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Archive for the ‘Planting Guides’ Category

How to Grow Barberry Sunjoy Cinnamon Plants

October 14th, 2013

Here are some easy tips on how to grow Barberry Sunjoy Cinnamon Plants: These colorful, easy to care for shrubs do well in average, well-draining soil. They have normal water needs, and do best in a sunny spot. These shrubs offer a long-lasting, three-season display of eye-catching color.

Description: This yard and garden standout is easy to grow and easy to care for. The Barberry Sunjoy Cinnamon plant is a deciduous shrub with half-inch yellow-white flowers that bloom in April and May. The attractive dark orange foliage grows on compact, thorny branches. It grows 4-5 ft. tall and just as wide.

Origin: Native of Japan

Propagation: Semi-hardwood stem cuttings cut in mid-July or mid-September.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8

Companion Plants: Place Barberry Sunjoy Cinnamon shrubs 6 ft. apart to make a natural privacy hedge.

Fertilizer: Generally, none needed. For new plantings, use a slow release liquid feed.

Sun/Light Needs: Full sun is best

Maintenance: Low.

Display/Uses: Hedges; foundation planting

Wildlife Value: Deer resistant; attractive to birds

Diseases/Pests: Root rot, if soil does not drain well; rust and wilt

How to Grow Coreopsis Plants

October 9th, 2013

Here are some easy tips on how to grow Coreopsis plants: Loosen average, well-drained soil to a depth of 12-15 in. Add 2-4 in. compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot.  The top of the root ball should be level with the soil. Fill in the hole and tamp down to eliminate air pockets. Water well. Space them 2-3 ft. apart, depending on variety.

How To Grow Coreopsis PlantsPronunciation: ko-ree-OP-sis

Common Names: Tickseed; Calliopsis

Description: These dependable, colorful, easy-to-grow perennial plants have a long bloom time. The flowers are yellow or pink and they look like daisies.  Coreopsis plants grow from 9 in. to 4 ft., depending on variety. The fruits are flat and look like bugs.

Origin: N. America; Central and South America

Propagation: Division every few years in spring

Sun/Light Needs: Full sun is best

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Fertilizer Needs: Generally none, once established. Too much fertilizer will make Tickseed plants too tall and floppy. Apply a thin layer (2 in.) of compost each spring.

Maintenance: Low. After the first killing frost, cut these perennial plants back to 1-2 in. above soil line.

Companion Plants: Coneflower, Lavender, and Salvia

Display: Borders, cutting gardens

Pests/Diseases: Coreopsis plants can have problems with snails, slugs, and fungal disease

Wildlife Value: Food source for moths and butterflies; tolerates dry soil (Xeriscape ready)

How to Grow Heliotrope Plants

October 1st, 2013

How to grow heliotrope plantsHere are some easy tips for how to grow Heliotrope plants: These annual plants like a rich, loamy soil and six hours of full sun each day. Put plants in a hole twice the size of the root ball, to the depth of the soil mark on stem. Fill with organic matter, tamp down, then water.

Pronunciation: HE-lee-oh-trope

Origin: South America, Europe, and Asia

Description: These annuals also grow as tender perennial plants, depending on climate. Heliotrope plants have beautiful flower clusters of deep purple, blue, or white.  These tropical flowers can smell like cherry pie, vanilla, or grape Popsicle. The leaves are dark green and very attractive. They normally grow 1-3 ft. tall and 1- 2 ft. wide.

Common names: Turnsole; Cherry pie plant

Propagation: Seed or stem cutting

Sun/Light Needs: These annual plants do best in full sun. In very hot, dry areas, they need afternoon shade to stop the leaves from scorching.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-11 (tender perennials) but annuals elsewhere

Fertilizer Needs: Cherry pie plants are heavy feeders. Every 2 weeks or so, use a liquid fertilizer made especially for flowering plants. It should have a lot of phosphorus.

Maintenance: Early in the season, pinch stems back to encourage bushy shape. This will delay the first bloom, but you'll have a steady show of blossoms after that.

