a magnificently low maintenance, laid-back rose -- it had to be named Easy Going™!

...gardeners have been singing its praises ever since. It's a floribunda, with small clusters of 4-inch double blooms held in a wide-open, ruffled, delightfully elegant way that reminds us (here at Jackson & Perkins) of a corsage. Yellow, gold, and apricot wash together on these soft petals, which release a sweet fragrance very reminiscent of honeysuckle.

.. It really doesn't take up much space -- about 3 to 5 feet in height and perhaps 2 feet in width -- but it makes its presence felt with dense branching, an upright growth habit, and all those forbidding thorns. The foliage, as you might expect from a rose untroubled by blackspot, is large and glossy, a rich deep green that makes a verdant backdrop for the blooms. Even when Easy Going™ is not in bloom, the shrub is attractive in the sunny garden.

Order Number WEBJP1428444--9/11915


Primrose Jasmine

Primrose jasmine is an evergreen shrub with a weeping shape. The foliage is very dark green. It shows off the glossy yellow flowers that appear in later winter. Primrose jasmine does not seem to have any insect or disease pests. Even the deer do not eat it. It grows to eight feet around and 8ft high. It can be planted in full sun or in partial shade, such as under deciduous trees.


Primrose Jasmine

The Time of Year to Prune Jasmine Some species are not fragrant, such as primrose jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi), a fast-growing, yellow-flowered shrub. It can grow to 30 feet high, so prune vines after flowering to keep the plant to size--drastically, if necessary.

Jasminium mesnyi primrose jasmine, or Chinese jasmine.


FALL PLANTING
Texas Gardener: The why, what, and when of fall planting If you ask 10 people when the best time to plant is, at least 8 will probably say "spring." Sure, a lot of annuals and veggies should be planted in spring, but for most perennials, trees, shrubs, and bulbs, fall is actually the ideal planting time. Here's why:

  • Great soil temperatures. In spring, the soil holds onto winter's chill while the air warms up; in fall, the soil holds onto summer's warmth while the air cools down. The warm, fluffier soil in fall is also easier to work and easier for roots to grow in.
  • Better Weather. Summer's heat stops stressing and dehydrating plants. Increased rainfall also helps the roots stay moist. The cool, crisp weather is also more comfortable to work in!
  • Less Environmental Pressure. Pests, diseases, and weeds all become less active in fall, so there are fewer risks facing your newly transplanted plants.
  • Timing. The roots have more time to get established before next summer (they can actively grow as long as the soil is above 40 degrees F). A lot of plants require chill hours before they can bloom, so planting in fall is the only way to ensure great blooms next spring!

What to plant this fall:

  • Spring-Blooming bulbs like Crocus, Tulip, or Daffodil.
  • Shrubs like Roses or Hydrangea
  • Perennials like Sage, Hardy Geranium, or Echinacea.

When to plant:

  • Plant too early and your bulbs might start trying to grow this season instead of waiting or, worse, a heat wave might kill your plants before they can establish. Wait until the first light frost has happened, and then plant your bulbs.
  • Plant too late, and your plants can be killed by chilling frosts and snow. New plants can be more susceptible to frost damage, so it is wise to offer winter protection the first year. A thick layer of mulch can be used to insulate the soil. Roses appreciate extra insulation - cover the crowns with a mound of straw. For maximum insulation, surround the rose with a cylinder of chicken wire and fill this with straw or with the leaves raked from your yard.
  • Plants in containers should be moved into the garage or the house for their first winter.
  • Exactly which month to plant in depends on when the soil freezes in your zone. In warm areas you might be able to wait until October or even early November, while in colder areas the window is narrower, and you generally need to plant by September to let plants' roots settle in before the ground freezes.

Planting Perennials in Fall this is a prime season for gardening.. Zones 8 to 11 can pretty much plant year-round without a problem. (Lucky!) Still, you want to get an early start to give roots time to get established.

Frost might seem like your biggest fall planting challenge, but it’s actually not a huge problem. Yes, frost will kill the tops of your new plants, but it won’t affect the root growth. The roots will grow until the soil freezes solid, which is often weeks or even months after the first frost hits. In temperate regions—everywhere but the far North and the high mountains—soil usually doesn’t freeze until after Thanksgiving.

In spring the soil is cold, so the roots of newly planted perennials grow slowly. In fall the soil is warm, so roots grow faster. Since the plants don’t produce flowers, they have more energy for sending vigorous roots into the soil of their new home. Do your part by planting new perennials in good soil and watering thoroughly. By the time the growing season rolls around again, they’ll be happily settled.

Once you get your bargain plants home, the first order of business is to give them a thorough drink. Set them in a tray or saucer to catch the water that pours through the potting mix, and let them take their time soaking it up. Then proceed as if they were the healthiest plants in the world. Lower temperatures and shorter days mean plants need less water, but if rain is scarce, water them weekly until the soil freezes. Remember that, under the ground, those roots are still growing.


Vines

Top 10 Backyard Vines With Fall Flair Native vines provide shelter, food and nectar to resident and visiting wildlife precisely when they need it. Here’s a look at a few North American native vines that deserve a spot in your wildlife garden. [includes slideshow of more vines]

Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans, Zones 4-9): A prolific vine bearing late-season orange or scarlet trumpet flowers that attract bevies of hummingbirds.

Wild passion flower (Passiflora incarnata, Zones 5-9): A larval host plant for an array of butterflies, this vine features striking fringed flowers that supply nectar to butterflies from July through September. Edible fruits called maypops mature in fall to feed the birds.

Virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana, Zones 4-9): Densely growing plant that flowers from July through September and supplies birds with shelter, nesting sites, nest-building materials and seeds that persist into winter.



Mandevilla--Front Yard

Mandevilla When you buy your mandevilla vine, chances are good that it’s a lush plant full of flowers. You may wish to transplant it to the ground or into a bigger or more decorative container. Mandevilla flowers need sandy, well-draining soil with plenty of organic material mixed in. A good soil mix for mandevilla plants include two parts peat moss or potting soil to one part builder’s sand.

An important part of mandevilla care is the type of light they receive. Mandevilla vines need some shade. They enjoy bright, indirect light or filtered sunlight, but can get burned in direct, full sunlight.

In order to get the best mandevilla flowers throughout the summer, give your mandevilla plant a high phosphorus, water soluble fertilizer once every two week. This will keep your mandevilla vine blooming wonderfully.

You may also want to pinch your mandevilla. This method of pruning your mandevilla will create a bushier and fuller plant. To pinch your mandevilla vine, simply use your fingers to pinch off 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the end of each stem.

Mandevillas are vines and they will need some kind of support in order to grow as best they can. Be sure to provide a trellis or some other support for your mandevilla vine to grow up.

The mandevilla plant is often thought of as an annual but, in fact, it is very frost tender perennial. Once temperatures go below 50 F. (10 C.), you can bring your mandevilla plant indoors for the winter.

When you bring your mandevilla flowers indoors, be sure to check the plant carefully for pests and treat these pests before bringing the plant indoors. You may want to cut back the plant by up to one-third.

Once indoors, place your mandevilla vine in a place where it will get bright, indirect light. Water the plant when the soil is dry to the touch.

In the spring, when the temperatures are consistently above 50 F. (10 C.), remove any dead leaves and move your mandevilla plant back outside to enjoy for another summer.


Available as dwarf, bush, or vine.

Allamanda a genus of flowering plants in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. They are native to the Americas, where they are distributed from Mexico to Argentina. Some species are familiar as ornamental plants cultivated for their large, colorful flowers. Most species produce yellow flowers; A. blanchetii bears pink.[2] The genus name Allamanda honors the Swiss botanist and physician Frédéric-Louis Allamand (1735–1803).

Plants of the genus are evergreen trees, shrubs, or vines. They contain a white latex. The leaves are opposite or arranged in whorls of up to 5. The blades are generally oval and smooth-edged, and some are leathery or lightly hairy. The inflorescence is a compound cyme. The flower has five lobed sepals and a bell- or funnel-shaped corolla of five petals, yellow in most species. The fruit is a schizocarp containing two to four seeds.

In the wild, allamandas grow along riverbanks and other open, sunny areas with adequate rainfall and perpetually moist substrate. The plants do not tolerate shade or salty or alkaline soils, and they are sensitive to frost. They grow rapidly, sometimes spreading 3 meters per year. They can be propagated from cuttings.

Allamanda - a Queen of every blooming garden, in Her diversity... Summer season is coming, with all its colors and beauty. There are not so many plants as popular in warm climate gardens as Allamanda with its golden trumpets covering the entire plant year around. It is easy in cultivation, fast growing and will add color and sunshine in any landscape in no time.

Recently a few new interesteing cultivars were brought into the plant market, and "Cherry Jubilee" vine became one of the most popular and sought after. Cream and chocolate flowers vary in shades. Very rare hybrid from Thai land with white flowers is called "Alba" or "Blanca" - it has smaller leaves and is more delicate vine than traditional vigorous yellow flower species. Some varieties, including "Cherry" and "Blanca", are sweetly fragrant, especially during warm evening hours.

Allamandas are different in shapes and growth habit. From a dwarf shrub (Allamanda schottii 'Compacta') suitable for boarders to full-size shrubs (Allamanda cathartica) and vigorous vines that can cover a fence with a beautiful blooming mass within 1-2 seasons (Allamanda hendersonii, Allamanda violacea Cherry Jubilee).

There are many plants close-related to Allamanda that have similar looking flowers, of more colors and shades. It's another garden favorite - Mandevilla (one of the most spectacular is Mandevilla x amoena Alice du Pont); rose-scented Strophantus gratus (Rose Allamanda) - relatively new plant, color of its flowers has mixed shades of light pink, lavender and cherry; Urechites - known also as Wild Allamanda or Yellow Mandevilla; Cryptostegia grandiflora (Purple Allamanda) - with very showy bright purple flowers and attractive glossy leaves (hence called Rubber Vine).

Allamandas, mandevillas and other close related plants mentioned here, all belong to Apocinaceae - the plant family that also inclused famous fragrant Plumerias, showy desert roses - Adeniums, and lovely white flowered Tabernaemontanas (Pinwheel flowers). All these plants have milky sap and all parts of them are poisonous - do not eat or chew them, and educate your kids about these plants' properties. However, house pets and other animals are not in danger. These plants are harmless for them.


Fragrant Plumaria

Plumeria Plumeria (common name Frangipani) is a genus of flowering plants in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. It contains primarily deciduous shrubs and small trees. They are native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America as far south as Brazil[2][3] but can be grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Plumeria is related to the Oleander, Nerium oleander, and both possess an irritant, rather similar to that of Euphorbia. Contact with the sap may irritate eyes and skin. Each of the separate species of Plumeria bears differently shaped, alternate leaves with distinct form and growth habits.

Plumeria flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. The flowers have no nectar, however, and simply dupe their pollinators. The moths inadvertently pollinate them by transferring pollen from flower to flower in their fruitless search for nectar.

Plumeria species may be propagated easily from cuttings of leafless stem tips in spring. Cuttings are allowed to dry at the base before planting in well-drained soil. Cuttings are particularly susceptible to rot in moist soil.

In order to get the most from a plumeria plant with respect to growth, size, blooms, and scent, there is a fine balance that must be maintained. Ideally, a plumeria is in its element when it can have plenty of sun and appropriate water, so as to maintain soil moistness just above a state of dryness. On the other hand, if the plant receives a lesser amount of sun, then a lesser amount of watering is necessary - again, to ensure that soil moistness stays just above the dry state. The more sun, the more water. The less sun, the less water. A common mistake of novice plumeria growers is to overwater the plant when it is not able to be exposed to enough sun, thereby resulting in a rotted root system. Conversely, if a plumeria plant is able to receive maximum exposure to the sun, but they aren't watered enough, the plant will die.

Plumaria Care Plumerias are tropical trees famous for their gorgeous flowers which are used to make leis (floral garlands). In regions with cold winters, plumerias can be grown in containers and brought indoors when the weather cools in autumn. Other common names are frangipani and Hawaiian lei flower.

Plumerias have thick stems, leathery leaves, and an abundance of flowers from early summer until fall. In the tropics some varieties can grow to a height of over 30 feet. Shorter varieties can be planted and pruned into a large hedge. Plumeria's waxy, 2- to 4-inch flowers are very fragrant, so plant trees close to windows or patios to enjoy the enticing fragrance. Flower colors include pink, red, white, and yellow. Plumerias are often planted in containers and make excellent cut flowers.

Plant in spring. Space plants 10 to 20 feet apart, depending on the expected mature size of the plant. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you've removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don't amend it at all. Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Fill the hole half full with soil, then water it well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Let the water drain, then fill the remainder of hole with soil and water thoroughly.

Plumerias require at least 1 inch of rain (or equivalent watering) each week. More water may be required for plumerias growing in containers, but don't overwater or the trunks will rot. Feed plants twice a month during the growing season with a high phosphorous fertilizer. Plumerias normally require little pruning, but any shaping should be done in spring. Plumerias are sensitive to cold and should be protected when temperatures dip into the 40Fs. Check periodically for pests such as spider mites, white flies, and mealybugs. Use a horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to control these pests.

Anyone into Plumerias in San Antonio? I just got into plumerias when I wanted to get some tropical plants and picked up a few banana plants and noticed plumerias at the nursery I knew as soon as I saw it I had to have one. When I was younger I lived in hawaii and it brought back good memories when I was there. The more I research these wonderful plants the more plants I want haha. So many colors to choose from. I have 4 plants so far but they are still young and only have 1 that has flowers. I would like to learn from locals on the care of these plants and some tips I could use to help make them thrive and also get through the cold winters.

Comments: I almost forgot! The San Antonio plant swap is October 13th, go to the Texas forum and there should be a link and info. I think there are a couple of plumeria growers in their bunch.

Comments: Hello and welcome! I'm in the Austin area but have also grown plumeria in San Antonio, they are pretty much the same climate. For the cold winters you need to bring your plants inside or in the garage off the concrete and let them go dormant - I lost several plants thinking I could get by in the shed, with those surprise frosts and cold snaps we get it's the only safe way. They will not tolerate our winter outside.

Plumaria 101


Weeds

Medicinal Plants of Texas WEEDCRAFTING, growing, and using wild herbs in and around Texas

Foraging Texas Merriwether's Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Texas and the Southwest [around Houston]--edible wild plants blog


Queen Anne's Lace

Benefits of Foraging

Solvitur ambulando, St. Jerome was fond of saying. "To solve a problem, walk around."

I forage, which means I walk. It means I bend, stretch, and dig. It means I constantly have access [to] fresh, vitamin packed foods that cost no money. It means I bond with my family, friends, neighbors and complete strangers. This bonding expands past my community and into the heart of nature, whose rhythms I must follow to find the foods I seek.

The domestication of plants changed them at a genetic level. They have been bred to remain fresh-looking, resistant to shipping damage, and have a mild flavor, as well as be convenient to harvest and store. In return, these well-trained plants gave up much of their best nutritional compounds. Meanwhile, wild plants have to fight every minute of every day to stay alive. To help them in these battles they load themselves up with a huge selection of chemical warfare agents...agents that we refer to as vitamins, minerals, flavanoids, lycopenes, anti-oxidants and many other beneficial compounds. As I usually harvest and eat the plants within a few hours, they are much, much fresher than any store-bought and even farmer's market-bought foods.


Wax Myrtle / Bayberry

Gardeners often talk about their joy of bonding with "nature" but I just smile at that statement. To me, gardeners seem more often at war with nature than bonding with Her. They plant plants that couldn't possibly survive in the wild. They tear up the plants nature gives them. They spread both poisons and fertilizers. They rely on a faucet rather than rain. The main contacts they have with nature is sunburn and mosquito bites.

The secret to learning edible wild plants is to first identify the plant then search the literature to see if it is edible. In the way you eventually learn most of the plants in your environment, edible or not. As you are out looking at plants you will also find bugs, tracks, and scat. Natural curiosity will drive you to identify these discoveries. Being outside as much as foragers are leads to a heightened weather-sense over time, too. Clouds, wind, and the actions of some insects, animals and plants can all be used to tell what sort of weather is close at hand.

Eat the Weeds, & Other things, too Most Watched Forager In The World

Hello there, I’m Green Deane and I’ve been foraging since I was a child or for nearly 60 years.

Long before I went to school my mother would hand me a table knife and a paper bag and tell me to go find some dandelion greens for supper. While doing that I noticed wild strawberries, later checkerberries, raspberries, apples and roses. My mother foraged as did my grandmother and great grandmother. I learned about plants long before I learned what their names were.

Has a video on foraging available.


Monarda Punctata: Bergamot’s Bud--Horsemint; Spotted Beebalm

Horsemint makes a nice, intentionally weak tea. Stronger brews are used in herbal medicine. The Indians made a “sweating” tea from it to treat colds. The major oil in Horsemint is thymol. Externally it’s an antiseptic and vermifuge, internally, in large amounts, the plant can be fatal. That’s the bad news. So, as I said it makes a nice, intentionally weak, tea.

Horsemint is one of those plants that you seem to never notice until you learn to recognize it, then you see it every so often. It tends to grow in small colonies and near each other. If you find one, you will usually find another not too far away. They can vary in size from six inches to three feet but always very showy and its extroverted colors can last for months. You can propagate it by seeds or cuttings. I dug mine up and carried it home where it has a very sunny, well-watered spot in sandy soil.

The creamy lilac-spotted flowers (its bracts are pink) attract honeybees, bumblebees, miner bees, plasterer bees, swallowtail butterfly as well as the endangered Lycaenides melissa samuelis (Karner Blue.) Hummingbirds like it as well. Most mammals know enough to leave the plant alone. Horsemint grows from eastern Northern Canada down to Florida, west to Michigan and New Mexico and California, also into eastern Mexico. A southern variety, Monarda punctata var. punctarta, grows south of Pennsylvania and out to Texas. There are about 20 different Monardas in the United States.

Horsemint has the highest thymol content of all the mints. It is more than an antiseptic, mite-killer and cough-syrup ingredient. As a depressant, it is one of the most commonly abused substances among anesthesiologists and nurses. If thymol were discovered today it would be a prescription drug.


Horseherb - Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy)

Straggler Daisy Calyptocarpus vialis Less. Straggler daisy, Horseherb, Hierba del caballo, Lawnflower Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Depending on your point of view, Straggler Daisy or Horseherb is a pest or a welcome, shade-tolerant groundcover that tolerates moderate foot traffic. If you have a shady lawn anywhere within its range, you probably already have it. It gained in popularity during the growth in interest in native plants and is now occasionally available for sale at native plant nurseries (though it is so easy to propagate that you can easily grow it on your own). Thriving in sun or shade, its tiny, yellow daisy flowers add a minute touch of color to shady areas and attract small butterflies like sulfurs and skippers.


Calyptocarpus vialis: Horseherb; Straggler daisy

Because it is dormant in cold winters, mix with cool-season spring annuals and evergreens for continuous color. In central Texas, Baby Blue-eyes (Nemophila phacelioides), Widows Tears (Commelina spp.), False Dayflower (Tinantia anomala), Violet Ruellia (Ruellia nudiflora), and sedges (Carex spp.) are good companion plants for shady areas.

Love It or Leave It: Horseherb Ah, Horseherb (Calyptocarpus vialis), also called Straggler Daisy. There doesn’t seem to be much of a gray area on this one. People either truly love this little groundcover or hate it with a passion. I’m of the former variety. I adore this little plant.


Calyptocarpus vialis: Horseherb; Straggler daisy

Why do I love it? If you’ve ever walked past a field of horseherb, you are presented with an incredibly lush sea of green, with the daintiest of little yellow flowers throughout to catch your eye. I’ve seen some gorgeous fields, and each time I was mesmerized by the beauty and serenity of the scene.

I almost don’t want to walk on it — it’s so pretty in appearance — but for a non-lawn groundcover, it can withstand some foot traffic. It only needs water in the worst of droughts, and it loves shade and sun.


Calyptocarpus vialis: Horseherb; Straggler daisy

Horseherb is also native to the southern U.S. on into Central America, and it makes a great alternative to the exotic and water-hogging Bermuda and St. Augustine grasses. I’d love to see it replace Asian jasmine, as well — now THAT is a plant that will take over a garden bed and yard. Horseherb is considered semi-evergreen, blooming most of the year except in cold winter areas, and if you like you can mow it, or you can let it grow to its typical max height, which is about 8 inches. But as bonus, horseherb also attracts small butterflies, including sulfurs and skippers. And think of all the happy little lizards that will zip underneath the foliage!

It’s an eco-friendly solution to having a lawn without having to resort to heavy chemicals or fertilizers or ridiculous amounts of water to sustain it. Lawn irrigation tops the list on where our municipal water goes, and the time for water conservation is now, especially in Texas.

Why do some people want to leave it? Well, in some yards it can be a big nuisance. For those who keep a grass lawn, horseherb is a competitor, and it can be difficult to get rid of. And it can spread into garden beds, though I’ve found that so far it doesn’t bother much with my well-mulched beds. In fact, one of the characteristics of this plant is that it supposedly doesn’t do well in areas that have heavy leaves that take a long time to decompose.


Calyptocarpus vialis: Horseherb; Straggler daisy

But for now I prefer to embrace its desire to spread. What I loathe is the Bermuda Grass and St. Augustine in my yard. I loathe the unnamed weeds that dominate my backyard. I love my buffalograss in the back, but it too is losing to the weeds, and in the drought, the buffalograss was dead most of the time, so I didn’t end up loving it as much as I wanted to – I loved it when I could see it.

Comment: Iris/Society Garlic, Austin on October 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm said: I love it! It took us 7+ years, but we no longer have any grass lawn and do not own a lawnmower. Horseherb is our primary groundcover in our xeriscaped front yard garden and also in back surrounding the veggie raised beds. In the full-sun front yard, it got crispy and brown this summer but is coming back like crazy now. The few times it’s encroached on a flower bed, it was easy to yank out and keep away with mulch. Your post says it all.


Plateau Goldeneye

Greatstems, Austin TX, Nov. 9. 2014 Plateau Goldeneye (Viguiera dentata). This lovely aster is a prolific reseeder, but it is easy to manage. I have some special Goldeneyes in my backyard that were given to me by a dear woman who passed away this spring. They can reseed in my yard all they want, for each one is a memory of a wonderful environmental steward and friend.


Calyptocarpus vialis: Horseherb; Straggler daisy

Apparently some grasshoppers find it tasty, too. This photo actually is of a muncher I saw at the Wildflower Center a couple of weeks ago. It didn’t bother to stop eating while I took its picture.


Calyptocarpus vialis: Horseherb; Straggler daisy

Above, Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii) had a determined showing at Walnut Creek Park despite the abundant presence of Plateau Goldeneye. No worries, for it knows that its seasonal blooms will outlast the yellow ones of its aster companions.

Plateau Goldeneye is not only beautiful, it is the host plant for Cassius Blue and Bordered Patch butterflies.


Purslane (oleracea)

Purslane It loves heat and needs very little water. This juicy plant thrives in the heat of summer and grows out of the cracks in city sidewalks. It is sold in Mexican and Asian markets as a vegetable.


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Dispelling another myth! Purslane is thought of as a weed, but you can go grab this delicacy right out of your yard and throw it in your salad. It's a succulent and has a wonderful peppery & slightly sour taste that compliments most leafy greens. I know, I had some cognitive dissonance the first time I pulled this plant out of a sidewalk and took it to the kitchen. It can feel a little weird.

Purslane is also a superfood! It contains more Omega-3 than any other land vegetable. You didn't even know salad greens could have omegas, did you? Well this one is packed with it. It also contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. (from Greenling email)

Portulaca oleracea Succulent. Portulaca oleracea (common purslane, also known as verdolaga, pigweed, little hogweed, red root, pursley, and moss rose) is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae.

Although purslane is considered a weed in the United States, it may be eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, the middle east, Asia, and Mexico. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane may be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried, or cooked as spinach is, and because of its mucilaginous quality it also is suitable for soups and stews. The sour taste is due to malic acid, which is produced through the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) pathway that is seen in many xerophytes (plants living in dry conditions), and is maximal when the plant is harvested in the early morning.


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Australian Aborigines use the seeds to make seedcakes. Greeks, who call it andrakla (αντρ'ακλα) or glystrida (γλυστρ'ιδα), use the leaves and the stems with feta cheese, tomato, onion, garlic, oregano, and olive oil, add it in salads, boil it, or add to casseroled chicken. In Turkey, besides being used in salads and in baked pastries, it is cooked as a vegetable similar to spinach. In Albania, known as burdullak, it is also used as a vegetable similar to spinach, mostly simmered and served in olive oil dressing, or mixed with other ingredients as a filling for dough layers of byrek. In the south of Portugal (Alentejo), baldroegas are used as a soup ingredient. In Pakistan, it is known as qulfa and cooked as in stews along with lentils like spinach or in a mixed green stew.


Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album and C. berlandieri)

Lambsquarters Even though this plant has delicious leaves with more Vitamin A than spinach or broccoli, to most people it's a no-good weed to be mercilessly hoed out of the garden. The seeds of one of its relatives were a staple food of the Aztecs.

These two very similar species (except C. berlandieri smells, but does not taste, like dirty gym socks) are "camp followers," and move with people from site to site and thrive in disturbed soil (like a building site or garden). Keep it. It's great.


Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album and C. berlandieri)

Lambsquarter, Lamb’s Quarter, Chenopodium – Delicious whatever you call it one of the all-time great greens. It tastes wonderful (like a cross between asparagus and spinach); it’s easy to prepare and cook; it’s good for you – the usual dark green “high in vitamins and minerals, low in calories” – and as a major bonus, it not only plants itself, it starts so early and grows so fast that you can harvest multiple crops and still have time to plant tomatoes, corn, squash, beans or whatever in the very same ground.

It is considered by some to be one of the most widespread weeds in the world. Lambsquarter (Chenopodium album) is probably best thought of as a complex of related plants which intergrade and hybridize quite easily. I find a variety of forms growing in my garden, often changing as the season progresses.


Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album and C. berlandieri)

In Mexico a subspecies (ssp. nuttalliae) and hybrids are still grown as commercial cultivars: ‘Huauzontle’ for the flowering heads, ‘Chia’ for the seeds, and ‘Quelite’ for the leafy greens. It is sometimes called Pigweed or Goosefoot, and Giant Goosefoot, or ‘Magenta Spreen’, (C. gigantium) is available from several specialty seed suppliers, including Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

All varieties of Chenopodium seem to be quite prolific, producing panicles that release thousands of tiny seeds, some of which germinate quickly while others persist in the soil for years. This is undoubtedly one reason why these plants are such successful weeds.

Far from being difficult to grow, they are often difficult to eradicate, particularly in soils which are frequently turned. It’s like the many-headed Hydra of Greek Mythology, every time you hoe down the weed, more come up as you expose more seed to sprout. You can see how lambsquarter is a problem when thought of as a weed. Think of it as a delicious green, however, and the problem becomes a blessing, a gift that keeps on giving.


Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album and C. berlandieri)

Next to Broccoli Raab, Lambsquarter is my favorite green, but it does have two characteristics that might give you pause the first time you try it.

The first is a grayish, mealy powder found mainly on the underside of the young leaves. This will create an intriguing silvery sheen to the leaf when it is plunged into clear water. The grayish powder, parts of the leaf structure itself, will easily rinse off and rise to the top as a scum. Not to worry, it is harmless.

Equally harmless is the purplish red bloom which will come to dot some of the leaves.

The second aspect of lambsquarter that might cause concern is a flavor characteristic. Best described as a slightly astringent, bitter or mineral quality, it occasionally will leave in the mouth and on the tooth an oxalic acid sensation similar to that produced by rhubarb. If you or your children do not like spinach, you will not like lambsquarter. But if your palate has progressed to a more mature level chances are that you will flip over it.


Old man's beard

Clematis vitalba--Old Man's Beard (Clematis vitalba)
(In our backyard)

Also called traveler's joy, this import from Europe and south western Asia is an aggressively spreading woody vine, found along streams, fencelines, forest edges and hillsides. Old man's beard vines can grow up to 100 feet long and can completely blanket trees and other plants. Creamy white flowers in summer are followed by feathery seed heads in late summer and early fall, giving this vine its common name "old man's beard. These fluffy seed heads are persistent and quite conspicuous in the winter.

The King County Noxious Weed Control Board encourages property owners to remove old man's beard where possible and to avoid introducing it to new landscapes. Ornamental plantings can be contained by removing flower stalks before they form seeds.

Similar to other invasive vines, old man's beard prevents trees and bushes from getting sunlight and add considerable weight to trees, eventually weakening and even killing the supporting trees and bushes. After the tree dies, old man's beard continues to grow, creating dense thickets of growth. Young plants can grow 6 feet a year and once established, vines can completely cover existing vegetation. The airborne seeds allow this vine to spread quickly to new locations. Also, damaged or cut stems can re-sprout so plants can spread vegetatively as well.

Poison Hemlock Conium maculatum Hand-pull only while wearing gloves – this plant is highly poisonous. Tap-rooted plant with stout hollow stems marked by distinctive purplish splotches . Its dark green leaves are somewhat fern-like. Tiny white flowers form an umbel.

Clematis vitalba, White Virgin's-bower


Blue enchantment dwarf morning glory


Huehuecoyotl in Mexico

Annie's Annuals CA.

Ordered one plant 9/18/15 Asclepias curassavica "Mexican Milkweed" will ship 9/29/15--Your order number is 126575---received on 10/1/15 by FedEx in good condition.

Page on Mexican Milkweed A MUST for any habitat garden -growing to 4’ tall & wide, it’s colorful, beautiful & EASY- plus a source of nectar for beneficial insects & a critical larval food source for our beloved Monarchs.Evergreen & shrubby. Bold red-orange & yellow flowers bloom throughout the year!Reseeds for freebies! Aphids are attracted to this plant, but don’t seem to harm its health & can be blasted off with water. Poor soil is okay with good drainage!

To protect Monarchs from disease, cut back your Asclepias currasavica in late Fall. This will also promote a healthier plant next season.

Pt.Sun/Full Sun - Low-Avg.Water - Perennial - USDA Zones 8-11


Northern Catalpa [Catalpa speciosa] This is a tree that demands your attention. White, showy flowers. Giant heart-shaped leaves. Dangling bean-like seed pods. Twisting trunk and branches. How could you not stop to take it in?

History/Lore

The catalpa tree is found in forests from southern Illinois and Indiana to western Tennessee and Arkansas. First cultivated in 1754, the wood was used for fence posts and railroad ties because of its resistance to rot and the tree’s fast growth rate. Common names for this tree are many and colorful—including cigar tree, Indian bean tree, catawba, caterpillar tree, hardy catalpa and western catalpa.


Wildflowers Native to SA

Texas Wild Flower Pictures An index by color--click on the Thumbnail index to speed things up.

Native Plant Society of Texas San Antonio chapter

Less Lawn info. on lawn alternatives and no-mow yards

One of a kind for South Texas the A.E. Leonard Native Plant Garden, a one-of-a-kind South Texas gem

Native Plant Garden Is One Of A Kind For South Texas A garden for plant geeks, it has three quarters of the cactus and succulent species found in South Texas, including the four Manfredas, or false aloes, found nowhere else in the United States except South Texas.

Seed Savers Exchange

Found at Mitchell Lake [native]:

Scutellaria suffrutescens Pink Texas Skullcap. Scutellaria suffrutescens is a drought tolerant, heat loving, sun loving plant that is great for the Texas Garden. Scutellaria suffrutescens is in the mint family along with other drought tolerant plants such as Salvias, the flower is reminiscent of tiny snapdragon flowers ...

Scutellaria suffrutescens, Pink Texas Skullcap, Cherry Skullcap Austin Native Landscaping: “One of the greatest low layer plants you can use! It is very neat and tidy, and will keep its round form quite well. The small pink flowers are adorable and will brighten your day during summer’s hot days. Pink Skullcap is very versatile; Not only it will thrive in both full sun and part shade but it is also an evergreen that will add much needed greenery during the winter. Disease and pest resistance and quite drought tolerant: Pink Skullcap is a no brainer choice for Austin waterwise landscapes.”

Plants for Texas: Scutellaria suffrutescens - Pink Texas Skullcap has Thyme-like foliage and has a dense growth habit, remaining neat and compact, the flowers are reminiscent of tiny snapdragon flowers. The flowers are rose-red to pink in color and small. Use for rock gardens, on dry hillsides, xeriscaping, or even for container gardening!

BLUE MISTFLOWER:

Lady Fird Johnson Wildflower Center: Conoclinium coelestinum (L.) DC., Blue mistflower, Wild ageratum, Blue boneset, Mistflower, Asteraceae (Aster Family) attracts bees and butterflies. However, this wildflower spreads quickly and can become a pest.

Far South Nursery Austin TX wildflowers et al.

Native Plant Society of TX: blue mistflower for butterflies During cold winters, mistflower dies back to the ground, but it never fails to sprout up again in the spring. All around, it is a pretty easy-to-grow garden plant, and most of the time from late summer through fall, the blue mistflower is covered with blooms that attract a wide variety of butterflies.

Blue mistflower is widely available in nurseries. Hardy cultivars have been developed from the native species. One or two bunches in many gardens will be enough, because it spreads by rhizomes and over time will occupy a large patch. However, roots are shallow, and it is easy to control.

Nurseries probably carry blue mistflowers under the scientific name of Eupatorium, which used to be the accepted genus for a whole group of similar plants. The taxonomists, in their wisdom, have put blue mistflowers in the genus Conoclinium.

The species that grows in eastern Texas and into the eastern edge of the Hill Country is Conoclinium coelestinum. A frillier-leafed species, C. greggii (dissectum), grows in western Edwards Plateau, the Trans Pecos, and farther west. Both these species or their cultivars are in the nursery trade.

USDA: Blue Mistflower


Lantana

Lantana Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region.

Lantana's aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets. Other colors exist as new varieties are being selected. The flowers typically change color as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-colored.

Some species are invasive, and are considered to be noxious weeds, such as in South Asia, Southern Africa and Australia. In the United States, lantanas are naturalized in the southeast, especially coastal regions of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and the Gulf Coast.

The spread of lantana is aided by the fact that their leaves are poisonous to most animals and thus avoided by herbivores, while their fruit is a delicacy for many birds.

How To Grow Lantana The growing and care of lantanas (Lantana camara) is easy. These verbena-like flowers have long since been admired for their extended bloom time.

There are several varieties available that offer a multitude of colors. Depending on the region and type grown, lantana plants can be treated as annuals or perennials. Grow lantana flowers in the garden or in containers. Trailing varieties can even be grown in hanging baskets. Lantanas also make a great choice for those wishing to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.

Growing lantana in the garden is a great way to add color and interest. Simply choose a sunny location and plant them in well-draining soil. Although these plants are tolerant of many soil conditions, lantana flowers prefer slightly acidic soil. Mulching with pine needles is an easy way to raise pH levels in areas with low acid.

Lantanas are planted in spring once the threat of cold weather and frost have ceased. Keep in mind, however, that they prefer warm temperatures so new growth may be slow to appear. Once the temperatures warm up though, they will grow abundantly.

While newly planted lantanas require frequent watering, once established, these plants require little maintenance and are even tolerant of somewhat dry conditions. In fact, a good soaking about once a week should keep them relatively happy.

To encourage reblooming, cut the tips (deadhead) periodically. Overgrown plants can be given new life by cutting back a third of their growth. They will bounce back quickly. Regular pruning of the plant usually takes place in spring.

