By Jennifer Poindexter Do you have a shrub that needs a hard prune? Are you worried about causing damage to the hedge in the process of trying to …Pruning a Hedge Heavily Without Causing Damage
17 Top Bulbs for Fall Planting – for Blooms Next Spring
By Jennifer Poindexter When you’re looking for ideas to brighten up your landscape, planting bulbs is a great option. There’s nothing like natural …17 Top Bulbs for Fall Planting – for Blooms Next Spring
Keep Your Garden Neat And Tidy
~ A well-manicured garden is a source of pride for any homeowner. It can be a beautiful addition to your property and can boost your home’s curb …Keep Your Garden Neat And Tidy
National Pollinator Week
Pollination Fast Facts: Gardeners
What is pollination?
• Pollination occurs when pollen grains are moved between two flowers of the same species, or within a single flower, by wind or animals that are pollinators. Successful pollination, which may require visits by multiple pollinators to a single flower, results in healthy fruit and fertile seeds, allowing plants to reproduce. Without pollinators, we simply wouldn’t have many crops!
• About 75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators and over 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, about 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals. The rest are insects such as beetles, flies, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies, and moths.
Why are pollinators important to us?
• Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend.
• Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, pumpkins, vanilla, and almonds. Plants that depend on a single pollinator species, and likewise, pollinators that depend on a single type of plant for food are interdependent. If one disappears, so will the other.
What about bees that sting? What about allergies?
• Most species of bees don’t sting. Although all female bees are physically capable of stinging, most bee species native to the U.S. are “solitary bees,” that is, not living in colonies and don’t sting unless they are physically threatened or injured. Only honey bees are defensive and may chase someone who disturbs their hive.
• It is wise, though, to avoid disturbing any bee or insect nest. For instance, if you spot an underground nest of ground-nesting bees, you might want to mark it with a stick so that it can be easily avoided.
• Some people are allergic to pollen of various flowering trees, plants and grasses, but not to all pollen. A common misunderstanding is that hay fever is caused by goldenrod pollen. It isn’t! Ragweed is the main offender and should be avoided.
Pollinator Partnership 600 Montgomery Street, STE 440 San Francisco, CA 94111 415-362-1137
Ways You Can Help!
What everyone can do for pollinators:
• Watch for pollinators. Get connected with nature. Take a walk, experience the landscape and look for pollinators’ midday in sunny, planted areas.
• Reduce your impact. Reduce or eliminate your pesticide use, increase green spaces, and minimize urbanization. Pollution and climate change affect pollinators, too!
• Plant for pollinators. Create pollinator-friendly habitat with native flowering plants that supply pollinators with nectar, pollen, and homes.
What you can do for pollinators:
• Create a pollinator-friendly garden habitat in just a few simple steps.
• Design your garden so that there is a continuous succession of plants flowering from spring through fall. Check for the species or cultivars best suited to your area and gradually replace lawn grass with flower beds.
• Plant native to your region using plants that provide nectar for adults plus food for insect larvae, such as milkweed for monarchs. If you do use non-native plants, choose ones that don’t spread easily, since these could become invasive.
• Select old-fashioned varieties of flowers whenever possible because breeding has caused some modern blooms to lose their fragrance and/or the nectar/pollen needed to attract and feed pollinators.
• Install ‘houses’ for bats and native bees. For example, use wood blocks with holes or small open patches of mud. As little as 12” across is sufficient for some bees.
• Avoid pesticides, even so-called “natural” ones such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). If you must use them, use the most selective and least toxic ones and apply them at night when most pollinators aren’t active.
• Supply water for all wildlife. A dripping faucet or a suspended milk carton with a pinhole in the bottom is sufficient for some insects. Other wildlife need a small container of water.
• Provide water for butterflies without letting it become a mosquito breeding area. Refill containers daily or bury a shallow plant saucer to its rim in a sunny area, fill it with coarse pine bark or stones and fill to overflowing with water.
• Share fun facts, such as: a tiny fly (a “midge”) no bigger than a pinhead is responsible for the world’s supply of chocolate; or one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat is delivered to us by pollinators.