Companion Plants: Angelonia, Licorice plant

Display: Borders, beds, or containers

Pests/Diseases: Usually, none

Wildlife Value: Deer resistant; drought and heat tolerant. Cherry pie plants are also a food source for the Grass Jewel butterfly caterpillar.

Herbal/Medicinal Use: All parts of these annual plants/tender perennial plants are highly poisonous. Keep children, pets, and livestock away.

How to Grow Asclepias Plants

September 19th, 2013

Blooming Asclepias PlantHere are some easy tips regarding how to grow Asclepias plants: These garden favorites grow well in several soils: normal, sandy, or clay. They prefer the soil to be medium to coarse in texture. Choose your location well; Asclepias plants have long taproots.

Pronunciation: uh-SKLEE-pee-us

Description: These showy but slow-growing perennial plants can reach 3-4 ft. tall and can grow 2-3 ft. wide. Asclepias plants grow upright and have colorful flowers with a strong, vanilla-like scent. The flowers can be red, yellow, or orange.

Common Name(s): Butterfly plant; Milkweed

Origin: Central and South America

Propagation: Self seeds (summer-fall)

Sun/Light Needs: Prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-11 Asclepias plants are hardy in full sun locations.

Fertilizer Needs: Use a 10-10-10 feed that you work into the soil; do not use spray-on fertilizer. Apply as directed on package.

Maintenance: Low to Medium. They may need watering during a drought. In spring, put a thin layer of organic compost around these perennial plants; cover the compost with a 2-4 in. layer of mulch. In early fall, when bush flowers, pinch off several flower shoots from each stem. This way, Butterfly plants will send out more healthy flowers. Burn or prune plants in the fall to get rid of dead stalks and for new growth next spring.

Companion Plants: Purple Coneflower, Zinnia, or Black-eyed Susan

Display: Borders; Wildflower meadows (outdoors). Seedpods can be used in dried flower arrangements (indoors).

Wildlife: Deer and rabbit resistant; repels wireworms. Attracts both bees and butterflies. It's best known as a great attractor of Monarch butterflies. Drought tolerant.

Interesting Notes: In some New England states, Milkweed plants are on the endangered species list. Milkweed is grown to use as filling for hypoallergenic pillows.

Problems: Milkweed plants have a milky sap that can be toxic.

How to Grow Green Giant Arborvitae Plants

August 28th, 2013

Here are some easy tips for how to grow Green Giant Arborvitae plants: Dig a hole 2 times the width of the root ball. Till down to 10 in. deep. Add 1 part peat moss to 4 parts soil. Set the shrub so the root ball sits 1-2 in. above soil level. The planting hole should have slanting sides, so the soil does not collapse on the center. Tamp down the backfill to get rid of air pockets. Water deeply and thoroughly. Mulch to retain moisture.

Pronunciation: are-burr-VEE-tie or are-burr-VIE-tee

Description: These fast-growing (3 ft. a year) evergreen shrubs reach 50-60 ft. tall and 12-20 ft. wide. They have an attractive pyramid shape. The flat sprays of dense green foliage darken to a rich bronze in winter. The cinnamon-red bark makes a nice contrast. Green Giant Arborvitae is a cross between Western Red Cedar and Japanese Arborvitae.

Propagation: Semi-hardwood cuttings or seed

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-7

Companion Plants: Place Green Giant Arborvitae 5-6 ft. apart for a fast privacy screen; otherwise, set shrubs 10-15 ft. apart.

Fertilizer: At time of planting, use a starter fertilizer such as 20-20-20 to encourage root growth. Check with your nurseryman to find the correct water-soluble feed and follow package directions.

Sun/Light Needs: Full sun to part shade

Maintenance: If foliage color, annual growth, or general condition is poor, consult your nurseryman. Otherwise, low care and little to no pruning is needed.

Display/Uses: Screen, hedge, or windbreak

Wildlife: Deer resistant

Note: In the first year after planting, shrubs need special watering so the root ball does not dry out. Water every 3 days in summer, 1-2 times weekly otherwise. To protect shrubs in winter, wrap with burlap to avoid drying from wind.