Lantana If you have a hot, baked spot, lantana is your answer. This hardworking plant not only thrives with little moisture and in full, unyielding sun, it does so with ease. In fact, lantana is a flower that seems to have it all: It produces an abundance of brightly colored flowers all summer and fall, and it's a magnet for butterflies (hummingbirds like it, too). It's easy to grow and a great choice for containers. Plus, if you have a sunny spot indoors, you can grow it as a charming indoor plant. In frost-free climates (Zones 9-11), it's a great perennial groundcover, as well.


Grape Hyacinth [Muscari]

From Mary's Garden Patch: Muscari are no-care bulbs that are a must have in every garden or landscape. They are deer resistant, naturalize well, make a good cut flower and are easy to grow in well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. They bloom mid to late spring. Blue is the most common color, particularly armeniacum, although several other colors and bi-colors are available. Their height rarely exceeds 12 inches.

Muscari are not as glamorous as the showier bulbs but they are nonetheless popular for filling gaps in the border and as a companion to tulips and daffodils. With their bright blue color, they can provide a beautiful contrast to yellow daffodils like King Alfred, to brilliant red tulips or underplanted bellow azaleas and dogwoods.

The word Muscari comes from the Greek word muschos for musk, for the sweet scent of the flowers. Their common name, Grape Hyacinth, refers to the flowers which resemble clusters of blue grapes. The Hyacinth part of the common name comes from Dutch Hyacinths, as they are part of the same family.

The flowers are clustered on the stem like an upside down bunch of grapes. Each tiny flower consists of 6 petals which are fused together leaving an outward facing opening, often with a white rim. The stem is leafless but one or two fleshy long linear leaves grow from the base and appear before the flowers - often in Fall so they make a good "marker" bulb. The flowers appear in Spring and continue to grow, withering into dormancy for 2 or 3 months in the Summer.


Muscari or Grape Hyacinth, very fragrant
Plant Muscari in large clusters or drifts for a spectacular spring show. Where to plant? There are many choices! Under a deciduous tree, in a rock garden or Spring border, in a pot. Muscari bulbs are small, so plant around an inch deep. If planting in a pot, plant them closely together in September for February or March bloom. Do not fertilize.

Muscari like moderate shade, although they are very tolerant of full shade or even full sun if watered frequently. The soil should be well drained, slightly acid and not too rich. Plant in drifts of at least twenty-five for full effect. Planted next to Daffodils, the color contrast does them both a good turn.

Muscari have very few problems, but beware! All types of rodents love them. So plant under chicken wire or plant with daffodils or scilla, which they dislike.

Do not cut the foliage until it completely dies back, as it continues to produce starches and sugars well after the flowers fade, helping to strengthen the bulb and allowing the plant to live through its dormant season. Grape Hyacinths will naturalize rapidly, forming large colonies. Divide if you want to increase even more, but don't cut the flowers - their seeds will mature and help the plants to spread. Muscari are hardy so don't worry about winter chill.


Muscari or Grape Hyacinth, very fragrant
Available at Mary's Garden Patch in many varieties and colors..


Irises

From Mary's Garden Patch: Iris is a vast genus of plants ranging from the tiny Dwarf Iris (4 inches) to the giant Japanese Iris (4 foot). The Iris is named after the Greek goddess who rode rainbows and refers to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. Irises are hardy, reliable, and easy to grow, blooming from early spring to summer. Some Irises, mostly bearded hybrids, will flower again later in the summer. Irises also attract butterflies and hummingbirds and make lovely cut flowers. The Iris is the French royal standard fleur-de-lis.

Irises are divided into 2 groups: bulbous (Dwarf [Reticulata] and Dutch) and rhizomatous (Bearded, Siberian and Japanese) Irises. The Rhizomatous Irises spread from thick underground stems. Bearded Iris are so-called because they have soft hairs along the center of the falls. Bulbous Irises grow from bulbs rather than rhizomes and are generally smaller.


Irises

Iris Reticulata are well known dwarfs that grow 4-5" high and bloom in February or March. They come in lovely shades of blue, purple, violet and yellow. The standards are usually a lighter color, sometimes with a yellow or orange stripe down the center. They like well-drained but moisture holding soil. If they are too dry they may split into bulbils and not flower for a couple of years. Deep planting is said to help keep them from dividing too much. Plant in full sun in the Fall - they will often bloom before the snow melts in the Spring. You can also force them in a pot indoors. They're also known as "Rock Garden Iris" because they are small and so doggone cute!

Dutch Irises are also grown from bulbs and are used to fill the gap between Spring and Summer plants, appearing in June. Also known as 'Hollandia', they are a long-lasting, excellent cut flower or border item. They come in shades of blue, yellow, violet and white, all with a golden stripe on the lower petals. They'll come back in Southern gardens. Dutch Irises love full sun, so avoid planting in the shade. Too much summer rain can rot Dutch Iris, so you may have to lift them and dry them, storing them in a cool dark place or just count on re-planting fresh stock every year. Dutch Irises are good for forcing. Plant 5 bulbs to a pot for late winter flowers inside.

Bearded Irises are considered the most elegant with their stunning colors. They make long-lasting cut flowers. They are distinguished by their "beards" - tufts of fine hairs, which are rows of colored hair along the center of the downturned petals. Bearded Irises are sun-loving and flower last of the Irises, in early summer.

Japanese Iris (Ensata) is a magnificent group of Irises that are native to Japan. The beautiful large blooms are orchid-like, ruffled and flat. They can be planted practically anywhere, including in the water garden. They love moisture and can be planted in pots in water. If planted in the ground, they should be planted in a distinct "depression" in heavy soil to assist in supplying moisture to the plant. You can dig them up every 4 years to divide, cutting into thirds.

Siberian Irises are tough, low maintenance plants. They have abundant blooms, even in difficult spots and are rarely bothered by pests. They're drought resistant and tolerate poor drainage and will do well anywhere they can get a half day of sun. The foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season. Plant the crown just below the soil surface.


Iris / Iris Forune Finder

Planting

The Rhizomatous Irises are planted horizontally, leaves up and roots down. Never plant more than 1" deep, and leave about 1/3rd of the rhizome showing. Every 3 or 4 years you can cut the rhizome in 2 or 3 pieces and replant to multiply your stand. All should be planted in a permanent spot where they can remain for many years as they resent being disturbed. They are heavy feeders and need to be fertilized regularly.

Bulbous Irises are smaller than those of the Rhizomatous Irises and should be planted like any bulb, such as daffodils and tulips. As a general rule plant them 3 times as deep as their height, a little shallower in the South.

Post-bloom

For the Rhizomatous Irises, after bloom, cut off the entire flower stem to discourage rot, leaving the leaves to nourish the bulb. In the fall, cut the fans back to 4 inches, removing any dead shriveled leaves. For the bulbous Irises, like all bulbs, allow the foliage to die back naturally.

Pests

Iris borers can be a problem with the Rhizomatous Irises. If troubled by them, clean up the bed thoroughly, dig up any infested rhizomes and cut out the borers. Dust with sulfur and replant.


Siberian Iris Ensata / Bearded Irises

From Garden.org: These flowers' popularity is explained in part by their being widely adaptable and easy to grow throughout most of North America. The only exception is the humid subtropics. Generally, iris thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 10 in the dry-summer West and in 3 through 8 in the rainy-summer East.

Choosing the Planting Site

Most iris need at least 6 hours of full sun, and good drainage. In deeply cultivated, rich soil, they respond with superior growth and flowers. A soil pH near neutral is best. Sand or clay soils are okay, but you need to pay more attention to drainage in heavy clay soils. If water in your garden pools for more than half an hour after a rain, plant in raised beds or mounds.

Before planting, amend the soil with generous amounts of compost. If your soil tends to be acidic, add ground dolomitic limestone to raise the pH to nearly neutral. (Use a soil test to determine your soil's pH and the type and amounts of amendments necessary.)

If you're planting several iris of the same variety, arrange them in drifts with the fans all pointing in the same direction, or plant in a circular clump with fans pointing outward.

Water the newly-planted rhizomes to settle the soil and start growth, then water sparingly until new growth indicates that roots are growing.


Hot Summer Notes

Summer flower bulbs can add a tropical flare to your garden with their lush free flowering habit. Lilies, gingers, elephant ears, cannas, caladiums and other summer bulbs are lively, undemanding plants that flourish when the heat is on. (Mary's Garden Patch.

From Bulbs for the South: It is possible to grow spring-flowering bulbs in climates as warm as Zones 8 to 10!


Daylillies

The Dependable Daylilly Did you know you can plant Daylilies in both the spring and fall?

Daylilies are adaptable and vigorous perennials that are among our most popular flowers. The Daylily, which isn't a lily at all, is a cultivar of the genus Hemerocolis. This Greek word is made up of "hemera" (day) and "Kalos" (beautiful). Since each lily-like flower only lasts one day, it's an appropriate name. To make up for this short life-span each Daylily flower stalk has many flowers. In fact, established clumps can produce 200-400 flowers in a season!


Daylillies Stella d'oro

Why plant Daylilies? Well, many say it's the perfect perennial because they:

  • can survive in a wide range of climates, from Zones 1 through 11 so everyone can grow Daylilies no matter where they live;
  • provide a multitude of brightly colored flowers and a variety of sizes and shapes;
  • multiply quickly, doubling or tripling every year;establish quickly, grow vigorously and survive winters with little or no injury;
  • are low maintenance and have relatively few pests;
  • are suitable for all types of landscapes;
  • are very adaptable to different soils and light conditions and can tolerate a wide range of different growing conditions.

Daylilies can be used to fill in difficult spots that fussier plants reject. They are great in the border, planted in masses or as a ground cover on a slope where they form a dense mat in just a few years that will help control soil erosion and suppress weeds.

Stella d'Oros, which are the single most popular Daylily, will also bloom for months, in some areas blooming from May to October.


Daylillies Stella d'oro

Daylilies can be planted almost any time the soil can be worked. Before planting, soak them in a bucket of water for 24 hours to make sure the roots have plenty of water to start growing. Dig a hole 6" deep and 12" wide. Add compost and fertilizer and form the soil mix into a mound. Center the plant on the mound and spread the roots over the sides. Fill with soil, water and mulch well to retain moisture. Although they're tough and will grow practically anywhere, all Daylilies prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Plant short varieties 1 foot apart and tall ones 2 feet apart, and they will quickly fill in the gaps.

Daylilies multiply very quickly, so after 4 or 5 years your daylilies will need to be divided. A good sign is that the center of the clump has little to no flowers or foliage. Although Daylilies are very hardy and can be divided early spring to fall, the best time to divide is in early fall to give your transplants time to form new roots before the ground freezes. Dig the whole clump up - a garden fork is good for this. The clump can then be divided in two or more pieces with a spade or even an ax. After re-planting, water well, mulch and cut the foliage back to around 8 inches. Divisions should have at least 2 or 3 stems or fans of leaves with roots attached to thrive.

Finally, Daylilies have very few pests. A spring application of manure or compost will help ensure a good blooming season for your daylilies, as will deadheading the spent flowers.

With just a little care, you can count on these rugged perennials to last for many years.

Daylilies: Texas' Favorite Perennial Daylilies are prolific and colorful bloomers. Few pests show any interest in them. They will grow in sun or shade, dry or wet soil, can tolerate both flooding and drought, and produce beautiful flowers throughout Texas. You can find tiny flowers and large flowers, compact plants and tall plants. You can even create your own varieties with relative ease.

It is no wonder that every gardening expert recommends daylilies for the home landscape. Although daylilies will tolerate poor soil, you want them to bloom well, so take some time to prepare the soil. Daylilies require good drainage; they will rot if they are planted in a spot where they constantly have wet feet. Plant only to the base of the crown, the area above the roots on the plant where it is white in color and gradually goes to green.

“Daylilies provide a maximum of color to the landscape with a minimum amount of effort. Blossoms now come in pink, purple, red, peach, apricot and all shades in between, including dramatic color combinations. Petals may be ruffled, twirled or flecked with eye-catching glitter called “diamond dust.” — Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

For best growth and bloom of your daylilies, select a location that has full morning sun and some protection from afternoon sun. All-day sunshine in Texas is hard for most plants to take, and daylilies appreciate afternoon shade. April is a good time to plant one of the easiest to grow perennials. Water plants thoroughly after planting and continue to deep amendments for your daylilies and will keep them at the peak of health. Be careful not to mulch heavily around the crown of the plant to avoid rotting and maintain air circulation. In the spring, a good blend of fish emulsion and seaweed is a fine tonic to get them growing.

Daylilies grow from fleshy roots below ground with fans of leaves above ground, coming together at the crown of the plant. From the crown, flower stalks (scapes) will emerge in May and June, bearing typically 10 to 20 flower buds. Though each flower is only open for one day (thus the name), the buds will take turns opening, resulting in weeks of garden color. And many cultivars send up repeat scapes into June, July and August.

soak them until they are well established. Although they are drought-tolerant, consistent watering while budding and flowering produces better quality flowers. Blood meal, cottonseed meal, agricultural molasses, composted manure, sludge compost and compost are all good organic choices

Coloring the Garden With Spring Bulbs Bulbs provide a foolproof floral display that brightens gardens, feeds the drowsy queen bumblebees, and lifts the spirits. The bulbs we plant in fall are dormant perennials, and the cool, moist autumn soil awakens them from their dormancy so they can begin growing roots in preparation for the spring show.

When buying bulbs, select those that are fresh and firm, not brittle or rotted or moldy. If you start with healthy plants, you are halfway down the road to success. All that's left is proper placement and planting.

Choose a site where the bulbs will receive at least part sun throughout the spring. They look beautiful growing beneath deciduous trees, and they will receive ample sunlight before the trees leaf out. Areas of constant shade, like the north side of a building, will not work as well because the plants need sun to make food for future flowers.

Also choose a spot with good drainage or the bulbs may rot. Amend heavy clay soils with organic matter or build up a raised bed or berm to plant in.

The ideal planting depth depends on the size of the bulb. The general rule is to plant three times as deep as the bulb is wide. That means about 4 to 6 inches deep for small bulbs like snowdrops, crocuses, and grape hyacinths, and about 8 inches deep for large bulbs like hybrid tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Most bulb packages give a recommended spacing but I suggest urban gardeners plant bulbs closer together but not touching to get maximum impact.

Planted en masse, the exuberant colors of spring bulbs make a grand statement, so I prefer to use a shovel and make a wide hole for planting many bulbs at once. I never use a bulb planting tool because I plant my bulbs by the dozens. Buy fewer types of bulbs in large quantities as opposed to many types of bulbs in fewer numbers. For example, instead of buying 20 bulbs each of five different lily-flowered tulips, buy 100 'West Point' tulips for a dazzling display.

Bulbs in Containers

Gardeners in warm regions can plant bulbs in containers and leave them outside year-round. For those of us in cold climates with patios and balconies, growing spring-blooming bulbs in containers is more challenging.

By comparison, planting in the ground is a cakewalk.

Tips for Planting Bulbs

Add organic matter to the soil for nutrients and drainage.
Plant en mass (by the hundreds if possible) for a spectacular show.
Wear gloves when handling bulbs.
Place shorter bulbs in the front of beds and borders.
Try to have everything planted well before the ground freezes. Halloween is a good deadline to set, although I am usually planting extra tulips on Thanksgiving weekend.
Mulch the planting area thoroughly to avoid heaving from wintertime thawing and freezing.


Cannas

From Grow Cannas and Heat up the jungle Fever: One of my favorite summer blooming bulbs are the Cannas. Their extended flowering season (from summer through fall) and luxurious green or bronze colored foliage guaranty a spectacular display. There are many, many Canna cultivars - over 60, including standard and dwarf types. You could start them indoors in late March for a head start on growth. The tall cannas can grow up to 10" in the right conditions! You best look for the shorter varieties, like the Futurity series, if you don't have the space. Cannas have strong stems, so even the tall varieties rarely need staking.


Cannas

Cannas have a wide range of flower colors -- from bright yellows, reds, pinks, orange and combinations of all those. Their foliage can be bright or dark green, yellow or purpley bronze, striped or solid. Canna roots are actually rhizomes, not bulbs, and are planted around the first of May (depending on your location). For best results plant in soil that's rich in organic material like well-rotted manure). They'll even take soggy conditions. The rhizomes are planted horizontally and covered with an inch of soil.


Cannas; on right could be our backyard

To keep Cannas happy give them:

-Full sun
-Warm summers
-Rich soil
-Protection from the wind to keep their leaves from shredding

Start fertilizing them in the spring and then monthly as they grow throughout the summer with a 12-4-8 or its organic equivalent. This supplemental feeding plus adequate water will help guarantee optimum blooming.

Keep Cannas tidy through the summer by pruning off spent flowers to keep them blooming and cut back the stalks to the ground in fall. You can even collect the hard black seeds in late summer.

Be sure to protect them from too much moisture as the winter rains will rot the rhizomes sooner than the cold will kill them.


Cannas

Above left photo is 'Bengal Tiger' cannas glow in front of purple-leaved Loropetalum chinense, also known as Chinese fringeflower or Chinese witch hazel... best grown in rich, humusy, acidic, moist, somewhat gritty, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Conservatively, this plant is best in USDA 8.

In late spring (usually when your tomatoes go out) it's time to plant your Cannas. Unless you live where the ground doesn't freeze, you have to replant tender perennial bulbs every spring. Some dig and store their bulbs as described above. Others start with fresh bulbs every year.

Established Cannas beds can quickly become overcrowded. Dig up the clumps looking for rhizomes which contain viable eyes (sprouts). Rejuvenating the beds will allow you to clean up the bed and reset just the best rhizomes.

Also consider growing cannas in pots to brighten up a dull spot. A five gallon pot filled with rich soil is ideal. Pots can even be buried up to their rims to blend in with the landscape.

Cannas are some of the most show stopping plants in the summer garden.


Spiraea

Spiraea japonica 'Little Princess' Common Name: Japanese spirea; Type: Deciduous shrub; Family: Rosaceae; Zone: 4 to 8; Height: 1.50 to 2.50 feet; Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet; Bloom Time: May to July; Bloom Description: Pink; Sun: Full sun; Water: Medium; Maintenance: Low; Suggested Use: Hedge; Flower: Showy; Leaf: Good Fall; Attracts: Butterflies; Tolerate: Deer, Erosion, Clay Soil, Air Pollution


Spiraea "Little Princess"

w Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils. Remove faded flower clusters to promote additional bloom. Prune in late winter to early spring.

This Japanese spiraea cultivar ("Little Princess") is an upright, rounded, deciduous shrub which typically forms a compact mound to 30" tall. Features numerous pink flowers in flat-topped clusters (corymbs) in late spring to mid-summer. Attractive to butterflies. Oval, sharply toothed, mint green leaves take on attractive red hues in autumn.

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to many of the diseases and insects that attack other members of the rose family, including leaf spots, fireblight, powdery mildew, rots, aphids, leaf roller and scale.


Spiraea "Little Princess" / Spiraea Double Bridal Wreath

Garden Uses: Effective in borders, cottage gardens, rock gardens and as low hedges or edging. Excellent for foundation plantings.

Spiraea a genus of about 80 to 100 species of shrubs in the family Rosaceae.

Spirea deciduous or semi-evergreen shrubs. They are grown primarily for their small but profuse white, yellow, pink, or purple flowers in spring or summer. Use spirea in a mixed or shrub border, as a groundocver, in a rock garden, or as hedging, depending on growth habit.

Noteworthy characteristics: Flowers profusely.

Care: Fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun. If plant flowers on previous year's wood, prune after flowering by cutting back flowered shoots to strong buds, young lower growth, or basal growth. For those that flower on the current season's wood, cut back to a low permanent framework as buds begin to swell in early spring.


Spiraea "bumalad Anthony Waterer" / Spiraea Fritschiana


Spiraea "bumalad Anthony Waterer" / Spiraea Fritschiana


[Hairy] Crown Vetch

Penngift Crown Vetch Resists Drought, Pests, Disease

Botanical Name: Coronilla Varia 'Penngift'
Zone 3 - 9.
Height 18 inches.
Shade Required Full sun to partial shade.
Spacing: 24 - 36 inches.


Depth: Plant with crown at soil level.
Spread: 36 - 48 inches.
Color: Pinkish-white blossoms.
Foliage: Green compound foliage.
Soil Requirements: Well-drained soil. Adaptable to a wide range of soil types.
Growth Rate: Slow growth in first season, fast thereafter.


Comments: Prevents soil erosion, crowds out weeds. Immune to drought once established, insects, and disease. Do not plant in a confined area. Very reliable grower once establishd.

Thick, 1 1/2 ft. high, loaded with flowers late spring to frost. Ends soil erosion and crowds out weeds. Ideal for sunny, hard-to-mow slopes! Six plants cover 18 sq. ft. Bareroot. Zones 3-9. For each offer, get 6 plants.


Vetches, such as the Crown Vetch pictured here, can be an important source of aphids and other soft-bodied prey for ladybugs and syrphid flies.


Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow This pretty shrub with the antique-sounding name is one of the standbys in the Southern shade garden. Native to the tropical and subtropical Americas, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is almost always evergreen here in our coastal zone 9A. Although several species of this plant are widely cultivated, the one I most often see in the garden is Brunfelsia pauciflora. Which is strange when you think about it! “Pauciflora” means “having few flowers” in Latin and that’s just not true for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow! In warm climates like ours, it flowers from April through September or October.

Although the Brunfelsia family will thrive in almost full sun, they always appreciate a little break from the hot afternoon summer sun. And unlike many sun-loving shrubs, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow will bloom in almost complete shade, as long as it isn’t deep, dark shade.

I like to use Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow as a foundation plant, a steadying influence that provides continuity from season to season and from one (sunny) side of the garden to the other (perhaps more shady) side. It’s a quieter sort of shrub, without the drama or razzle-dazzle of azaleas or the finicky tenderness of tropicals like ixora.


As the flowers age, the color fades from purple to lavender to white.

Where did this plant get its unusual name? From the flowers, which open a deep blue-purple and slowly fade to lavender and then white. Over the course of the blooming season, flowers of all three colors are present on the shrub at the same time. I like the initial color best, and apparently, so do pollinators. The theory is that the color changes as a signal to pollinators that the “action” is over for that flower.

I have never had much trouble growing the several Brunfelsia varieties that are available, although they differ a bit in height, cold-hardiness and shade tolerance. It can be hard to tell which is which at the garden center, another reason to shop at reputable independent nurseries who know what they’re talking about.

Filtered shade or dappled sun is ideal.

Brunfelsia pauciflora – native to Brazil, 3-8 feet tall with a rather variable, open habit. Considered to be the most shade-tolerant. Flowers have a tiny white throat. Reliably hardy in zone 9.

Brunfelsia ‘Floribunda’ – a variety of B. pauciflora, above. Same shade and cold-tolerance. Shorter plant, more flowers.

Brunfelsia ‘Macrantha’ – also a pauciflora type. Larger flowers, no white throat.

Brunfelsia pauciflora ‘Compacta’ – a dwarfing variety, typically 4-6 feet tall, foliage less open and more “compact” than species. Tends to bloom only once, in the fall. More tender.

Brunfelsia australis – sometimes called Paraguay jasmine. More fragrant. Larger, up to 12 feet tall. Marginally more cold-tolerant, but I still consider it a zone 9 plant.

Brunfelsia grandiflora – less cold-hardy, maybe zone 9B or 10 in a typical winter. Perhaps less tolerant of shade. Habit is more dense. Blooms once, in late winter or early spring.

Note: all Brunfelsia species produce alkaloids that are toxic if ingested. Don’t eat this plant!

Brunfelsia pauciflora Common Names: Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow, morning-noon-and-night, Brazil raintree. Family: Solanaceae (nightshade Family)

Moisture: Water regularly and don't allow to dry out completely.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 10. Jack grows this shrub in Zone 8 but warns to expect leaf and possible stem damage after freezes.

Weeds

The Invasive, Exotic “Dirty Dozens” excellent photos

Black Medic – Medicago lupulina Bur Clover – Medicago polymorpha Horseherb Straggler Daisy, aka. Horseherb, Calyptocarpus vialis, papershell Horseherb

Creeping Green-and-Gold Arachis glabrata Common name: Ornamental peanut. Description: Spreading, easy-to-grow groundcover with yellow flowers. Without mowing, selected varieties get no higher than 6 inches and can be maintained at 1 1/2 Medic, black An annual or short lived perennial legume with trailing stems that grow close to the ground. The taproot penetrates deeply into most soils. The three-leaflet leaves have prominent veins and are similar to most other clover leaves. The small clusters of flowers are bright yellow. Seed pods turn almost black at maturity. Woodsorrel, yellow Classified as a perennial, but more often performs as a warm season annual. Stems branch from the base. The leaves are palmately divided into three leaflets giving a cloverlike appearance. Funnel-form flowers are yellow. The seed pod is cylindrical, 5-sided, and pointed. The plants contain soluble oxalates which give it a rather pleasing sour taste.



Winter Garden

Top 10 Winter Bloomers For Your Flower Garden We’ve dug up 10 plants striking enough to take center stage in your flower garden in late winter and into early spring. Bloom times can range from January in the south to March or April farther north.

Cyclamen coum, Zones 5 to 9

These late-winter bloomers boast white, pink, purple and red blossoms nodding above leaves that resemble lily pads. Cyclamen prefer partial shade, so they’ll happily take root under trees and shrubs. Mulch generously each fall if your zone is on the cooler side.

Why we love it: Although cyclamen are not native to North America, these gorgeous flowers are not invasive.

~~
Helleborus, Zones 4 to 9

Hellebore’s lovely cup-shaped blossoms are a staple of any cold-weather garden. With lots of colors, and heights ranging from just 2 inches to 2 feet, you’ll have a hard time choosing just one variety of this moisture- and shade-loving plant. Hellebore doesn’t bloom year-round, but you’ll wish it did.

Why we love it: Frost resistant and shade tolerant, hellebore is built to last through the months when temps are low and light is a precious commodity.

Hellebores Cure the Late-Winter Blues those flowers last a long time—from March to May in my Pennsylvania garden. That they are great shade plants and basically evergreen only adds to their allure.

The most popular and, for that matter, easiest to grow are the Oriental hybrid hellebores (Helleborus x hybridus cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 6–9). Their common name is Lenten rose because they bloom around the beginning of Lent. And as long-blooming, low-maintenance, basically evergreen perennials that tolerate even dry shade and can flower before the snow melts, these plants have few equals in the garden.

Hellebores come in virtually any color you want: white, green, pink, apricot, and purple, to name just a few. We breeders haven’t created a worthy true blue or true red, but we’re working on it. My favorite colors for hellebores seem to change every year. Currently, I’m partial to the yellows and the blacks (which are really a shade of deep purple).

One isn’t limited, however, to this rainbow of solid colors. Hellebores can also have beautiful picotee edges (those that are a different color than the rest of the flower) or veining to adorn the outside of the bloom. Inside, they can have spotting or a dark center that draws your eye into the flower.

The varied offerings extend to the shape of the flowers as well. In addition to single, double, and star-shaped flowers, hellebores can have an anemone-flowered form, which looks like something between a single and a double.

When purchasing a hellebore, the best way to ensure you are getting what you want is to buy it in bloom. Look for colors that are unmuddied by too much green in the flower—unless they are green by design. If the flower is a picotee or is veined or spotted, the markings should be uniform on all petals (which are actually sepals).

Hellebores are hardy in Zones 6 to 9.

Exposure
They tolerate almost full sun to almost full shade but prefer partial shade. Dense shade may reduce flower production.

Soil
Generally, they enjoy slightly neutral to acidic soils. Don’t plant them in a spot that’s too wet as this encourages rot.

Planting depth
The crown should be just covered by the soil. As with peonies, planting hellebores too deeply inhibits flower production.

Care
They value a yearly application of well-rotted manure or compost to encourage strong growth but will forgive you if you forget for a year or two. To better view their flowers, remove the past year’s foliage in late January or early February before the buds emerge, to avoid damaging them. Don’t throw the old leaves in the compost heap because it takes more than a year for them to decompose.

Pests
They are largely untroubled by diseases or pests, including deer.

~~
Witch Hazel

Hamamelis x intermedia, Zones 5 to 9

Witch hazel is the light at the end of winter’s tunnel. In early January, this deciduous shrub explodes with fragrant ribbon-petal flowers in yellow, copper or red that bloom into March. The gray-green leaves turn yellow-orange in fall.

Why we love it: Witch hazel has no serious insect or disease vulnerabilities, so you don’t have to worry about pests causing problems.

Hamamelis × intermedia 'Arnold Promise' Common Name: witch hazel; Type: Deciduous shrub; Family: Hamamelidaceae; Zone: 5 to 8; Height: 12.00 to 15.00 feet; Spread: 12.00 to 15.00 feet; Bloom Time: February to March; Bloom Description: Yellow; Sun: Full sun to part shade; Water: Medium; Maintenance: Low; Suggested Use: Hedge; Flower: Showy, Fragrant; Leaf: Good Fall; Other: Winter iInterest; Tolerate: Deer, Erosion, Clay Soil

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best flowering in full sun. Prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils. Promptly remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread. Prune in spring after flowering to control shape and size.

Hamamelis x intermedia hybrids are crosses between Japanese witch hazel (H. japonica) and Chinese witch hazel (H. mollis). They are somewhat coarse, loosely-branched, medium to large, deciduous shrubs that typically grow 12-20’ tall. They are particularly noted for their spidery, often fragrant, mid- to late winter flowers which appear before the spring foliage emerges.

Garden Uses: Shrub borders, woodland gardens. Screen or tall hedge. Good specimen due to late winter flowers, attractive summer foliage and fall color.

~~
Early Scilla

Scilla mischtschenkoana, Zones 4 to 8

If you’re into cool hues, early scilla is the plant for you. This compact green plant sports star-shaped white flowers striped with blue. For a spectacular sight come late winter, be sure to plant the bulbs in early fall.

Why we love it: This plant often continues to flower year after year in the same spot, making it a snap to maintain.


 


Crocus

Crocus ancyrensis and C. tommasinianus, Zones 3 to 8

In late winter, watch for these purple, yellow and white flowers poking out of a bed of mulch or snow. Plant large drifts of corms in fall for fabulous color next season. Crocus ancyrensis is the earliest bloomer.

Why we love it: Plant the cultivar, crocus tommasinianus, if you have squirrel problems. They will likely leave this variety of crocus alone.


Dwarf Iris

Iris danfordiae and I. reticulata, Zones 3 to 9

These diminutive irises, reaching just 2 to 6 inches high, bring bursts of jewel-toned color to late-winter and early-spring landscapes. If you just can’t wait to see their stunning blooms, try forcing them indoors.

Why we love it: Do you love fragrant flowers? Dwarf iris the the plant for you. It offers beautiful early color and also a wonderful fragrance.

~~
Add Berries!

Make your garden even more colorful with these berry-bearing trees and shrubs. Hungry birds will thank you: Red chokeberry, Winterberry, Firethorn, Coralberry, American cranberry bush, Hackberry, Serviceberry.

Fall Berries for Birds These 5 easy-to-grow shrubs, trees and vines provide berries for birds in the fall and winter: American Beautyberry shrub (Callicarpa americana), Coral Honeysuckle vine (Lonicera sempervirens), Firebush shrub (Hamelia patens), Southern Wax Myrtle tree or lg. shrub (Myrica cerifera), Yaupon Holly shrub or tree (Ilex vomitoria). All grow in zones 7-10 in sun or shade.



 


Hell Strip at Street

Creeping Phlox

(Phlox subulata, Zones 3 to 8)

Creeping phlox is a smaller, low-growing, hardy relative of the familiar fragrant summer perennial. When it blooms in spring, it forms a cascading carpet of pretty little blossoms. Growing 2 to 6 inches high and 12 to 20 or more inches wide, creeping phlox flowers can be found in pale- to deep-purple, white, pink, red and bicolors.

Why we love it: Masses of colorful flowers appear in spring and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The foliage is evergreen.

~~

GOLD STAR ESPERANZA

This heat loving semi-evergreen shrub has golden-yellow bell-shaped flowers late spring through fall. Ideal for large containers, flower beds, butterfly and hummingbird gardens. 12” ready to use pot regularly $24.99*


Gold Star Esperanza

Texas Superstar winner judged from the many satisfied gardeners in San Antonio and throughout the State of Texas. This evergreen shrub produces yellow, ..

~~

 


Top 10 Reasons to Love Verbascums!

Verbascum sp. ‘Cotswold King’


Verbascum sp. ‘Cotswold King’ (Annie's)

You should definitely try this extra large flowered, sweetly scented variety not only for the chuckles but also because they are so simple to grow and the quickest to bloom. To 5’ tall, those 2” bright lemon yellow flowers stud the upper 30” of the upright spikes late Spring, bringing a sunny, uplifting impact to the garden. Plus, it easily self-sows so you’ll get lots of future freebies! Cut back after bloom is spent, for secondary spikes in Mid-Summer. Snail proof & deer resistant. Showiest in rich soil. Attracts butterflies & bees.

Sun/pt. sun. Low water biennial. Summer bloomer. Easy reseeder. Fragrant. Wildlife. Hot and dry climates. Clay tolerant. Butterflies. Ordered 10/14/15 for container by palm or in palm's place.

 


 


Cerinthe major purpurascens "Blue Honeywort"


Cerinthe major purpurascens "Blue Honeywort" (Annie's)

Give a thrill to someone who claims they kill everything! Insanely easy to grow & flowering like crazy, who isn’t mesmerized by these magical blooms? I’m not even going to try to describe them! Held on a mass of arching, branchy stems, 2’ high & wide, your friend will finally discover their inner Flower Floozie! Pretty, mottled leaves & nice in pots, too (3 gal +). Self-sows freely for lots of volunteers to hand out to new converts! We get up to four self-sown cycles of bloom, including Winter.

Easy reseeder. Winter bloomer. Bee plant. Great for containers. Hummingbirds. Indestructable. Full Sun, low water. Annual. Ordered 10/14/15 for container by pool.

Your order number is 127531


 


Texas Wildflowers

Desert Tropicals see also Plants list


Hibiscus, Lord Baltimore

Strikingly beautiful 10" red flowers grab attention from across the garden. Plants, with nicely contrasting deep green, lobed leaves, reach a statuesque height of 6-8 ft. and spread fully to 3-4 ft. It loves the heat of summer and prefers full sun to partial shade and moist to wet soil conditions... blooms fall & summer. Perennial. 6-8 ft. tall. Comment: My Lord Baltimore is 8 years old now and comes back every year with more beautiful blooms. We cut ours back to maybe only 4-6 inches above ground about mid November. We started with ONE plant and now we have 8 because when the seed pods drop, they can make new plants. We are in Texas with dark clay and we never do anything to the soil except water.

Ordered 10/17/15 for front bed Anita's window.


 


Echinacea, Glowing Dream

Deer Resistant, and fragrant butterfly magnet. This new dense, floriferous Echinacea displays in the garden with great habit and a great crown. The flowers of 'Glowing Dream' are a deep, radiant, watermelon-coral. Not only a wonderful landscape plant with great flower color, habit, and long bloom time but also great cut flower with intense garnet colored stems. Deer Resistant, fragrant butterfly magnet, this plant is drought tolerant, fantastic cut flower, and recommended for Deep South. Perennial. Full sun. 16-24 inches tall. Blooms in the summer.

Ordered plant 10/17/15 for front hell strip... Ended up placing in a large container by the pool. Lasted until December when it wilted from cold fronts along with the purslane which was also in the container.

