Hard Freeze Preparation in Central Texas 2024

If you are reading this now, it is likely that a "freak" winter event is on its way. Central Texas is known for its variable weather patterns and wide swings in temperature are not unheard of. Weather prediction in Central Texas is difficult, so I would suggest that we prepare for the worst and hope for the best in any predicted extreme event. We are seeing forecast lows of anywhere from 10°F to 15°F  for much of our area, with below freezing temperatures lasting up to 60 hours or more [...]

By |2024-01-11T11:05:21-06:00January 11th, 2024|Vegetable Gardening, Plants, Trees|

Aphids

Aphids can be difficult insects to control. But how much do we really need to control them? This article explores the aphid life cycle and some different ways to reduce their population without using toxic chemicals. Where do we see aphids?     Aphids are sucking insects which feed on fleshy new growth and the undersides of leaves. We look for them at the top of Crape Myrtles where new growth is abundant. We might find them on the flower buds of Tropical Hibiscus, new growth on any species of [...]

By |2023-11-04T12:38:57-05:00November 1st, 2023|Insects, Plants|

Lantana Flower Gall Mite

  Have you seen deformed growth at the tips of your Lantana branches this summer? If so, your plant may be infested with a mite called the Lantana Flower Gall Mite.  This microscopic mite breeds inside the developing flower buds, stunting vegetative growth and preventing flowering and seed production. The distorted growth appears as a "witches broom" at the location of the tips of the branches where the flowers usually appear. This mite is destructive to ornamental plantings of Lantana in the landscape and affects the seed availability for birds.  [...]

By |2023-10-17T10:40:17-05:00October 16th, 2023|Uncategorized, Insects, Plants|

Tropical Pitcher Plants

Tropical Pitcher Plant Nepenthes alata x ventricosa   The Tropical Pitcher Plant, also known as Monkey Cup, is a Carnivorous plant that is native to the Philippines. It is one of the easiest Pitcher Plants to grow and is great for beginners just starting their carnivorous plant collections. This Pitcher Plant grows 8” long red pendulous cups which are uniform at the top and bulbous at the base. The cups produce enzymes that will digest any insect that might enter. The inside of the cups has hairs that are oriented [...]

By |2023-10-02T10:35:50-05:00October 2nd, 2023|Plants, Houseplants|

Fascinating Fasciation

Plants are always a wonder to me. They come in so many different forms and shapes and colors. As with most living things, they have mutations that occur either spontaneously or as a reaction to an outside agent. Fasciation is one of the most interesting of these mutations that occurs when the tissues in the growing point of the part of the plant called the apical meristem mutates. Fasciation, or cresting as it is sometimes known, can happen in stems, flower heads, fruit, or roots. The causes include viral, bacterial, [...]

By |2023-07-18T15:16:25-05:00July 18th, 2023|Plants, Trees|

What to do When Plants Wilt

*If the plants are in the ground and the soil is moist, it is likely transpirational wilt. Check the soil moisture first, and if it is wet,  your plant is likely experiencing  "transpirational wilt". This occurs when the plant cannot take up water fast enough to replace the moisture loss in the leaves. This often occurs in high temperatures or windy conditions. You can spray down the leaves with water several times a day to raise the humidity and decrease moisture loss from the leaves. There is no need to [...]

By |2023-06-20T10:41:32-05:00June 20th, 2023|Plants, Trees|

Nasturtiums in Central Texas

Nasturtiums in Central Texas Nasturtiums are a cool-season annual in Central Texas and are easily grown from seed in pots or seeded directly in the garden. Native to the mountain regions of Central Mexico, Argentina and Chile, they thrive in cool temperatures, but do not tolerate freeze or frost. The plants will fade when it gets hot, so planting when it is cool is mandatory. Nasturtiums are easy to grow from seed,  and are a fun project for late winter gardens.       Nasturtium seeds are large and have [...]

By |2023-01-17T11:48:53-06:00January 17th, 2023|Plants|

Adaptive Perennial Color for Hot Texas Summers

  Pride of Barbados     Caesalpinia pulcherrima Full Sun, well-drained soil 8' x 8', reseeds readily Herbaceous perennial. Do not cut back until late winter. Will be late to emerge in the spring. Deer resistant in most areas. Zone 8   (W. Indies and subtropics of the Americas)     Tropical Milkweed     Asclepias currasavica Full Sun/Part Sun 3'-4' x 3'-4' Re-seeding annual. Collect seeds when seedpods are ripe and save to plant next year. Somewhat deer resistant, but not reliable. Zone 8 (S.Central, Central America)     Firecracker Fern    [...]

By |2023-01-16T12:19:14-06:00January 16th, 2023|Plants|

Native Perennials for Central Texas

  Acanthus, Flame      Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii 3’-5’ by 3'-5' Sun. Summer blooms attract hummingbirds. May be trimmed to shape during the growing season. This is a deciduous woody shrub that may also be trimmed right before it flushes in the spring. Deer resistant.  Zone 7 (Edwards Plateau)     Betony, Texas     Stachys coccinea 12"-18" by 2'-3' Shade, Part Shade. Low growing herbaceous perennial with red flowers from April to October. Cut back to the ground in late February. Not reliably deer resistant. Zone 7. (Trans-Pecos region [...]

By |2023-01-17T11:25:07-06:00January 16th, 2023|Plants|

Preparing for a Freeze December 2022

Preparing for a Freeze Winter temperatures in Central Texas can be unpredictable. Knowing what we need to protect and how to protect it is the “all important” question. Obviously, we need to protect any tropical plants in pots if a freeze of any kind is expected. We have a blog that covers that. Click HERE to learn more about protecting tropical plants. Every situation will be a bit different, so I will try to simplify it as best as I can. General Information: *Well-hydrated plants are usually more tolerant of [...]

By |2024-01-11T11:09:38-06:00December 18th, 2022|Plants|

Winter Watering of Established Landscapes in Central Texas

  Winter Watering in Central Texas If you think you have a hard time adjusting to Central Texas drought, seasonal flooding, or freak freezing temperatures, think of what our plants go through! At least we can drink water, go inside to the air conditioning or warm ourselves with central heat. While rain and temperature are things that we cannot control, we can control the amount of water that our plants receive. When we are in a drought year, it is very important that we use our water carefully while keeping [...]

By |2023-12-03T09:33:18-06:00November 30th, 2022|Trees, Plants, Lawn Care|

Protecting Tropical Plants in the Winter

Protecting Tropical Plants in the Winter Our tropical plants have been happy outside over the summer, but cold weather is soon approaching. We need be prepared to bring our tender plants inside for a short freeze or even find them a bright spot indoors for the entire winter.       Before bringing them inside, check for fire ants in the soil. A soil drench with Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew (with Spinosad) a few days before bringing them inside will kill any ants in the soil.         [...]

By |2023-10-29T14:06:27-05:00November 2nd, 2022|Plants, Houseplants, Succulents and Cacti|
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