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Archive for May 2011

Yellow Leaves on Magnolia Tree

May 25th, 2011

I have a magnolia 4 years old in a pot in a conservatory. Its leaves have started turning yellow in patches. Can you tell me what is wrong with it?

Answer: Without more information I cannot really give you a definitive answer. There could be multiple reasons why the leaves are yellowing.  Lack of water or too much water can cause similar reactions so be sure you are keeping it evenly watered and not over-watered, especially. If the yellowing is occurring in the tissue portion of the leaf and the veins remain dark green, then your plant could be experiencing chlorosis, where the plant is lacking iron because the pH level of the soil is too high (above 6.5). You should test the soil pH to confirm this. You say this plant has been in a pot for 4 years, so it’s possible that it’s simply pot-bound. As a tree that prefers to have its feet planted firmly in the earth, it could be that it isn’t receiving sufficient nutrients after 4 years in the same soil and it might be as easy as repotting in a slightly increased size of pot to accommodate the expanded root growth. If repotting, give it some acid/iron-based fertilizer like our Hi-Yield Azalea Fertilizer to give it the required nutrients for acid-lovers.

One other possible cause could be a soil fungus, Verticillium wilt, but you would want to take a sample leaf and a sample of the soil to your county extension office to verify.

If this does not remedy the problem, then please provide more information, such as your location, a photo of the tree and a problem leaf, and information about its environment.

Happy gardening,

Karen

Great Begonia Plants, Thanks!

May 24th, 2011

Hi, I received my 4 charm begonias and 2 double red begonias today and was quite amazed at the quality and size of the plants. I was expecting much smaller ones, but these are 4-5 inches tall and quite full. I have planted them in their pots and will keep them protected until they recuperate from their trip. But anyway, great plants and clever packaging, too. Thanks….Helga G

GHS: You are welcome Helga, thanks for being our customer. Happy Gardening!

How to Grow Goji Berry Plants

May 20th, 2011

The Lycium barbarum variety of Gogi Berry Plants are a perennial in zones 3 to 10, they are actually quite remarkably heat and cold tolerant. Goji plants are also deciduous, which just means that they drop their leaves every year, usually once the first frost hits.

Goji Berry plants are very adaptable, but for the very best results, test your soil, and then adjust the pH to between 6.8 – 8.1. You can add lime to raise the pH if necessary or aluminum sulfate to lower it.

GROW GOJI BERRY PLANTS IN CONTAINERS

Gogi Berry plants can easily be grown in containers on your deck or patio. Goji plant roots like to grow deep, but the plant itself will stop growing once the roots touch the bottom of the container, so they won’t grow as large as the plants grow in the ground. One advantage is that you may very well see goji berries in the first or second season, rather than the third, which is normally the case when they are grown in the ground.

So you’ve received your bare root plants. They will survive for awhile without being planted, but we recommend that you plant them as soon as possible. We also suggest that you get them established inside, in a sunny location, before moving them outside, also to a sunny location. Your Goji plant will appreciate some afternoon shade if you live in a very hot climate (Temps above 100°F).

  • Place the bare root plants in a jar or container with room-temperature water and allow them to soak for about 15-minutes.
  • Prepare your container. We recommend a container at least as deep as a five-gallon bucket, but it does not have to be wide. Your container or pot should have drainage holes in the bottom (if it doesn’t—make some), so you may also want to provide a drain pan for the container to sit in.
  • Mix about 1/3 sand to 2/3 soil in order to provide the best growing medium and drainage, though any good potting soil will work. In hot, dry areas, we recommend Premier Pro-Mix Ultimate Container Mix. Fill the container, leaving 2 to 3-inches at the top.
  • Dig a hole in the middle of the container a couple of inches deeper than to the crown of the plant (where the roots meet the stem), pushing loose soil back in until with the roots lightly resting on the soil in the hole, the crown is level with the top of the soil.
  • Push the soil back in, filling around the roots and up to the crown, gently tamping as you go.
  • Water well and push more soil around the plant if necessary, watering again to let the soil settle.
  • You should continue to keep your Goji plant moist, but not overly wet, until you see new growth sprouting, usually in about 2-weeks.
  • Apply an inch or two of mulch in order to help with moisture retention (and because it looks nice). If you mulch, you will depend upon touch to check soil moisture, or water into a large reservoir under the planter so it is wicked from the bottom up.