Echinacea, or Coneflowers, are beloved by cottage gardeners and butterfly enthusiasts. The large daisylike flowers with mounded heads and showy rose or pink rays (petals) are usually borne singly on stout stems, well above the foliage. They'reerect perennials with coarse lanceolate to ovate, often toothed leaves. Plants grow from thick taproots that are quite deep on mature plants. The plant is often used as a medicinal for alleviating skin rashes and internally for stimulating the immune system.

These tough plants have deep taproots that enable them to store some water for lean times. Plants increase to form broad clumps. They flower throughout summer, and the rayless seedheads are attractive throughout fall and winter.

The seeds found in the dried flower head also attract songbirds to your garden.

If your plants are floppy, cut them to the ground after they flower.

Remember to cut off the dead/faded flowers to prolong to blooming season and prevent excessive self-seeding. To attract birds, keep the late-season flowers on the plants to mature.


Buddleia, Peach Cobbler

Butterfly Bush: Along with a crowd of discerning butterflies and hummingbirds, we are smitten with this cultivar's delectable, fragrant peach-toned blossoms with orange centers. The blossoms contrast charmingly with shimmering silver foliage.. Growing to 6', the hardy, almost sterile plants bloom from early summer until first frost. Needs full sun. Blooms fall and summer. Uses: bed, border, container.

Review: This was my first time growing a buddleia. From the other plants that I've seen, 'Peach Cobbler' is more compact. It's a pretty hardy plant as well. I grew it for a couple of months in heavy clay soil. It didn't die, but it grew slowly. I placed it in a pot with better draining soil, and it took off.

Ordered 10/17/15 for front hell strip or container or where? Beside rose bush in backyard?.

The Useful Wild Plants Project Our first goal is to complete and publish a comprehensive multi-volume encyclopedia that describes over 4,000 Texas plants, discusses in detail their past, present, and future value, and provides color photographs and distribution maps for each species.


 


Perennials

Perennials website

Perennial Resource has encyclopedia


Gerbera Daisies

These bright and cheerful flowers couldn’t help but put you in a good mood! With pink, orange, yellow and white, they should be a welcome addition to any room – and not just because they look good.

They also release oxygen at night, which helps you breathe easy while you snooze. If you suffer from apnea or allergies, then these daisies are definitely recommended.

A word of warning to the novice gardener – as they are prone to fungal diseases Gerbera Daisies need extra special attention, particularly in relation to watering and light levels.

Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) are commonly grown for their bright and cheerful daisy-like flowers. They originate from South Africa and come in various sizes and colors including pink, yellow, salmon, orange and white, with flower sizes anywhere from 2 to 5 inches across.

Plants thrive in a position with full sun and sandy soil. A little compost added at planting will encourage good flower growth.

Gerbera daisies are susceptible to fungal diseases, although older varieties less so. Fungal sprays do not generally prevent crown rot, so correct planting and watering are essential for gerbera daisy care. Make sure you plant them with adequate spacing and in high light areas.


 


Mediterranean Crown Vetch

5 Shrubs That Add Color To Winter Landscapes Coronilla valentina subspecies glauca. This little gem can be in flower at almost any time of year in mild climates, but it’s in late winter and spring that its neat clusters of yellow, peach-scented, pealike flowers are at their most prolific against prettily lobed, slightly bluish leaves. Ideal in the southwest in sun and well-drained soil.Grows 3 feet by 3 feet and is hardy to zone 8.


Med'n Crown Vetch / Jacqueline Postill Nepalese Daphne

Grows 3 feet by 3 feet and is hardy to zone 8.

Daphne bholua Jacqueline Postill

Also called Nepalese Paper Plant. Primarily a West Coast plant, though worth trying in the southeast, this is the hardiest variety of an intoxicatingly fragrant evergreen. Each flower has purplish red buds that open to white flowers yet retain the dark coloring on the backs. Upright in growth. Often regrows well if cut back by frost.

Grows 8 feet by 3 feet and is hardy to zone 7.

Daphne Bholua However, there are now several reliably hardy clones of this species in cultivation. The hardiest of the lot, D. b. var. glacialis ‘Gurkha’, was the first fully deciduous form of the species to enter the scene. It came out of collections by Major Spring-Smyth at nearly 12,000 feet in eastern Nepal in the early 1960s. Large clusters of very fragrant white flowers open from rich pink buds in January to March in the Pacific Northwest (the bloom may be later in areas with a colder climate).

Seedlings raised from ‘Gurkha’ at England’s Hillier Nurseries in the ’80s resulted in the very popular ‘Jacqueline Postill’, which, though fully or mostly evergreen, is still considered one of the hardiest and showiest cultivars. It blooms in midwinter, while fully cloaked in handsome narrow, wavy, deep green leaves.

Daphne bholua ‘Alba’ offers pure white, intensely fragrant flowers in mid-February. ‘Peter Smithers’ deserves mention for being the darkest flowered of all forms in cultivation. British nurseryman Robin White raised the only known D. bholua hybrid, crossing ‘Jacqueline Postill’ and the much hardier D. acutiloba ‘Fragrant Cloud’. The resulting D. ‘Spring Herald’ has a bushier habit than the species and blooms later, but it offers a long progression of cream-tinged, clove-scented flowers.

Unlike many other daphnes, whose growth habit might be described as dense and squatty, D. bholua possesses an upright open habit. This stance makes the species, and especially its deciduous cultivars, doubly desirable, because it puts the fat clusters of ethereally scented white or pink flowers at the forefront. With the fragrance of its flowers in mind, I sited it near a doorway on the east side of our home—a sheltered spot, with cool, moist humus-rich soil. It can be kept in a container if there is a cool glasshouse or porch in which to place it during the winter months. Fortunately, fruit is seldom set on plants under cultivation. This reduces the possibility that this species will invade local ecosystems as spurge daphne (D. laureola) has.

Daphne bholua - Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don.

Daphne bholua is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft) by 1.5 m (5ft). It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jan to April. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera.

USDA hardiness zone : 7-10

Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous[76]. Skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in some people


 


Biennials

Biennials A biennial plant is a flowering plant that takes two years to complete its biological lifecycle. In the first year the plant grows leaves, stems, and roots (vegetative structures), then it enters a period of dormancy over the colder months. Usually the stem remains very short and the leaves are low to the ground, forming a rosette. Many biennials require a cold treatment, or vernalization, before they will flower. During the next spring or summer, the stem of the biennial plant elongates greatly, or "bolts". This typically makes biennial vegetables such as spinach, fennel and lettuce unusable as food. The plant then flowers, producing fruits and seeds before it finally dies. There are far fewer biennials than either perennial plants or annual plants.

Under extreme climatic conditions, a biennial plant may complete its life cycle rapidly (e.g. three months instead of two years). This is quite common in vegetable or flower seedlings that were exposed to cold conditions, or vernalized, before they were planted in the ground. This behavior leads to many normally biennial plants being treated as annuals in some areas.

From a gardener's perspective, a plant's status as annual, biennial, or perennial often varies based on location or purpose. Biennials grown for flowers, fruits, or seeds need to be grown for two years. Biennials that are grown for edible leaves or roots are grown for just one year (and not grown on a second year to run to seed).

Examples of biennial plants are members of the onion family including leek,[3] some members of the cabbage family,[3] common mullein, parsley, fennel,[3] Lunaria, silverbeet, Black-eyed Susan, Sweet William, colic weed, carrot,[3] and some hollyhocks. Plant breeders have produced annual cultivars of several biennials that will flower the first year from seed, e.g. foxglove and stock.


 


Perennials

Perennial Plants

Simply put, unlike annuals or biennials, perennials are plants that live year after year. Some perennials, such as trees and shrubs, have significant life spans. Others, like many flowering perennials, may need to be replaced every three or more years.

Some trees and shrubs retain their foliage throughout the year, but most herbaceous perennials, including many flowering perennials, die back to the ground during the first fall freezes. That is, the leaves, stems and flowers die back to the ground, leaving a dormant root structure. Upon the advent of spring, new plant tops form and the cycle begins anew. These perennial garden plants are said to be hardy, having survived a winter season.

Perennials have a shorter bloom time than annuals — about two to three weeks. However, with a little research, an entire flower bed may be filled with a variety of perennial plants, allowing for continuous blooming as one plant ends and another one flowers.

Another upside to perennial plantings is the amazing varieties of color, texture and sizes available. They do require some pruning and maintenance, but their longevity makes this well worth the effort. Many perennials will retain foliage year round. Among these include not only trees and shrubs, but many types of ground cover as well.

Gardening with Perennials – How To Design A Perennial Garden I truly believe that the key to a lifetime of happy gardening is to have a few tried and true perennials in your gardening beds. I remember the first time I grew them: I was 10 years old and seeing those green shoots poking out of the cold, hard ground in late spring was the most miraculous sight I had ever witnessed.


Perennial Gardens

How to Design a Perennial Garden

Now that you have an idea of which plants will suit your location’s particular characteristics, the joyful process of preparing, designing, and maintaining the garden bed begins. As part of your perennial garden design process, performing a pH and nutrient soil test is a good first step. It will let you know what nutrients are lacking or if the pH is off balance. A pH range of 6.0-7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral) is acceptable to most all perennial flower gardens.

Once the soil test has been done and any adjustments have been made, add o1inch of compost to the top of the soil, making sure the soil is not too wet (soaked) or too dry (dusty), and turn it over with a shovel being careful not to trample it after digging. If this soil preparation can be done the fall before next spring’s planting, it would be ideal. If not, wait at least a day before planting the bed.

Plant the perennials on a cloudy and cool day, if possible, to avoid shock. Make sure to give them sufficient space to double or triple in size. As perennial garden plants bloom, remove any spent blossoms by simply pinching them off with your fingers. Each spring it is also a good idea to spread well-rotted manure, compost, or organic fertilizer on the surface of the soil and cover it with a mulch, such as chopped leaves or straw, to keep the soil moist and fertile.

If the plants have become crowded after a few years at their location, dig up the perennial clump, divide it into two or three sections with a knife, being careful not to let the roots dry out, and replant them, either expanding the flower bed or choosing a new location–even giving them to friends. It’s easy to make friends when you have free perennials.


 


Milkweed

Habitat Feature: Milkweeds Rhiannon Crain December 9, 2015

Did you know there is more than one kind of milkweed? At the big box stores you may find seed or plants of tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) (pictured above [in my backyard]), but this is not native to most of N. America (a handful of places in California, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida are the exceptions). Whether or not this tropical species provides a net benefit or loss to the monarch population is a topic of open research.


Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly weed / milkweed shoots
Milkweeds are perennial plants, living for several years and regrowing each spring from rootstock, not just from seed, like annuals. The young, regrowing milkweeds in the image to the right [above] are strong robust plants even early in the Spring, because of their perennial habit. These plants (likely growing from the same colonial restock) are clones. Both will grow-up to produce seed late in the Fall.

Milkweed Maps For Texas: Asclepias amplexicaulis, A. arenaria, A. asperula, A. brachystephana, A. curassavica [in my backyard container], Asclepias emoryi, Asclepias engelmanniana, Asclepias glaucescens, Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias involucrata, Asclepias lanceolata, Asclepias latifolia, Asclepias linearis, Asclepias longifolia, Asclepias macrotis, Asclepias nummularia, Asclepias obovata, Asclepias oenotheroides, Asclepias perennis, Asclepias prostrata, Asclepias purpurascens, Asclepias rubra, Asclepias scaposa, Asclepias speciosa, Asclepias sperryi, Asclepias stenophylla, Asclepias subverticillata, Asclepias syriaca, Asclepias texana, Asclepias tomentosa, Asclepias tuberosa, Asclepias uncialis, Asclepias variegata, Asclepias verticillata, Asclepias viridiflora, Asclepias viridis

Milkweed Market The widespread planting of herbicide tolerant crops, intensive farming, and the ethanol mandate has led to a rapid loss of habitat. Monarchs and pollinators need our help. By planting milkweeds – the host plants for monarch caterpillars – and nectar plants for adult monarchs and pollinators, you can help maintain the monarch migration and sustain the pollinators whose pollinating services maintain our ecosystems.

Species list with common names [Texas only included]:

Asclepias amplexicaulis (Clasping milkweed)
Asclepias asperula (Antelope Horn Milkweed, Spider Milkweed)
Asclepias fasicularis (Mexican Whorled Milkweed, Narrowleaf Milkweed)[?]
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
Asclepias oenotheroides (Sidecluster Milkweed, Zizotes Milkweed)
Asclepias perennis (Aquatic milkweed)
Asclepias speciosa (Showy milkweed)
Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed)
Asclepias variegata (White milkweed)
Asclepias verticillata (Whorled milkweed)
Asclepias viridiflora (Green Comet Milkweed)
Asclepias viridis (Green Antelopehorn Milkweed)

Images of most of these species can be found at monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/milkweed-profiles

Milkweed Profiles

Asclepias viridis, (Green Antelopehorn Milkweed) is the most common milkweed in Texas, ranging from deep East Texas to the Edwards Plateau. It typically has wider leaves than Asclepias asperula. The leaf margins are often wavy. Flowers are white and in an umbel, mostly one per plant. Close inspection shows that some rose or purple color is evident in the center of each individual flower. It is sometimes called Green Antelope Horns. [Native Plant Society of Texas]



Asclepias viridis (Green Milkweed)

This milkweed is common in pastures from Kansas to Texas. Generally avoided by cattle and horses. It can be found along roadsides, ditches, prairies, open areas, and other areas with little vegetative competition. This species tends to be short (12 inches) with multiple stems emerging from the root crown of mature plants. Taller, more erect plants, usually with one or a few stems, can be found in moist prairies. Leaf shape is highly variable. The yellow-white flowers are borne on large erect umbels. The flowers are distinct in that they lack horns.

Habitat: Dry areas, prairies, pastures, glades, ditches, disturbed ground, limestone soils.

Height: 9 ¾ – 25 ½ in (25-65 cm).

Leaves: Ovate to lanceolate, 2-4 ¾ in (5-12 cm) long and 3/8- 2 ¼ in (1-5 ½ cm) wide. Glabrous, but occasionally has fine sparse hairs.

Roots: Taproot.

Blossoming Season: May – August.

Life span: NA

Propagation: By seed.

Maintenance: Low.

Overhead Conditions: Open spaces with lots of sunlight.

Precipitation: 20-60 in (51-153 cm) annually.

Soil Texture: Sandy or rocky soils.

Temperature: Can withstand a minimum temperature of -20 to 0 Fahrenheit (-29 to -18 Celsius).


Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Annie's Asclepias speciosa "Showy Milkweed" purple. 9.95 ea. Just as stunning in bloom and pinker in color, the fragrant, starry bloom clusters 4" across top 3' upright, thick stems. Big smooth green, oval leaves instead of silvery ones. Will bring the Monarchs and their stunning caterpillars and chrysalises. Same care as 'Davis', needing very little to no Summer water once established, tolerating most soils including clayish. If happy, will form spreading clumps over time.

Annie's Asclepias speciosa 'Davis' "Davis Milkweed" This distinctive ‘Davis’ variety is easier & more vigorous than the species, & we love the silvery, downy foliage. Thrives in poor, dry, well-drained soil as well as regular garden soil. FRAGRANT flower clusters are 4-5” across of velvety pink & white star-flowers appear in late Spring to late Summer, then goes deciduous. But don’t worry, it will return next Spring with more stems. 9.95 ea.

A. Speciosa This species is closely related with the common milkweed, A. syriaca, with which it sometimes hybridizes at the eastern limits of its distribution. These species are similar in appearance and growth form (tall and robust), but can be distinguished by the layer of fine white hairs on speciosa and flowers that look like small crowns. The fibers from this plant were used by Native Americans to make ropes, nets and other items. Unlike A. syriaca, speciosa does not form large clones.

Growth Period: Spring and Summer

Habitat: Found in habitats ranging from sunny and dry to moist in savannahs, prairies, road-sides, old fields, and meadows.

Height: Generally 1 ½ – 3 ft (½ – 1 m) but can reach 6 ft ( 1.8 m) under favorable conditions.

Roots: Taproot, depths to 18 inches.

Blossoming Season: May – September.

Life span: Long.

Propagation: By seed. Spread rate is moderate.

Toxicity: Low. One of the least toxic milkweeds.

Maintenance: Low.

Overhead Conditions: Not shade tolerant. Must be in open spaces.

Precipitation: 15-40 in (38-102 cm) annually.

Soil Texture: Can grow in course, medium, and fine soils.

Temperature: Can tolerate temperatures as low as –40 to –30 Fahrenheit (-40 to -35 Celsius).

Asclepias tuberosa L., (Butterfly Weed) This species can be identified by its alternate leaves. The flowers are usually orange, rarely yellow or red. It grows in sandy or loamy soil in prairies, roadsides, and open woodlands. It’s popularly used in gardens to attract butterflies.



Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)

Fun Fact: Native Americans of Appalachia dried the leaves of this plant for tea to induce vomiting. Also, in the 1800’s, the sap from this plant was used to treat smallpox.

The flowers are usually orange, rarely yellow or red. Populations west of the 100th meridian [just west of San Antonio] tend to be dominated by yellow colored flowers.

Growth Period: Spring and Summer.

Habitat: Sandy, loamy, or rocky calcareous soils of prairies, roadsides, and waste places.

Height: 1-2 ft (30-60 cm).

Roots: Taproot can grow up to a depth of 16 inches. Deep, woody root-stock.

Blossoming Season: May – September.

Life span: Moderate, slow growth rate.

Propagation: By seed.

Maintenance: Low.

Overhead Conditions: Not shade tolerant, needs lots of sunlight.

Soil Texture: Course and medium. Appears to require well-drained soils.

Temperature: Can withstand a minimum temperature of –40 to –30 Fahrenheit (-40 to -35 Celsius).

Asclepias tuberosa "Hello Yellow" from BrighterBlooms.com sold out requested email when avail.


Hello Yellow Asclepias tuberosa

Growing Zones: 4-9
Mature Height: 20-24 in.
Mature Width: 24 in.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Blooms: Early Summer til frost
Spacing: 18-24 in.
Botanical: Asclepias tuberosa 'Hello Yellow'
Plant Size 3 inch pot
Plant Directions: Sent with Order

Tough, Long-lived and Easy to Grow!

Hello Yellow is every bit as resilient as the native Butterfly Weed, but its blooms are shades of bright yellow and gold, instead of the more common orange you can often see growing by the roadside. Blooms start in early summer and keep coming until the end of summer on rounded, plants about 2 feet tall and wide – a nice size for the mixed border or middle of your flower bed. They are followed by long pods of seeds, interesting in flower arrangements and in the garden. Plant a grouping of at least three to most effectively show off your unusual and beautiful plants!

Growing Tips: Removing spent blooms encourages another round of blooms. The plant starts growing rather late in the spring, so it helps to mark its location so you don’t accidentally dig it up.

Tips: Asclepias are highly susceptible to aphids and rabbits, so try protecting your plants with a soapy spray, companion planting with other repellent herbs, or a fence around your garden to keep pests away.

Asclepias variegata (White milkweed) Asclepias variegata will catch anyone’s eye when it’s in bloom. The umbels have 30+/- white flowers that create a spherical white ball, a snowball-effect, which contrasts with its green foliage. It thrives in open woodland and woodland edge habitats and requires some shade.



Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) / Bottom right Asclepias texana

Flower: Color is white with purple tinge at the base of the corolla and hoods. Horns protrude out of the hoods. Corolla flexes backward. Flowers buds at first are green, but turn white before blossoming. Umbels erect and spherical with 30 +/- flowers.

Foliage: Usually a single stem that is thin and narrow. Stem color varies from green to a brown red. Leaf arrangement is opposite and attachment is petiolate.

Growth Period: May – September.

Habitat: Thickets and woodland areas.

Height: 1–4 ft (30-121 cm).

Leaves: Oval, 2–6 in (5-15 cm) long and ½ -3 in (1-7 ½ cm) wide, generally thick with the upper side hairless and dark and the underside a lighter color with hair.

Roots: Fusiform rootstock.

Blossoming Season: May – July

Propagation: By seed.

Maintenance: NA

Overhead Conditions: Partially shaded.

Precipitation: 35-60 in (89-153 cm) annually.

Soil Texture: Sandy to rocky.

Texas Milkweed (Asclepias texana) is one of the more attractive native milkweeds, perhaps deserving of cultivation. It has slender stems up to 18 inches in height, with narrow elliptic leaves, becoming shrubby with age and found along the canyons of the Edwards Plateau.

Carroll Abbott described it as “covered with tiny snowballs from May to August.”

Asclepias syriaca, (Common Milkweed)



Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)

The common milkweed, A. syriaca, is the plant that most people associate with the word “milkweed”. This is a tall and conspicuous species that sometimes forms large clones. The umbels bear large balls of pink to purplish flowers that have an attractive odor. This species is known to form hybrids with both A. exaltata (in the east) and A. speciosa (in the west). The seed pods open in the fall and early winter dispensing wind borne seeds.

Annie's Asclepias syriaca "Virginia Silk" pink, "intensely fragrant of Lilac". 8.95 ea.

Among the milkweeds, this species is the best at colonizing in disturbed sites. Within its range it can be found in a broad array of habitats from croplands, to pastures, roadsides, ditches and old fields.

Height: Typically 3-5 feet (90-150 cm) but can reach 8 feet (240 cm) in ditches and gardens.

Leaves: 4-7 ½ in (10-19 cm) long and 2-4 1/3 in (5-11 cm) wide. Shape is variable and is described as ovate, oblong, lanceolate or elliptic. The rich dark green of the top of the leaves contrasts with a lighter green on the underside. Leaf pairs often perpendicular to each other with short petioles.

Roots: Moderately deep rooted with a broad net work of lateral roots (rhizomes) on established plants that give rise to ramets (stems) forming clones of genetically identical individuals.

Blossoming Season: May – August.

Propagation: Seed. Spreads via rhizomes and forms small to large clones. Rhizomes can be cut and transplanted early in the spring.

Pods are covered with hair and soft spikes. Pods split open between September-October.

Maintenance: Low.

Overhead Conditions: Not shade tolerant. Needs lots of sunlight.

Soil Texture: Medium to fine sandy, clayey, or rocky calcareous soils. Also found in well-drained loamy soils.

Temperature: Can tolerate a minimum temperature of –40 to –30 Fahrenheit (-40 to -34 Celsius).

GROWING MILKWEEDS Milkweeds can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, and, in some cases, from root divisions. Milkweed seeds can be planted in prepared beds outdoors or started indoors in flats. We recommend the latter approach since germination rates are generally higher indoors and it is easier to establish your milkweeds with transplanted seedlings that are well-rooted and therefore more resistant to weather extremes and pests.

Milkweed seedlings can be started indoors in a greenhouse or under artificial lighting and then transplanted outdoors after the average date of last frost. If seeds are started indoors, allow 4-8 weeks growing time before transplanting. Plastic flats can be used to start the seeds. Fill the flats with a soil mix suitable for seedlings (most potting mixes are), thoroughly soak the soil, and let the excess water drain. Sow the seeds by scattering them on the soil surface 1/4-1/2 inch apart, and then cover with about 1/4 inch of additional soil mix. Gently mist the soil surface with water to dampen the additional soil mix that has been added. In an effort to improve germination rates, many gardeners place the seeds in packets made from paper towels and soak them in warm water for 24 hours prior to planting. This method seems to work especially well for seeds of species that require vernalization (see below).

After the seeds are sown in the flats, cover each flat with a clear plastic cover or a plastic bag to keep the seeds from drying out while germinating. Then, place the flat under grow lights, in a warm sunny window, or in a greenhouse. Most seeds will germinate in 7-10 days if the flats are maintained at 75°F.

After the seeds have germinated, remove the plastic covering from the flats. Once the seedlings have emerged, the soil should be kept moist by watering the flat from the bottom. You can water from the bottom by placing the flat in a sink or a larger flat filled with 2 inches of water until moisture appears on the soil surface. The soil should be kept moist but some care is needed to keep the seedlings from getting too wet - such conditions contribute to fungal growth that can kill the young seedlings (“damping off”). Thinning (see below) can reduce damping off.

The plants are ready to be transplanted when they are about 3-6 inches in height. Before transplanting, acclimate the plants to outdoor conditions for a few days by placing them in a sheltered location during the day and then bringing them indoors at night. The seedlings should be planted 6-24 inches apart depending on the species (check the back of your seed packets for information). Newly transplanted plants should be watered frequently. Add mulch around the seedlings soon after planting. The mulch holds in the moisture and minimizes the growth of competing weeds. The seedlings should be fertilized 2-3 times during the growing season if using water-soluble fertilizer or once a season if you utilize a granulated time-release formulation.

Thinning
When small seeds are sown, they are often mixed with sand or fine soil to have better seed distribution. However, this method does not completely prevent crowding of seedlings and thinning will be necessary. Thinning provides more space between plants, increasing the amount of light reaching the plants and the air circulation around them. Seedlings may need to be thinned several times beginning 1-2 weeks after germination. Without proper thinning, you will end up with weaker plants.

When to Plant
Milkweed seeds can be sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Refer to the seed packets for special instructions on sowing the seeds. Keep in mind that seeds have a range of soil temperatures at which they will germinate. Also, remember that under sunny conditions the soil temperatures can be much higher in the daytime than the ambient air temperatures you experience. Plant the seeds early since those planted late in the season may not germinate because of high temperatures. In addition, new seedlings from late plantings can "dry off" before they are even noticed. Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) and A. syriaca (common milkweed) germinate poorly at high temperatures (>85°F). However, other species such as A. curassavica (tropical milkweed) and Cynanchum laeve (blue vine) germinate well at these temperatures. Germination outdoors depends on soil moisture and temperature and could take several weeks if conditions are not ideal.

Preparation of the Seedbed
If you are gardening for the first time, it is wise to consult with your local county extension agent to see if your soil needs to be enhanced (amended) with soil additives before planting the seeds.

A smooth, clump-free, weeded soil bed will virtually guarantee a successful start for germination and seedling establishment. If vegetation exists in the future habitat location, it can be removed by using a tiller or by hoeing the area. To reduce clumping, do not work the soil when it is wet. The soil should be worked to a fine consistency to ensure good soil to seed contact.

The seedbed should be kept moist until germination. As the seedlings become established, it is important to avoid watering too much or too little. A light watering each day until roots are well established (7-10 days), preferably in the morning, should be sufficient.

Growing Milkweeds from Cuttings
All milkweeds are perennials and some can be grown from cuttings. Cuttings provide a way producing new plants in a relatively short time and it avoids some of the difficulties of starting plants from seeds. To start cuttings, cut the stems underwater, then coat the bottom of the stem with a strong rooting hormone. The stems should be placed in sand, vermiculite, or potting soil that is kept continuously moist. Cuttings can usually be transplanted in 6-10 weeks. Survival is best when cuttings are made from green stems (1/3 inch diameter) obtained from plants fertilized two weeks earlier.

Soil Types
If you have a choice, light soils are better than those with heavy clay. Well-drained soils are generally best but there are some species, e.g. A. incarnata (swamp milkweed) and A. sullivantii, which do well in saturated conditions.

Where to Plant
Most milkweed species evolved in open areas where they were exposed to full sunlight and they will do best if they are planted in the sunniest areas of your gardens. A few species, such as A. purpurascens, appear to require partial shade.

Vernalization
Seeds of most temperate plants need to be vernalized, which is a fancy way of saying that they need cold treatment. The best way to give the required vernalization is through stratification. To stratify seeds place them in cold, moist potting soil (sterilized soil is best but is not required) in a dark place for several weeks or months. Since most people prefer not to place potting soil in their refrigerators, an alternative is to place the seeds between moist paper towels in a plastic bag. This procedure works well, in part because there are fewer fungi and bacteria available to attack the seeds. After a vernalization period of 3-6 weeks, the seeds can be planted in warm (70°F), moist soil. Without vernalization / stratification, the percentage of seeds that germinate is usually low. Seeds from the tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica (and other tropical milkweed species) do not require this treatment. “Shocking” seeds that have been refrigerated by soaking them in warm water for 24 hours also seems to improve germination rates.

Scarification
Even after vernalization / stratification, seeds of many plant species will not germinate. In these cases, the seed coats appear to require action by physical or chemical agents to break down or abrade the seed coat. "Scarification" with some type of physical abrasion that breaks the seed coat usually works and can be accomplished by placing the seeds in a container with coarse sand and shaking the container for a 30 seconds or so. Scarification may be required for some milkweeds (e.g., A. viridiflora and A. latifolia) and might improve the germination rates of other species.

12/17/15 ordered one plant (2.5" pot) Asclepias tuberosa Western Gold Mix. Will ship after 2/29/16. See at High Country Gardens Your order # is: 300054922.


High Country Gardens Western Gold Butterfly Weed

*


Artemisia "Sweet Annie" / Epazote


 


Yarrow

Low Maintenance Plants: Yarrow My favourite low maintenance companion plant that’s useful to have in the garden is Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Yarrow: Attracts beneficial predator insects by into your garden to eat your garden pests (by providing the predators with a nectar source to keep them alive once they eat all the pests)...

Stimulates the growth and vigour of nearby plants, and increases the aromatic oil content of culinary herbs and insect repellent plants...

Works as a compost activator just like comfrey to speed up the decomposition process in your compost pile...

Grows as a shallow rooted, dense groundcover on garden borders that creates a barrier to weeds, and being a wild plant, requires very little fertilizer or maintenance... Is a wonderful medicinal herb that has been used over centuries for wounds and a variety of other ailments! This was in my original list, but nice to have it as a duplicate because it's definitely one of my favorites!


 


Iris

Anyone Can Grow Iris in a Container A 6" to 8" pot will work for Dwarf Iris; a 12" pot will work for Tall Bearded Iris. Make sure your pot has good drainage (i.e. a big hole in the bottom or several smaller holes).

For soil, choose a fast draining, light potting soil.

To plant, dig two shallow trenches with a ridge between them. Put the rhizome on the ridge and spread the roots carefully in the trenches. Cover the roots and rhizome with dirt, but don’t bury deeply. The top of the rhizome should be very near the surface and the leaves should be above ground.

Put the pot in a sunny location.

Water only when the top two inches of soil are dry (it’s better to water too little than too much with irises).

Bearded irises generally bloom in May and June, dwarf irises in April. Check the tag of your particular iris for a more precise bloom time.

If you live in an area with mild winters, you can leave the pot outdoors for the winter. But if you have “real” winters, bring the pot inside and find a sunny spot. Since this is a bit late to start irises in temperate climates, they might not have enough time to get established before winter. But next year, you can leave the pot outdoors with a protective layer of straw or leaf mulch or something similar.

Growing Bulbs in Pots Avoid mixes that are virtually all peat moss because they often stay too wet for bulbs. Avoid mushroom compost and manure, too.


 


Rock Gardens

Rob's Rock Garden To provide for the needs of those small perennials, our rock gardens are somewhat elevated from yard level, and the native clay has been generously amended with sharp sand, granite grit, rocks dug up from other garden areas (there's a use for everything in our garden), and some compost.

Once we get rid of the boxwoods along the driveway, a semi-circular rock garden at the front corner of the driveway would be very attractive.


 


Penstemons

Penstemon baccharifolius - Rock Penstemon Dark green foliage is the perfect foil for bright, cherry-red blossoms. Rock Penstemon bloom in spring and summer and don’t go dormant as most others do. Attracts hummingbirds. Plant a bird garden with other native desert plants like foothill palo verde, ocotillo, brittlebush and fairy duster.

Drought tolerant rock penstemon can be cut back to maintain a dense, bushy shape. Good drainage is critical to avoid root rot. Protection from direct west sun is helpful. Avoid overwatering.


Rock Penstemons

Penstemon baccharifolius Rock penstemon, Rock beardtongue, Cut-leaf penstemon, Cut-leaf beardtongue, Baccharis-leaf penstemon, Baccharis-leaf beardtongue

This beardtongue attracts hummingbirds and is browsed by deer.


Rock Penstemons

Rock Penstemon From 2000 to 7000 feet of elevation, rocky slopes, limestone crevices and bluffs, and seemingly soilless cracks in limestone ledges provide the required sharp drainage for baccharis-leaf penstemon in the Edwards Plateau and Trans-Pecos of Texas and south into Mexico.

Baccharis-leaf penstemon makes a desirable rock garden plant given excellent drainage and roots shaded from the late afternoon sun with mulch or rocks. In winter it may die to the ground or need to be strongly cut back to promote a bushy habit. It is browsed by deer, sheep and goats.

Penstemons There are two dozen penstemons native to Texas , and three of the ones native to the Hill Country are available in the nursery trade. Surely this year has proven that penstemons are drought-tolerant perennials, well worth having in your garden.

The showiest of the native penstemons is foxglove (Penstemon cobaea). In the spring, bloom stalks shoot up from the basal rosettes to heights of one or two feet. The flower is an inflated tube with five lobes and is up to two inches long. Blooms may be lavender, white, pale-purple, or pink, all with purple lines on the inside of the flower tube. In full bloom, the stalks are crowded with flowers.

Foxglove penstemon ranges widely over North and Central Texas and into the Trans Pecos. Apparently it is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and rainfall zones. It does very well with little care in the poor calcareous soil of the wildflower patch in our backyard. We always let our penstemons go to seed before cutting the old bloom stalks; therefore we have a few new plants coming up every year.

Foxglove is a common roadside flower in many places. It used to be abundant along the road we drive into Boerne, but I am afraid foxglove has been wiped out of this area in recent years, either by deer browsing or too-early mowing of the roadside.


Foxglove / Scarlet Penstemon

Scarlet penstemon (Penstemon triflorus) may be the most eye-catching Hill Country penstemon. Its two-foot long bloom stalk bears numerous bright-red to pinkish-red tubular flowers with five lobes. Inside the flower tubes, the white throats are striped with thin red lines. Another common name for P. triflorus is Hill Country penstemon. That is a fitting name, because this species is endemic to the Edwards Plateau and adjacent areas. It is common in the limestone canyons near Boerne. And it also grows well in our wildflower patch.

Another penstemon that we intend to get for our garden is the rock or cut-leaf penstemon (Penstemon baccharifolius). The first time I was aware of this penstemon, I saw it blooming on the sunny sheer wall of a limestone canyon in Bandera County . And it was the last day of October! I didn’t know penstemons bloom that late around here. Rock penstemon may put on one-inch-long scarlet-red flowers from late spring, through summer, and into fall.


 


Sunflowers [Helianthus annuus]

Plant Sunfllowers This Summer


How to Grow Black Oil Sunflower Birds not only bring sound and color into the garden, they can help eliminate insect pests that damage your plants. The least you can do is repay them with some of their favorite food -- black-oil sunflower seeds. Songbirds including finches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and jays are all attracted to black-oil sunflower seed. This type of seed has a softer shell than the gray-striped type, with a larger meat that has a high oil content that provides more energy for the birds. They are the type commonly used for commercial bird seed, with "Peredovik" being a widely grown cultivar that you can plant in your own backyard.


Sow seeds when the soil temperature warms to at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 1 1/2 inch deep in clusters of three seeds with clusters 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on how large your want the mature plant to be -- space farther apart, the larger you expect your black-oil cultivar to grow.

Water in well. Seeds should germinate in 10 to 14 days.

Thin seedlings to the strongest plant in each cluster when plants are 3 to 4 inches tall. Snip the extra seedlings off at ground level with scissors to avoid disturbing the roots of the strongest plant.


Mound soil up several inches around the base of remaining sunflowers.The plants will establish additional roots to help support your black-oil sunflowers' 4- to 5-foot stems.