How to Grow Barberry Plants

August 14th, 2013

Here are some easy tips on how to grow Barberry plants: These colorful, easy to care for shrubs do well in average, well-draining soil. They have normal water needs, and do best in a sunny spot. These shrubs offer a long-lasting, three-season display of eye-catching color.

Description: This yard and garden standout is easy to grow and easy to care for. The Barberry plant is a deciduous shrub with half-inch flowers that bloom in April and May. The attractive foliage grows on compact, thorny branches.

Origin: Native of Japan

Propagation: Semi-hardwood stem cuttings cut in mid-July or mid-September.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8

Companion Plants: Place Barberry shrubs 4-6 ft. apart to make a natural privacy hedge.

Fertilizer: Generally, none needed. For new plantings, use a slow release liquid feed and follow package directions. Consult your nurseryman with any questions.

Sun/Light Needs: Full sun is best

Maintenance: Low.

Display/Uses: Hedges; foundation planting

Wildlife Value: Deer resistant; attractive to birds

Diseases/Pests: Root rot, if soil does not drain well; rust and wilt

 

How to Grow Hardy Hibiscus Plants

August 7th, 2013

Here are some easy tips on how to grow Hardy Hibiscus plants: These hardy, fast-growing herbaceous perennials do best in moist soil rich in organic matter. But they will also grow in average medium to wet soil. Soil pH should be 6 to 7. Hardy Hibiscus plants like full sunlight and good air circulation. They need regular, deep watering. They do not need staking.  Avoid windy locations to guard from windburn.

Botanical Name: Hibiscus moscheutos

Common Name: Rose Mallow

Pronunciation: hi-BIS-kiss

Propagation: Division of woody crown is challenging and best avoided.

Description: These tropical flowering plants grow 3 to 8 ft. tall and 5 ft. wide. Hardy Hibiscus plants only stay green year-round in areas without frost. These perennial plants have red, white, pink, or bicolored blooms and triangular leaves with saw-tooth notches. They bloom late (July) and right up to frost.

Origin: Native of USA swamps, marshes, and stream banks

USDA Zones: 4 – 9

Companion Plants: Baptisia, Campanula, Coreopsis, Coneflower

Fertilizer Needs: Fertilize early spring, late spring, mid-summer, and late fall with Espoma Palm-tone.

Maintenance: Low. Similar to daylilies, Rose Mallow flowers last only one day, then turn to mush and clump together. Deadhead before this happens. Stems need to be cut down in the late fall for new spring growth.  Hardy hibiscus responds to pruning before flowering to create fuller plants. This may also help avoid early Japanese beetle damage.

Water Needs: In the first growth season, follow a regular schedule to set deep roots. Afterwards, regular moderate watering will do. In extreme heat, water more often; if soil dries out, leaf scorch sets in.

Display: Great choice for rain gardens, in borders or large pots

Wildlife Value: Deer resistant; attracts butterflies and hummingbirds

Pests/Diseases: Japanese beetle, aphid, whitefly

How to Grow Baptisia Plants

July 29th, 2013

Here are some easy tips for how to grow Baptisia plants: In average, dry to medium well-drained soil, dig a hole 12 in. deep. The hole should be twice the diameter of the pot. Mix in 2-4 in. of compost. The top of the root ball should be level with the soil. Fill in the hole and tamp down to eliminate air pockets. Water well. If planting multiple plants, space them 3-4 ft. apart.

Pronunciation: bap-TIZ-ee-uh

Common Name(s): False Wild Indigo; Rattle bush

Description: These easy-to-grow perennial plants have blue-green foliage and tall spires of showy blue blooms that look like pea plant flowers. Some plants have bi-colored flowers. Baptisia plants grow 2-4 ft. tall and just as wide. They bloom in early summer. Grown from seed, Baptisia plants take several years to establish. They like growing in woods, thickets, and along stream banks. Useful in erosion control.

Origin: Native American prairie plant

Propagation: By seed

Sun/Light Needs: Full sun is best; they will tolerate partial shade.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Fertilizer Needs: Generally none. Apply well-rotted compost annually.

Maintenance: Low. These perennial plants do not need dividing. Trim after blooming to keep rounded shape, but only if no seedpods are wanted. May need support if grown in partial shade.