You may see flowers, after which fruit will follow, the first season, depending upon when you plant; but more than likely it will be the second season. Remember that containerized plants will feel the heat and cold more because their roots are in soil above the ground. Be weather-aware, providing adequate moisture when it is extremely hot and dry, as containerized plants will usually dry out quicker and in order to provide protection for your plant if the temperatures become really cold.

GROW GOJI BERRY PLANTS IN THE GROUND

You can grow Goji Berry plants in the ground in any relatively sunny location, as long as you have room for expansion. Adult Goji plants can grow up to 8-feet high and wide, though some gardeners prune their Goji plants to keep them within a desired size range. You can even grow Gogi bushes as a hedge or you can train them to a trellis, in which case, they can get as tall as 10-feet.

To make this really simple and to give your Goji Berry Plant the best start, we recommend that you start it in a container, though you don’t need a 5-gallon size. In fact, you can buy a 4 to 6-inch peat pot and not even have to worry about taking it back out of the pot to transplant it. This will greatly reduce the stress involved with transplanting, further ensuring your Goji plant will thrive. If you are starting it in a container, you just follow steps 1 through 7 above, at which point you can transplant your Goji plant into the ground. Goji plants growing in the ground will sometimes start to produce fruit the second season, but will not go into full production until the third year.

If you are putting it directly into the ground:

  • Choose a sunny site if you live anywhere but in the desert southwest, where you will either want to have shade or be able to put up a shade cloth during the hottest part of the day.
  • Follow step 1 above, and then prepare your soil, testing and amending it if needed.
  • Skip to step 4, and continue through step 8 above, applying mulch immediately, rather than waiting, and carefully monitoring soil moisture. It is critical that it not be allowed to dry out until you see new growth start to sprout, usually in about two weeks.

PRUNING YOUR GOJI BERRY PLANTS

Pruning is normally done in the winter, but they can also be gently trimmed throughout the season to shape the canopy and to improve berry yield.

You will not want to prune them heavily the first year. Identify the largest, healthy shoot, which will be the main trunk. Gradually remove the lower lateral shoots, with the goal in mind of keeping the trunk clear for the first 15-inches, and then when your Goji plant reaches 24-inches , remove the growing tip in order to stimulate the growth of additional side branches.

To prune adult plants, you just remove the branches above the height that you wish to keep. You should maintain clearance from the ground up of about 15-inches. You can also identify any ineffective branches. These usually grow very fast, straight and smooth and will not be very productive, so if they aren’t essential to the overall look, they can simply be removed. Remember that Goji Berry plants grow similar to a weeping willow. If allowed to grow un-pruned you can end up with a mighty ugly plant, though “ugly” is only in the eye of the beholder, and you may thoroughly enjoy this natural look. You should always prune the plant after a heavy berry season as berries are produced on new growth only.

We hope that this has helped you to understand the needs of the Goji Berry Plant. To help your prepare this amazingly healthy superfood, we have discovered a cookbook, written by Dr. Donald R. Daugs, Goji and Wolfberry, Superfood Cook Book for Health, Flavor and Fun, filled with illustrations and 93 recipes for everything from breakfast to main dishes and including a chapter on appetizers!

We have not mentioned fertilizer, because it is not absolutely necessary, but every plant will benefit from some type of regular feeding. We recommend Jobe’s continuous-release drip feeders or spikes.

Once the average daytime temperature drops below 50 degrees, your goji plant will start going into dormancy. It will stay dormant until the spring time temps are up above 50 degrees. If you live in an area that does not get that cold, keeping your plant pruned back to new growth is the key to keeping the berries coming.

We wish you great success and good health! Happy Gardening!

How to Prune Hydrangea Plants-Expert Advice for the Novice

May 17th, 2011

The easiest way to avoid having to prune is to always plant your hydrangeas where they can grow “au naturale” and won’t need pruning, except to clean out dead stems or to deadhead the blossoms as they fade, both of which can be done at any time of the year.