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of borax in 1 gallon of water. Water sunflowers with the solution in midsummer, when the buds are forming. Borax, a mineral, strenghtens the stem, increases the size of sunflower blooms and boosts seed production. Feed with the borax solution again in four weeks.


Learn About Black Oil Sunflowers Sunflowers provide some of the cheeriest blooms. They come in a wide range of heights and bloom sizes as well as colors. The giant flower head is actually two separate parts. The inside is the cluster of flowers, while the larger colored “petals” on the outside are actually protective leaves. The flowers in the center turn into seed when the plant is almost done for the season.


Oil seed flowers are grown for oil production and bird seed. Sunflower oil is low in saturated fats and doesn’t have a strong taste. It is growing in popularity due to its heart healthy reputation.

Black Peredovik Sunflowers Usually sunflower seed is a mixture of colors and some are striped. The black sunflower seeds hold the most oil and the Russian cultivar, Black Peredovik sunflower, are oil seed sunflowers used the most. It was bred as a sunflower oil production crop. The Black Peredovik sunflower seeds are medium sized and deep black.

This black oil sunflower seed has more meat than a regular sunflower seed and the outer husk is softer so even smaller birds can crack into the seed. It is rated the number one food for wild birds by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The high oil content in Black Peredovik sunflower seeds is important to birds in winter as they will spread the oil on their feathers, increasing buoyancy and keeping them dry and warm.


Mexican Sunflowers / Tithonia diversifolia, Giant Mexican Sunflower

How to Grow My Own Black Oil Sunflower Seeds Black oil sunflowers produce seeds used for sunflower oil, bird seed and other animal feeds. If you leave the seeds on the flower heads to dry, you will have an abundance of birds feeding on them. Black oil sunflower seeds can also be dried and used as healthy snacks full of vitamins E and B6. Best of all, black oil sunflower seeds are easy to plant and grow.

Layer 2 to 3 inches of compost over the soil. Work the compost in

Poke holes at the top of the dirt row with your finger. They should be approximately 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart. Drop a black oil sunflower seed in each hole and then push soil over the top.

Spray water over the seeds, gently, each day. Water more often if the climate becomes hot and dry. Change to watering in the moats, on each side of the row, after the sunflower seeds have germinated.

Dove hybrid black oil sunflower seeds are one of the most popular black oil sunflower varieties.

Tithonia diversifolia-- Mexican Sunflower Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl.) A. Gray is an impressive member of the sunflower family, Asteraceae. Tithonia was named for Tithonus, a legendary Trojan loved by the dawn goddess Eos, who turned him into a grasshopper. Tithonia diversifolia is a perennial native of Mexico and Central America and is cultivated for its beautiful flowers and enormous size. The plant's flowers are a favorite of bees and African farmers have many uses for the plant, the most popular use being as an organic fertilizer for vegetable crops in either compost or a tea form.

Family: Asteraceae

Plant Type: Large, perennial, rangy shrub

Origin: Mexico and Central America

Zones: 8 - 11

Height: Height and width to 12' or more

Rate of Growth: Fast

Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained soil

Water Requirements: Requires regular watering in dry weather

Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly

Light Requirements: Full sun for best growth and flowering

Form: Shrub

Bad Habits: Foliage damaged by frost, but recovers rapidly

Propagation: Sow seeds in place


 


Landscape

Landscaping long-flowering plants: hibiscus (H. moscheutos), Purple Wave Petunia (Petunia F1 'Wave Purple'), Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa),

Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)
For year-round enjoyment, these clover-like flower heads are hard to beat. The papery flowers last a long time in the garden and in fresh bouquets, and the blooms are easy to dry for use in wintertime arrangements. Depending on the variety, flowers are white, red, pink, lilac or purple. 'Strawberry Fields,' with bright red blossoms, and 'All Around Purple' are two standouts.

Requires full sun to partial shade; moderate water. Grows as an annual in all zones.


 


Marigolds

SAT Annuals Half-hardy annuals, like marigolds [Tagetes], that are best started indoors in boxes and then transplanted when weather is settled (usually early April in San Antonio).

MARIGOLDS: HOW TO PLANT, GROW, AND CARE FOR MARIGOLDS No annual is more cheerful or easier to grow than marigolds. These flowers are the spendthrifts among annuals, showing a wealth of gold, copper, and brass into our summer and autumn gardens. The flower’s popularity probably derives in part from its ability to bloom brightly all summer long.

Marigolds have daisy-like or double, carnation-like flowerheads and are produced singly or in clusters. Although there are some 50 species, some marigolds we know come from just three:

Tagetes erecta are the tallest, at three to five feet. They are sometimes known as African, or American, marigolds.

Bushy T. patula, or French marigolds, are somewhat smaller and more compact. Elegant and eye-catching, they have relatively demure flowers and usually grow from 6 inches to 2 feet tall.

The dainty T. tenuifolia are the signet, or rock-garden, marigolds that like hot, dry sites and make a wonderful edging. Their flowers are edible.

Marigolds have been sterotyped but they offer tremendous variety; some have fantastic aroma; all marigolds are good in containers and provide long-lasting cut flowers.


Higher classification: Daisy family

Tagetes is a genus of annual or perennial, mostly herbaceous plants in the sunflower family. It was described as a genus by Linnaeus in 1753. The genus is native to North and South America, but some species have become naturalized around the world. Wikipedia


All About Marigolds Marigolds are incredibly easy-going and reliable under a wide range of growing conditions. Once planted, marigolds grow rapidly with no fuss. Most thrive in full sun, taking hot, sunny exposures in stride. Marigolds can even handle the reflected heat and light of paved surfaces as long as they get regular moisture. However, marigolds will tolerate up to 20% shade if there is bright light the rest of the day. In fact, lovely white 'Snowdrift' actually prefers some afternoon shade in regions where summers are extremely hot.

Marigolds are not at all fussy about soil, accepting poor to average soil without complaint as long as it is not constantly soggy. In fact, marigolds bloom more and better in poorer soil. Too rich a diet stimulates lush foliage growth at the expense of flowers.


With seeds so easy to handle, marigolds are frequently used in gardening programs for children or the elderly. While it is very easy, starting marigolds from seed indoors offers no real advantage because they germinate so quickly outdoors. Seeds sown directly into the garden about 1-inch apart sprout within days in warm weather and plants bloom in about 8 weeks. For best results, thin or transplant young marigolds while they are still small, spacing French and Signet types 8 to 10 inches apart. Larger American varieties should be at least 10 to 12 inches apart. Marigolds grown in containers can become a bit crowded.


A one or two inch layer of any organic material spread over the bare soil between marigold plants will discourage weeds and help keep soil moist. This mulch is most helpful when plants are young before their foliage grows bushy and shades the soil. Water marigold plants when they are first planted and during period of high heat and drought.

While it is not essential, snipping off the dead blossoms of American type marigolds improves their appearance and stimulates new blooming. Also, as sturdy as they are, American types sometimes need staking to withstand strong winds and heavy rains, or disturbance from foot traffic. Choose unobtrusive small stakes, about 2 feet long and insert them in the soil next to the stem of each plant deeply enough so that they are a bit shorter than the full height of the mature marigold plants. Loop soft fabric or plastic ties around the stake, then the stem and tie to the stake.

Marigolds Marigolds were first discovered by the Portuguese in Central America in the 16th century.

Marigold (Calendula) is an extremely effective herb for the treatment of skin problems and can be used wherever there is inflammation of the skin, whether due to infection or physical damage; for example, crural ulceration, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, mastitis, sebaceous cysts, impetigo or other inflamed cutaneous lesions.

As an ointment, Marigold (Calendula) is an excellent cosmetic remedy for repairing minor damage to the skin such as sub dermal broken capillaries or sunburn. The sap from the stem is reputed to remove warts, corns and calluses.

In the 12th century Macer wrote that merely looking at the Marigold plant would improve the eyesight and lighten the mood.


 



Allamanda


Allamanda Blanchetti


Xeriscape


 


Aralia

bigger the better: aralia cordata and its cousins

aralias: why i grow these big, beautiful plants ‘THANK YOU,’ SAY THE BIRDS, “these are delicious.” And they are delicious to look at, too–especially as fall comes on, with all the giant heads of bird-attracting purple fruit and in some cases (such as Aralia spinosa, above) incredible fall foliage color, too. Do you grow any aralias (sometimes called spikenards) in your garden yet?

Comments: These grow wild here in north central Florida, where I was taught another common name is Hercules club. To a casual observer, the fruit and foliage look extremely similar to the winged sumac (Rhus copallina), but brush up against those spiny trunks and you’ll soon learn the difference!

I would have thought those were elderberry! (sambucas). What gorgeous fall color they provide.

Yes, Stephen, I know what you mean. I love elderberry, too (as do the birds!). The fall color of A. spinosa is exceptional. Give it its own space; it suckers and colonizes!


Aralia


Aralia


Fuki

Native Lantana is a perennial that blooms with eye-catching yellow, orange and pink flowers in the spring and dies back to ground at frost. Typical of all native plants they are low maintenance and attract bees and butterflies. Milberger newsletter for June Going Native Choosing native plants allows developed landscapes to coexist with nature, rather than compete with it. This is important in South Texas where the fate of your garden beds, foundation shrubs and even container plants depend on selecting varieties that thrive in our hot and dry climate. Fortunately we have a lot of colorful plants to choose from. Native plants are frequently used around homes and in gardens to create sustainable landscapes. Most native plants are perennial and have extensive root systems. They support wildlife including beneficial insects, pollinators, and native birds. Native plants are hardy, do not require fertilizer once established, and provide food and habitat for native animals. Most native species are perennial, and they also maintain themselves by reseeding on the same site. Gardening South Texas on the air at KLUP (am 930) Saturday and Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lowrey’s Legacy Cenizo’s azalea-like lilac blue flowers are some of the largest and most attractive blooms of any Texas sage on the market because of the reliable and continuous profusion of flower displayed throughout much of the year. It is also a Texas Superstar™ plant. Trailing lantana is an outstanding pick for any drought resistant flower bed design as shown here around an agave Like this Unlike its big brother, Texas Lantana, Trailing lantana is less erect and more sprawling; acting as a solid and colorful groundcover. It will work well in both full sun and part shade, and performs outstandingly planted in terraces, cascading down.

A Mediterranean Garden for Texas

San Antonio’s climate and geology are ideal for a Mediterranean garden. Our climate similarities include short wet winters, long springs, hot dry summers and mild falls. Soils in both regions are characterized by thin soils on a limestone substrate, alkaline clays and some sandy areas.

As for large, expansive lawns, they derive from England and northern Europe where temperatures are cooler and rain is more regular, and are very rarely part of any Mediterranean garden. In fact, our Hill Country-like soils present the perfect opportunity for colorful, drought- hardy lawn alternatives.

Mediterranean garden design elements include:

  • Well placed container plants. Invest in one or two large pots instead of lots of little ones, they’re easier to care for and more impactful.

  • Fountains create a serene atmosphere and are a better use of water than a thirsty lawn.

  • Fragrant plants like mountain laurel, sweet olive or confederate jasmine.

  • Interesting textures and vivid colors in the form of plants or paint. Textural plants include Texas persimmon, nolina, giant crinum lily or fuzzy lamb’s ear. For vivid color try Moy Grande hibiscus, Pride of Barbados, esperanza or plumbago.

Since Mediterranean weather often means hot you will want to incorporate a shady retreat and an outdoor-rated ceiling fan, if possible. Be sure to include a nice size table and enough chairs so you can gather with family and friends as you enjoy your Mediterranean fare.

Planting for Summer Color

By Dr. Jerry Parsons

June is the time to pour yourself a long glass of ice tea and enjoy your garden and landscape. For color firebush is a favorite hummingbird plant and lantanas are a great butterfly bush. Lantanas are deer resistant.

Plant vincas in full sun. Shade plants include coleus, caladiums, firespike and begonias. Leave the bougainvilleas in full sun and fertilize them regularly with hibiscus food or soluble fertilizer. Moss rose and purslane are showy all month long in full sun. Remove spent flowers from perennials for more blooms. Don’t let the weeds get ahead of you.

Shade Trees and Shrubs: Your established trees and bushes should do well without supplemental watering. Newly planted trees, however, need deep watering by hand when the soil dries to one inch. Remember to mulch 4 inches deep around new trees so that they don't have to compete with grass. There are a large number of salvias available. Most species are deer resistant in some neighborhoods and drought tolerant. Keep them compact by shearing. Crape myrtles reach full bloom in June. Deadhead spent flowers for more bloom.

Daylilies:Texas’ Favorite Perennial Daylilies are prolific and colorful bloomers. Few pests show any interest in them. They will grow in sun or shade, dry or wet soil, can tolerate both flooding and drought, and produce beautiful flowers throughout Texas. You can find tiny flowers and large flowers, compact plants and tall plants. You can even create your own varieties with relative ease. It is no wonder that every gardening expert recommends daylilies for the home landscape. Although daylilies will tolerate poor soil, you want them to bloom well, so take some time to prepare the soil. Daylilies require good drainage; they will rot if they are planted in a spot where they constantly have wet feet. Plant only to the base of the crown, the area above the roots on the plant where it is white in color and gradually goes to green.

For best growth and bloom of your daylilies, select a location that has full morning sun and some protection from afternoon sun. All-day sunshine in Texas is hard for most plants to take, and daylilies appreciate afternoon shade. April is a good time to plant one of the easiest to grow perennials. Water plants thoroughly after planting and continue to deep soak them until they are well established. Although they are drought-tolerant, consistent watering while budding and flowering produces better quality flowers. Blood meal, cottonseed meal, agricultural molasses, composted manure, sludge compost and compost are all good organic amendments for your daylilies and will keep them at the peak of health. Be careful not to mulch heavily around the crown of the plant to avoid rotting and maintain air circulation. In the spring, a good blend of fish emulsion and seaweed is a fine tonic to get them growing. Daylilies grow from fleshy roots below ground with fans of leaves above ground, coming together at the crown of the plant. From the crown, flower stalks (scapes) will emerge in May and June, bearing typically 10 to 20 flower buds. Though each flower is only open for one day (thus the name), the buds will take turns opening, resulting in weeks of garden color. And many cultivars send up repeat scapes into June, July and August


Best Perennials for Shade Bigroot Geranium [ (Geranium macrorrhizum) doesn't mind heat], Toad Lily [a fall show with shade plant toad lily (Tricyrtis). This easy-to-grow perennial offers unique flowers that are often compared to orchids.], Ajuga [groundcover is grown mainly for its foliage. Zones 3-9 and grows only 6 inches tall], Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart [(Dicentra spectabilis) is a favorite of plants that grow in shade. In late spring and early summer], Hosta [Some hosta flowers are very fragrant. Hostas are hardy in Zones 3-8.], Lungwort (Pulmonaria) [grows best in Zones 4-8 and reaches 1 foot tall], Yellow Corydalis [clusters of yellow flowers from late spring all the way to frost. grows about 12 inches tall and is hardy in Zones 5-8], Lamium [groundcover, usually stays about 8 inches tall and grows best in Zones 4-8], Epimedium [groundcover blooms in spring in shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, or white; it tolerates dry shade; grow best in Zones 5-9 and reach about 1 foot tall], Brunnera, Hellebore [Hellebore (Helleborus), also called Christmas rose, is one of the earliest bloomers of plants that grow in shade. Look for its burgundy, pink, cream, green, or white flowers in late winter or early spring. Although it looks delicate, the Christmas rose is quite sturdy Zones 4-8 and grows 12 inches tall], Astilbe [Astilbe grows best in Zones 4-8 and can reach up to 4 feet tall], Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum) [Zones 5-8], Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) is one tough shade plant. This slow grower eventually forms an impressive clump. It grows best in Zones 2-8 and reaches 6 inches tall.] Lilyturf [ (Liriope) is an easy-to-grow favorite shade plant. Loved for its grassy foliage and spikes of blue or white flowers in late summer, practically a plant-it-and-forget garden resident. It grows best in Zones 5-10 and grows a foot tall], Fern-Leaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia and D. formosa) look beautiful all season. These shade plants bloom on and off from spring to fall (if they get enough moisture during hot, dry periods), producing delicate clusters of pink, red, or white flowers. Even when not in bloom, though, their tidy mounds of blue-green, ferny foliage looks great. They grow best in Zones 4-8 and grow up to 2 feet tall.],

Top Shade-Loving Annuals Fuchsia. Balsam, Lobelia, Torenia, Oxalis, Impatiens, Coleus, Perilla, Browallia, Polka-Dot Plant, Sweet Potato Vine [groundcover], Viola, Beefsteak Plant


 


Vines

Growing Fence-Friendly Vines: Do's and Don'ts If you have a wooden fence, most species of vines are likely to be treacherous to your fence’s longevity. The rotting, cracking, twisting, and other structural damage that vines can cause to your wooden fence mean that most species should be kept away.

The safest vines for wooden fences are annual, herbaceous (non-woody) vines. These vines’ stems can wrap around your wooden fence but won’t cause the types of structural damage that woody vines will. You can guide these vines to grow around fence posts or along your fence’s upper support beams, which will provide them with plenty of light while keeping them away from your fence’s more vulnerable slats.

Though they should be removed at the end of the growing season, annual vines like morning glory, moonflower, sweet pea, and climbing nasturtium all work well with wooden fences. These plants are airier than most woody vines, which minimizes any moisture trapped between the plant and the fence. These vines grow readily from seed and can reach lengths of 10 to 15 feet at the peak of the season. They do not provide much privacy, but they do produce flowers that are vibrant in color and sweet in fragrance, brightening up your summer garden and attracting butterflies and birds. Gardeners who like to vary their planting from year to year will enjoy the opportunity to plant new herbaceous vines each growing season.

Consider your alternatives. If you have a wooden fence but are dead-set on filling your garden with climbing hydrangea or wisteria, look into other methods of introducing these plants into your space without destroying your fence. Arbors and trellises often provide a good structure for flowering vines to cling to and allow you to keep your vine’s growth in check. Strategically placing these structures can also help you enhance privacy. Many people place a series of posts a few feet inside their fence line and a string wire or other supports between each post, then guide their vines along these wires. Doing so can give you the full, rich look of creeping, climbing vines without putting your fence in danger.


 


MARIGOLDS: HOW TO PLANT, GROW, AND CARE FOR No annual is more cheerful or easier to grow than marigolds. The flower’s popularity probably derives in part from its ability to bloom brightly all summer long.

Marigold.jpg Although there are some 50 species, some marigolds we know come from just three:

  • Tagetes erecta are the tallest, at three to five feet. They are sometimes known as African, or American, marigolds.
  • Bushy T. patula, or French marigolds, are somewhat smaller and more compact. Elegant and eye-catching, they have relatively demure flowers and usually grow from 6 inches to 2 feet tall.
  • The dainty T. tenuifolia are the signet, or rock-garden, marigolds that like hot, dry sites and make a wonderful edging. Their flowers are edible.

Marigolds have been sterotyped but they offer tremendous variety; some have fantastic aroma; all marigolds are good in containers

If the spent blossoms are deadheaded, the plants will continue to bloom profusely. When you water marigolds, allow the soil to dry somewhat between watering, then water well, then repeat the process. Do not water marigolds from overhead. Water at the base of the plant. Do not fertilize marigolds. Too rich a diet stimulates lush foliage at the expense of flowers. Marigolds bloom better and more profusely in poor soil.

marigolds make important companion plants all over the garden. Not only does the scent of the marigold (Tagetes spp.) repel animals and insects, but the underground workings of the marigold will repel nematodes (microscopic worms) and other pests for up to 3 years. They are especially helpful as deer-resistant plants.

Marigolds are one of the October birth flowers.

The bright petals of signet marigolds add color and a spicy tang to salads and other summer dishes. The flower petals are sometimes cooked with rice to impart the color (but unfortunately not the flavor) of saffron. ‘Mexican Mint’ (sometimes called Texas tarragon) is a study little herb that can be substituted for French tarragon in cooking. This species has been long used in Latin America for tea as well as seasoning.

Comment: Deadheading does indeed promote bushier growth; it also encourages blooming. You don’t need to restrict yourself to the center bud. Examine the plant and get rid of any flowers on the wane and edit a few unopened buds–this may seem counterintuitive, but it works! Regular deadheading ensures a longer blooming season. (Be sure you pluck spent flowers before they have time to go to seed.)

Comment: Marigolds are annuals, so they complete their life cycle in one season. The seed is the embryo. It develops roots and sends up vegetative growth (seed leaf) called cotyledon.


 


8 Steps to Garden Success in Zone 8b Zone 8b means that the average minimum winter temperature is 15 to 20 °F.

Central Texas’s off season is just about opposite and falls in July and August. These months the climate is so hot that most gardeners “take the summer off” by planning their crop harvest for June. The season begins again in September with their cool crop rotation. Warm weather crops are planted in March and mature by the end of June.

1. Have your frost protection ready – Even in Texas 8b, plants are susceptible to frost damage, just not as frequently or for such extended periods of time. You still need to have frost protection ready. Learn about using a simple cloche from recycled materials and adding a grow tunnel to raised beds. Even a sheet will keep frost off your prized starts in a pinch.

2. Use a cover crop in the off season to protect and build your soil. Soil building is the key, no matter what zone you live in. Texas cover crops are used in the hot season and are planted at the end of June, with plans for tilling in September.

3. Don’t start too early. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wasted perfectly good plants by setting them out too early. It wastes your effort, time and money. Pay attention to the first and last frost date for your area and don’t push it too much. (but push it a little!)

4. Make plans for heat protection by using strategic planting. Utilize afternoon shade by placing tall plants on the west side of the garden. While planning my new Texas garden, I chose to make use of a fence on the west side. I’m hoping that the afternoon shade will allow my lettuce and spinach to grow longer before bolting.

5. Use water saving measures in the garden. Drip irrigation and rain catchment practices will make watering time easier. Learn about the benefits of mulch and other permaculture practices that help to conserve water in the garden.

6. Get info.: Connect with gardeners in your area. Consider joining a local gardening club or find a local group on Facebook. The Pflugerville Gardeners group has been a great place to ask questions. At the very least visit the library and check out a good gardening book for your area.

7. Keep records from year to year. I’m a big believer in keeping a garden journal. I have at one time or another kept a red notebook, binder, and even used an online system. I’ve found that the most consistent way for me to me to keep track – year to year – is The Gardening Notebook (affiliate) from SchneiderPeeps. I use it as my garden journal, yearly garden planner, and I expect it to be my future garden problem solver.The Gardening Notebook has been especially insightful to me as I adjust to the new garden seasons of Texas. I can look back and apply what I learned from Oregon to my new garden here. All garden knowledge is helpful.

8. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. Gardening is about experimenting, after all! Just because the gardening books say it won’t grow in your zone – doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Grow something outside your comfort “zone” and see what works best for you.

The simple milk jug can work wonders in your garden Try these five frugal tips to recycle a milk jug in garden areas

1. Make a scoop for soil bags and amendments

Cut out the opening with a pair of scissors or a box knife

2. Make a self-watering planter. After using this for a few days I think it would work best on plants that need moisture. Think seedlings that are just getting started or plants like mint. If you are using it for seedlings, be sure you only keep half an inch of water in the bottom, or your soil will become water logged.

Cut your milk jug in half, keeping the handle intact.
-Cut off the stem with the cap so it will .
-Place a piece of cloth or a folded over coffee filter inside the half and over the opening. This will keep the soil inside your makeshift container.
-Place the handle piece upside down inside of the bottom half .
-Plant as usual. The bottom will collect any access water and make it available to the soil above.

3. Make a simple cloche to protect seedlings– What is a cloche anyway? In olden days these bell-shaped glass covers were used for protecting individual plants from winter’s chill. They are beautiful, but are expensive and breakable.. The frugal way is to use a milk jug!

-Cut off a one inch section from the bottom of the jug
-Cut a jagged edge all the way around to help anchor the jug in the soil and stay put
-Keep the cap on the jug on cool evenings
-Remove the cap on sunny days so you do not overheat your new plants

4. Make mini milk jug greenhouses – These little greenhouses are great to use inside and out. They work just as well for growing microgreens in a window sill and for starting seeds in the garden. The milk jug keeps moisture and heat inside where your seedlings need it.

See the full tutorial here: Mini Greenhouses from Milk Jugs | PreparednessMama

Bonus #1 – Make a Wall-o-Water

Fill plain milk jugs with water and arrange them in a ring around plants. They will protect your plants and store solar energy in the water. Be sure to cover the ring at night to preserve heat the absorbed during the day. When the danger of frost and cold has passed, use the warmed water to water your plants. For warmer water, paint the containers black before filling them. This is also a good way to regulate heat in cold frames and greenhouses.

Mini Greenhouses from Milk Jugs I have found it is a way to bring a little bit of spring into my house this winter.

My milk jug greenhouse had been in an east facing windowsill in January. If you have a south facing window, that will work well too. At this time of year you should try to get as much sun on the seedlings as possible. This will cut down in the legginess that winter plants sometimes get. You can also give it additional light with grow lights, but I’m trying the frugal way here!

After two weeks, the seedlings look fantastic. I’m planning on using these for harvesting Microgreens but you can use the same idea to start your seeds indoors and get a jump on the growing season.

Materials needed for a Milk Jug Greenhouse

1 gallon or 1/2 gallon plastic milk jug
Sharp knife
Scissors
Packing tape (inside use) or duct tape (outside use)
Potting Soil
Seeds

Instructions for making and using a Milk Jug Greenhouse indoors:

// Wash your milk jugs. Keep the lid.
// Cut around the jug about 3-4 inches from the bottom. leaving the back 1/4 attached (use it as a hinge). Be sure you leave the handle intact.
// Fill it with 2? of potting soil. No need to cut holes in the bottom if you are growing these inside.
// Place your seeds inside. I soaked mine for 1 hour and placed them extra close together for Microgreens. You can also space them out for future transplanting. A half gallon jug can probably handle about 9 pea seeds.
// Tamp the seed down a bit.
// Cover your seeds with another shallow layer of potting soil. The bigger the seed the thicker the soil. Don’t fill it higher than your cut sides.
// Water in your seeds but don’t water them so much they are “swimming” in moisture. A good dampening will do.
// Close the top and put tape around the jug to keep the moisture in your milk jug greenhouse.
// Re-cap your mini greenhouse to keep in the moisture.
// Place your milk jug greenhouse in a south or east facing window and check it every few days. Spray water inside if needed. You are aiming for moist, but not soaking.
// After a few days you should see your seeds sprouting .
// Depending on the type of seed you are using, they should be ready for garden transplanting or Microgreens in 14 days.

I have had wonderful success with this method of seed starting and will continue to use it for microgreens and for getting an early jump on my garden starts. Next – outdoor seedling starts – I can’t wait!

If you are thinking about starting seeds outside in your milk jug greenhouse, use this link for more information. The only difference really, is drilling holes in the bottom of the jugs before planting and leaving the top off so it can receive rain water. They seem to be pretty self sufficient, but I haven’t personally tried it. The Parsimonious Princess has also had success with outdoor milk jug greenhouses.

3 Things To Do In Your Garden Right Now [Fall]

10/4/16 email from "Phil (Smiling Gardener)"

1. Don’t remove annuals. What’s left over of your tomato, squash, potato plants, etc. in the fall doesn’t have to be removed from the garden. You certainly could move the stems and leaves into a compost pile if they’re just too darn ugly for you, but you can also let those things decompose right where they are over the winter. They’ll eventually become part of the mulch layer and the roots will continue to feed soil life throughout the winter.

2. Plant a cover crop. Pick a legume (like clover) and a grass (like oats), sow them both and make sure they have enough water for the first couple of weeks to improve germination. They’ll do a whole lot of good for you during the off season.


Weeping Larch (Larix decidua 'Pendula') / Zonal Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum 'Appleblossom Rosebud')


Tall Bearded Iris (Iris 'Brilliance') / Tall Bearded Iris (Iris 'Momentum')


Salvia (Salvia 'Amistad') / Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)


Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos 'Shademaster') / Bloom where your are planted


 


Bulbs

8/12/16 Ordered from High Country Gardens:

Miniature Daffodil Bulbs Tete-a-Tete Bag of 25 $11.99 and
Crocus tommasinianus Bulbs Ruby Giant Bag of 25 $6.74
Shipping & Handling $8.99
Grand Total $27.72

Let's see the order of things:

Crocus Ruby Giant 3" tall purple
Viola walteri 'Silver Gem' 3-4" tall lavender butterflies
Phlox 3-6" tall red-purple butterflies
Aubrieta up to 4" tall violet-purple
Alyssum 4-6" tall purple,yellow butterflies,insects very fragrant
Viola 6" tall tricolor butterflies
Miniature Daffodils 6-8" tall yellow
Ajuga 6-9" tall purplish blue acidic
Euphorbia 12-18" tall yellow mounds
Vetch 18" tall pink-lavender

So, for best display in container:

Crocus Ruby Giant 3" tall purple outside
Miniature Daffodils 6-8" tall yellow inside
Alyssum 4-6" tall purple butterflies,insects cover

Or in another container:

Crocus Ruby Giant 3" tall purple outside
Miniature Daffodils 6-8" tall yellow inside
Viola 6" tall tricolor butterflies cover


 


WHY GROW BULBS? So, what are some of the charms of planting flower bulbs?

  • Even those with brown thumbs can be successful at bulb growing, the amateur gardener as well as the skilled horticulturalist.
  • The next charm I’ve already mentioned – what fun to see flowers in January or February, especially if you live in colder climates!
  • Another is that bulbs are for the most part perennials, especially the fall-planted bulbs. You plant them once and then can enjoy them for years.
  • Along that vein, you can naturalize bulbs – plant them at the edge of the woods or in your lawn in sweeps. Over the years they will spread and it will look like Mother Nature herself planted them for you. Daffodils are especially good for naturalizing.
  • Bulbs are easy to divide and transplant. If your established patch of bulbs stops blooming or becomes crowded, simply dig them up and separate them, and plant the extras in another part of the garden or give them away. Free bulbs!
  • There are numerous colors, forms and varieties of bulbs that can satisfy any garden plan, from the tiniest Crocuses and Dwarf Species Irises (Reticulata) to tall Cannas and Peonies (which are technically rhizomes and fleshy roots, respectively).
  • Bulbs will grow in practically any type of soil and after planting require a minimum amount of work.
  • It’s possible to have a continuous succession of interesting flowers, and the cut flowers are spectacular in the vase and tend to last a long time.
  • You don’t even need a garden to grow bulbs! You can plant them in pots on the porch and have a beautiful display in the Spring or you can even force them indoors during the Winter. Hyacinths, Daffodils, Tulips, Amaryllis, as well as some others, can be forced into gorgeous bloom in just a few weeks.

Bulbs – they give so much for so little.


 


Daffodils

Miniature Daffodil Bulbs Tete-a-Tete

This perky little heirloom daffodil has fragrant buttercup yellow petals and yellow-orange cups. With 2 to 3 flowers per stem, 'Tete-a-Tete' is a prolific bloomer that forms large colonies.

Zones 3-8. Flowers are fragrant. Full sun or Morning sun and afternoon shade. Bulb Spacing: 9 bulbs per sq. ft.


Miniature Daffodil Bulbs Tete-a-Tete

6-8" tall. Early spring blooming. This perky little heirloom daffodil has fragrant buttercup yellow petals and yellow-orange cups. With 2 to 3 flowers per stem, 'Tete-a-Tete' is a prolific bloomer that forms large colonies.

Botanical Name Narcissus Tete-a-Tete. Plant 2-4" deep. When you receive your spring bulbs (tulips, daffodils, etc.) keep them in a dry, dark, cool place until ready to plant. They need air circulation so they will not collect moisture and rot. Planting times can vary from early October in the North to mid-to-late November in the southern regions. A good rule of thumb is to plant them about 6 weeks before the ground is frozen or after the first hard freeze.


Miniature Daffodil Bulbs Tete-a-Tete

A compost enriched, well-drained soil is best. Incorporate a good quality organic compost as needed. Yum Yum Mix® is recommended as an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium needed for strong plants and healthy roots. Mix a small amount into the bottom of the hole before planting your bulbs.

Once your bulbs have bloomed, allow the bulb foliage to brown and fade naturally, since the leaves are feeding the bulb in the ground. Removal of foliage weakens the bulb and leads to fewer blooms the following year. Planting your bulbs amongst your perennials is one way to conceal the dying bulb foliage. The perennials begin to grow and fill out as the bulb foliage dies back. The perennials will then provide foliage and color in the garden from late spring through the summer and into fall. Regular fertilization with balanced organic or natural fertilizer and a re-application of mulch each fall will insure more and more beautiful spring bulb blooms for many years!


 


Crocus

Crocus tommasinianus Bulbs Ruby Giant Common Name: Crocus tommasinianus Bulbs Ruby Giant. Botanical Name: Crocus tommasinianus. Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Light Requirements: Full Sun, Morning Sun & Afternoon Shade. Mature Height: 3" tall. Bulb Spacing: 16 bulbs per sq. ft. Planting Depth: Plant 2-4" deep. Advantages: Deer Resistant, Rabbit Resistant, Easy tto grow.


comments

When you receive your spring bulbs (tulips, daffodils, etc.) keep them in a dry, dark, cool place until ready to plant. They need air circulation so they will not collect moisture and rot. Planting times can vary from early October in the North to mid-to-late November in the southern regions.

A compost enriched, well-drained soil is best. Incorporate a good quality organic compost as needed. Yum Yum Mix® is recommended as an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium needed for strong plants and healthy roots. Mix a small amount into the bottom of the hole before planting your bulbs.


comments

After planting, add a top dressing of compost or other organic material and water in thoroughly. If your winter is dry, water every three to four weeks throughout the winter and add more mulch if necessary.

Once your bulbs have bloomed, allow the bulb foliage to brown and fade naturally, since the leaves are feeding the bulb in the ground. Removal of foliage weakens the bulb and leads to fewer blooms the following year. Planting your bulbs amongst your perennials is one way to conceal the dying bulb foliage. The perennials begin to grow and fill out as the bulb foliage dies back. The perennials will then provide foliage and color in the garden from late spring through the summer and into fall. Regular fertilization with balanced organic or natural fertilizer and a re-application of mulch each fall will insure more and more beautiful spring bulb blooms for many years!

So, maybe in containers... move to front after blooming by pool.


 


Bulb Companions

I need some companion plants to put in the containers with the bulbs. Cover and interest until they bloom and afterwards.


 


Brunnera


Unknown / Brunnera

Brunnera Blooming, growing brunnera is one of the prettiest plants to include in the shady garden. Commonly called false forget-me-not, petite blooms compliment attractive, glossy foliage. Brunnera Siberian bugloss is also called heartleaf brunnera because of the shape of its leaves. It is an herbaceous perennial, dying back in winter.


Primroses

Primroses Primrose flowers (Primula polyantha) bloom in early spring, offering a variety of form, size, and color. They are suitable for use in garden beds and borders as well as in containers or for naturalizing areas of the lawn. In fact, when given the proper growing conditions, these vigorous plants will multiply each year, adding stunning colors to the landscape.

Blooming often lasts throughout summer and in some areas, they will continue to delight the fall season with their outstanding colors. Most primrose flowers seen in gardens are Polyanthus hybrids, which range in color from white, cream and yellow to orange, red and pink. There are also purple and blue primrose flowers. These perennial plants prefer damp, woodland-like conditions.

Primrose perennials should be planted in lightly shaded areas with well-drained soil, preferably amended with organic matter. Set primrose plants about 6 to 12 inches apart and 4 to 6 inches deep.


Primrose / Alyssum 'Basket of Gold'


 


Alyssum

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

Alyssum is another fragrant winter annual. The short (6 to 8 inches) rounded plants are ideal for borders in the garden and containers. The lavender or white blooms are tiny, but they cover the plant and perfume the whole garden.

