What Makes Onions Bulb?

Have you ever planted onions, only to be disappointed in the size of bulb produced, or even have no bulbs produce at all? Here are some guidelines to ensure bulb production of onions in your garden. Choose the right variety: onions are characterized by the length of day required for them to produce bulbs. “Long-day” varieties will quit forming leaves and begin forming bulbs when day length reaches 14-16 hours. These varieties do better in the NORTHERN STATES. They are often the little onion “sets” you find at the box [...]

By | 2017-12-11T10:53:43+00:00 December 11th, 2017|Plants|

Protecting Your Plants in the Winter

Do you have a plan for keeping your tender plants alive this winter?  Are you wondering which plants will need protection? The first thing you need to know is what hardiness zone your plant is classified in. Is it zone 10, like the Bougainvillea? Or zone 9, like Lemon Grass? The hardiness zone determines the minimum cold temperatures that a plant will tolerate. It is just a guideline, however, as other factors will also need to be considered. A tender plant that is well established going into the winter will [...]

By | 2017-12-04T17:31:45+00:00 December 4th, 2017|Plants|

Caring For Your Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus is a tropical plant native to South and Central America. They are not actually a cactus. They grow in similar environments as epiphytic orchids, in the forks of tree limbs, where they grow in decayed leaves and other natural debris that accumulates there. When you bring your Christmas cactus home, it will most likely be in bud and bloom. To prevent bud drop, locate the plant in a humid environment, or place water in a saucer with gravel under the plant to increase humidity. Do not place them [...]

By | 2017-11-27T16:44:27+00:00 November 27th, 2017|Plants|

Poinsettia Care

Poinsettias are such a symbol of the Holidays, and can be kept fresh-looking longer with just a few easy care instructions. Locate your Poinsettia close to a bright window if possible. The bracts will continue to “color up” with sufficient light. If you are satisfied with the color, you may display the plant in a darker area, but be aware that the color may fade. Check the soil daily for water. When the surface of the soil is dry to the touch, or if the pot feels light, remove the [...]

By | 2017-11-21T17:14:43+00:00 November 21st, 2017|Plants|

October Gardening Check List

The best tree and shrub planting season continues now through mid-March. Root systems will continue to grow all winter long, giving you a fairly well-established plant by the time the real heat sets in. A better established root system conserves water and is more drought resistant next year. (It is also easier on YOU,  as you will be watering less often in the winter!) Try planting some spring-flowering trees and shrubs such as azaleas, redbuds, Mexican plums, anacacho orchid trees, and Texas scarlet flowering quince. -Don’t miss the fall fertilization [...]

By | 2017-10-05T14:55:30+00:00 October 5th, 2017|Lawn Care, Plants, Vegetable Gardening|

Cool Season Color

Pansies are one of the most rewarding plants for cool-season planting. They require 6-8 hours of sun, and a soil enriched with compost. Remember that winter is their season, and that they are HEAVY feeders. Fertilize monthly with NutriStar Color Star time-release fertilizer, and the blooms will never stop. I have had them bloom in an ice storm! Dead-head the fading flowers when possible to encourage more blooms, and you will be greatly rewarded. Violas are one of my favorite winter bloomers. They will tolerate part sun (even dappled shade) [...]

By | 2017-09-26T15:23:30+00:00 September 26th, 2017|Plants|

Mum’s the Word

Most of us think of mums as a fall flower to welcome in the cooler weather in a pot by the front door. They certainly pair well with pumpkins as a fall decoration! When grown in a container, mums do not need additional fertilizer. Regular watering is a must, as wilting shortens the life of the flowers. Be sure to soak the soil thoroughly, and do not let water stand in a saucer beneath the pot. Daily soaking is often required. Water the soil, not the plant. Water on the [...]

By | 2017-09-20T16:16:55+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Plants|

Growing Bougainvilleas in Central Texas

I am so fond of having Bougainvilleas in pots in my landscape. Nothing really compares to the riot of color that they can produce during the heat of the summer. Add that to the fact that they are so easy to care for, and we have a real winner on our hands. Simply familiarize yourself with their needs, and you will have vivid color in your yard, too! Bougainvilleas require at least 5 hours of sun each day in order to bloom well. Because they bloom on new growth, promoting [...]

By | 2017-08-30T17:13:50+00:00 August 30th, 2017|Plants|

Texas Ranger

August is the perfect time to look around your neighborhood and see what is thriving in this oppressive Central Texas heat. If you have been thinking about planting in a new area, adding screening or simply rejuvenating an existing landscape, observing what does well at the hottest time of the year should give you some great ideas of what will thrive in years to come. Texas Ranger, also known as Texas Sage, Cenizo, or Barometer Bush, has been giving us a particularly good show the past week. Abundant flowers appear [...]

By | 2017-08-15T15:53:25+00:00 August 15th, 2017|Plants|

Don’t Overlook Ornamental Grasses

A balanced landscape requires many elements, and ornamental grasses are a great choice to fill the need for a structural variation in foliage. While everyone loves the plants that give us color, we also need to “break up” the landscape to avoid monotony, and give texture to our plantings. We have a wonderful selection of native ornamental grasses available to us, and not only do they fill a design void, but they are often quite heat and drought tolerant as well. Wait until late February to cut these grasses back, [...]

By | 2017-07-12T13:27:36+00:00 July 12th, 2017|Plants|

July Checklist

Vegetables:  Vegetable planting is still going on-just be sure to water new seedlings well and often! Don’t let them dry out while they are germinating and getting their “true” leaves, as moisture is critical at this stage. Fall vegetable gardening in many ways can be better than a spring garden in Central Texas. Believe it or not, we plant tomato plants for “fall” tomatoes in July!  We suggest choosing either a “determinate” type tomato (see info sheet), or a variety that has 60-70 “days to harvest”. I have also grown [...]

By | 2017-07-06T14:16:05+00:00 July 6th, 2017|Plants, Vegetable Gardening|

Is it CLEM-a-tis or clem-A-tis?

Whichever way you pronounce it, it is one of my favorite flowering vines, and I am excited to introduce it to you! Clematis, in nature, germinate their seed in the shade of other plants, and climb into the sun, keeping their roots in more cool temperatures. Hence, the adage “tops in the sun, roots in the shade”. This can be accomplished by planting a shrub to shade the roots (Liriope works well), or even by placing a large flat stone over the root area. A thick layer of mulch also [...]

By | 2017-05-11T15:51:13+00:00 May 11th, 2017|Plants|