But, if you have established hydrangeas, the first thing you must do is attempt to identify them. If you already know the type of hydrangea you have, just skip down to the “How to Prune Your Hydrangea” section. Different types of hydrangeas have different pruning requirements and improper pruning can literally mean a bloomless season…or worse.

How to Identify Your Hydrangea

There are four common types of hydrangea:Mophead Hydrangea Flowers

Mopheads & Lacecaps (macrophylla) are considered one group. The leaves on this species are usually heart-shaped or ovoid with serratededges and are about 4 to 6-inches long and 3 to 5-inches wide, though some varieties will be larger. The leaves are somewhat thick and semi-shiny. The leaf stems are the biggest clue to your hydrangea’s identity, especially when combined with the type of flower it produces. The leaf stems (petioles) on a mophead or lacecap will be short, meaning that the leaves hug the main stem. On a mophead hydrangea, the blossoms grow in round and oval mounds of tightly clumped individual flowers. On the lacecap varieties, the flower head shape is almost the same, but you will have itty-bitty, lacy-looking flowerbuds in the middle, surrounded by larger, fully developed flowers. The buds are the fertile flowers, while the full blossoms around the edges are infertile. Though considered one group when it comes to their pruning requirements, each of these look quite different when in bloom. It is also interesting to note that mopheads are the ONLY hyrdrangea that has colored blossoms when they first open. All other species will be white, so that may be the first hint that you don’t have a mophead, unless you have a white mophead cultivar, which is relatively uncommon. Photo is courtesy of Ginger.

Oakleaf Hydrangea Plant

 

Oakleaf hydrangeas are so-named, just for that reason; they have leaves that are shaped  similar to the leaves on a red oak. The size of the leaves can range from 4-inches to 10-inches long and wide, and will often stay on the plant most of the winter. They are not really considered an evergreen though because after several freezes they are not very attractive. They also have “cones” of flowers, as opposed to mounds or balls of flowers and ALL oakleaf hydrangeas will bloom white before changing color. It should be very easy to identify this species if you have it. Photo is courtesy of RPOP.

Snowball Hydrangea Flowers

 

Snowball hydrangeas (H. arborescens), the most common of which is ‘Annabelle’, might remind you of lollipops. The flower heads are usually very large, but made up of tiny, individual blossoms. The leaves are usually thinner, though oftentimes heart shaped, somewhat similar to the macrophylla. They also tend to be a bit “floppier” than the ones on mopheads and are not shiny, instead having a matte finish. The leaf stems (petioles) are also long, holding the leaves further out from the main stem. The one single trait that sets this species apart is that the blossoms will open green, turn white for two or three weeks and then turn green again, which is when you can dry them. These humongous blossoms also tend to fall over in high wind and heavy rain, so you might want to plant them on the side of the house with the least wind, as long as it is not fully shaded.

hydrangea paniculata flower blossoms

 

Finally there is the PG hydrangea (paniculata). The leaves are normally smaller than other hydrangeas; they are also thinner and can either be finely or coarsely toothed. They have a rougher overall texture and are medium-green with a matte finish. The biggestidentifying characteristic is that the leaves grow in a threesome from one stem node and are spaced around the node, in a whorl. This type of hydrangea can be pruned to grow in both a tree and shrub form and is also not easily identified by the type of flower heads. They can be cone-shaped or round, full or sparse, stand erect or droop. In fact, the name paniculata is derived from the panicle-type flower head that most of them bear. They, like the oakleaf, will first emerge white, turning pink as they age. These hydrangeas can grow to lofty heights of 8 to 10 feet and sometimes taller, matching their height in breadth. Photo courtesy of Alan Buckingham.