Planting time: October through January..

Alyssum Saxatile 'Basket of Gold' Good possibility Alyssum 'Basket of Gold' is a spring-blooming perennial with gray-green leaves and bright yellow flowers.

Alyssum saxatile typically lives for several years before the plants get old and woody. It self sows, but not invasively. It's a good groundcover for a small area.

Alyssum saxatile is an important plant for attracting butterflies and beneficial insects early in the year before most other flowers bloom. Also known as Gold Dust and Aurinia saxatilis. Deer resistant. Hardy in zones 3-9.

Sowing Alyssum saxatile Seeds:
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Or sow outdoors in late spring. Barely cover the seeds. Full sun. Spacing 15".


Alyssum 'Basket of Gold' / Aubretia


 


Aubrieta

Aubrieta deltoidea (Rock Cress) Good possibility Aubrieta deltoidea is a lovely sight to behold in the spring garden. The spreading mounds of evergreen leaves are covered with vivid violet-purple flowers.

Aubrieta deltoidea is perfect for rock gardens or for trailing over rock walls. Trim the plants back lightly after blooming to keep them compact.

Also known as Rock Cress. Hardy perennial in zones 4-9.

Sowing Aubrieta deltoidea Seeds:
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Barely cover the seeds. Or sow outdoors after the last frost. Full sun to part shade. Well-drained soil. Spacing 12".


Aubrieta deltoidea (Rock Cress)


 


Daphne

Daphne Odorata The sweet smell that wafts through the air in February and March can be attributed to only a few plants, one of them being Daphne. An old garden favorite, Daphne odora, or Winter Daphne is a plant no yard should be without. While Winter Daphne is justly famous, she has a few sisters you should get to know.


Daphne Odora / Daphne ‘Lawrence Crocker’ – D. arbuscula x D. collina

Daphne odora, common name Winter or Fragrant Daphne. Pink buds in January open to light pink flowers in February and March. The scent is so thick that on warmer days it can envelop a neighborhood. Leaves are evergreen & leathery. ‘Marginata’ has a slight cream-colored edge to the foliage. ‘Leucantha’ and a new introduction ‘Zuiko Nishiki’ have solid green leaves and are reported to be more upright and vigorous. Both grow to 3-4’ tall and 4-6’ wide. Both are best in shade or at least with shade in the hot afternoon sun. Hardy in zones 7-9

Native to Europe, North Africa, temperate and subtropical Asia

Small flowers are usually fragrant and come in white, pink, lavender, yellow or chartreuse. Often flowers are produced in small clusters, sometimes grouped in masses along stem tips. Many species are evergreen, a few are deciduous.

Daphne are shrubs ranging in size from only 8” high to 15’ tall in their native habitats.

Typically Daphne prefer much better soil drainage than our Portland clay or clay/rock blends provide. Amend planting beds with compost, or plant Daphne in containers for assured success.

Light requirements vary by species, so be sure to check plant tags before deciding on the location. Plants can suffer from over-watering or too much sunshine. Hardiness varies per species.

Daphne ‘Lawrence Crocker’ – D. arbuscula x D. collina - This little Daphne just gives and gives. Very fragrant, purple/mauve flower clusters bloom from spring thru fall once the plant is established. Leaves are evergreen and narrow, about 2” long. The plant is a nice little shrubby thing growing only to 12”x12”. It is the perfect addition to a rock garden or container. Sun, part shade – zones 6-9


 


Euphorbia

Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion Spurge) Good possibility Euphorbia polychroma blooms in early spring, making a terrific display with tulips and late daffodils. Euphorbia polychroma makes a neatly rounded mound covered with chartreuse yellow flowers.

It self-sows, so you may end up with these mounds scattered around the garden, which looks impressive in April and May when there are few other flowers blooming.

Euphorbia polychroma is a tough, long-lived perennial, adaptable to a wide range of conditions. Also known as Cushion Spurge and Euhporbia epithymoides. Deer resistant. Hardy in zones 4-9.


Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion Spurge)

Sowing Euphorbia polychroma Seeds:
Sow indoors in late winter. Barely cover the seeds, then refrigerate 3 weeks. Slow to germinate. Full sun to part shade. Spacing 24".


 


Phlox

SAT AnnualsPlanting time: October through January.. Phlox

Phlox subulata (moss phlox) Really good possibility Type: Herbaceous perennial. Family: Polemoniaceae. Native Range: Eastern and central United States. Zone: 3 to 9. Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet. Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet. Bloom Time: March to May. Bloom Description: Red-purple to violet-purple to pink to white. Sun: Full sun. Water: Medium. Maintenance: Medium. Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize. Flower: Showy. Attracts: Butterflies. Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Air Pollution Garden locations


Phlox subulata (moss phlox)

Best grown in humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Best flowering is in full sun, but plants generally appreciate some dappled sun in the hot summers of the deep South. Good soil drainage is important. Plants grow well in sandy or gravely soils and tolerate hot, dry exposures better than most other species of phlox. Plants will self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Cut back stems after flowering by 1/2 to maintain form and promote denser growth plus to stimulate a possible light rebloom.


 


Viola

SAT Annuals Pansies and violas while perfectly hardy must be started in August in flats or pots and transplanted later when weather is cool. Ants will carry off the seed so dust with chlordane. Unless special variety is desired it is best to leave the growing of these to your favorite nurseryman.

Viola 'Helen Mount' (Viola tricolor) Viola tricolor has small flowers that bloom from spring to fall in shades of purple, lavender and yellow. It makes a nice groundcover, spreading and self-sowing around larger plants in the garden.

Viola tricolor 'Helen Mount' reseeds prolifically, but it doesn't interfere with other perennials. It comes up wherever it likes, even in part shade. Viola flowers are edible, which makes them a perfect addition to the herb garden.


Viola 'Helen Mount' (Viola tricolor)

Viola tricolor is a host plant for several butterfly species, including Variegated Fritillary, Great Spangled Fritillary, and Gray Hairstreak.

Common names include Wild Pansy, Johnny Jump-Up, and Heartsease. Also known as Viola cornuta 'Helen Mount'. Hardy in zones 4-9.


Viola 'Helen Mount' (Viola tricolor) / Viola Compact V. Hybrida 'Sorbet Coconut'

height 6"

Sowing Viola tricolor 'Helen Mount' Seeds:
Sow indoors 8 weeks before the last frost date. Or sow outdoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Barely cover the seeds. Full sun to part shade. Spacing 4".


Viola walteri 'Silver Gem' /

Pansies and Violas Pansies and violas are not only beautiful; they are also signals that spring has arrived. The pansies and violas we grow today have greatly improved over the past decade. Now there are dozens of colors, color combinations, bloom sizes and even some distinctive plant habits.

Pansies and violas are very cold-tolerant plants. Grown outdoors and acclimated, they will easily handle temperatures down to the mid 20s and will continue blooming. If the temperature drops any lower, the existing flower buds are usually damaged, but the plants live on.

Ideally, pansies and violas like lots of sun in the spring and early summer, but they tend to struggle with too much summer heat. A great setting would be one that gets full sun before the trees are fully leafed out and dappled shade during the summer.

Pansies and violas are perfect for containers. Great by themselves, they also combine well with other early spring blooms such as sweet alyssum and snapdragons. Tuck a few into a summer mixed planter for some early color while the summer plants fill out.

Transplanting: Pansies and violas have a very fine, fibrous root system, so ease them out of their pots. The outside of the root ball may be a mat of white roots. Make several shallow cuts through these roots to encourage outward growth. Plant them at the same depth they were growing. Pansies don't do well when planted deeper.


 


Nigella

SAT AnnualsPlanting time: October through January.. Nigella (Love-in-a-Mist)

Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' (Love-in-a-Mist) Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' blooms in shades of pink, blue and white. The flowers appear in June to July from an early spring sowing. It makes a nice bulb cover.

Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' is a good filler in the garden. It's also wonderful for cutting. The long-lasting blooms gradually deepen in color before the petals finally drop off cleanly. They are followed by intriguing, decorative seed pods.


Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' (Love-in-a-Mist)

Nigella damascena is an heirloom flower that has been grown in gardens since the 1600's. Also known as Love-in-a-Mist. Easy to grow. Self-sows in abundance. Deer resistant.

height 18". [an annual garden flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It is native to southern Europe, north Africa and southwest Asia, where it is found on neglected, damp patches of land. Wikipedia].


Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' (Love-in-a-Mist) colors and seed pod

Sowing Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' Seeds:
Sow outdoors in early spring or fall. Sow on the surface or barely cover the seeds. Thin to 6" apart. To prolong the bloom season, make successive sowings every 4 weeks. Full sun.


Ajuga

Ajuga Bugleweed Plants include several highly variable plants in the Ajuga genus. It is one of the best known and most useful ground covers, suitable for many different situations and color schemes.

Depending on the variety, the flowers may be rose or white, but the most commonly found color is a shade of purplish blue. The foliage color ranges from green to bronze to purple. There are also variegated forms available.

How to Grow and Care for Bugleweed Plants Ajuga plants are evergreen to semi-evergreen, depending on the species and variety. They are hardy in USDA zones 3-9. Ajugas begin blooming in early spring and continue up until mid July with the peak blossom period in May and June.

Generally, most types of Ajuga only reach a height of 6-9 inches when in full bloom. Ajuga grows along the ground, spreading by runners, and soon creates a thick carpet of foliage. Ajuga is excellent plant to use for erosion control due to it's extensive root system!


Ajuga

Ajugas are members of the mint family, and like most mints, their rapid growth rate may create problems. If this invasive attribute of Ajuga is a problem, it may be necessary to use some type of edging material to keep it within bounds.

Ajuga tolerates a wide range of soil conditions as long as soil is well drained. The soil should be acidic with a pH in the range of 3.7 to 6.5. Bugleweed can be grown in any type of light from full sun to full shade. The foliage will tend to be smaller when grown in full sun, but the plant will produce more flower spikes. Ajuga prefers moist soil, but will tolerate drought remarkably well.


Ajuga

Ajuga plants should be planted or transplanted in the garden in early spring. Plant Ajugas 12 to 15 inches apart, being careful not to plant too deeply. The crown should never be covered with soil or the plant will rot and die.

Ajuga can be propagated by digging and dividing established clumps in the fall or early in the spring. Pruning is done by either mowing or cutting the foliage back to the ground. About every third year, large, crowded groupings should be thinned out to reduce the chance of crown rot.

Ajuga Bugleweed Plants include several highly variable plants in the Ajuga genus. It is one of the best known and most useful ground covers, suitable for many different situations and color schemes.

Depending on the variety, the flowers may be rose or white, but the most commonly found color is a shade of purplish blue. The foliage color ranges from green to bronze to purple. There are also variegated forms available.

How to Grow and Care for Bugleweed Plants Ajuga plants are evergreen to semi-evergreen, depending on the species and variety. They are hardy in USDA zones 3-9. Ajugas begin blooming in early spring and continue up until mid July with the peak blossom period in May and June.

Generally, most types of Ajuga only reach a height of 6-9 inches when in full bloom. Ajuga grows along the ground, spreading by runners, and soon creates a thick carpet of foliage. Ajuga is excellent plant to use for erosion control due to it's extensive root system!


Ajuga

Ajugas are members of the mint family, and like most mints, their rapid growth rate may create problems. If this invasive attribute of Ajuga is a problem, it may be necessary to use some type of edging material to keep it within bounds.

Ajuga tolerates a wide range of soil conditions as long as soil is well drained. The soil should be acidic with a pH in the range of 3.7 to 6.5. Bugleweed can be grown in any type of light from full sun to full shade. The foliage will tend to be smaller when grown in full sun, but the plant will produce more flower spikes. Ajuga prefers moist soil, but will tolerate drought remarkably well.


Ajuga

Ajuga plants should be planted or transplanted in the garden in early spring. Plant Ajugas 12 to 15 inches apart, being careful not to plant too deeply. The crown should never be covered with soil or the plant will rot and die.

Ajuga can be propagated by digging and dividing established clumps in the fall or early in the spring. Pruning is done by either mowing or cutting the foliage back to the ground. About every third year, large, crowded groupings should be thinned out to reduce the chance of crown rot.


 


Brunnera Blooming, growing brunnera is one of the prettiest plants to include in the shady garden. Commonly called false forget-me-not, petite blooms compliment attractive, glossy foliage. Brunnera Siberian bugloss is also called heartleaf brunnera because of the shape of its leaves. It is an herbaceous perennial, dying back in winter.

Primroses Primrose flowers (Primula polyantha) bloom in early spring, offering a variety of form, size, and color. They are suitable for use in garden beds and borders as well as in containers or for naturalizing areas of the lawn. In fact, when given the proper growing conditions, these vigorous plants will multiply each year, adding stunning colors to the landscape.

Blooming often lasts throughout summer and in some areas, they will continue to delight the fall season with their outstanding colors. Most primrose flowers seen in gardens are Polyanthus hybrids, which range in color from white, cream and yellow to orange, red and pink. There are also purple and blue primrose flowers. These perennial plants prefer damp, woodland-like conditions.

Primrose perennials should be planted in lightly shaded areas with well-drained soil, preferably amended with organic matter. Set primrose plants about 6 to 12 inches apart and 4 to 6 inches deep.


Primrose / Alyssum 'Basket of Gold'

Alyssum Saxatile 'Basket of Gold' Good possibility Alyssum 'Basket of Gold' is a spring-blooming perennial with gray-green leaves and bright yellow flowers.

Alyssum saxatile typically lives for several years before the plants get old and woody. It self sows, but not invasively. It's a good groundcover for a small area.

Alyssum saxatile is an important plant for attracting butterflies and beneficial insects early in the year before most other flowers bloom. Also known as Gold Dust and Aurinia saxatilis. Deer resistant. Hardy in zones 3-9.

Sowing Alyssum saxatile Seeds:
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Or sow outdoors in late spring. Barely cover the seeds. Full sun. Spacing 15".


Alyssum 'Basket of Gold' / Aubretia

Aubrieta deltoidea (Rock Cress) Good possibility Aubrieta deltoidea is a lovely sight to behold in the spring garden. The spreading mounds of evergreen leaves are covered with vivid violet-purple flowers.

Aubrieta deltoidea is perfect for rock gardens or for trailing over rock walls. Trim the plants back lightly after blooming to keep them compact.

Also known as Rock Cress. Hardy perennial in zones 4-9.

Sowing Aubrieta deltoidea Seeds:
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Barely cover the seeds. Or sow outdoors after the last frost. Full sun to part shade. Well-drained soil. Spacing 12".


Aubrieta deltoidea (Rock Cress)

Daphne Odorata The sweet smell that wafts through the air in February and March can be attributed to only a few plants, one of them being Daphne. An old garden favorite, Daphne odora, or Winter Daphne is a plant no yard should be without. While Winter Daphne is justly famous, she has a few sisters you should get to know.


Daphne Odora / Daphne ‘Lawrence Crocker’ – D. arbuscula x D. collina

Daphne odora, common name Winter or Fragrant Daphne. Pink buds in January open to light pink flowers in February and March. The scent is so thick that on warmer days it can envelop a neighborhood. Leaves are evergreen & leathery. ‘Marginata’ has a slight cream-colored edge to the foliage. ‘Leucantha’ and a new introduction ‘Zuiko Nishiki’ have solid green leaves and are reported to be more upright and vigorous. Both grow to 3-4’ tall and 4-6’ wide. Both are best in shade or at least with shade in the hot afternoon sun. Hardy in zones 7-9

Native to Europe, North Africa, temperate and subtropical Asia

Small flowers are usually fragrant and come in white, pink, lavender, yellow or chartreuse. Often flowers are produced in small clusters, sometimes grouped in masses along stem tips. Many species are evergreen, a few are deciduous.

Daphne are shrubs ranging in size from only 8” high to 15’ tall in their native habitats.

Typically Daphne prefer much better soil drainage than our Portland clay or clay/rock blends provide. Amend planting beds with compost, or plant Daphne in containers for assured success.

Light requirements vary by species, so be sure to check plant tags before deciding on the location. Plants can suffer from over-watering or too much sunshine. Hardiness varies per species.

Daphne ‘Lawrence Crocker’ – D. arbuscula x D. collina - This little Daphne just gives and gives. Very fragrant, purple/mauve flower clusters bloom from spring thru fall once the plant is established. Leaves are evergreen and narrow, about 2” long. The plant is a nice little shrubby thing growing only to 12”x12”. It is the perfect addition to a rock garden or container. Sun, part shade – zones 6-9

Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion Spurge) Good possibility Euphorbia polychroma blooms in early spring, making a terrific display with tulips and late daffodils. Euphorbia polychroma makes a neatly rounded mound covered with chartreuse yellow flowers.

It self-sows, so you may end up with these mounds scattered around the garden, which looks impressive in April and May when there are few other flowers blooming.

Euphorbia polychroma is a tough, long-lived perennial, adaptable to a wide range of conditions. Also known as Cushion Spurge and Euhporbia epithymoides. Deer resistant. Hardy in zones 4-9.


Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion Spurge)

Sowing Euphorbia polychroma Seeds:
Sow indoors in late winter. Barely cover the seeds, then refrigerate 3 weeks. Slow to germinate. Full sun to part shade. Spacing 24".

Phlox subulata (moss phlox) Really good possibility Type: Herbaceous perennial. Family: Polemoniaceae. Native Range: Eastern and central United States. Zone: 3 to 9. Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet. Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet. Bloom Time: March to May. Bloom Description: Red-purple to violet-purple to pink to white. Sun: Full sun. Water: Medium. Maintenance: Medium. Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize. Flower: Showy. Attracts: Butterflies. Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Air Pollution Garden locations


Phlox subulata (moss phlox)

Best grown in humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Best flowering is in full sun, but plants generally appreciate some dappled sun in the hot summers of the deep South. Good soil drainage is important. Plants grow well in sandy or gravely soils and tolerate hot, dry exposures better than most other species of phlox. Plants will self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Cut back stems after flowering by 1/2 to maintain form and promote denser growth plus to stimulate a possible light rebloom.

Viola 'Helen Mount' (Viola tricolor) Viola tricolor has small flowers that bloom from spring to fall in shades of purple, lavender and yellow. It makes a nice groundcover, spreading and self-sowing around larger plants in the garden.

Viola tricolor 'Helen Mount' reseeds prolifically, but it doesn't interfere with other perennials. It comes up wherever it likes, even in part shade. Viola flowers are edible, which makes them a perfect addition to the herb garden.


Viola 'Helen Mount' (Viola tricolor)

Viola tricolor is a host plant for several butterfly species, including Variegated Fritillary, Great Spangled Fritillary, and Gray Hairstreak.

Common names include Wild Pansy, Johnny Jump-Up, and Heartsease. Also known as Viola cornuta 'Helen Mount'. Hardy in zones 4-9.


Viola 'Helen Mount' (Viola tricolor) / Viola Compact V. Hybrida 'Sorbet Coconut'

height 6"

Sowing Viola tricolor 'Helen Mount' Seeds:
Sow indoors 8 weeks before the last frost date. Or sow outdoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Barely cover the seeds. Full sun to part shade. Spacing 4".


Viola walteri 'Silver Gem' /

Pansies and Violas Pansies and violas are not only beautiful; they are also signals that spring has arrived. The pansies and violas we grow today have greatly improved over the past decade. Now there are dozens of colors, color combinations, bloom sizes and even some distinctive plant habits.

Pansies and violas are very cold-tolerant plants. Grown outdoors and acclimated, they will easily handle temperatures down to the mid 20s and will continue blooming. If the temperature drops any lower, the existing flower buds are usually damaged, but the plants live on.

Ideally, pansies and violas like lots of sun in the spring and early summer, but they tend to struggle with too much summer heat. A great setting would be one that gets full sun before the trees are fully leafed out and dappled shade during the summer.

Pansies and violas are perfect for containers. Great by themselves, they also combine well with other early spring blooms such as sweet alyssum and snapdragons. Tuck a few into a summer mixed planter for some early color while the summer plants fill out.

Transplanting: Pansies and violas have a very fine, fibrous root system, so ease them out of their pots. The outside of the root ball may be a mat of white roots. Make several shallow cuts through these roots to encourage outward growth. Plant them at the same depth they were growing. Pansies don't do well when planted deeper.

Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' (Love-in-a-Mist) Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' blooms in shades of pink, blue and white. The flowers appear in June to July from an early spring sowing. It makes a nice bulb cover.

Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' is a good filler in the garden. It's also wonderful for cutting. The long-lasting blooms gradually deepen in color before the petals finally drop off cleanly. They are followed by intriguing, decorative seed pods.


Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' (Love-in-a-Mist)

Nigella damascena is an heirloom flower that has been grown in gardens since the 1600's. Also known as Love-in-a-Mist. Easy to grow. Self-sows in abundance. Deer resistant.

height 18". [an annual garden flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It is native to southern Europe, north Africa and southwest Asia, where it is found on neglected, damp patches of land. Wikipedia].


Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' (Love-in-a-Mist) colors and seed pod

Sowing Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix' Seeds:
Sow outdoors in early spring or fall. Sow on the surface or barely cover the seeds. Thin to 6" apart. To prolong the bloom season, make successive sowings every 4 weeks. Full sun.

10/14/16 My crocus and daffodil bulbs came from High country. Busy, busy, left in box.
10/16/16 opened the box. Set the bulbs in their ventilated bags in my closet.

Location: can be planted most anywhere, except in the dense shade on the north side of buildings. Exposure: Full sun to partial shade. Crocus do best in full sun, but since they bloom so early in the year, there are few leaves on the trees to shade them anyway. If the temperature heats up, crocus will fade quickly.

Okay, so that means in the front, or in containers.
Make sure the soil drains well, because bulbs will rot in soggy ground. Work in organic matter such as compost, peat or a substitute, such as shredded leaves to a depth of at least 10 inches. Plant crocus bulbs 3 to 4 inches deep (with the pointy end up). After planting, water well.

just 2 to 4 inches tall, so plant them around the daffodils. Crocus are in the Iris (Iridaceae) family.

Many have strong perfumes that lure bees out of their hives in February or March. they naturalize, meaning that they spread and come back year after year—with minimum care

Plant bulbs in groups or clusters rather than spacing them in a single line along a walkway or border. Single flowers get lost in the landscape.Plant a few inches apart, and plant in groups of 10 or more.

In the language of flowers, crocus means cheerfulness.

Daffodils: SUN EXPOSURE: Full SunPart Sun
SOIL TYPE: Loamy
SOIL PH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral

The dependable, spring-flowering daffodil is a favorite for its long life and carefree, colorful blooms. Other common names include jonquil and narcissus.

Daffodils bring cheer to the spring garden with abundant flowers in hues of yellow, white, pink, and salmon. Daffodils grow best in areas with cold winters, cool springs, and cool summers.

Site Selection: Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. Choose a well-drained, sunny place.

Dig a hole about 3 to 4 times as deep as the height of the bulb. Set the bulb in the hole, pointy end up, then cover with soil and press firmly. Space bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart. Water thoroughly after planting.

Plant the bulbs when grounds have cooled, in some climates September and for warmer climates in November.

Choose a well-drained, sunny place. Hillsides and raised beds are best. DRAINAGE is the key. Slightly acidic soil is best, so you might add soil sulfur if you have alkaline soil.

So, maybe in containers... move to front after blooming by pool.

I need some companion plants to put in the containers with the bulbs. Cover and interest until they bloom and afterwards.


Unknown / Brunnera


 


Wildflowers

Sow wildflower seeds after first frost

"One of the best times to sow wildflower seeds is after the first frost, but before the ground freezes for the winter," said Mike Lizotte of American Meadows. "That's when most wildflowers naturally drop their seeds."

To get the best results (whether you're sowing a 10-square-foot suburban flower bed or a 5-acre meadow), prepare the ground before planting seeds. Clear away most competing plants, and turn over the soil with a rototiller or a shovel so the seeds can penetrate the soil surface. Then select the right seed for your climate and growing zone. Regional wildflower mixes are available from American Meadows, as are wildflower mixes for full sun, partial shade and dry growing conditions. Some seed mixes include flowers that bloom in the fall, or seeds for specific flowers such as zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers. For more information about planting wildflower seeds, read Fall is for Wildflowers on the American Meadows website.

Freezing to death

"In this week's Seeds (October 12, 2016)," writes Tom Harris, Ph. D., "the author of the seed-collecting article said to store the seeds in the freezer. That will kill the seeds. There is a little immature plant inside each seed and freezing will kill it. "In the article about getting ready for winter, nothing was mentioned about the wooden handles on shovels, rakes, etc. They should be coated with boiled linseed oil. Let it set 15-20 minutes and then wipe off excess. This adds oil back to the wood and re-invigorates it. They can last for years if treated." We asked Skip Richter, Texas Gardener contributing editor, his thoughts about freezing seeds. He said: "Actually freezing most types of seed will preserve them for a long time. Refrigeration is fine and will keep them viable for a long time but most can also be frozen for even longer storage. Seeds should be thoroughly dried prior to storage. There are a few exceptions, such as most oak acorns, that won't tolerate a thorough drying, but for the most part our vegetables and flowers can be dried and put in cold storage to extend viability." "I have a question about pruning Knock Out Roses," writes Shirley Leydecker. "I notice that the Cedar Park area has pruned them very short, but I also recently read that they should not be pruned until late spring. Since I have a special one in memory of my deceased sister, I want to keep it blooming as much a possible." We like to prune our most of our roses back in mid- to late summer. It encourages them to rebloom in the fall. You could prune off any spent blooms but, other than that, it would be best to wait until late winter. - Chris S. Corby, publisher


 


Mexican Bird of Paradise

Growing And Care Of Mexican Bird Of Paradise Plant The growing and care of Mexican bird of paradise plant (Caesalpinia mexicana) isn’t difficult; however, this plant is commonly confused with the other species in this genus. Although they all basically share the same growing requirements, it’s still important that you are aware of the subtle differences

Distinguishing Mexican Red Bird of Paradise from Mexican Bird of Paradise Tree. Known as Mexican bird of paradise (along with many other common names), the red bird of paradise (C. pulcherrima) is oftentimes confused with the actual Mexican bird of paradise tree (C. mexicana). While both species are considered shrubs or small trees and both are evergreen in frost-free regions and deciduous in others, they are two different plants.

Unlike the red bird of paradise, the Mexican variety has bright yellow flowers with long red stamens. The red bird of paradise has showy red blooms and fern-like foliage. There is also a yellow variety (C. gilliesii), of which is similar looking to C. pulcherrima, only a different color. All species generally bloom in summer or year round in tropical climates.


When growing Mexican bird of paradise, you should keep in mind its overall size, which can reach up to 15 feet tall with a similar spread. This plant is considered drought tolerant, thriving in well-draining soil and plenty of sun. While it can take some shade, its blooms will not be as profuse in these areas.

may require fertilization while in bloom. Once established, Mexican bird of paradise requires little care, other than the occasional pruning to keep it manageable and neat. This is often performed in winter (when it dies down naturally) and is usually pruned a third back or to the ground.

CAESALPINIA OR BIRD OF PARADISE Caesalpinias make the landscape come alive with color. Their large bright flowers provide vibrant color for long periods of time. The shades of yellow, fiery red, and orange contrast with the feathery foliage.

Bird of paradise is tolerant of most soil conditions but prefers well drained soils. Chlorosis can occur in heavy soils but is easily treated with iron chelate. The deciduous varieties can be pruned back severely during late winter when they are dormant, and new growth will occur in the spring. This pruning will also keep the form more round and compact. The seed pods should not be eaten. All of these species do a great job of attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

Caesalpinia gilliesii, Desert/Yellow Bird of Paradise. This bird of paradise produces large clusters of yellow flowers with long red stamens. It is generally open in form with a slender trunk and medium green leaflets. The spring to summer bloom is followed by 4 to 5 inch seed pods. Yellow bird of paradise is usually deciduous except in the warmest areas, but seldom looks its best during the winter. It reaches a height of 6 to 10 feet and a spread of 4 to 6 feet at maturity. Yellow bird of paradise makes an excellent accent plant in either the tropical or desert landscape. They reseed themselves, and can produce litter if seed pods are not pruned off before they fall.


Caesalpinia mexicana, Mexican Bird of Paradise [tree]. The Mexican bird of paradise’s lush, deep foliage sets it apart. It is evergreen in warm protected areas of the landscape. Mexican bird of paradise produces bright yellow flower clusters throughout the warm season. Mexican bird of paradise can easily be pruned into a small tree. Its mature height can reach 8 to 10 feet with similar spread.

Mexican bird of paradise requires full sun to keep it full and dense. It makes an excellent accent and oasis plant for tropical, natural or desert landscapes. Water every 2 weeks while blooming with little or no supplemental watering required during other times. Prune in early spring to shape and control growth.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas. It could be native to the West Indies, but its exact origin is unknown due to widespread cultivation. Common names for this species include poinciana, peacock flower, red bird of paradise, Mexican bird of paradise, dwarf poinciana, pride of Barbados, and flamboyant-de-jardin. The Hawaiian name for this plant is 'Ohai Ali'i.

The Caesalpina pulcherrima is the national flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and is depicted on the Queen's personal Barbadian flag.


Norm’s Caesalpinia Chit Chat: A Primer on the Birds of Paradise It’s wintertime in the desert, and even with our relatively mild climate, not all plants respond well to a cold season planting. So, what not to plant this time of year? The first plant that comes to my mind is the summer-time favorite, Red Bird of Paradise.

Native to the West Indies, Central and South America, the Red Bird of Paradise is a well-adapted for our hot climate and poor soils. It has been my experience that Red Bird of Paradise only takes off well if planted in warm. weather, so we limit planting them from May through September.


Speaking of erupting, the Mexican Bird of Paradise has a very interesting way of spreading seed! After flowering, the plant forms pea-like seed pods. As the pods mature and dry, the two sides begin to twist, but in directions opposite one another; each side holds the other in check. The tension increases over time until it reaches a point where it can’t hold it anymore, and then, pop! –the pod pops open with a loud snapping sound and scatters the seeds a great distance, often 20 feet or more. Though C. mexicana does look similar to C. pulcherrima, it can be differentiated by flower color and by the size of the individual leaflets of C. mexicana being much larger than those of C. pulcherrima.

Though in the same genus (Caesalpinia) as the Mexican and Red Birds of Paradise, the Yellow Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) seems to be much more challenged here, especially long-term. The flowers are particularly showy, with a combination of yellow petals and red stamens. If requested by a client, I inform them that it tends to get borers, and suffers from discoloration and die-back of stem tissue, as well as sporadic die-back of random portions of the plant. Over the years, this plant has seemed quite unreliable to me, and thus – no thank you!



 


Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea a genus of thorny ornamental vines, bushes, and trees with flower-like spring leaves near its flowers. Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. They are native plants of South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina (Chubut Province). Bougainvillea are also known as buganvilla (Spain), bugambilia (Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Philippines), pokok bunga kertas (Indonesia), "'bougenville"' (Pakistan), Napoleón (Honduras), jahanamiya (Arab World), veranera (Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama), trinitaria (Colombia, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic & Venezuela), Santa Rita (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) or papelillo (northern Peru).

The first European to describe these plants was Philibert Commerçon, a botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his voyage of circumnavigation of the Earth, and first published for him by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789.[2] It is possible that the first European to observe these plants was Jeanne Baré, Commerçon's lover and assistant who was an expert in botany. Because she was not allowed on ship as a woman, she disguised herself as a man in order to make the journey (and thus became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe).

Bougainvilleas Inc. we are proud to offer one of the largest varieties of these beautiful colored decorative plants. We offer more than 80 different colors or varieties. in Miami

How to Grow Bougainvillea Bougainvillea is a tropical, shrub-like vine that bursts forth with colorful flowers for 11 months of the year if it's planted in the right climate. To grow bougainvillea, plant it in full sun, slightly acidic and well-drained soil, and a relatively hot and dry climate. Continue caring for your bougainvillea plant by watering sparingly, fertilizing every few months, pruning at the end of the season, and training it the climb a nearby wall or trellis. When cared for properly, this beautiful plant should return each year.

Decide whether to plant in the ground or in a pot. Bougainvillea thrives in places that are hot and relatively dry. If you want to keep bougainvillea outdoors all year long, it's best to be in hardiness zone 9 or higher. If you're in a colder, wetter zone, you can still grow bougainvillea if you plant it in a pot and bring it indoors for the winter.

Bougainvillea do best when night temperature don't drop below 60 °F (16 °C) and daytime temperatures don't exceed 100 °F (38 °C). Bougainvillea can be wintered over in the basement or another low light area.


Find a sunny spot in your yard. Bougainvillea is a sun-lover and it will grow best in a full sun position, in the open. Front yard is best [facing south]

Choose a place with rich, well-drained soil. Bougainvillea won't do well in soil that retains too much water, so make sure the soil drains quite well. They need rich soil that is slightly acidic, with pH between 5.5 and 6.0. Add limestone to the soil to increase the pH or sulphur to decrease the pH as necessary. If you're planting the bougainvillea in a pot, choose a soil mix with the appropriate pH level.

Plant the bougainvillea. Dig a hole as deep as the bougainvillea plant's root ball. Add a high-phosphate fertilizer to the hole to promote root growth and help the flowers bloom. Lift the bougainvillea plant from its container and wet the root ball into the hole. Lightly pat the soil around the base of the plant.

If you want the bougainvillea to climb a trellis or wall, be sure to plant it near the structure. As it grows, you'll need to "train" it to climb the structure by wrapping it gently around the base. [Pole in front is ideal]

If you're planting the bougainvillea in a container, make sure to choose one with plenty of drainage holes, since bougainvillea hate to have "wet feet."

Water sparingly. Bougainvillea plants weaken with too much watering, ending up with all leaf growth in place of flowers. On the other hand, letting the soil dry out will cause the plant to get stressed out. Find a happy medium - water enough to keep the soil damp, but not so much that you leave the plant waterlogged.

Fertilize regularly. Feed the plant a fertilizer every few months to keep the flowers blooming. Fertilizing too frequently can cause the plant to grow quite vigorously, so if you find that it's getting too large, cut back on fertilizer.

Most bougainvillea gardeners go with a 1:1:1 or a 2:1:2 fertilizer for regular fertilizing, not the high-phosphate fertilizer used at planting. Organic or slow-release fertilizers work best. Be sure to fertilize at least once a year, at the beginning of spring, to help the season's growth get underway.

Bougainvillea plants are prolific growers and need good pruning to force blooming and retain a pretty shape. After the bougainvillea has finished blooming for the season, cut it back by a few inches. This will promote healthy growth in the spring.

Wear gloves when pruning bougainvillea. Some people can get a skin rash from pruning bougainvillea, similar to that from poison ivy.

Aggie advice Planting in the ground in San Antonio is not recommended because of the winter damage which will result, and the fact that our soils are too rich and we receive too much rain. In the ground, the plant will stay vegetative and bloom little.


FERTILIZATION: These vines are heavy feeders and respond best to almost constant feeding with 1/2 strength water soluble fertilizer, e.g., Peter's 20-20-20, Excel 21-5-20, Miracle Grow or Rapid Grow. With high light and constant feeding, the plants will bloom at least 11 months of the year. Straight hibiscus food has also been a very successful fertilizer.

WATERING: These plants flower best under stress. Keep the plant slightly on the dry side, and allow the plant to become root bound.