Companion Plants: Coneflower, Geranium, or Black-eyed Susan

Display: Meadows, containers, beds and borders, dried arrangements

Pests/Diseases: False Indigo plants have no serious pests or diseases

Wildlife Value: Rabbit and deer resistant; attracts butterflies; drought tolerant

Herbal/Medicinal Uses: Native Americans used False Indigo plants for dye. Other uses: for toothache, as eyewash, or as a laxative. The seedpods were used as rattles for babies and toys for children.

How to Grow Centaurea Plants

July 19th, 2013

Here are some easy tips for how to grow Centaurea plants: In average, well-drained soil, dig a hole twice the size of the pot. The top of the root ball should be level with the soil. Fill in the hole and tamp down to prevent air pockets. Water well. If planting multiple Centaurea plants, space them 3 ft. apart.

Description: These easy-to-maintain perennial plants grow naturally in meadows or pastures. They have hardy grey-green foliage (often spiky) and showy, thistle-like flowers. The blooms range in solid or mixed colors of intense blues to reds, yellows, and white.

Pronunciation: sen-taw-REE-uh

Common Name(s): Mountain bluet, Knapweed, Basket flower

Origin: N. America; the Middle East

Propagation: By seed. Centaurea plants self-seed easily.

Sun/Light Needs: Full to part sun

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-8

Fertilizer Needs: Knapweed plants generally need no fertilizing.

Maintenance: Prune by 1/3 after bloom. Divide roots every couple of years.

Companion Plants: Poppy, Russian sage, Butterfly weed

Display: Meadows, pastures, cut flower and dried arrangements

Pests/Diseases: Knapweed plants have no serious pests or diseases

Wildlife Value: Attracts butterflies and honeybees; drought tolerant

Herbal/Medicinal Uses: Both the roots and the greens of these perennial plants are eaten and also used in folk medicine.  Laboratory tests show Knapweed plants have anti-cancer properties.

Note: Knapweed plants are not digested by livestock and can be toxic to horses

How to Grow Coleus Plants

July 9th, 2013

How to grow Coleus plantsHere are some easy tips for how to grow Coleus plants.

Coleus grows well in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Give Coleus a sheltered spot and lots of water during dry spells. If planting by seed, scatter on surface of soil; seeds sprout in 72- to 75-degree weather. If planting by stem cuttings, first put a cutting in a 4 in. pot. Allow 1-2 wks. for roots to grow. Then put these new plants in the ground 12-24 in. apart. If growing in a container, put 3 or 4 plants in a 10-12 in. pot (or a single plant in a 6-8 in. pot). Indoors, use a soil-based potting mix; put Coleus in bright to medium filtered light. Water freely. Fertilize about every 2 weeks during active growth. In winter, keep soil just moist; repot in spring.

Description: These hardy, fast-growing plants are grown not for their flowers, but for their leaves. Mound-shaped Coleus plants have leaves in almost every color, solid or variegated. These evergreen perennial plants are also grown as annual plants. Coleus grows 18-36 inches tall and 9-12 inches wide. Flowers in late summer.

Common Name: Coleus (KO-lee-us)

Origin: Asia, Africa

Propagation: By seed or stem cuttings

Sun Needs: Newer varieties do well in full sun; other types will have better color in shade.

USDA Zones: Hardy in 10-11

Companion Plants: Coral Bells, Pig Squeak

Diseases: Downy mildew (causes curled, twisted leaves); Thrips (make shiny, silver-colored leaves); Mealy bug; Scale; Whiteflies

Maintenance: Low. Coleus gets leggy as it ages; pinch off flowers to keep mound shape. If allowed to go to seed, the plants will start dying.

Fertilizer Needs: Time-release fertilizer (follow package directions). Soil additives (crystals that swell into a jelly-like shape) will hold water and help on very hot days; add these about 2 in. below the soil. Root-stimulating products that add mycorrhizae (healthy fungus) may help these annual plants. Your nurseryman can help you choose the best products for your Coleus plants.

Display: Hanging baskets, containers, flowerbeds

Wildlife Value: Attracts butterflies and bees

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