 

How to Prune Your Hydrangea

Now that you’ve identified your hydrangea(s), we can talk about how to prune to keep your hydrangeas healthy and beautiful. Please note that pruning and deadheading are two different things. Deadheading is just removing the old blossoms as they fade, while pruning changes the total appearance and form of the plant. There are two methods for pruning:How to deadhead faded hydrangea flowers

Method 1—This method is for mopheads, lacecaps and for oakleaf hydrangeas. These hydrangeas bloom on “old wood” which means they develop buds on stems that have been on the plant since the summer before the current season. They develop these buds sometime between August and October the previous year, for the following summer’s blossoms. Therefore, if you remove these stems in the late fall, winter, or spring, the flower-producing buds will be removed, meaning NO FLOWERS (or only a very few) this summer. So, prudence and patience is required when pruning mopheads, lacecaps or oakleaf hydrangeas:

  1. You can remove dead stems at anytime throughout the year and they should be removed every year.
  2. Once your plant is at least 5 years old, remove about 1/3 of the older, living stems, cutting them down to the ground in late June through early August. Try to choose ones not already blooming or that are starting to look a bit naked. Keep an eye to how this will change the shape of the current plant, stepping back once in a while to see how it’s looking. Doing this will revitalize the plant.
  3. To reduce the size of a plant, it can be cut back in June or July without doing away with the following year’s blossoms, but it won’t take long for it to return to its original size, which is why planting where it doesn’t require pruning is recommended.

Method 2—This method is used for the snowball (H. arborescens) and PG (PeeGee or H. paniculata) type of hydrangeas. Both of these hydrangeas bloom on “new wood”, which means that you can prune them any time of year, except in the spring when they are setting buds, or in the summer when they are either preparing to bloom or are in full bloom. Some people even grow hedges of the snowball type, pruning them back almost to the ground in the fall, so as to present a neater winter appearance; but be aware that this type of drastic pruning can keep the stems from reaching the sturdiest size in order to adequately support the huge flower heads. If you do this, you may have to stake your flowers in the spring and summer, or grow them along a fence and use string across the front to offer support when in full bloom. When pruning PGs, we don’t recommend pruning every year, but trimming out criss-crossing branches or those that detract from the overall form. These hydrangeas can be pruned from the bottom into tree-form. The developing trunk and the top branches should not be removed and you should also not attempt to make it look like the tree the first year or two. Patience is “key” here. Each year just trim a few of the lower branches in order to expose the developing trunk, and then late nature take its natural course. One note: if a tree-pruned paniculata’s main trunk is broken close to the ground, it will grow back as a shrub unless the training process is started again from the new shoots.

Everblooming Hydrangea ShrubThough this may seem like a lot of work, it really isn’t. Once you have the knowledge, the rest is easy. But…if you’d rather not worry about it… there are a small group of mopheads that will bloom regardless of when they are pruned. These are called “everbloomers” and will bloom on both old and new wood. Our Let’s Dance Big Easy, Moonlight, and Starlight are everbloomers, as is our Pinky Winky Hydrangea plant. And if you want to amend your soil to change the color of your mopheads, it is also quite simple. Our Hi-Yield Agricultural Limestone will reduce the pH of your soil relatively quickly, resulting in blue coloration, while our Hi-Yield Aluminum Sulphate will increase the pH, giving you pink. You also might want to invest in one of our inexpensive soil testers to determine where your pH lies right now, especially if you are planting new mophead hydrangeas and want to be sure of a particular flower color.

We hope that this has provided some valuable information, as this is one of the questions that our Master Gardener sees on a regular basis. And if you still have questions after reading this, please contact Karen. Our goal is to help you to be the best gardener you can be! Happy Gardening!

Survive in Style with Grabill Farms Canned Meat

May 12th, 2011

Have you ever thought about what you would eat if weather conditions or some other emergency kept you housebound for an extended period? Canned meat is a great thing to stock up on as a protein source to balance out all the easily stored carbs like rice and pasta.

But canned meat isn’t just for survivalists: it’s for anyone who runs out of Canned Porkbeef, chicken, turkey or pork and doesn’t have time to rush to the supermarket. It’s for busy people who wants the convenience of a heat and serve meal. It’s for the chef who wants to prepare a gourmet dish without all the prep work. It’s for people who want to solve the problem of their overstuffed fridge or freezer, and save energy in the bargain. It’s also for campers, boaters, RV owners, and anyone who will be away from the usual sources of sustenance for a while.