BEST VARIETIES: The blooms as we know them are not true flowers, but are 3 large papery bracts that encircle small, white, tubular inconspicuous flowers much like the poinsettia. Some of the best bougainvilleas to look for in your local garden centers are: golden yellow 'California Gold',, and its gold and green leaved variegated from 'Vickie', the dark pink flowers of 'Juanita Hatten', and its new mutation with green leaves spatter painted with gold. 'Barbara Karst' Bright red to bluish crimson in shade, blooms very young, likes heat. 'Sundown' Apricot color, vigorous, good bloomer, heavy feeder. 'Jamaica White' white, veined with green, bloom young, vigorous. 'Texas Dawn' smaller pink flowers, in huge clusters, vigorous, keep cut back. 'Double Pink' clear pink, vigorous, keep trimmed back, spent flowers must be cut off since double flowering types will not shed flowers in the typical fashion. 'Surprise' large, clear pink-white bi-color flowers, easy bloomer. Excellent!

GROWING IN CONTAINERS: Plants do best in large (5-10 gallon) clay containers if grown outdoors (clay containers tend to stay drier, thus stressing the plants) or in large handing baskets. The 10" basket is the commercial standard, but plants will do much better in 12" hanging baskets. Place the containers in full sun, or in a place where they will receive at least 1/2 day of full sun. If your bougainvillea is not blooming, it probably is not receiving enough sun or fertilizer. These plants thrive in the tropics in areas of low rainfall and intense sun and heat. Any well drained potting soil mix is suitable for growing Bougainvillea. Hatten's Nursery in Mobile, Alabama, world famous bougainvillea growers use a mix consisting of 4 parts of well rotted pine bark, 3 parts peat moss and 2 parts of coarse perlite. To about 5 gallons of this mix add 1/2 cup of Osmocote and 2 tablespoons of 19-5-9 slow release lawn fertilizer.


The Secrets Of Bougainvillea: Sharing All I Know About This Colorful Plant What They Need: Sun – They need at least 6 hours a day to produce all that color we love. Not enough sun = not enough bloom. Warm temps – they love heat. 1 or 2 nights of a light frost won’t harm them but anything more that could. The recommended USDA zones are 9B through 11. They’re better suited to drier climes – we don’t get rain here for 8 or 9 months out of the year. Well drained soil – they’re not too fussy about soil type but it must drain freely.

Planting: Bougs are tough as can be but are big babies when it comes to their roots. They don’t like to have them disturbed. You’ll have much better luck if you leave them in the grow pot when planting. I cut the rim off & make slits in the sides & bottom of the pot. Dig the hole twice as wide as deep & add in a good amount of loam (you don’t need this if your soil drains freely) & organic compost. Water it in very deeply. If you want it to grow against a wall or fence, then angle it that way.

Watering: 2 words – water deeply. Bougainvillea likes to be watered well & have it drain out. After established, they’re drought tolerant. My Bougainvillea glabra didn’t get any water for 9 months last year & it’s lookin’ great. Overwatering = no color (not to mention rot!).

Pruning / Trimming: They need it as they’re very vigorous growers. I give both of mine a harder pruning in mid-winter to set the shape I want them to be later on in the year. I do this when the evenings are starting to warm a bit. You don’t want to prune them if there’s any danger of frost on the horizon. I do a few lighter prunings, or trimmings, after each flowering cycle during the seasons to keep them in that shape. The flowering cycles tend to run every 2 months. Be sure to wear gloves – the majority of bougs have long thorns. Blood has been shed! They put out long, fleshy water shoots so be sure to prune those out – they mess up the shape. Bougainvilleas bloom on new wood. More pinching = more color.

Fertilizing: I’ve never fertilized mine & they bloom just how I want them to. There are lots of bougainvillea fertilizers on the market but the one that we recommended at the nursery was also for palms & hibiscus. I don’t do this either but they’d probably enjoy a good dose of organic compost or worm compost every year.


Training: Bougainvilleas don’t cling or attach themselves so you need to train them. As I noted above in “planting”, angle them towards whatever they’ll be growing on. They’re not hard to train but it does take a little effort. Without support, they just flop down & can become a sprawling low blob. On a wall – If you have a chain link fence, after a little initial guidance, it will attach itself. Otherwise, you’ll need to provide some guidance in the form of eye hooks & wire or something like that. On a trellis or arbor – Attach it with tie & train & prune it as it grows. The new growth is easily to bend. Hedge – just keep on pinching & pruning out all that soft growth. Not as much flowering though. As a tree – gradually started taking out the other stems to get it to 1 main truck. I did this with my Bougainvillea Barbara Karst.

In Containers: They do well. If it’s a larger growing variety, just make sure the pot is large too. It must have drain holes to enable the water to flow through. You will need to water them more often than when in the ground. A container enables you to wheel your bougainvilleas into a garage or covered porch (or a conservatory if you’re lucky) for a month or 2 if you’re borderline zone 9b.

See the nice video at the end.

How to keep bougainvilleas blooming |John Dromgoole |Central Texas Gardener


 


Snapdragon Vine

Scapdragon Vine [Maurandella antirrhiniflora] Snapdragon Vine , Roving sailor, Climbing snapdragon, Little snapdragon vine. Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Snapdragon vine is a delicate, herbaceous vine which usually reaches 3 ft. or more in length. Small, rose-purple flowers occur on slender pedicels from the axils of triangular, lobed leaves. also known as Roving sailor.

These vine, not a true snapdragon, is charming, attractive and well worth cultivating as a small, dense vine or even a groundcover with each plant covering about a 3 x3 area. It can be grown from seed and it will produce small, scrambling vines that die back to the ground each winter. The small flowers, produced in abundance, resemble what most people think of as garden snapdragon that grows on spikes.


Snapdragon Vine

Duration: Perennial Size Class: 3-6 ft. Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct Native Habitat: Found climbing on shrubs and hanging from bluffs in rocky, calcareous soils in the southern half of the Hill Country, in the south coastal region, through the Rio Grande Plains to the Trans-Pecos. Dunes, Hillsides, Slopes, Woodlands edge

Light Requirement: Part Shade Soil Description: Various well-drained soils, especially on limestone. Well-drained sand, loam, caliche, limestone. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay, Saline tolerant. Conditions Comments: Snapdragon vine is a diminutive climber suitable for small trellises and gates or for trailing down from a hanging basket. The flowers resemble miniature, individual snapdragon blossoms. It is fairly cold hardy in Central Texas, protect it north of Austin. The Buckeye butterfly eats snapdragon vine for larval food.


 


Goldenrod

Goldenrod [Solidago] Goldenrod is a perennial plant that is well-known for its healing properties. This wild edible is a plant that reproduces through its roots, bulbs, stems and by its seed. Goldenrod does not cause seasonal allergies as many tend to believe. No one is, no one can be, allergic to Goldenrod pollen. Why? For starters, it has virtually none and it is pollinated by insects. Only wind-pollinated plants such as Ragweed (which blooms at the same time as Goldenrod) can cause allergic reactions.

Currently, there are actually 140 varieties of Goldenrod; therefore it has a unique adeptness in crossbreeding with other plants. All varieties of Goldenrod all are equally nutritious and boast many health benefits... Nebraska declared a type of Goldenrod (Soldiago gigantea) the state flower in 1895.

Distinguishing Features: Long wood like stems with spiky tooth like parts which are widely-spaced, yellow flowers that grow in thick clusters.


Goldenrod flowers are usually bees last source of nectar before winter hits.

Goldenrod Care: Information And Tips For How To Grow Goldenrod Plants Goldenrods (Solidago) spring up en masse in the natural summer landscape. Topped with plumes of fluffy yellow flowers, goldenrod is sometimes considered a weed. Unknowing gardeners may find it a nuisance and wonder, “What is the plant goldenrod good for?” Goldenrod plants have multiple uses, from providing shelter to larvae of beneficial insects to attracting butterflies.

Goldenrod plants provide nectar for migrating butterflies and bees, encouraging them to remain in the area and pollinate your crops. Planting goldenrod near the vegetable garden can draw bad bugs away from valuable vegetables. Goldenrods attract beneficial insects as well, which may do away with damaging insects when they approach the food source offered by these plants. More than a hundred varieties of goldenrod exist, with one for every climate. Many are native to the United States. Goldenrod plants are clump-forming perennial wildflowers that exist on rainwater and add a golden beauty to the landscape.

More than a hundred varieties of goldenrod exist, with one for every climate. Many are native to the United States. Goldenrod plants are clump-forming perennial wildflowers that exist on rainwater and add a golden beauty to the landscape... All goldenrods are late bloomers, flowering in late summer throughout fall with stunning bright yellow flowers.

Growing and planting goldenrod is easy, as this plant will survive just about anywhere, though it does prefer to be grown in full sun. Goldenrod also tolerates various soil types as long as it’s well draining. Goldenrod care is minimal once established in the landscape, with plants returning each year. They require little, if any watering, and are drought tolerant. Clumps need division every four to five years. Cuttings may also be taken in spring and planted in the garden.

Goldenrod: This native plant should be kept out of the garden There, I’ve said it. I don’t care if goldenrod is a native plant; it is no longer welcome in my gardens. I tried to be understanding, truly, I did, but it just did not want to play nice with the other plants. It did not want to play at all: total garden bed domination was its only goal. And it just about succeeded


Goldenrod seedlings appear in mid-winter to early spring.

Goldenrod Abundance: plentiful
What: young leaves, flowers
How: tea and small addition to salads
Where: fields, borders
When: late summer, early fall
Nutritional Value: low

Goldenrod: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Goldenrod (or Solidago virgaurea) is not a bad guy. Grown and used for centuries as a medicinal herb, for a variety of ailments, goldenrod pollen is not the villain that people with allergies believe it is. Ragweed is the true culprit. Ragweed, which is blooming at the same time as goldenrod, depends on the wind to carry its pollen, whereas goldenrod is pollinated by bees.

There are well over 100 varieties of goldenrod due to its ability to crossbreed with other similar plants. The variety called Solidago is the subject of this information and can be purchased from any nursery that carries a good supply of herbal plants, or it can be harvested in the wild. Solidago goldenrod is easily identified. It has long stems that grow in clusters from a base on the ground with small, bright yellow flowers toward the tops.

If you find yourself needing an astringent or medicinal wash for bites, scrapes, and minor wounds then goldenrod is your “go to” herb. The leaves and flowers can be dropped into boiling water, then, after turning off the heat, leave the mixture sitting until cool enough to use. This application can also give relief to eczema, poison ivy, and insect bites. Just apply with a sterile piece of gauze or cotton ball several times a day. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator, covered for about a week. Many people prefer it over iodine based fluids due to allergies.


Young goldenrod plant. These the young leaves make a tasty tea.

There are pages of scientific research using goldenrod as a diuretic for kidney stones, bladder infections, and arthritis and also as a tea or gargle for colds, flu, sore throats and as a wound treatment. All above-ground parts of the plant can be used. Just remember that with all natural herbs caution should be used in case of allergic reactions or side effects. For those who are pregnant or have serious heart problems, always consult with your doctor before ingesting any herbal treatments

Canada goldenrod [Solidaga altissima] SIZE: 3-6 feet
LIGHT: Part shade, shade
SOIL: Clay, clay loam, medium loam, sandy loam, sandy, caliche
MOISTURE: Moist, dry
DURATION: Perennial
BLOOM COLOR: Yellow
BLOOM PERIOD: September-November
FAMILY: Asteraceae (Aster Family)
DESCRIPTION: Canada goldenrod, also called Tall goldenrod, is native to the San Antonio River basin. It can grow to six feet. This plant has a very feathery appearance as well as vibrant yellow flowers. Canada goldenrod can be found in a number of habitats including in roadsides, thickets, prairies and open woodlands. This plant is attractive to birds and butterflies as well as honey bees.

Canada Goldenrod [Solidago canadensis] Our native Goldenrods (about 100 species) are THE primary nectar source used by eastern Monarch butterflies on their southbound migration to Mexico in the fall. Long ignored because of the mistaken belief that they cause hayfever, they can be hard to find but please plant them! Canada goldenrod volunteers in many areas and spreads by rhyzomes, so it can be too aggressive for small gardens. In this case consider some of the other species that do not have rhyzomes. Combine any of them with with ironweed and asters for beautiful fall purple and gold--and loads of butterflies!

SA River Authority Canada goldenrod, also called Tall goldenrod, is native to the San Antonio River basin. It can grow to six feet. This plant has a very feathery appearance as well as vibrant yellow flowers. Canada goldenrod can be found in a number of habitats including in roadsides, thickets, prairies and open woodlands. This plant is attractive to birds and butterflies as well as honey bees.

Canada Goldenrod Alternate Names: Canadian goldenrod, meadow goldenrod, common goldenrod, giant goldenrod, tall goldenrod, shorthair goldenrod (S. canadensis var. gilvocanescens), Hager’s goldenrod (S. canadensis var. hargeri), rough goldenrod (S. canadensis var. salebrosa).

Uses: Pollinator habitat: Rangeland revegetation: Forage:

Ethnobotanical: The Iroquois made infusions and compounds with the flowers and roots of this plant and used them as emetics, sedatives, gambling medicine and to counteract love potions. The Okanagan-Colville made infusions of the flowers and roots to treat diarrhea, fevers, and the flu. The Potowatomi also made infusions of the flowers to treat certain fevers, and the Shuswap used the plant in baths for women giving birth. Zunis chewed crushed flowers to treat sore throats, and drank infusions of the flowers for body pain. People of the Gosiute tribe ate the seeds, and Navajo people ate the roots. The Navajo also smoked the root with other plants and used the plant as a charm for success in gambling.

Ornamental: Canada goldenrod is not typically planted in a landscaped setting due to its spreading rhizomatous growth. However, it may be possible to manage plants by planting in a pot submersed in the ground, or by removing new growth each year. Seed dispersal can be controlled by removing flower heads prior to seed ripening.

Information And Tips For How To Grow Goldenrod Plants Growing and planting goldenrod is easy, as this plant will survive just about anywhere, though it does prefer to be grown in full sun.

Goldenrod also tolerates various soil types as long as it’s well draining.

Goldenrod care is minimal once established in the landscape, with plants returning each year. They require little, if any watering, and are drought tolerant. Clumps need division every four to five years. Cuttings may also be taken in spring and planted in the garden.

Learning how to grow goldenrod offers many advantages. Bad bugs can be drawn to the plant and consumed by beneficial insects that hatch their young there. Planting goldenrod adds beauty and attracts butterflies to your

How to Plant and Grow Goldenrod Sow goldenrod seeds in cell packs or flats, press into soil and barely cover. Needs light to germinate. Kept at 70°F., germination is in 14-21 days. Transplant goldenrod seedlings into the garden 12-18 in. apart.

Full sun, part shade in hottest climates. Goldenrod flowers attract bees, butterflies and birds.

Bexar Cty. Master Gardeners The Master Gardener Program is a volunteer development program offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. It is designed to increase the availability of research based horticultural information. Ask questions.

New study: nectar plants more important than milkweed for Monarch butterfly migration But in the fall when the Monarchs are heading south, they don’t need milkweed since they enter their reproductive diapause–that is, a temporary stage in which they postpone sexual activities and save their energy to migrate to Mexico. At this point, they need water, ample nectar sources, trees or other protection at night for roosting, and connected habitats.

Milkweed, anything in the Asclepias family, is necessary in the early stages of the migration when the Monarchs are reproductive. But what about later in the game, when Monarchs are NOT reproductive? They require nectar to fuel their flight.


Monarch nectaring on Duranta at Texas Butterfly Ranch urban butterfly garden,
downtown San Antonio, November 2015. Photo by Monika Maeckle

In much of Texas, called “the most important state” to the migration by Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch and others, the fall garden trumps the abbreviated spring garden season. Temperatures climb into triple digits so early here that it’s challenging to grow many fruits, vegetables and flowers until the fall when things cool off. In such a context, and given the timing of the Monarchs arrival here in the fall, late season perennial blooming plants should be encouraged. We are well-suited to provide them.


Goldenrod, a favorite nectar source for Monarch butterflies during the fall migration,
awaits on the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country. Photo by Monika Maeckle

Need ideas? Try Goldenrod, Frostweed, Autumn sage, Late flowering boneset, Asters, Cowpen daisy in your fall garden if you want to help Monarchs. In my downtown San Antonio butterfly garden last year, Duranta, sometimes called Brazilian skyflower, was a big draw for Monarchs and other pollinators. It’s not native, but a well adapted flowering bush–and highly appropriate, fantastic plant.

Monarch Watch offers this super useful list of appropriate nectar plants by season.

The Xerces Society also has a guide for useful pollinator friendly plants.

Southwest Plateau & Plains Dry Steppe Distinguished by arid grasslands with low trees and shrubs growing mostly in open stands to vegetation with Mexican affinities and live oak forest.

Common species include needlegrass, buffalo grass, galleta grass, blue grama, sagebrush, mesquite, yucca, red cedar, Ashe juniper, ceniza, blackjack oak, acacia, cottonwood, and live oak.

Conversion to agriculture has altered the landscape by increasing erosion, pollution from agrochemicals, and invasion of non-native grasses and shrubs.

Pollinators are bees, butterflies, moths, flies, birds, bats, beetles, wind.

A clean, reliable source of water is essential to pollinators. Natural and human-made water features such as running water, pools, ponds, and small containers of water provide drinking and bathing opportunities for pollinators. • Ensure the water sources have a shallow or sloping side so the pollinators can easily approach the water without drowning.

Shelter: Pollinators need protection from severe weather and from predators as well as sites for nesting and roosting. • Incorporate different canopy layers in the landscape by planting trees, shrubs, and different-sized perennial plants. • Leave dead snags for nesting sites of bees, and other dead plants and leaf litter for shelter. • Build bee boxes to encourage solitary, non-aggressive bees to nest by butterflies during their larval development

Food: Flowers provide nectar (high in sugar and necessary amino acids) and pollen (high in protein) to pollinators. Fermenting fallen fruits also provide food for bees, beetles and butterflies. Specific plants, known as host plants, are eaten by the larvae of pollinators such as butterflies.

• Plant in groups to increase pollination efficiency. If a pollinator can visit the same type of flower over and over, it doesn’t have to relearn how to enter the flower and can transfer pollen to the same species, instead of squandering the pollen on unreceptive flowers.

• Plant with bloom season in mind, providing food from early spring to late fall. (see Bloom Periods pp.16-17)

• Plant a diversity of plants to support a variety of pollinators. Flowers of different color, fragrance, and season of bloom on plants of different heights will attract different pollinator species and provide pollen and nectar throughout the seasons.

• Many herbs and annuals, although not native, are very good for pollinators. Mint, oregano, garlic, chives, parsley and lavender are just a few herbs that can be planted. Old fashioned zinnias, cosmos, and single sunflowers support bees and butterflies.

• Recognize weeds that might be a good source of food. For example, dandelions provide nectar in the early spring before other flowers open. Plantain is alternate host for the Baltimore Checkerspot.

• Learn and utilize Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to address pest concerns. Minimize or eliminate the use of pesticides.

Home Landscapes: "A garden is only as rich and beautiful as the integral health of the system; pollinators are essential to the system - make your home their home.” -- Derry MacBride, garden club of America

Resist the urge to have a totally manicured lawn and garden. Leave bare ground for ground nesting bees. Leave areas of dead wood and leaf litter for other insects.

List of plants: pp. 16-20.

And the Pollinator Partnership offers plant guides for every region in the country.


Eco Regions Map

Pollinator Partnership

EcoRegions, Nat'l Wildlife Federation SAT is 315. Southwest Plateau and Plains Dry Steppe, designated number M315 in the Baileys’Ecosystem Provinces. .

Texas EcoRegions SAT is a meeting place for four eco regions: Post Oak Savannah, Blackland Prairie, South Texas Plains, Edwards Plateau


Texas Eco Regions


 


Ironweed

Vernonia is a genus of about 1000 species of forbs and shrubs in the family Asteraceae [Daisy family]. Some species are known as ironweed. Some species are edible and of economic value. They are known for having intense purple flowers. Wikipedia


Ironweed Varieties For Gardens – How To Grow Vernonia Ironweed Flowers Deep taproot. Great for butterflies. If drawing hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden is something that you wish to do, you must plant an ironweed plant. This sun-loving perennial is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8 and can grow between 2 and 8 feet depending on variety.

Fond of damp locations, this beautiful flower is often seen along the banks of marshes or small bodies of water. Some varieties are even drought tolerant.


Silver ironweed, west Texas cousin to native wooly ironweed Pretty, yes? This silver-leaved lovely with buttons of purple-pink flowers, growing in 4 or 5 inches of decomposed granite with no irrigation, has an interesting back story.

In April 2012 David Salman of High Country Gardens (since closed and reopened under American Meadows’ ownership) sent me a box of plants to trial here in Austin. Included were three silver ironweed (Vernonia lindheimeri var. leucophylla), a silvery subspecies of wooly ironweed (Vernonia lindheimeri), which is native to the Edwards Plateau of west-central Texas and the Hill Country.

I suggest planting it in lean, gravelly soil or decomposed granite, in full or half-day sun. Give it some protection from deer the first year to get it established. Water sparingly.


If Vernonia lindheimeri var. leucophylla proves too difficult to locate here in central Texas, try our native Vernonia instead: wooly ironweed (Vernonia lindheimeri), which Barton Springs Nursery just posted about on their Facebook page. They’re growing it at their wholesale location and now selling it in 4-inch containers. They hope to offer it in 1-gallons eventually.

Update 9/4/13: From David Salman at High Country Gardens, “an update on availability of silver ironweed (Vernonia lindheimeri var. leucophylla) through High Country Gardens; it will be available for spring 2014. I’ve got some beautiful seedlings going into our 5-inch deep pots this fall. They’ll be ready for shipping in mid-Feb. and March for TX customers. And it will be a regular in the future as I now have a good supply of seed.”


 


Impatiens x Hawkeri

Impatiens


impatiens (single blooms) are good warm to hot season hanging flowering plants for shade or early morning and filtered sun rest of the day (dappled light) May-Sept time period. They will take more direct sun in Spring and Fall.


Impatiens

Even though some impatiens species are perennial, impatiens are generally grown as annuals due to their inability to tolerate frost. Commonly encountered species include impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) and garden balsam, also called rose balsam (Impatiens balsamina).

How long can impatiens last? A: The flowers are long lasting, blooming in spring and staying bright until the first frost. Perennial impatiens can grow up to 2 feet in height and have a spread of 2 feet. While live plants are usually easy to find, they can also be started from seeds as early as 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost.

They are very sensitive to lack of water and will wilt quickly if they lack water. You can use impatiens flowers as bedding plants, border plants or in containers. They enjoy moist but well draining soil and partial to deep shade.

New Guinea impatiens grow best with about 4 to 6 hours of afternoon shade. In northern areas of the .S. and Canada, or where day temperatures are more moderate, the plants can tolerate full sun. Too much sun will produce plants with pale and burnt leaves and flowers that are small and hidden in the foliage.

How to Care for New Guinea Impatiens New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) produce much larger flowers than other impatiens. They’re prized by home gardeners for the colors of these blooms, which almost glow with vibrancy. New Guinea impatiens are named after their native island of New Guinea. Although their initial introduction to the United States in 1970 didn’t go well, plant breeders have since created new cultivars that have made New Guinea impatiens a popular potted and landscape plant in American gardens.

1 Plant indoor plants into pots that are at least one-and-a-half times the diameter of the pot in which they were purchased. For example, a plant 6 inches in diameter should be planted in a 9- or 10-inch pot.

2 Plant so that the roots are set at the same soil depth as in the original pot.

3 Use high quality commercial potting soil, not field or garden soil. Ideally, New Guinea impatiens should be planted in soil that is mostly coarse peat moss mixed with vermiculite and perlite. Do not use soils that have bark or wood chips.

4 Loosen the soil prior to planting in outdoor beds, and add 30 to 50 percent compost or peat moss to the soil to ensure your plant will have adequate drainage.

5 Place your plant in a location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. While New Guinea impatiens love sunlight for part of the day, they won’t bloom as well if they receive too much. They require about four to six hours of afternoon shade. Eastern exposures are often ideal.

6 Water indoor plants when the soil begins to dry. New Guinea impatiens prefer consistently moist soil. However, they cannot tolerate soil that is soggy or too dry. If the soil dries out completely between watering, your plant may wilt or lose flowers. A thorough drench once each week is usually enough for plants grown outdoors. Indoor plants may require more frequent watering.

7 Avoid watering overhead, and cut back watering when conditions remain moist or cool.

8 Apply a complete water-soluble fertilizer to potted plants every one to two weeks, or every third watering. Use the lowest recommended rate on the label, and if plants are dry, water thoroughly before fertilizing to avoid burning the roots.

9 Mix a complete slow-release fertilizer into the soil after planting outdoor plants. This is usually sufficient fertilization for New Guinea impatiens grown in landscape beds.

10 Pinch off old flowers and clean away all plant material from the soil. New Guinea impatiens shed their flowers naturally, but this can be messy. Pinching and cleaning helps maintain the plant’s appearance and prevents fungal infections and disease.

11 Trim overgrown and leggy plants to keep a compact, bushy shape. When cutting, trim the stems back to a leaf node and supply adequate water and fertilizer to ensure the plant recovers.

12 Water wilted plants immediately. New Guinea impatiens will often recover as soon as they receive enough water, but repeated wilting may result in reduced foliage and flowers.

13 Bring your plants indoors if temperatures are expected to drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. New Guinea impatiens do best with daytime temperatures of between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and nighttime temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Impatiens, New Guinea [Impatiens hawkeri] The gem-like flowers and foliage of New Guinea impatiens will transform shady spots in your landscape into a festival of color. These super-easy annual flowers can be used as eye-popping bedding plants or in container combinations. New Guinea impatiens grow 12 to 15 inches tall and besides their colorful flowers, many New Guinea impatiens also offer variegated foliage. Hummingbirds will also visit the flowers for a quick snack.

Plant New Guinea impatiens in a shady location with rich, well-drained soil. Use a commercial potting mix if you are growing New Guinea impatiens in containers. Keep the soil slightly moist at all times. New Guinea impatiens don't like sitting in water, but they wilt dramatically if allowed to dry out.

New Guinea Impatiens Care New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens x hawkeri) differ from the popular elfin (bedding-type) impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) in several ways. New Guinea impatiens are started from vegetative cuttings and are difficult to propagate from seed, while elfin impatiens are easily and most commonly grown from seed. Elfin impatiens have smaller, but more numerous flowers than New Guinea impatiens and are most commonly used in landscape bed plantings. New Guinea impatiens, while used in landscape beds, are also very popular as holiday potted plants and for large outdoor containers. Both types of impatiens require similar growing conditions, such as a good, well-drained soil, adequate moisture, and afternoon shade.

New Guinea Impatiens New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) is a fairly new type of impatiens that offers quite a few benefits over the traditional Elfin (L. walleriana ) variety. This good looking breed sports oversized, showy flowers and variegated leaves.


 


Elfin Impatiens wallerana "Busy Lizzies"

Impatiens Care New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens x hawkeri) differ from the popular elfin (bedding-type) impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) in several ways. New Guinea impatiens are started from vegetative cuttings and are difficult to propagate from seed, while elfin impatiens are easily and most commonly grown from seed. Elfin impatiens have smaller, but more numerous flowers than New Guinea impatiens and are most commonly used in landscape bed plantings. New Guinea impatiens, while used in landscape beds, are also very popular as holiday potted plants and for large outdoor containers. Both types of impatiens require similar growing conditions, such as a good, well-drained soil, adequate moisture, and afternoon shade.

impatiens (single blooms) are good warm to hot season hanging flowering plants for shade or early morning and filtered sun rest of the day (dappled light) May-Sept time period. They will take more direct sun in Spring and Fall.


Impatiens

HOW TO PLANT, GROW, AND CARE FOR IMPATIENS Impatiens is a beautiful annual that makes an excellent houseplant or summer bedding plant.

Impatiens is also known as “Busy Lizzie,” and its name is a Latin word that describes the way its seeds shoot out of its pods when ripe (the slightest touch can make a ripe impatiens seed pod burst open and scatter its seeds).

Impatiens like shade and moisture.

Plant impatiens transplants after the last spring frost [3/1].

Impatiens prefer humus-rich, moist, and well-drained soil.

Make sure the plants have some shelter from the wind.

The closer impatiens plants are, the taller they will grow, so space accordingly (impatiens plants can grown anywhere between 6 and 30 inches tall).

For flower beds, plant 8 to 12 inches apart so the plants will stay low to the ground.

You can mix in compost or a slow-release fertilizer before transplanting to help the plants.

If you have impatiens plants in containers, like window boxes, use a sterile or soil-less growing mixture to ensure better drainage for the plants.

The most important thing to remember about impatiens plants is to water them regularly. Keep them moist, but not too wet. If the plants dry out, they will lose their leaves. If you over-water the plants, this could encourage fungal diseases.

Remember container plants will need more water.

RECOMMENDED VARIETIES

Tom Thumb Series (Impatiens balsamina), which is a dwarf variety with large, double, brightly colored flowers.

Super Elfin Series (Impatiens walleriana), which is a spreading plant with a wide variety of pastel colors.

Swirl Series (Impatiens walleriana), which have pretty pink and orange flowers whose petals are outlined in red.

Taxonomy and Plant Type for Impatiens Flowers


 


Blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora)

Blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) If you're looking for a perennial with a long season of bloom, blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) is a great choice. The daisy-like flowers are produced from early summer to early fall in shades of orange, red and yellow, adding sizzle to the garden and attracting nectar-seeking butterflies


Produced above a clump of hairy, narrow, gray-green leaves, the blossoms of perennial blanket flower have petals that may be solid colored shades of yellow, wine red , orange or peach, or may be banded in combinations of red or orange with yellow. The petals of some are frilled, while others have a unique, tubular shape. Sizes range from 10-12 inch high dwarfs to selections as tall as 24-30 inches. All are easy care plants with few insect or disease problems and most are hardy in zones 3-9.

There is also an annual blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) that is easy to grow from seed. Start seeds early indoors 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost, transplanting to the garden when the weather has warmed. In warm-winter areas, sow seeds directly in late fall or very early spring. Varieties are available with single, double and semi-double flowers.


Besides attracting butterflies, blanket flowers can be grown in containers and the taller cultivars make nice cut flowers. Here are some popular cutivars of the perennial Gaillardia x grandiflora:

Gaillardia 'Ariziona Sun' This 8-10 inch high variety sports masses of bright orange-red blossoms tipped with yellow on a dwarf plant.

Gaillardia 'Fanfare' Unusual, trumpet-shaped petals of deep red tipped with yellow on a 14 inch high plant surround a burnt orange center.

Gaillardia 'Tokajer' With marmalade-orange flowers that shade subtly to peach at the tips, this 2 foot tall variety may need staking.

Gaillardia 'Burgundy' As its name suggests, this variety bears large, 3 inch wide wine-red blossoms on a 24-30 inch tall plant.

Gaillardia 'Oranges and Lemons' This variety offers softer colors than other blanket flowers, with peach-colored, yellow-tipped blossoms with gold central cones on a 2 foot tall plant. Hardy in zones 5-9.


Choosing a site to grow blanket flowers
Full sun and very well-drained soil are musts for blanket flowers to thrive. They prefer loose, sandy soil that isn't overly fertile with a pH near neutral or slightly alkaline. Established plants are quite drought tolerant.

Planting Instructions
Container grown plants can be set out throughout the growing season, but spring or fall planting is ideal. Space dwarf cultivars about a foot apart; taller varieties should be set about 18 inches apart. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.


Deadhead plants regularly to encourage more flowering. Blanket flowers are often relatively short-lived. Cutting back clumps to 6 inches in late summer often increases their chances of winter survival. You can also keep your plants vigorous by dividing them every 2-3 years in spring or early fall. Water newly set out or divided plants regularly until they become established. Blanket flowers have few insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids and leafhoppers that can spread a virus-like disease called aster yellows. Control insects with insecticidal soap, if needed, and destroy any plants that are stunted with flowers that remain green, as these are infected with aster yellows.


Blanket Flowers Care: How To Grow Blanket Flower Growing blanket flowers are an interesting and colorful addition to the flower bed or garden, offering long lasting blooms if deadheaded, a necessary part of the care of blanket flowers. A member of the Daisy family, flowers are similar to those of the familiar wildflower.

Great in containers.


 


Lobelia ["Cardinal Flower"]

Lobelia a genus of flowering plants comprising 415 species, with a subcosmopolitan distribution primarily in tropical to warm temperate regions of the world, a few species extending into cooler temperate regions

Lobelia Attractive, dark-green to reddish bronze leaves and showy, 3-5' spikes of brilliant red or blue flowers that bloom from late summer to early fall. Perennial lobelias are useful for difficult wet locations in full sun or partial shade.


Lobelia cardinalis

Top Shade-Loving Annuals Fuchsia. Balsam, Lobelia, Torenia, Oxalis, Impatiens, Coleus, Perilla, Browallia, Polka-Dot Plant, Sweet Potato Vine [groundcover], Viola, Beefsteak Plant

Lovely Lobelia: Annual or perennial? I‘ve been growing Lobelia, a striking deep blue flower with white eyes, for many years. And although they’d always start out looking wonderful, as the summer season progressed, they’d began to decline.

That got me to do some research on this difficult-to-grow annual and find out just what makes this plant happy.

Perusing some plant catalogs, I discovered it’s best either to buy some annual Lobelia erinus seeds and sow them in January or purchase fully grown plants at a local nursery. There also are perennial Lobelias to be found. In fact, Seaside Nature Park in Great Kills had a planting of Lobelia cardinalis, a tall, red perennial that we had been tending for years.

Growing annuals

Lobelia erinus [annual], about 6 inches tall and low-growing, and Lobelia cardinalis [perennial], at 36 inches tall, didn’t appear to be related at all. But they certainly are.

Lobelia is a genus of about 370 species of annuals, perennials (even some aquatics) and shrubs. They are all basically perennials, but some are treated as annuals. In their native habitat they may be found along riverbanks, wet meadows, marshes, woodlands, mountain slopes and deserts. They often have bright, tubular flowers with fivelobes. The upper two lobes often are erect and the lower 3 are fan-like. Since they originated from the tropics, many are not hardy in our area and these we tend to treat as annuals.


Lobelia cardinalis

The keys to growing Lobelia erinus primarily are that they must never be allowed to dry out and that they prefer cool weather, with night temperatures ranging between 50 to 70 degrees. Their half-inch small flowers, which may be blue, white or crimson, are at their peak from spring to early summer.

Lobelia erinus does not like hot, dry weather. They will grow best in a cool spot with partial shade. Before planting, add some organic matter or a controlled release fertilizer into the soil. By midsummer they will need to be rejuvenated by cutting them back by half their height, which also will help them become bushier. Reapply fertilizer and water them well.

With the hot July weather, plants may just stop blooming and some may even wither and die. During the most stressful days of summer, you can expect blooms to decrease, but the cooler nights of late summer should revive them. Deadhead any spent blooms to encourage more blooms and to keep the plant well groomed.


Lobelia erinus [annual]

Graceful blue lobelia erinus make for an eye-catching summertime display in window boxes or when used in borders

Growing perennials

Lobelia Cardinalis, the cardinal flower, however, seems to thrive in the warmth of midsummer. This native of eastern United States is a spiky, clump-forming perennial, reaching up to 4 feet tall with 1½-inch, brilliant flowers resembling a bird rising in flight. The intense flowers make an attractive accent to a garden. The native flower is a flaming scarlet, but hybrids are now available in white, salmon, and pink.