Pollinator Partnership 600 Montgomery Street, STE 440 San Francisco, CA 94111 415-362-1137
The Benefits of Native Plants and Flowers
Native vegetation evolved to live with the local climate, soil types, and animals. This long process brings us several gardening advantages. Native plants provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife, while contributing greatly to healthy soil and water in urban and rural areas. Native plants attract a variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife by providing diverse habitats and food sources.
In the U.S., approximately 20 million acres of lawn are cultivated, covering more land than any single crop. Unfortunately, there are very few benefits to native wildlife from a manicured lawn. Likewise, gardens that mostly feature non-native species of plants are often of little benefit to wildlife.
Natural landscaping is an opportunity to reestablish diverse native plants, thereby inviting the birds and butterflies back home. By creating a native plant garden, each patch of habitat becomes part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals.
A native plant garden or large planting with a diversity of trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses provides food and shelter for insects, birds, amphibians, and mammals throughout the growing season.
Leaving seed heads and plant structure throughout winter provides continuing food and shelter for many creatures and provides opportunities to observe nature up close. To underscore the importance of native plants to birds, virtually all terrestrial birds feed their young insects. Native plants provide food for insects, and insects provide food for birds. With no insects, we would have no birds.
Native wildflowers, flowering vines, shrubs, and trees offer a wide range of colors, textures and forms to create dynamic seasonal displays. Grasses and sedges have interesting flowers and seed heads and yellow–orange fall color. Shrubs and trees have fall color and berries that persist into the winter. Choosing a wide assortment of plants ensures seasonal interest, with the bonus of attracting colorful birds, butterflies and insects.
Some of the many benefits of native plantings are:
- Save Water:
Once established, many native plants need minimal irrigation beyond normal rainfall.
- Low Maintenance:
Low maintenance landscaping methods are a natural fit with native plants that are already adapted to the local environment. Look forward to using less water, little to no fertilizer, little to no pesticides, less pruning, and less of your time.
- Pesticide Freedom:
Native plants have developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases. Since most pesticides kill indiscriminately, beneficial insects become secondary targets in the fight against pests. Reducing or eliminating pesticide use lets natural pest control take over and keeps garden toxins out of our creeks and watersheds.
- Wildlife Viewing:
Native plants, birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and interesting critters are “made for each other.” Research shows that native wildlife prefers native plants.
- Support Local Ecology:
As development replaces natural habitats, planting gardens, parks, and roadsides with native plantings can provide a “bridge” to nearby remaining wild lands and wetlands.
8 Native Flowers that Grow in Florida
- 1. Milkweed (Asclepias)
- 2. Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)
- 3. Powderpuff Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa)
- 4. Coral Bean (Eryhtrina herbacea)
- 5. Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
- 6. Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)
- 7. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
- 8. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Learn more by coming back to DeltonaGardenClub.com
Volusia County Restrictions
Here in Volusia County, summer is approaching, and we know there’s nothing quite like summer fun—so our flamingo flock is helping us take the summer off—from fertilizing, that is! Let’s hear it directly from them: Here are the top ways to
Be Floridian Now this summer!
Read more about Volusia County’s fertilizer ban at www.BeFloridianNow.org or Volusia.org/BeFloridianNow.
1. Skip the Fertilizer: The first thing you can do to protect our fun, and our water quality, is to skip the fertilizer during the summer rainy season, from June 1 through September 30. Summer rain showers wash fertilizer into our waterways, causing toxic algae blooms and fish kills. Volusia County has a fertilizer ban on nitrogen and phosphorus—the first two numbers on the fertilizer bag—from June 1 through September 30. During this time, residents and lawn care companies may not apply nitrogen or phosphorus to lawns or landscape plants.
2. Twice is Nice: Use at least 50% slow-release nitrogen, once in the spring and once in the fall. This will carry your plants through the rainy season, without posing an extra risk to our water bodies. And don’t forget to skip the phosphorus year-round without a proven deficiency. For more information on how to read a fertilizer label, go to www.Volusia.org/BeFloridianNow or www.BeFloridianNow.org.
3. Be on your Guard: If you choose to fertilize with 50% or more slow-release fertilizer, make sure there is a deflector shield or edge guard on your fertilizer spreader so you can spread it only where you need it. If you do make a mistake, brush any stray granules back onto your landscaping. Driveways, sidewalks and streets lead to storm drains, which lead to water bodies.