Someone once said that buying canned meat is like buying batteries. Sure, the electricity out of the wall is cheaper, but batteries serve so many useful functions that most of us find the cost of “canned electricity” totally worth it.  The thing about canned meat, though, is that it actually might wind up being cheaper than fresh meat when you factor in the cost of gas, fuel, and electricity.  And, amazingly, canned meat lasts even longer than batteries!

The Grabill Farms canned meat that we sell is guaranteed for five years, but has been known to last at least twice that and still retain its original flavor and texture. So let us tell you a little about this fine company and their products.

Grabill Farms: Canned Meat Perfection

Grabill Farms is a family owned operation that prepares, cooks, and cans their meat in a USDA-inspected facility in Grabill, Indiana. The beef is chuck tender cut; the pork is cushion cut; the chicken is half dark meat and half-light; the turkey is entirely from the breast and thigh.Canned Beef

The Grabill Farms products that we carry are chicken chunks, beef chunks, turkey chunks, pork chunks, and ground beef. All are boneless, low-salt, low-fat, free of preservatives, and cooked in their own natural juices. They come in either 13 oz. or 27 oz. sizes. If you buy them by the 12-pack, you’ll get an additional savings of up to 17%.

Add Dehydrated Veggies and You’re Ready for Anything

While you’re stocking up on canned meat, you might want to pick up some dehydrated veggies as well. Then if you’re housebound for any length of time, you’ll be all ready to cook up some tasty meals. These dehydrated veggies come in bags of 3 lbs. or larger and, like the canned meat that we sell, they have a very long shelf life.  They all rehydrate after two minutes in boiling water.

We offer veggie flakes that contain potato carrot, red and green bell pepper, and celery. They rehydrate after two minutes in boiling water. We also have dehydrated soup greens that contain carrots, onion, red bell pepper, celery, green bell pepper, tomato, and spinach.

Dried VegetablesIf you just want a particular vegetable, we offer individual bags of dehydrated carrots, double diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes halves, sweet green bell peppers, sweet red bell peppers, and a red and green sweet bell pepper combo. Last but not least, we have dehydrated spicy jalapeno pepper chips on sale this month for 30% off. And, to repeat, if you order a case of canned meat, we’ll give you an additional savings of up to 17% off our already very competitive prices.

We hope this newsletter has convinced you that quality canned meat is a good way of keeping you and your family well-nourished whatever the weather. And perhaps its opened the eyes of some of you that canned meat isn’t necessarily the same as luncheon meat.

Just as there used to be only Maxwell House and Folgers on the shelf in the grocery, and Budweiser and Miller used to chill out together in the refrigerated beer section, the canned meat industry used to consist mostly of SPAM—not the junk in your email in-box, but tinned pork formed into a solid block. Now even SPAM comes in nine varieties and quality canned meats such as those made by Grabill Farms have become available. It’s a great time to start using and enjoying canned meat!

Cooking with Canned Meat

To introduce you to the pleasures and convenience of quality canned meat, here are a couple of recipes that come to us courtesy of allrecipes.com. Enjoy!

Boyfriend Bait Beef Strogonoff

Yield: 3 servings

Prep time: 15 min. Cook time: 15 min.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, well-trimmed, meat cut bite-sized pieces (about 1-inch square)
  2. 4 tablespoons butter
  3. 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  4. 2 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
  5. 2 cups canned beef broth
  6. 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  7. 1 cup sour cream
  8. 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. Over medium high heat, gently cook beef tenderloin in 2 tablespoons of butter for about 2 minutes, until just seared on all sides. You will still be able to see red. Remove from pan and set aside in a rimmed dish or baking sheet so that you collect the juices.
  2. Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook the shallots and mushrooms in remaining butter until soft and wilted, about 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch into cold beef broth, whisk to blend. Pour into pan, and stir together with shallots and mushrooms until thickened, two or three minutes.
  3. Add sour cream and mustard, stir to blend. Add beef and juices from dish; stir over medium just till warmed through. Salt to taste. Serve over noodles or rice.

Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 747 | Total Fat: 59.2g | Cholesterol: 190mg

Chicken Pasta Salad II

Prep Time: 30 Min Cook Time: 10 Min

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 pound rotini/corkscrew pasta
  2. 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  3. 1/2 cup sliced green olives
  4. 1 stalk celery, chopped
  5. 1/4 cup minced onion
  6. 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  7. 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn kernels
  8. 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  9. 3/4 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  10. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  11. 1 cup canned chicken meat – drained and flaked
  12. Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cool water. Pour into a large dish.
  2. Combine mushrooms, olives, celery, onion, cheese, corn and green bell pepper with pasta; mix well.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing and mayonnaise; pour dressing over salad and toss again to coat.
  4. Gently mix in flaked chicken; refrigerate for a few hours or serve.

Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 458 | Total Fat: 33.3g | Cholesterol: 48mg

The Scent of Lilacs

May 11th, 2011

lilac plantThe syringa plant, better known as a lilac bush, has been a favorite shrub of homeowners and landscapers for eons, and for good reasons.  In the spring, it becomes densely covered with colorful blooms, and they smell like a slice of heaven.  Not many flowers are as heavily perfumed as lilacs.

The proper name is syringa (pronounced si-RING-uh), and there are varieties to suit nearly every taste and growing condition.  There are numerous colors of blooming lilacs available, from white to pale yellow to lavender to the deep, intense hot pink hues of the Redwine Syringa Plant. The Redwine also has a slightly spicier scent than most other lilacs.

The Bloomerang® Purple Syringa Plant is unique in that it blooms like most varieties in the early spring, but then it re-blooms after the summer begins to turn to fall. It has a mounding habit, full green foliage throughout the warm months, and two seasons of luscious deep lavender flowers in abundance. 

In a full sun to mostly sunny location, the Bloomerang® Purple Syringa will grow 4 to 6 feet tall.  It has normal watering requirements, and will thrive in most soil types.  It’s a very low-maintenance shrub that will even grow well in a container.

Syringa plants create an intoxicating fragrance outdoors, and the cut flowers will scent a whole home interior when used in arrangements for centerpieces or placed in bud vases.  Syringas produce plenty of blooms, providing you all the cut flowers you need without diminishing the beauty of the shrub. Just make sure to clip them with high quality bypass pruners, so you don’t crush the stems and prohibit healthy future growth.  Also, dead-heading the spent blooms will increase flowering production the following spring.

Lilacs can become leggy, so it’s a good idea to prune branches back at the end of the growing season.  They’ll come back bushier and with a more balanced shape and healthier foliage and flowers.

If you like plants that have a graceful weeping habit, the Lilac Sunday Syringa Plant is a lovely shrub.  It has an unusual stem design, with flowers produced both on the stem tips, called panacles, and also laterally growing buds farther down the stems.  The weight of all the flower clusters causes the branches to grow downward instead of upward, giving this unique lilac a very flowing shape.

When planning landscaping, it’s a good idea to consider the best seasons of your plants, and try to achieve year-round beauty in your spaces, no matter what your growing climate. Lilacs are a welcome sign of spring in most regions, and they continue to provide full foliage throughout the summer, for hedge rows or single focal-point planting.

Canned Meat? A Time-Saving Miracle!

May 9th, 2011

I can hear some of you thinking, “Really?” or “Right!”, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

This is not your Grandma’s canned meat, unless she happens to stock Grabill Country Meats. The meat is processed at a USDA inspected processing plant. Each can is hand-packed and then is fully cooked, right in the can, with all of the meat’s natural juices. You don’t even have to worry about cooking it properly to avoid things like botulism or E-coli. Grabill Country has taken the worry and the time out of preparing wholesome, nutritious and quick meals for your family.

Stressed and time-starved Moms are just now discovering what hunters and sailors have known all along…canned meat is really convenient, has exceptional flavor and lasts almost forever on the shelf! Though Grabill Country puts a 5-year expiration date on their products, the truth is that they can last twice that long, losing none of their flavor and being perfectly safe to consume.