Although they prefer light to partial shade, they have been flowering at the Wildflower Garden at Seaside Nature Park for more than five years now in full sun. fertilize Lobelia cardinalis every two weeks from midsummer to fall, as they appreciate a rich, moist soil. Since this is a moisture-loving plant, it is suitable for a wet or boggy area. Generally flowering in July, Lobelia Cardinalis may be propagated by cuttings, seeds or division.

Lobelia Colorful lobelias are a wonderful choice for landscaping around ponds and streams -- anywhere the soil is consistently moist. In fact, lobelia even loves downright wet conditions, making it a top choice for bog gardens.

LIGHT: Part Sun, Sun. Attracts birds.

The cardinal wildflower plant is an American wildflower native to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. These Lobelia flowers are tall perennials that thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 1 through 10. Tall spikes of brilliant red, trumpet-shaped flowers rise above the dark green foliage.


Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia cardinalis Common Name: Cardinal Flower; Common Name (Alternative): Scarlet Lobelia

Native to much of North America, naturally occurring as far north as New Brunswick, south to Florida, and west to Texas. Brilliant fire red flower spikes stand atop distinctly upright plants from late summer through early fall. The leaves are green and lance-like. This species prefers a location in partial shade. Lobelia is an excellent border plant for moist locations and is a hummingbird magnet. It also attracts butterflies and swallowtails. Cardinal Flower Info – Growing And Caring For Cardinal Flowers Named for the vivid red color of a Roman Catholic cardinal’s robe, the cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) produces intense red blossoms at a time when many other perennials are declining in the summer heat. This plant is an excellent choice for naturalizing and wildflower meadows, but you’ll also enjoy growing cardinal flowers in perennial borders.


Lobelia cardinalis

The cardinal wildflower plant is an American wildflower native to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. These Lobelia flowers are tall perennials that thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 1 through 10. Tall spikes of brilliant red, trumpet-shaped flowers rise above the dark green foliage. Growing cardinal flowers bloom during summer and sometimes into fall.


 


Hanging Baskets

What are good plants for hanging baskets? 8a TX Almost hate to open this bag of worms, but I want to do several hanging baskets that will be able to take the good ole TX heat. What have you found that blooms well through the summer? I want to try some Tidal Wave petunias, scavola (sp), lg leaf ice plant, variagated ivy. Would geraniums get too large? Where can I find the trailing or vine type geraniums? Also give me ideas for blooms from summer until late fall.


Portulaca oleracea (purslane)

Have you tried purslane (sic)? I had one that trailed and bloomed all summer long one year.

Petunias don't do well once it gets hot. Consider them a Spring plant so if you want to redo or pull them out of your hanging basket, they can be used early in the season. Hanging baskets are beautiful but they dry out terribly fast in the heat. Guess that is the can of worms. If shade, I highly recommend Dragon Wing Begonias -they do beautifully. They come in red or pink.


Petunia Surfinia

Ivy geraniums(trailing) don't like the heat of summer so would consider it more a cool to warm season bloomer but not a great summer bloomer. The iceplants, purslane, bouganvillea, are all great sun hot season hanging flowering plants. Begonia semprivrens(sic?)(green leaf type) and


Ivy Geranium [trailing]

impatiens (single blooms) are good warm to hot season hanging flowering plants for shade or early morning and filtered sun rest of the day (dappled light) May-Sept time period. They will take more direct sun in Spring and Fall.


Impatiens

I find the Laura Bush petunia up for the heat of summer but gets large so a bigger 12-14 inch hanging basket is best. Still blooms best other than August but is a good year round plant that has come back and performed well for me the last two years running. Blooms from April-Nov, evergreen thus far this year returned from seed last year.

The variegated ivy will need dappled light in the morning starting in May and protection from most if not all of the afternoon sun from May on til fall.


Variegated Ivy

Scaveola appreciates a break from the harshest part of the day sun 2pm til almost sunset dappled during this time is fine (same as ivy time period).


Scaveola

Not a flowering plant, but I had a wandering jew last summer that was gorgeous. Didn't take a lot to keep it nice and healthy.


Wandering Jew

Asparagus fern. It stays green all year long and have nice red berries during fall and winter.


Asparagus Fern

Have you considered the perriwinkles that hang down the sides of hanging baskets? They aren't usually available in nurseries until it gets hot, but I've grown them from seeds before. They just get thicker and more beautiful throughout the summer, take the sun and are happy as long as they aren't killed by fungus. Fortunately, that is far less likely to happen in hanging baskets.


Perriwinkles - Cora® Cascade™ Magenta Vinca

You should try moss rose/ portulaca, it loves the heat and blooms like mad. They are some of my fav.s I always, have some hanging over the side of a large planter!

I had a black heart sweet potatoe in a hanging basket that huge and lush looking all year. Most of my other things I had to move more into the shade or they didn't do very well.


Black Heart Sweet Potatoes - Sweet Potatoes

One other thing I had spilling out of a large cast iron pot in full sun was calibrachoa Million Bells. Those things bloomed like crazy all year and may survive the winter outside. I thought they were annual but they are still alive and even have some green leaves coming out after this warm spell. I will be so happy if they live and bloom again. They did so much better in the heat than my petunias.


Calibrachoa [petunia] Million Bells

The small sedums make neat looking baskets. A friend of mine plasts the little groundcover sedum in a basket and before mid-summer, it looks like a big ball of sedum hanging there. Also, it can dry out and still look good, but like all hanging baskets, should be watered. She says she only waters her sedum baskets about three times a week and if she misses a watering, no big deal since they're tough little plants.


Sedums [Senecio rowleyanus - unknown combo]

Spider plants are a possibility. Will have to bring in in winter.


Spider plants [Golden Horeshoe - common]

Cool Weather Flowers

ANNUAL flowers for SAT

WInter Annual Flowers

Wild Seed Farms [Fredericksburg near SAT]


California Poppies


Zinnias


Comment

Sow wildflowers now--Sep.--for spring blooms do not cover the seed.

WILDFLOWERS: NOW IS THE TIME! Oct

SAWS Wildflowers--Planting the seeds for a beautiful spring. Fall By Dr. Jerry Parsons

Plant flowers now and enjoy color all summer - March zinnias, cosmos, Purslane, coleus.

Cosmos If you are growing cosmos from seeds, be mindful that it takes about 7 weeks to first bloom. After that, though, your flowers should continue to bloom until the next frost.

Zinnias, Fred. Zinnias are an excellent species to plant in late spring, usually providing mid summer color until first frost. Please plant zinnias in early spring when all danger of frost has passed. Sequential plantings every 2-4 weeks will provide continuous color and bouquets. Zinnias prefer well-drained soil in full sun. To reduce diseases, plant in areas that have good air circulation.


 


Geraniums

Geraniums–How to Grow & Propagate Geraniums are usually classified as a ‘short-lived perennial,’ which means they typically live for more than a single year but these two varieties may merit a “perennial” classification in South Texas since they do well in summer and winter.

You can use these geraniums in beds and borders. A wide range of colors is available to complement virtually any color scheme you desire. In southern California (and now maybe in South Texas!), geraniums are used as a colorful groundcover on slopes and lawns. They are excellent in containers of all types: from small pots, large tubs, window boxes, and they combine well with other plants, such as petunias and ivies. Geraniums are one of your best bets for use in hanging baskets.

Common Geranium, Garden Geranium, Zonal Geranium

Scientific Name: Pelargonium hortorum as per L.H. Bailey

Family: Geraniaceae

Common Geranium, Garden Geranium, Zonal Geranium (Pelargonium hortorum) (P. x domesticum, largely derived from P. cucullatum, P. angulosum, and P. grandiflorum) have large pansy like flowers, few to the cluster.

Zonal, house, or bedding geraniums (P. x hortorum, a complex hybrid largely derived from P. inguinans and P. zonale) are the familiar forms in garden culture and in pots indoors. These species were introduced in Europe in the early 18th century and hybridizers have been busy creating stunning new varieties ever since.

Frost Tolerance: Hardy in San Antonio.

Heat Tolerance: Better considered as a cool season annual in San Antonio UNLESS ‘Strawberry Sizzle’ and ‘Violet’ varieties are used.

Sun Exposure: Light shade in summer in San Antonio UNLESS ‘Strawberry Sizzle’ and ‘Violet’ varieties are used then they can be planted in full sun

Origin: South Africa

Growth Habits: Shrubby perennials generally grown as tender annuals, up to three feet tall (45 cm)

Plant in ordinary well-drained soil. Plants grown in containers like to be root bound. Over-fertilization may result in excessive foliage and few flowers. When fertilizing, use Osmocote Slow-Release Fertilizer pellets for containers and use a NON-weed-and-feed Slow-release fertilizer such as 19-5-9 for beds or a 4-2-3 organic analysis.

Moisture: Keep soil moist during hot weather. Allow to dry between waterings during cool periods. Constantly wetting the soil will quickly rot roots. Treat with Turficide, a fungicide that contains terrachlor, if rot occurs. Use Daconil Fungicide for foliage disease if spots appear on the leaves.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 – 10. The geranium hybrids are tender perennials. They are grown as annuals in cooler zones. Plants can be dug and potted and brought inside for the winter. Some gardeners prefer to dig the plants and remove all of the soil from the roots. The roots are wrapped in newspaper and the plants placed in a cool dry place until spring.

Propagation: Geraniums can be grown from cuttings. For more information about how to propagate geraniums from cuttings, visit this website for further information: http://elkhorn.unl.edu/epublic/live/g190/build/#propagation.

To propagate geraniums from cuttings, first select containers three to four inches deep and fill them with moist (not overly wet) planting medium. Satisfactory rooting media include coarse sand, perlite, vermiculite or a mixture of these. Sterile commercial mixes are also available. Cut off shoot tips three to five inches in length and remove the leaves on the lower part of the stem. The use of a rooting hormone is recommended to stimulate the rooting process. This product is available at most garden centers. Dip the bottom one-half inch of each cutting in the rooting medium. Insert the cuttings to a depth of one and one-fourth inches to one and one-half inches. Firm the medium around the cuttings.

Avoid crowding the cuttings so there will be some air movement to help prevent disease. Cover the container with a plastic bag. This helps prevent excessive moisture loss, decreases wilting and increases rooting potential. Place the container in a warm location that receives bright, but indirect sun. Avoid excessive heat buildup in the bag by occasionally opening the top.

Check the moistness of the rooting medium every week. If properly chosen and prepared, it will usually stay fairly moist for several weeks before additional water is needed.

To determine when the cuttings have rooted, gently tug on the stem. If it resists being pulled from the rooting medium, roots have probably developed to a length of one-half inch to one inch, and the cuttings can be planted in small individual containers. Fill these containers with a coarse, well-drained growing mix, and pot the cuttings at the same depth as the original rooting medium. Gradually move the plants into more direct light and continue to water. Fertilization will not be needed until the cuttings show new top growth.

Grow Geraniums From Seed IF you're a gardener looking for hope in the middle of an icy January day, there's no better balm than a geranium seedling. The tiny leaves have the characteristic rounded shape, with contrasting bands of maroon. Aw, shucks they're cute! But the power--the thing that tells you spring is coming and gives you hope – is in the smell, that one-of-a-kind geranium fragrance. Even in the dead of winter, those tiny leaves smell like summer on the porch.

Many gardeners know about starting geraniums from cuttings. It's a great way to share treasured plants, and it feels thrifty. And gardeners love things that are thrifty. But if you start plants from seed, you get to choose from a range of colors: bright red, scarlet, bicolors, orange-salmon, coral, pink, white and lavender. And instead of feeling thrifty, you feel clever.

"There is no trick to growing geraniums from seed," says Valerie Ryan, who grows dozens of seedlings each year. "Patience and care is all that is needed." She usually grows 40 seedlings at home, but this year, she's planted another 200 that grow under lights in our Burlington, VT, call center, where she works.

Place one tiny seed in each pot and cover with a thin layer of moistened soil — just enough to cover the seed. Cover the pots with a piece of plastic wrap or — if you're using a seed-starter — put the clear cover on top.

Place the whole setup in a place that's warm, with bright, indirect light. Geranium seeds germinate best at 75 degrees F., so consider putting them on top of a refrigerator or using a Heat Mat. If the soil surface gets dry, use a mister to moisten it with water.

Watch for germination, which can take as few as three days or as long as four weeks. As soon as you see the first shoots of green, remove the covering and moisten the soil if it looks dry.

Move the tiny plants to a place that gets bright light, with temperatures in the 70s during the day and no lower than 60 degrees F. at night.

Begin fertilization at this stage: once a week with liquid fertilizer that's mixed at half strength.

When the plants have three sets of leaves, transplant them to a 4" pot.

When frost-free weather arrives, it's time to "harden off" the seedlings. Hardening off is simply acclimating plants to outdoor conditions. Seedlings grown indoors have been coddled — you've been giving them just the right amount of light, moisture and nutrients. Outdoor conditions are more challenging, with fluctuating temperatures and light levels, more variable soil moisture and wind. About a week before you plan to set the seedlings into the garden, start hardening them off. Place them in a protected spot outdoors (partly shaded, out of the wind) for a few hours, bringing them in at night. Gradually, over the course of a week to 10 days, expose them to more and more sunshine and wind.

Geranium Seeds

The Seed Guy heirloom veg. & Herbs

Sheffield's Seed Co.

WOAI 1200 Lawn and Garden Show

Geraniums at Burpee plants & seeds


 


Cleome, Spider Flower

Cleome Spider Flower – How To Grow Cleome Growing cleomes (Cleomes spp.) is a simple and rewarding garden adventure. Planting cleomes is often necessary only once, as this attractive annual flower re-seeds prolifically and returns year after year. Seed pods may be removed before bursting for use in planting cleomes in other areas of the flower bed and garden.

Growing cleomes is most easily done by planting seeds in the chosen location. Most any location is appropriate as cleomes will grow and produce the cleome “spider” flower in full sun to part shade locations and do not need any particular type of soil, other than well draining.

Seeds may be started inside; however, a complicated schedule of lighting, temperature fluctuation and bottom heat is required for indoor germination and is usually not worth the effort of the regular gardener. Be aware as well that older cleome plant cultivars are sometimes difficult to transplant and may wither away, never to return if you try transplanting them.

Planting cleomes from seed usually results in a vigorous display of the tall, fragrant cleome spider flower. Newer cultivars, some in dwarf varieties of the cleome plant, have no fragrance and do not produce next year’s flowers as seeds are sterile. Older varieties of the cleome plant are useful as background plants for shorter, sun loving flowers and as stand alone specimens when planting cleomes in masses.

The cleome spider flower, sometimes called spider leg or spider flower, is so named for its tall, leggy appearance and the shape of its leaves. Flowers of the cleome plant are intricate, large and showy. They may be bi-colored in pink or lilac colors with white or they may be only one of these colors.

Flowers of the cleome plant bloom in summer and may last until frost occurs. Once established, they are drought tolerant and hold up well during summer’s scorching heat. Deadheading of spent flowers encourages longer bloom time.

Planting cleomes in the vegetable garden helps attract beneficial insects and may deter some of the bad bugs which damage crops. Now that you’ve learned how to grow cleomes, you may find them a welcome addition to your garden or flower bed.

Growing the Cleome Flower; Spider Flowers Add Height to the Annual Garden add this plant to your list of easy-care favorites.

Spider flowers don’t emit a noticeable fragrance, but hummingbirds and butterflies didn’t get the memo, because they are drawn to these flowers all summer long. An additional unusual, but welcome visitor to these flower clusters is the hummingbird moth, which looks so much like a hummingbird as it darts about at twilight you’ll do a double-take.

A member of the Capparaceae family, the genus Cleome is often referred to by the common names of spider flower, rocky mountain bee plant, and stinking clover. As an annual you can grow this in all climates; the tropical plant is perennial only in zones 10 and 11.

Cleome flowers are easy to start in the garden from seed.

Perhaps too easy, as the plants can self-seed to the point of being a nuisance. The seeds need light to germinate, so you can just sprinkle them in the garden after the danger of frost is past, and look for seedlings after 10 days. Alternatively, sow them in the autumn, and they’ll germinate when conditions are just right in your area.

If you do allow the plants to self-seed, thin the newly emerging seedlings to allow at least 18 inches between plants. This improves the vigor of individual plants, encouraging the most blossoms from each plant.

Cleome flowers grow best in full sun, as shady conditions can make them grow so tall as to topple over. If you start with transplants, you’ll see blossoms from early summer until first frost. Gardeners growing cleome flowers from seed usually see their first flowers in mid to late June, depending on the climate.

How to Grow: Cleome


 


Coreopsis, Tickseed

Growing and Using Coreopsis in the Flower Garden Coreopsis are native American prairie and woodland plants. Their ruggedness and profuse blooms have made them popular with plant breeders and there are over 100 different species available, although not all are perennial plants. Low maintenance, drought tolerant and long blooming, Coreopsis are workhorses in a sunny flower border. Their common name, "tickseed," is supposedly for the seeds' resemblance to ticks.

That doesn't stop the birds from devouring them if you leave the seed heads on during the winter. Goldfinches, in particular, enjoy Coreopsis seeds.

Most Coreopsis ?are clump forming, holding their daisy-like flowers on tall stems, above the foliage. There the similarity ends. There is a good amount of variety among Coreopsis species.

C. grandiflora has bright yellow flowers on tall stems that bloom all summer. C. rosea has finely textured leaves with pink daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. The increasingly popular C. verticillata is called the thread leaf coreopsis because of its extremely fine and ferny leaves. The flowers are also delicate and profuse. A red C. verticillata has recently been introduced.

Plant size will vary with species, age, and growing conditions, but most correopsis grow somewhere between 10--18 inches tall with a spread of about 12--24 inches. They tend to grow in clumps, but many varieties will self-sow throughout your garden.

Coreopsis will bloom best in full sun, but it can also be successfully grown in partial shade. The plants may get a bit lankier in partial shade, but they will adapt. In areas with intense dry, heat, coreopsis may even prefer some afternoon shade.

Most varieties will start blooming in early summer and repeat bloom periodically through to fall. Deadheading the spent flowers will encourage more blooms.

Coreopsis work well in any type of border. Because of their long bloom time, they make great fillers. Coreopsis grandiflora has a strong tendency to self-seed and makes a great choice for? cottage type gardens. They pair well with other prairie flowers, like coneflowers and Gaillardia. They also make excellent cut flowers.

The thread-leaf varieties soften both bold leaved plants and hard edges and add airy movement to gardens, but they tend to be short-lived.

The yellows blend beautifully with the purples and blues of iris, liatris and salvia 'Victoria'.

Most coreopsis varieties are very easy to grow and are not particular about soil quality or soil pH. Many can be grown from seed, either started indoors, 4-6 weeks before your last expected frost, or direct seeded outdoors. As mentioned, many will seed themselves; however, the hybrid varieties do not grow true to seed.

Coreopsis will need regular water when first planted until they are established. After that, they are quite drought tolerant.

Deadheading will keep the plants blooming throughout the summer. Some of the smaller flowered varieties are difficult to deadhead and you may prefer to shear the plants, once the first flush of flowers fade. They will fill in quickly.

Although they are rugged plants, they don't tend to live more than 3 to 5 years. A decrease in flowering is a signal it is time to divide the plants or plant some new ones from seed.


 


Petunias

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

In other climates, petunias are planted for summer color. In Central and South Texas, they perform best as a cool weather seasonal annual flower. Petunias planted now [Sep] will bloom until late December or until a spell of freezing temperatures. A few selections such as Laura Bush, Wave, and Carpet often live through the winter and bloom again in March through April.

SAT Annuals Half-hardy annuals, like petunias, that are best started indoors in boxes and then transplanted when weather is settled (usually early April in San Antonio).

Laura Bush Petunia


 


Snapdragons

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

Snapdragons are available in purple, red, pink, white, yellow, salmon and some bicolors. Selections range in size from the carpet selections which reach 6 inches to the rocket sizes of 36 inches tall. Use the carpet selections for borders and the medium and tall selections in rows or massed plantings. The tallest snapdragons such as “rocket” are spectacular, but sometimes will be wind damaged unless they are planted in relatively sheltered areas. A good strategy is to plant one plant in a five-gallon container supported by a tomato cage.

Planting time: October through January..


 


Stocks

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

Stocks also make good cut flowers. The colors are not as intense as snapdragons. They are shorter plants with the flowers somewhat hidden by the foliage. Look for the taller varieties for the most attractive show. The favorite selections in the nursery trade are dwarf plants measuring 8 to 10 inches tall. Stocks have some of the best fragrances in the flower garden.


 


Calendulas

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

If your goal is to warm up the winter garden, consider a butterfly favorite, calendula. They have silver dollar size sunflower-like in shades of yellow or orange. Plants are 10 to 12 inch in height.

Planting time: October through January..


 


Dianthus

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

Dianthus is another butterfly favorite. They are also called “pinks.” The blooms are quarter size in variations of pink, white and lavender. Many are bi-colored. Dianthus are the most drought and heat tolerant of the winter annuals. If they are cut back in March, they will often continue blooming through May. Use dianthus in borders or massed plantings. They look good in containers.


 


Pansies

SAT Annuals Pansies and violas while perfectly hardy must be started in August in flats or pots and transplanted later when weather is cool. Ants will carry off the seed so dust with chlordane. Unless special variety is desired it is best to leave the growing of these to your favorite nurseryman.

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

Pansies are the best flower for winter gardens in Central and South Texas.If you have at least 6 hours of sun reaching the flower bed, they will perform admirably. There are two main types of pansies: clear-faced and monkey-faced. The monkey-faced varieties have a dark blotch in the middle of the face. Pansies are available in blue, yellow, brown, white, maroon, and orange.

A raised bed is the best place to grow pansies. Native soil works if you enrich it with 2 inches of compost incorporated to 6 inches deep. Add one cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer and spread over 50 square feet of the bed. It does not have to be incorporated into the soil. Plant pansies about one foot apart in the garden. They will have to be watered every day for five days and ever other day for a week. After that, water twice a week or whenever the soil dries to a depth of 1 inch deep. Two inches of mulch helps conserve water and improves pansy performance. Deer love pansies so don’t plant them where the pests can reach them. Slugs, snails, and pill bugs also eat pansies. To control them, apply slug and snail bait every two weeks. Your pansies will bloom all winter long, and often last until the end of April.

So to review, use pansies for a low-growing blooming plant in full sun this winter. They are very cold tolerant and easy to grow in San Antonio. Use primula in deep shade for a pansy-like bloom. If you are up for a challenge, seed sweet peas to grow on your tomato cage or other trellis.


 


Primulas

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

Primulas are also called primrose. They are one of the few blooming plants for use in deep shade. Like pansies and sweet peas, primulas requires cool weather to prosper. They have a growth habit that resembles pansies. The colors of the blooms are more intense than pansies. There is nothing subtle about their color; they make me think of the colors that clowns used to paint their faces at the circus. The leaves are crinkled and lay close to the ground. Slugs and snails like primulas better than pansies. Do not plant them unless you are willing to apply snail and slug bait immediately.

So to review, use pansies for a low-growing blooming plant in full sun this winter. They are very cold tolerant and easy to grow in San Antonio. Use primula in deep shade for a pansy-like bloom. If you are up for a challenge, seed sweet peas to grow on your tomato cage or other trellis.


 


Sweet Peas

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

All of the flowers described so far are easy to grow, however sweet peas are more difficult. The bloom colors are as diverse and intense as snapdragons. The fragrance is different from stocks, but nearly as pleasing and they make wonderful cut flowers. The best sweet pea selections are vines that do well on trellises. Some bush varieties are available. What makes sweet peas hard to grow is that they are sensitive to extreme cold and heat. They do best in climates with moderate temperatures between 40º F and 70º F. In our climate, you have to reseed several times in a typical winter before the plants live long enough to bloom.

Sweet peas are planted by seed. During some winters in San Antonio, we have had to plant and replant them several times November through February in order to establish a stand. The problem with sweet peas is that they not only do not like hot weather, but they cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. They prosper in cool weather without extremes in either direction. If you wonder why anyone would bother, there are at least two reasons: the beauty and the fragrance of the blooms. Sweet peas produce a color range from the most delicate pastels through the most intense primary colors. Pink, red, yellow, white, and blue are the most common colors. The fragrance is distinctive and sweet. You can enjoy the fragrance by being near the sweet pea bed or if you use the blooms as cut flowers. Sweet peas are long-lived cut flowers.

There are some bush sweet peas, but the most impressive varieties are vines. The vines require a trellis. Tomato cages work well, but if you make a tepee lean-to or an upright structure, the bloom display is even more impressive. Plant the seeds right now at the base of your tomato cages. When the weather cools enough that the tomatoes quit producing, the sweet peas will grow over the cages.

It is very important that the sweet peas be mulched, because the roots are shallow and do not tolerate drying out. Two inches of a rich organic compost work well as mulch for sweet peas.


 


Cyclamen

Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape The best cool weather flowers for your garden are petunias, snapdragons, stocks, calendula, dianthus, alyssum, pansies, primula, sweet peas, and cyclamen.

All of the winter annuals except primula and cyclamen do best in raised beds, in full sun. If you do not have a raised bed, enrich the native soil with 2 or 3 inches of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of soil.

Last but not least, consider planting cyclamen. Cyclamen has a leaf that is lush as spinach and it also should be planted in November, but that is where the similarity ends. Cyclamen is an all-star winter blooming plant for the shade. You won’t eat it, but you will admire cyclamen. The blooms are red, white, pink, or maroon. The flowers stand above the attractive 3-inch heart-shaped leaves on stalks that reach about 1-foot tall. Unless the weather gets extremely cold, cyclamen will have blooms every day, all winter, until April. Use cyclamen as specimen plants or massed as a single color or in a combination of white and any of the other colors.

Cyclamen are not inexpensive plants. Cyclamen are available in 4-inch containers on up. The larger the plant, of course, the more they cost. Four-inch plants may cost $5. They are very beautiful and worth the investment, but the key to reducing costs is to over-summer a portion of your plants. Cyclamen does not like heat so the task is not always easy.

Some gardeners remove the bulb structure from the garden in late April or early May to store in a paper sack in an air-conditioned room in the house. Also, try leaving the plants in a container and storing them in the house without watering them. The most effective tactic so far has been to grow the cyclamen in containers sunk in the flower bed all winter. In the the summer, plant them around caladiums or other shade-loving plants. It also works to store the containerized plants in a shady corner of the yard where they can be watered once every two weeks. Replant the survivors in the flower bed, and be generous with the time-released fertilizer incorporated in the soil at the time of planting. The new plants you purchase are in full bloom and pumped up with nutrients, so your over-summered plants will require some special attention to catch up.

Many of us have grown cyclamen as a houseplant. Cyclamen will live a number of years and bloom almost continuously if they are watered faithfully when the soil surface dries to half an inch, is fertilized every three or four weeks with soluble fertilizer, and placed in a window with morning sun. In the air-conditioned house cyclamen is much more tolerant of light than they are outside. In the late fall through early spring, cyclamen do best with dappled sun for a few hours each day.


 


California poppy

SAT AnnualsPlanting time: October through January.. California poppy


 


Flax

SAT AnnualsPlanting time: October through January.. Flax (Linum, all colors, perennial but may be treated as annual)


 


Gaillardia

SAT AnnualsPlanting time: October through January.. Gaillardia


 


Globe Amaranth (Bachelor's Button)

SAT AnnualsPlanting time: October through January.. Globe Amaranth (Bachelor's Button)


 


Poppies (All types, except Oriental)

SAT AnnualsPlanting time: October through January.. Poppies (All types, except Oriental)


 


Salvia

SAT Annuals Half-hardy annuals, like salvia, that are best started indoors in boxes and then transplanted when weather is settled (usually early April in San Antonio).

Salvia... Perennials Which plant group is the backbone of the summer garden, delivering colour, fragrance and attracting the attention of beneficial wildlife and humans alike? The answer is perennials, that wonderful family of herbaceous plants that launch into life every spring.


Salvias attract wildlife

Some Salvias are great for attracting beneficial wildlife, including butterflies and bees. This will give a boost to the overall health of both your garden and the surrounding environment – so what are you waiting for? Like most perennials, Salvias are easy to look after. Some are fully hardy across the UK, but others are less so and in certain areas may be better looked on as annuals. Your local garden centre will be delighted to help with advice.

Sorts of Salvias

Here are some suggestions: Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ – a wonderful perennial reaching about 75cm in height, bearing violet to purple flowers, fully hardy; Salvia officinalis – a foliage plant with culinary uses, evergreen and hardy, up to 80cm high; Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’ – great for a summer show of red flowers (tender). The closely related ‘Lady in White’ bears white flowers.

Salvia patens ‘Cambridge Blue is frost hardy (safe down to -5oC’) and produces very elegant, pale blue flowers. Salvia pratensis is a clump-forming perennial with a woody base. Up to 90cm in height and bearing flowers of violet, though in some case may be pink or white. Hardy.


Salvia's maintenance Salvias are a sun-loving plant, so grow in either full sun or dappled shade. Soils need to be well-drained and moderately fertile. Remove flowers once they have ‘gone over’ (dead heading) and trim in late spring any shoots that spoil symmetry.

Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with nearly 1000 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. Within the Lamiaceae, Salvia is part of the tribe Mentheae within the subfamily Nepetoideae. Wikipedia


 


Torenia

SAT Annuals Half-hardy annuals, like torenia, that are best started indoors in boxes and then transplanted when weather is settled (usually early April in San Antonio).

Torenia (Wishbone flower), one of the best annuals for shade.


 


Amaranthus, including Cockscomb, Princess Feather, Molten Fire.

SAT Annuals Tender annuals will be damaged by the lightest frost or strong winds and should generally be planted after the first of April. If started indoors do not begin too early or the plants will be leggy before the weather is suitable outside.


 


Balsam (Lady's Slipper)

SAT Annuals Tender annuals will be damaged by the lightest frost or strong winds and should generally be planted after the first of April. If started indoors do not begin too early or the plants will be leggy before the weather is suitable outside.


 


Cardinal Climber

SAT Annuals Tender annuals will be damaged by the lightest frost or strong winds and should generally be planted after the first of April. If started indoors do not begin too early or the plants will be leggy before the weather is suitable outside.


 


Coleus

SAT Annuals Tender annuals will be damaged by the lightest frost or strong winds and should generally be planted after the first of April. If started indoors do not begin too early or the plants will be leggy before the weather is suitable outside.


 


Moonflower Vine

SAT Annuals Tender annuals will be damaged by the lightest frost or strong winds and should generally be planted after the first of April. If started indoors do not begin too early or the plants will be leggy before the weather is suitable outside.


 


Morning Glories

SAT Annuals Tender annuals will be damaged by the lightest frost or strong winds and should generally be planted after the first of April. If started indoors do not begin too early or the plants will be leggy before the weather is suitable outside.


Blue enchantment dwarf morning glory

HOW TO PLANT, GROW, AND CARE FOR MORNING GLORIES BOTANICAL NAME: Ipomoea,
PLANT TYPE: Flower,
SUN EXPOSURE: Full Sun,
SOIL TYPE: AnyLoamySandy,
FLOWER COLOR: BluePinkPurpleRedWhite
BLOOM TIME: SummerFall
SPECIAL FEATURES: Attracts Birds & Butterflies


Morning Glories

Morning glories are annual climbers with slender stems, heart-shaped leaves, and trumpet-shaped flowers in pink, purple-blue, magenta, or white. They have a beautiful shape before they unfold in the Sun and romantic tendrils that lend old-fashioned charm.

In warmer areas, train climbers over a pergola or arch, or use as dense groundcover. The vine grows quickly up to 15 feet in one season, and can self-seed fairly easily, too.

The flowers bloom from early summer to the first frost. Their big, fragrant, colorful flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Note that the seeds are highly toxic if ingested.

Grow annuals in a sunny, sheltered site. They need a lot of sun.

Plant in moderately fertile, well-drained soil.

Choose a site that is sheltered from cold or drying winds.

Sow Morning Glory seeds early in the season once the ground has warmed to 64 degrees F.

File the seeds just long enough to break the coat and soak them for 24 hours before planting them. (They look like little worms.)

Cover lightly with ¼-inch of soil. Space about 6 inches apart. Water thoroughly.


Morning Glory - Grandpa Ott's Morning Glory

CARE

Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer after planting and monthly.

Support climbers and trailing species.

Morning glories are low-maintenance. Water during dry periods.

Mulch to retain moisture and avoid weeds.

Morning glories are one of September’s birth flowers.

MORNING GLORY VINES: FAVORITE VARIETIES Most of my favorite flowering vines are in the plant family Ipomoea. The most common member of this family is the morning glory, though there are about 300 more plants, including the sweet potato, and many of them are twining climbers. It will be a jungle out there when my vines grow up! The morning glory can grow to be ten feet tall or more in a season, which made it a popular privy plant in the old days when it was often used to camouflage the outhouse.

As its name suggests, the flowers open in the morning and gradually fade during the afternoon. They will wrap their vines around anything—wood, wire, string, and even each other.


Morning Glory Scarlett O'Hara - Morning Glory Clarke's Heavenly Blue

Fittingly, in the language of flowers, they represent bonds and attachments.

All Ipomoeas prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil and tolerate drought. No need to fertilize them, in fact overly fertile soil will promote lush leaf growth instead of flowers. Soak the seeds overnight before planting to soften the seed coat and speed germination.


 


Zinnias

CTG: Zinnias do not like to be transplanted. Sow the seeds were they will grow, garden or container

SAT Annuals Tender annuals will be damaged by the lightest frost or strong winds and should generally be planted after the first of April. If started indoors do not begin too early or the plants will be leggy before the weather is suitable outside.


 


Cleomes

Cleome Seniorita Rosalita This is a newer cultivar of cleome. It has beautiful dark green star-shaped leaves topped with clusters of small pink flowers.

This plant blooms all summer, right up through first frost and it also attracts hummingbird and butterflies which makes it a nice plant for our gardens. It usually gets from 3-4' tall, but it will stay shorter if it gets a lot of sun. It gets about 2’wide, so give it a little bit of space.

It’s only hardy to 32 degrees so may be an annual in hard winters like we had last year. This plant does prefer full sun but it can take light shade. In the light shade, it would get a little taller because it would be stretching for the sun.

It’s heat and drought-tolerant, which makes it great for our gardens. But it does need regular moisture and good drainage, so amend your soil in the beds where you plant it. It’s a sterile hybrid, so it doesn’t form messy seedpods. So, it won’t reseed. It only needs fertilizer a few times per season, so it doesn’t require much maintenance at all.


 


Tansy

Tansy is a perennial, herbaceous flowering plant of the aster family, native to temperate Europe and Asia. It has been introduced to other parts of the world including North America, and in some areas has become invasive. Wikipedia

Scientific name: Tanacetum vulgare

Higher classification: Tanacetum

Common Tansy: Tips For Controlling Tansy Weeds Tansy is an herbaceous perennial plant, often deemed as a weed. Tansy plants are common in the United States, particularly temperate regions. The scientific name for common tansy, Tanacetum vulgare, may be an assertion to its toxic properties and invasive nature. If you are wondering, “what is tansy,” you have probably seen it frequently.

Tansy plants are found growing wild in meadows, roadsides, ditches and other natural areas. The weedy herb is also an attractive flowering addition to a cottage or wildflower garden, but watch out or the plant will spread to unwanted areas. Keep an eye on the plant and learn methods on how to keep tansy from taking over the garden.

The plant may get three to four feet tall and sports button-like yellow flowers on top of stiff stems. The leaves are ferny and alternate on reddish purple stems. The flowers grow in clusters and are from ¼ to ½ inch in diameter.

Common tansy plants reproduce prolifically from seed or rhizomes. Using tansy in landscaping borders with other flowers combines its ease of care with the sunny blooms for an upbeat perennial plant.

Tansy plants need little supplemental care, other than the occasional watering. Their hardiness means they thrive in most areas of the country but they can become a nuisance if not managed carefully.

The plant was once an important part of herb gardens and used to treat colds and fevers. Crushed seeds emit a strong odor and the oil has powerful properties, which may become toxic if ingested in large quantities.

Tansy will spread quickly from its seed and less invasively from rhizomes. The seed is viable in soil for quite some time, so it is best to cut off the flower heads before they turn into seeds.

Tips On Growing Tansy Herbs Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is a European perennial herb that was once used heavily in natural medicine. It has become naturalized in many parts of North America and is even considered a noxious weed in areas like Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Washington State. Despite this, tansy is a pretty little plant that adds potassium to soil while repelling several annoying insect species. Once you have tansy seeds, however, learning how to grow tansy will be the least of your problems. This plant is a prolific re-seeder and can become quite a nuisance in some gardens.

The herb garden was the center of the home in the Middle Ages and eras prior. Today’s tansy uses in the garden are much more limited due to modern pharmaceuticals and different tastes over the years. However, this forgotten herb provides ornamental appeal and still packs all the medicinal and culinary wallop of the past. It is up to us to rediscover the healthy, natural tricks of our ancestors and decide for ourselves if herbal lore is useful to us today or simply an attractive addition to the perennial garden.

Tansy herb plants are easy to grow and have lovely flowers and foliage. They are rhizomatous perennial members of the Daisy family and may achieve 3 to 4 feet in height. The foliage is attractive with delicate fern-like leaves; however, they smell rather strongly and are not an aromatic delight. Tiny yellow button-like blooms appear in late summer into fall.

Unlike most daisy members, the flowers lack ray petals and are instead discs of less than 3/4 of an inch in width. These are the source of the seeds, which have become a nuisance in many northwest gardens. Numerous fine seeds are produced on the numerous flower heads and readily germinate and start new plants. If any tansy plant info is taken away from this reading, it should be the importance of deadheading to prevent a rampant takeover of the plant in your garden.

tansy herb plants are unfussy, reliable perennials that thrive in any area with at least 6 hours of sunlight. This makes them perfect for either full or partial sun locations.

Once established, tansy is drought tolerant and thrives in a variety of soils. In early spring, cut plants back to within a few inches of the ground to force compact growth and a clean appearance.

If growing tansy herbs from seed, plant in fall in well worked soil to allow seed to experience cold stratification.


 


CTG Notes

5/28/17 episode on Arnosky Family Farm, Frank and Pamela, specialize in cut FLOWERS.

In summer, sequential plantings of sunflowers, marigolds, celosia

For winter, plant in fall: larkspur [direct seed, easy, support with tomato cages], blue cornflower, nigella, Queen Anne's Lace, Orlaya grandiflora, delphiniums [hard to germinate, require cool weather], Agrostemma [corn cockle], dianthus.

Plant larkspur in Sep/Oct and again in Dec/Jan/Feb. Flowers that like the extreme heat: celosia, gomphrena, sunflowers [which originated in Texas and then spread]. yarrow [achillea]

Salvia and chrysanthemums bloom in fall. Start in May or June. They are finished in October

Centarea, delphiniums, shasta daisies and rudbeckia spend the winter outside and then bloom in the spring.

Aug. start winter plants... Sequence is larkspur & delphiniums in Nov. After bloom, replace with zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers.

Small seeds sit on surface of soil and need light to germinate.

Delphiniums will only germinate when buried and sense no light.

Zinnias will germinate anywhere.

His favorite fertilizer is COTTON SEED MEAL. Good all around. Sold as cattle feed at feed stores. It brings the pH down in alkaline soils.

Clothing in heat, wear loose light-weight long sleeve shirt over sleeveless shirt. Will keep you cooler. Also, take vitamin C before starting; helps you endure the heat.

6/4/17 episode:

HOUSEPLANTS: fiddle-leaf fig, easy care, morning light, a ficus. Dracaena is also easy. Giant leopard plant, ligularia [let dry out between waterings] and impatiens. Ajuga.

SHADE GARDEN & CONTAINERS: Salvia 'Wendy's Wish', Autumn Brilliance fern is tough and survives most winters or comes up from roots. Combine with pigeonberry. Also coleus 'Red Kong'. Ajuga. Giant leopard plant, ligularia [let dry out between waterings] and impatiens.

For pots, rule of thumb is "Thriller, Filler, Spiller" [over side] for good combination.

SUN GARDEN & CONTAINERS: Goldenrod 'Fireworks', PENTAS, verbenas [spiller], batface cuphea, salvia 'Orchid Glow', Calibracho'a 'Million Bells' [spiller], periwinkles, angelonia.


 


Pentas [Pentas lanceolata] or [Pentas ledermannii]

Pentas is a genus of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family. The genus is found in tropical and southern Africa, the Comoros, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula. Wikipedia


Pentas Flowers, the Egyptian Star Cluster Pentas are semi-tropical shrubs grown as annuals that seem to be tailor-made for butterflies. The nectar-rich flowers grow in clusters over a long blooming season in the vibrant red, pink, and purple shades that act as a butterfly beacon. Bees like them too, so consider adding this plant to a landscape space you want buzzing with activity.

The genus Penta, species lanceolata, belongs to the Rubiaceae family.

You may see pentas described on plant tags by the common names star flower, Egyptian star flower, or star cluster. You can grow pentas anywhere as an annual; in growing zones 9 and warmer the plants may even perennialize.

The average height of pentas is 24-36 inches, but plants that perennialize in frost free zones may reach four feet tall or greater. The dark green foliage of penta plants is slightly fuzzy, and the five-petaled blossoms grow in 3-inch clusters similar to other butterfly favorites like sedum, lantana, and Queen Anne’s lace. Blossom colors include pink, purple, white, and red.


Full sun is preferred, although some afternoon shade is tolerated. Plants that receive at least three hours of direct sun will have the best blooms. Pentas that don’t receive enough sunlight will stretch and become leggy. Pentas appreciate a mildly acidic soil pH, in the range of 6.0.

Amending the soil with compost or leaf mold can increase the acidity of your soil if it’s on the alkaline side. Many gardeners choose penta transplants to start in the garden, but you can try planting fresh penta seed saved from last year’s flowers, or start softwood cuttings taken early in the growing season.

Penta seeds require light to germinate, so don’t cover them with soil.


Penta plants can stay in bloom continuously under ideal growing conditions, so it's worth a bit of weekly care to keep the plants in optimum condition.

Pentas need regular irrigation to stay healthy; keep the soil moisture about the same as a wrung out sponge. Pentas tolerate dry conditions, but drought stressed plants are susceptible to spider mite infestations.

Avoid regular overhead watering to prevent unsightly brown spots on the foliage.

In frost free growing zones, pentas will exhibit their shrubby nature and begin to grow leggy after one growing season. Prune the plants to six inches in January, when bloom production is at its lowest. After several seasons, the stems of the pentas may become so woody that it’s worth replacing them altogether.

When growing as an annual for one season, no pruning is necessary, but regular deadheading will keep the plants blooming productively.

Fertilize pentas once a month with a balanced flower fertilizer during periods of active growth.

Pentas thrive in containers or tubs, and they also look cheerful in the ground combined with other hot weather lovers.


You can plant pentas alongside other vivid butterfly annuals, like zinnias, marigolds, cornflowers, or gomphrena. Gardeners with high indoor light levels can try their luck at growing the penta as a houseplant, but whiteflies may plague plants grown indoors.

Pentas Varieties to Try

‘Butterfly’ series: Easy to grow from seed
‘Graffiti’ series: Compact mounding plants
‘Kaleidoscope Appleblossom’: Pale pink and rose on the same flower; an early bloomer
‘New Look’ series: Upright plants that don’t flop
‘Northern Lights’: Continues to produce pale lavender flowers in cool temperatures

How to Care for a Penta Plant Plant pentas in beds that drain well and don't become waterlogged after rain or irrigation. Select a site that receives six or more hours of direct sunlight daily.

Water the pentas when the top 2 to 4 inches of soil begins to dry out. Provide about 1 to 2 inches of water per plant or enough to thoroughly moisten the top 6 inches of soil. Allow the soil to dry before the next watering.

Fertilize annual plants monthly during the growing season.

Spread 2 inches of mulch around the plants each spring. Mulch keeps in soil moisture and prevents weed growth. Replenish the mulch layer in fall for perennial pentas to provide some insulation for the roots against winter cold.

Trim the dead and damaged stems from perennial plants in late winter, before new spring growth begins. Cut back overgrown or dead stems at any time during the growing season to improve the plant's appearance.


Containers

How To Care For Pentas Flower Pentas Flowers A Summer Long Show

The Pentas shines even in the hottest of summers, blooming bright, beautiful flowers making them an attractive hummingbird plant and butterfly plant by the dozens!

Pentas make a welcome addition to gardens due to their relatively low maintenance requirements. For the best results, start planting during late spring using a well-drained, moist soil and plenty of sunlight for good measure. The Pentas prefers a soil that doesn’t stay soggy after heavy rainfall or irrigation.

In addition to sunlight, Pentas care requires plenty of water. When you see soil begin to dry out, it’s time to water. Put in an inch or two of water for every 2 to 4 inches of dry topsoil. Repeat the watering cycle when the soil begins to dry out. Keep an eye on the watering schedule, especially in the hotter summer months, when plants may require more water.


 


Joe Pye Weed

Missouri Botanical Garden: Eutrochium purpureum Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden; Flower: Showy, Fragrant; Attracts: Butterflies; Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil


Joe Pye Blooms, late season food for butterflies

Eupatorium maculatum (Joe Pye Weed) Joe Pye Weed is a very tall plant, up to 6' in the best sun/soil conditions, but strong stems support the flowering plant so it rarely needs to be staked. These attractive stems are almost the same color as the dusty rose-colored flowers, which will bloom for many weeks in July and August, becoming absolute magnets for dozens of species of butterflies. Also called Spotted Joe Pye Weed and Eutrochium maculatum, it is best planted in full to almost-full sun and rich, moist soils. It will spread so should be planted with caution in small landscape situations.

If you love Joe Pye but have too much shade, try Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum). It is very similar to Joe Pye in height, flower shape and color, but likes savanna and woodland conditions.


Joe Pye Blooms, late season food for butterflies

Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) Growing a Tall, Late Season Bloomer

Eupatorium purpureum, or Joy-Pye Weed, is an herbaceous perennial native to much of the U.S. Is it a wildflower? An herb? A perennial? Yes. Eupatorium purpureum may go by the common name 'Joe-Pye Weed', but it's a prized, late blooming perennial plant. You may see the species Joe-Pye Weed growing along the roadside, which can be an enthusiastic spreader. Newer varieties are better behaved.

There are tall versions, dwarfs, some with darker foliage and some with white flower heads instead of the familiar mauve.


Joe Pye Blooms, late season food for butterflies

Named after a Native American herbalist, Joe-Pye Weed was used to lower fevers. Most gardeners now use it to attract birds and butterflies and for its tall, stately grace at the end of the season.

Flowers: The compound flowers are composed of 5-8 florets and bracts in dusty rose to mauve, giving the appearance of large clusters. The corolla of each floret is tubular, making them popular with hummingbirds.


Joe Pye Weed, late season food for butterflies and hummers

Sun Exposure: Partial shade and, if grown in moist conditions, full sun. Joe-Pye Weed does not do well in hot, dry conditions.

With it's large flowers, Joe-Pye can become top heavy and flop over. Planting it behind a sturdier plant for support it is a good idea.

Joe-Pye Weeds height adds an architectural element to a billowy cottage style planting. Contrast it with golden Rudbeckia and goldenrod, for an instant autumn scene.

Since Joe-Pye Weed does best in slightly damp soil, it is wonderful planted along side ponds and streams, but can get out of hand.

Joe-Pye Weed shouldn’t need much in the way of fertilizer, if planted in a somewhat rich soil, like a woodland edge.

Keep well watered. Don’t let the soil remain dry for longer than a few days, especially during hot temperatures.

You can keep your Joe-Pye plants shorter by cutting the stems back by half, in June. Cut back to just above a whorl of leaves.

Each spring, cut the plants back hard, to about 4-8 inches.


 


Planting Time References

White Flower Farm See plant descr. then click on Growing guide

West Coast Seeds see plant descr. then go to Growing Guides

Johnny's Select Seeds


 


Timing

Plant Hardiness:

By Zip 1st freeze 11/12... last freeze 3/20

USDA 8b 1st freeze 12/1... last freeze 3/1

Rainbow Gardening by the Month


Heucheras

Heuchera is a genus of evergreen, herbaceous perennial plants in the family Saxifragaceae, all native to North America. Common names include alumroot and coral bells. Wikipedia

Did you know: There are around 36 species of Heuchera native to North America, some more showy than others.


Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple'

Spotted Heuchera [in Russian] American English name Heuchera - spotted geranium. In old times it has been used as a drug. The Indians, for example, applied chopped boiled roots of the plant to wounds and ulcers, a decoction of them, used for fever and diarrhea.

In 1601, the famous botanist Karl Clusius described one of the plants brought from the eastern regions of North America, called Podlesnik Mountain ( Sanicula montana )... Much later it was discovered and described in other species of the genus Heuchera. In the first book dedicated to the natural flora of North America - «Flora Americae Septentrionalis» (1814), Frederik Pursh described the 5 new species of Heuchera found during the first transcontinental expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark (1804-1806). At the same time in Mexico it was discovered Heuchera Sanguineous ( Heuchera sanguinea ).


Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple'

Most Heuchera prefers to direct sunlight only during the morning hours.

The plant is undemanding, but prefers light, well-fertilized, cultivated to a depth of 20 cm of soil. In poor soil make compost or humus ground a rate of 10 kg / m2. On damp areas and stagnant water fleshy rhizome rot and the plants die.

Since most Heuchera lives in the mountains, in gardens they prefer good drainage. To ensure water and air permeability of the soil it is advisable to add a major river sand or fine gravel, especially around the rosette of leaves. The soil should be added krupnostrukturirovanny composted bark or crushed. Heuchera, as plants rocky terrains, can withstand alkaline pH to 8.5, but, according to Hames, they are happy only when the soil pH from 5.8 to 6.3.


Heuchera micrantha 'Rose Mirrors' [https://www.theprimrosepath.com/Featured_Plants/Heuchera/rosemirrors.htm] ~ Heuchera micrantha 'Pewter Moon'

Growing Coral Bells (Heuchera) The garden Heuchera that we know as Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea) has been undergoing a lot of changes in the past few year. Ever since the introduction of 'Palace Purple' there have been countless new introductions of coral bells, with ever more colorful leaves. You can still find the traditional green-leaved Coral Bells, with the charming coral bell-shaped flowers that hummingbirds love, but it has been joined by heuchera with leaves in shades of purple, rose, lime green, gold and variegations in between.

Heuchera are native American plants that can be found, in some form, throughout the continent. Besides the coral bells we grow for their flashy leaves, there are tiny alpines (Heuchera nivalis) and tall heat lovers (Heuchera maxima).


Heuchera micrantha 'Coral Bells' ~ Heuchera micrantha 'Pewter Moon'

Heuchera plants form round mounds with a woody root stock or crown at their base.

Common Name: Coral Bells, Alumroot

Most coral bells are hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8, although hardiness really does depend on the variety you are growing and how hot or cold it gets.

Coral bells do best in full sun to partial shade. The color can wash out in full sun and too much heat and light can cause the leaves to scorch.

Bloom Period: Late spring/Early summer. Heuchera plants are grown for their foliage, but the flowers are very popular with hummingbirds, so let them stay.

Soil: Coral bells like a neutral to slightly acid soil pH, somewhere between 6.0 and 7.0.

Good drainage is a must, especially in shaded areas.

When starting seed, sprinkle the seed on the surface of the soil in late fall or early spring. Don't cover the seed, they need light to germinate.

You could also start the seeds indoors, a couple of months before you plan to transplant. Seeds take between 2 to 8 weeks to germinate. Transplant outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

Plant container grown coral bells any time after frost. Keep them well watered their first year. Other than that, they shouldn't require more than some relief from extreme heat and a rich, well-draining soil.

Cut back the entire flower stalk after flowering, to put the plant's energy into growing more leaves. Divide coral bells every 3-5 years, to keep them from dying out in the center.


Unknown Russian heuchera ~ Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie'

Caring for Your Heuchera With its colorful foliage, Heuchera is the perfect perennial to brighten up any garden throughout the entire growing season. Heuchera forms attractive basal mounds with heart-shaped, rounded, or triangular leaves which can be smooth wavy, or ruffled. The leaf coloration varies by cultivar, but mainly includes various hues of amber, bronze-green, green, gold, pink, purple, deep purple and silver veined. In many instances, the coloration of the leaves varies with their environment and often changes with the seasons. In most locations, they are considered evergreen as the foliage lasts throughout the year.

They produce clusters of cream to red colored coral bell shaped flowers on tall wiry stems that rise above the basal foliage in the late spring. Depending on the cultivar, they bloom from a few weeks or throughout the entire season. There are 50 to 70 species of Heuchera which are native to North America. Many of the improved varieties available today are hybrids showcasing various foliage colorations and flowering characteristics.

The genus Heuchera was named after an 18th century German professor of medicine and botanist Johann Heinrich von Heucher (1677-1747) who specialized in medicinal plants. The common name 'coral bells' is derived from the nodding, bell-shaped flowers.


Heuchera 'Fire Alarm' ~ Heuchera 'Fire Chief'

Coral bells are generally hardy throughout Zones 4 to 9. However, several cultivars are hardy to Zone 3 and a few of them can tolerate the heat and humidity of Zone 11.

The foliage of most cultivars reaches 8 to 12 inches in height with a spread of 1 to 2 feet wide. When blooming, the flower stalks reach 1 to 3 feet tall.

Preferred Conditions: Coral bells prefer to be planted in locations with a fertile, moist, well-drained soil. They particularly do not perform well in locations with poor drainage during the winter months. Most Heuchera cultivars will grow more vigorously and have the best leaf coloration when they are planted in locations with partial shade, particularly in the afternoon.

Purple leafed cultivars can tolerate more direct sun; in general the darker the purple coloration the more exposure to sun they can tolerate. Conversely, the amber and gold leafed cultivars are less sun tolerant; the more yellow the leaf coloration, the less tolerant to sun they are. In locations with full sun or full shade, most cultivars will usually survive, but they will be smaller and not look as lively.

Generally considered easy to grow and require little routine maintenance. To encourage continuous flowering or repeat bloom, deadhead the spent flower spikes as needed. Mulching during the summer months will help keep the soil moist and prevent injury to the shallow root system from heat. They can be divided every 3 to 4 years if they lose vigor or when the crown gets too large.

Generally, they can be grown without any insect or disease problems. Bacterial and fungal leaf spots, Botrytis, Japanese beetles, powdery mildew, and strawberry root weevils may occasionally, but not usually, become problematic. Some cultivars may get leaf scorch when they are planted in hot, full sun.

Heuchera Care and Maintenance Soft shade seems to be the best exposure for Heucheras (Coral Bells or Alum Root), although some (such as the darker-leafed varieties) can tolerate a range of full shade to full sun. Morning sun is preferred to hot afternoon sun. In general, Coral Bells with lighter green or white toned leaves prefer shadier locations to prevent burning, while deeper purple and red tones can withstand sunnier locations. It is best to check the plant description for a particular variety in order to locate a spot in your garden with the correct amount of light.

Because Coral Bells are naturally found on cliffs or slopes, they need well-drained soil that is rich in humus and feels soft and crumbly.

To Plant: Dig a planting hole twice as wide and deep as the rootball and partially fill it back in with loosened soil. This will help the Heuchera’s fibrous root system to expand. Gently massage the rootball and plant at a height so the crown sits just at or slightly above the soil line. Heucheras like well-drained locations with rich soil, so poor soil should be amended with organic matter before planting. As the organic matter decays, not only will food be provided for the plant, but air pockets will develop within the soil, allowing oxygen into the roots. In order to avoid diseases like crown rot, take care not to bury the crown and allow enough room around the plant for air to circulate. A layer of mulch can be added to prevent weeds and retain moisture. Don’t forget to water!

Heuchera is not a heavy feeder and has low fertilizer requirements. Slow release or half-strength application is recommended to prevent damaging the Heuchera. A heavy dose of fertilizer leads to lush growth which inhibits flowering, plus it creates plants that require more water and then start demanding extra food to support its growth!

Heucheras need to be divided when the center becomes woody and the growth slows down, which usually happens every 3-5 years. In some varieties, the crown will also raise up requiring it to be reset into the ground. It’s best to divide heucheras in the spring to allow the plant to recover and develop a strong root system before winter. The plant should be dug up with a sterile tool or trowel and gently pulled apart. The rosettes should be divided and replanted with the crown at ground level.

Long-lasting Heuchera flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, making them an excellent choice for a pollinator-friendly garden.

Some Heuchera go through (sometimes very dramatic) seasonal color changes.

Coral Bells’ low, mounding form makes them a good plant for ground covers, borders/paths, rock gardens, woodland areas, and containers.


Coralbean

Erythrina herbacea, commonly known as the coral bean, Cherokee bean, Mamou plant in South Louisiana, red cardinal or cardinal spear, is a flowering shrub or small tree found throughout the southeastern United States and northeastern Mexico;[1] it has also been reported from parts of Central America and, as an introduced species, from Pakistan. Various other systematic names have been used for this plant in the past, including Erythrina arborea, Erythrina hederifolia, Erythrina humilis, Erythrina rubicunda, Corallodendron herbaceum and Xyphanthus hederifolius. -Wikipedia

Erythrina herbacea Coral bean grows as a low shrub or small tree, reaching around 5 m (16 ft) in height in areas that do not kill it back by freezing; elsewhere it may only reach 1.2 m (3.9 ft). Stems are covered in curved spines. The leaves are yellowish-green, 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in) long and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide. The leaves are divided into three 2.5–8 cm (0.98–3.15 in) arrowhead-shaped leaflets. The bark is smooth and light gray. The tubular flowers are bright red and grow in long spikes, each flower being 4–6.5 cm (1.6–2.6 in) long; the tree blooms from April to July. They are followed by 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) pods containing bright red seeds, from which the tree gets its name. The plant forms a woody caudex.


Toxic alkaloids, including erysopine, erysothiopine, erysothiovine, erysovine, erythrinine, erythroresin, coralin, erythric acid, and hypaphorine, are found throughout the plant. These cause paralysis upon ingestion, much like curare. The pods are very poisonous and should be removed as soon as they appear.

Coral bean grows best in sandy soils and has moderate salt tolerance. It can be found in open woods, forest clearings, hammocks, and disturbed areas. In the United States, it can be found from southeastern North Carolina south to Florida and west to southeastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas. E. herbacea inhabits Tamaulipas in Mexico.

Erythrina herbacea can be readily grown in gardens within its natural range. Although its use in gardens is not particularly common, it is popular among those who do grow it as a source of early season color, for its hardiness (USDA Zones 7-10), and because it attracts hummingbirds.

Native American people had many medicinal uses for this plant, varying between nations and localities. Creek women used an infusion of the root for bowel pain; the Choctaw used a decoction of the leaves as a general tonic; the Seminole used an extract of the roots for digestive problems, and extracts of the seeds, or of the inner bark, as an external rub for rheumatic disorders.

In Mexico, the seeds are used as a rat poison, while a fish poison is made from the bark and leaves.


Erythrina herbacea Coralbean, Cherokee bean, Red cardinal, Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Coralbean is a low, glossy-leaved, thorny shrub to 6 ft. with many herbaceous, annual stems arising from the woody lower stem and perennial root. The long-petioled, leaflets are distinctively arrowhead-shaped. Leaves are alternate, scattered along the stem, 3 leaflets forming the leaf, which is often prickly beneath. The leaves are 3-5 inches long and 3 1/2-4 inches wide. Leaves fall in winter and before they reappear in spring, upright spikes of showy, tubular flowers adorn the bare branches. The scarlet-red flowers, 12 inches long in spike-like clusters, on the upper portion of the stem. There are 5 united sepals and 5 petals 1 1/2-2 inches long, with the upper petal wrapped around the other 4. These are followed by a persisent legume pod containing several bright red beans. The pod is blackish, constricted between the seeds, and up to 8 1/2 inches long. The seeds are firmly attached to the pod by a sturdy 1/8-inch-long thread and will remain in place for months.


Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
b Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous
Conditions Comments: Coralbean is opulent with scarlet blooms that resemble numerous crescent moons. Trim dead stem tips after new growth emerges in spring when frost damage becomes evident. Be careful of spines on the stems. The top often freezes back in winter but return with vigor in the spring from underground, tuberous root stumps. The seed pods split open to reveal bright red seeds, providing visual interest long after flowering. The seeds are highly toxic if ingested.


TAMU: Coral Bean, Eastern Coral Bean, Cardinal Spear, Cherokee Bean, Red Cardinal-flower, Corolillo, Patol, Pitos, Colorin, Chilicote, Zampantle, Erythrina herbacea Coral bean blooms from May to June, before the leaves appear, with glowing dark red waxy flowers on spikes that can be up to one foot long. Later, thin dark pods about 8 inches long open to expose brilliant red (and poisonous) seeds inside.

Its trunk and branches have stout, curved thorns, and the heart-shaped leaves are glossy green.

Coral bean is very cold tender, and above 28 degrees F. it will die back to the roots like a perennial, but will return in the spring, often reaching 3 to 5 feet in a season. The roots are hardy as far north as Dallas. In the Rio Grande Valley it loses its leaves but does not die back and can grow to be a small tree ranging from 6 to 25 feet high. It grows along the U.S. southeast coastal plains and in East Texas in sandy open woods, but can adapt to clay and other soils.

A good choice for hot, sunny sites, coral bean is moderately drought tolerant once established, and grows best in well-drained soil. Hummingbirds are attracted to the red, showy flowers. Plant Habit or Use: medium shrub


CTG: Coralbean, plant of the week Native coralbean is a rambling, lanky shrub with strikingly beautiful, dark red blooms in early summer. The floral spikes can be up to one foot long, jutting out into the sky like a hummingbird antenna.

Those flowers turn into long pods, and the bright red seeds inside are poisonous if ingested, so if you have children or pets, it would be safest to remove them as quickly as possible.

Coralbean is also pretty thorny, which may be hard to notice behind its attractive, glossy green, heart-shaped leaves.

Listed hardy to USDA Zone 7, it will easily take the roughest of Central Texas cold snaps. However, when temps get below freezing for any extended period of time, coralbean will be a perennial, dying back to the ground. Simply clean it up from the base after the last frost date.

In warmer areas, coralbean is deciduous, and can get up to 25 feet tall if conditions are ideal. But when it’s perennial, it normally only gets about 5 feet high.

As it matures, it will come back wider each year, potentially spreading to 20 feet across once fully grown.

Coralbean can take the hottest, driest of spots, and isn’t picky about soil type, making it a great choice for most gardens.

Hummingbirds love this plant!

Is a Coral Bean Right for Your Garden? Does coral bean (Erythrina herbacea) deserve a place in your garden? The fact that it is beautiful is unchallenged. Its attractiveness to hummingbirds and butterflies is well documented. However, its beans are very poisonous. The leaves and stems have prickles, and sharp, recurved spines arm the stems.

All of us have those places in our gardens-places where the soil is poor or where the irrigation system does not reach. It is for these places that we choose tough, native plants. If wisely chosen and given some modicum of care during the establishment period, such plants will flourish with little or no supplemental irrigation. They often need no fertilizer, and no chemicals will be needed to control insect pests.

The showy coral bean (Erythrina herbacea) is one example of a native plant that will survive in an out-of-the-way place in the landscape with very little effort on the gardener's part. Sometimes called Cherokee bean or cardinal spear, this native legume grows naturally in hardwood hammocks throughout the southern portions of the United States and on into Mexico. Most references place it in USDA Zones 8-10, but there is some evidence that it can be successfully grown somewhat beyond this range.

If you decide that you want a coral bean in your landscape, choose a place with well-drained soil and some protection from the hot, afternoon sun. Consider its accessibility to children who may be tempted to try the beautiful red, but highly toxic beans. Also, think about whether or not visitors to your garden will brush against the shrub and be caught by its spines.


Another consideration that is seldom considered when deciding where to place plants is whether or not they can be transplanted easily. The woody root of the coral bean is massive and difficult to dig after it has been in place for a while. Be sure to plant it where you want it to stay. Know that if you do have to dig it at some time in the future, you will have a sizeable job on your hands.

Coral bean is easily propagated by seeds or cuttings. Seeds that fall on the ground sprout readily. As you might expect, birds carry them far from their point of origin, so new plants might sprout in places where you don't want them.

Coral bean is a popular choice for hummingbird and butterfly gardens.

The tubular flowers seem made-to-order for hummers' tongues. The roots were once used by Native Americans to increase perspiration, and the beans have been used as rat poison and to paralyze fish. Young flowers and leaves can be safely cooked and eaten, but ingesting the seeds may cause diarrhea and vomiting.

planting coral bean seed just take each seed and cut the very tip of the seed just enough to slice off a piece of the red seed coating. You’ll see a white center when the red chip comes off. I use a sharp bypass pruning shears to cut em or a sharp knife. Ok, its not really easy. Its a bit tedious. But I really like the plant and I like even better, growing it from seed.


Its pretty amazing that these seeds were sitting in storage for over four years and I cut the tips off and soaked them for a day in water and they are all germinating. I tell people if you clip and soak 10 seeds, eleven will germinate.

The neatest thing about coral bean is its adaptability. It is found in lots of different habitats in its range and in some that are particularly challenging to plants in general. But coral bean grows and persists.


42 flowers you can eat


Birth Flowers

BIRTH MONTH FLOWERS AND THEIR MEANINGS Listed below, we have birth flowers by month as well as the meaning and symbolism for each birth flower.

JANUARY birth flowers are the carnation and snowdrop.

The carnation comes in several different colors to convey different meanings, much like roses. A pink carnation means affection, while a red carnation means ‘I love you.’

White carnations mean pure love, striped carnations means regret that a love is not shared, and yellow means rejection or disappointment.

January Birth Month Flower: The Snowdrop

The snowdrop used to be considered bad luck because it always seemed to appear to grow in graveyards, but nowadays this delicate flower signifies hope and beauty.

FEBRUARY birth flowers are the violet and primrose.

The violet signifies watchfulness, loyalty, and faithfulness.

Give a violet to someone to let them know you’ll always be there for them.

February Birth Month Flower: The Primrose

The other February flower is the primrose, which lets someone know you can’t live without them.

Primroses are colorful perennials of European origin that are not actually related to the rose. Among the first to bloom as winter retreats, they’ll multiply each year if given a little shade and moist (but not soggy) soil.

March birth flowers are the daffodil and the jonquil.

The daffodil stands for unequaled love, so giving this flower to someone expresses quite a lot. With their bright yellow petals, daffodils seem the perfect way to say that the sun is always shining whenever your significant other is around.

March Birth Month Flower: The Jonquil

The other March flower is the jonquil, which actually is a particular kind of daffodil. It signifies a desire that affection be returned. It also is used to convey sympathy.

April birth flowers are the daisy and the sweet pea.

The daisy conveys innocence, loyal love, and purity. Yet, it is also a flower given between friends to keep a secret; the daisy means “I’ll never tell.”

April Birth Month Flower: The Sweet Pea

The other April flower is the sweet pea. While sweet peas signify blissful pleasure, on the other hand they are also used to say good-bye.

Perhaps Shakespeare had sweet peas in mind when he wrote the immortal words: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

Then too, there are the good-byes we’re glad of, such as saying so long to flies; these insects find the sweet pea’s fragrance offensive and will leave its environs in a hurry.

May birth flowers are the lily of the valley and hawthorn.

The fragrant lily of the valley signifies sweetness, humility, and a return to happiness.

If you want to show your loved one that your life is complete with them, give them a few lilies of the valley.

May Birth Month Flower: The Hawthorn

The other May flower is the hawthorn plant, which represents hope and supreme happiness.

Hawthorn signifies that you want only the best for the recipient.

June birth flowers are the rose and the honeysuckle.

The rose has more meanings than one can count! A pink rose means perfect happiness, while a red rose means “I love you.”

A white rose signifies innocence and purity, while a yellow rose conveys jealousy or a decrease in love.

A bouquet of roses means sincere gratitude, whereas a single rose amplifies the meaning of the color (a single red rose means “I REALLY love you”).

June Birth Month Flower: The Honeysuckle

The other June flower is honeysuckle, which is a strong symbol for the everlasting bonds of love.

July birth flowers are the larkspur and the water lily.

July Birth Month Flower: The Larkspur


Each color variation of the larkspur has a different meaning:

Pink means fickleness;

White conveys a happy nature; and,

Purple normally represents a first love.

Generally, larkspur indicates strong bonds of love.

July Birth Month Flower: The Water Lily


The other July flower is the water lily, which signifies purity and majesty.

Aside from being lovely in their own right, water lilies are often used in ponds to deter the growth of algae and to shade and cool the water for resident fish and frogs.

August birth flowers are the gladiolus and the poppy.

The gladiolus, or ‘sword lily,’ represents remembrance, calm, integrity, and infatuation.

Gladiolus indicates that the heart is being “pierced with love.”

August Birth Month Flower: The Poppy

The other August flower is the poppy.

A red poppy signifies pleasure;
A white poppy is given for consolation; and,
A yellow poppy wishes wealth and success.

September birth flowers are the aster and the morning glory.

Asters are mainly symbols of powerful love. Perhaps because of their positive symbolism, according to folklore they were once burned to ward off serpents.

Asters add a punch of color to the late summer and early fall landscape and require minimal care.

The other September flower is the morning glory. Morning glories are simple symbols of affection.

Those who rise early may be able to watch their lovely blooms open. Morning glories generally curl closed late in the day.

October birth flowers are the marigold and cosmos.

OCTOBER BIRTH MONTH FLOWER: THE MARIGOLD

~

Marigolds are often given as a sign of warm or fierce undying love or as a way of saying that you’re content to be with the recipient.

There are about 50 species of marigolds that range in height from six inches to five feet tall.

~

Cosmos are a symbol of order, peace, and serenity. These semi-tall annuals are often planted along borders.

Cosmos will attract birds, bees, and butterflies to your garden.

November birth flower is the chrysanthemum.

November Birth Month Flower: The Chrysanthemum


A red chrysanthemum means “I love you.”

A white chrysanthemum means innocence, purity, and pure love.

A yellow chrysanthemum means slighted love.

~

Both the Chinese and Japanese consider chrysanthemums a powerful emblem of youth. A petal placed in the bottom of a glass of wine is thought to enhance longevity. The Chinese also believe that it prevents gray hair.

Chrysanthemums are perennials. After they finish blooming in the fall, mulch them with several inches of straw to protect them from the cold.

December birth flowers are the narcissus (paperwhite) and the holly.

December Birth Month Flower: The Holly

The holly symbolizes your wish for domestic happiness.

Although some animals and birds enjoy holly berries, they are semi-toxic to humans.

The good news is that deer tend to avoid eating holly.

December Birth Month Flower: The Narcissus~Paperwhite

The narcissus conveys that you want your beloved to stay just the way they are.

While there are many types of narcissus, the paperwhite is the winter-growing variety and the birth flower for December.


Send comments to co@dadbyrn.com, Professor Colby Glass, MAc, MLIS, PhDc, Prof. Emeritus