Keep some on hand for when you’ve just run out of time and don’t want to go out for “fast food” or stock up for those unexpected weather events, such as flooding or blizzards, that may keep you confined to your home for an extended period. Watch our short video for even more ideas on how to use this fantastic product and then stock up on Grabill Country Meats canned meat products.

Ride The Wave – Grow Like a Pro

May 5th, 2011

easy wave, easy wave petunia, petunia plant, pink petuniaThe Wave family of petunias has made growing and displaying luscious petunias easier than ever before. Easy Wave™, purposely bred to be easy to care for, have bold colors, grow fast, bloom profusely and are more heat and cold tolerant than your ‘garden variety’ petunias. Most Easy Wave petunias will be from 8 to 12-inches tall and can spread up to 3-feet, which makes them perfect for hanging or tall standing containers, spilling over retaining walls or out of window boxes and for flowering ground cover applications to brighten up a fading perennial garden.

When it comes to care, they were aptly named. When you receive your potted Easy Wave Petunia plants, we recommend that you set them in a shady place, maybe under a tree, to recover from the rigors of shipping for two or three days and to become acclimated to your climate before transplanting. We have also found that allowing them to soak in the pot, set in a shallow container with Neptune’s Harvest for a few hours, gives the already vigorous root system a bit of a boost, ensuring they will take hold in your flower beds quickly.

Easy Wave Petunias are sun-lovers, so sun is a MUST! The bed where you plant these beauties should have at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight daily. If you work and are unable to watch the bedding area to make sure it gets that amount of sun daily, you might want to purchase an inexpensive 4-Way Analyzer or Sun Calculator to ensure that your Easy Waves will thrive and bloom their best throughout the season. And of course, you can use these handy tools over and over for every part of your landscape or vegetable gardens.

When transplanting Easy Wave Petunias to flower beds, you should maintain the same depth as the original pot. In a prepared bed, dig a hole almost twice the size of the pot and about an inch deeper, then add loose soil back to the bottom of the hole to bring the pot back to the proper depth, in line with the top of the soil. If you have soaked your petunias, they should come out of their shipping pot easily by just squeezing gently to loosen the soil from the pot. Then, simply tip the pot upside down, supporting the plant and the soil in your palm and between your fingers. Set the shipping pot aside and gently set the plant in the hole, double-checking to make sure the original soil is level with the bedding soil. Replace the soil around the plant, gently tamping as you go, and then water well.

We recommend that you space Easy Wave about 12 to 24-inches apart. This will ensure enough room for luscious growth and will fill in nicely for uninterrupted color. You are welcome to mulch to retain moisture, but once Easy Wave takes hold and starts growing, they quickly create a living mat that shades the soil, retains moisture and keeps the weed population at bay.

In containers, we recommend 3 plants for every 10 to 12-inches of container width. Keep in mind that containers will dry out more quickly than your garden beds and that petunias of any kind don’t like to go to bed with wet leaves. Water in the morning and don’t allow them to dry out completely between watering; you’ll be rewarded with healthy growth, prolific blooms and gorgeous color.

Easy Wave also does not require pinching or deadheading. The faded blooms will just dry up and drop off on their own, providing valuable nutrients back to the plants from which they came; and more blooms will continue to appear all season long. As for pinching, that is not necessary either, unless they are not getting the recommended amount of daily sunlight and become leggy.

Finally, Petunias are heavy feeders and though they will perform well with little care, they will reach their full potential with regular feeding. The Easy Wave breeders recommend using a liquid fertilizer very 10 to 14 days, or you can use a combination of liquid and a slow-release fertilizer over longer intervals. Jobe’s Drip Feeder for Flowering Plants is an easy solution for your containers, or use Jobe’s Organic Container & Bedding Plants Fertilizer Spikes in your flower beds!

We hope this has answered all of your questions about how to plant and care for your Easy Wave Petunias, but in the event that you have further questions, you are invited to contact our Master Gardener, Karen.

Happy Gardening!

Wonderful Plants!

May 4th, 2011

Just a note to let you know that I was really impressed with the wonderful and healthy plants and herbs that I had orderd from your website. I shall continue to use this site for my all my plants. The packing was also quite well done!

Many thanks, Mary

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