4. Get Buffer: Keep your fertilizer at least 15 feet away from any body of water, as required by Volusia County’s fertilizer ordinance. While you’re giving your waterways some distance, why not plan for a low-maintenance buffer zone around your waterfront? Whether they’re on the bank or in the water, low-maintenance zones can include native or Florida friendly plants, which require NO fertilizer or irrigation once they are established in the right place. They can even help protect your waterway from excess fertilizer runoff. For more information about Florida friendly plants for pond shorelines, see the UF/IFAS Extension’s webpage on the topic here: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep476.
5. Floridify your Yard: When the Right Plant is in the Right Place, it can reduce or eliminate your need for fertilizer and irrigation. It can also require less overall maintenance, cost less in the long-term, and benefit local wildlife. Native and Florida friendly plants can be sustainable turf alternatives. As you plan, you can call a nursery near you and ask about availability of native or Florida friendly plants. For some common native plants for Florida yards, check out these resources: https://befloridiannow.org/floridifying/.
6. Raise the Blade: When you mow your lawn, raising the blade on your mower makes the grass that is in your landscape stronger and more capable of finding its own nutrients and water in the soil. Remember, grasses are plants, too! Mowing too short stresses the grass and makes it more vulnerable to disease and pests. For more information about good mowing practices, visit the UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions site at https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/lawns/lawn-care/mowing-your-florida-lawn.html.
7. Keep the Clippings: Keep grass clippings on your landscape, because they contain nitrogen! Nitrogen can contribute to nutrient pollution if it runs off your lawn, but clippings left on your landscape will break down and feed your lawn. It’s free fertilizer! For more information about “grass-cycling,” and for recommended mowing heights, see the UF/IFAS Extension webpage on the topic: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasota/natural-resources/waste-reduction/composting/what-is-composting/what-can-be-composted/grass-cycling/.
8. Save the Water (bill): Only water your landscape if your plants are showing signs of stress, like if the leaves of your plants are curling, or you can see footprints in your lawn. Otherwise, keep your distance! You may be surprised to find that they might not need your help as often as you think they do, especially if you have the Right Plant in the Right Place! IF YOU MUST water, do so efficiently. Be sure that it has not rained in a while, and that rain is not scheduled in the forecast. Keep an eye on your system, and make sure your sprinkler heads are pointing in the right direction – not watering the sidewalk!
Know your watering day/s, and know where your shut-off valve is, in case you need to get involved in the process. See this link for more information about watering days in Volusia County: https://www.volusia.org/services/growth-and-resource-management/environmental-management/natural-resources/water-conservation/.
Shared courtesy of Volusia.org/BeFloridianNow
Eastern Tiger Swallowtails
Eastern Tiger Swallowtails
When you see a large, showy butterfly flitting around your garden, a roadside, fields or woodsd, take a closer look. It may be an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail(Papilio glaucus), which is a native in eastern North America. It’s at home in Florida, except the Florida Keys.
From February to November, these butterflies feed on nectar from sturdy plants, particularly those that have “red or pink” flowers. Look for adults with a wing span of 3.1 to 5.5 inches. Males are yellow with four black stripes on their forewings. Females may be yellow or black. The yellow females have a band of blue spots along their hind wings. Black females do not have distinguishing markings, they are just dark.
These dark females may be a species preservation mechanism as some predators will avoid them, thinking they are another form of swallowtail that is poisonous.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Yellow
Adult Eastern Tiger Swallowtails live about a month. They are loners and are frequently observed flying above the tree tops. Males pursue females by frequenting areas that contain the kinds of plants on which females prefer to lay their eggs. To attract or tempt the females, the males release a pheromone that encourages mating. While courting, the butterflies engage in a ritual mating dance, fluttering their wings around each other before they land and mate.
Two to three broods may be produced each year in our area. Trees and shrubs of the Magnoliaceae (magnolia) and Rosaceae plant families are the favorite host plants on which the females lay their green eggs.
As the young caterpillars develop, they are brown and white. Then change to green with black, yellow and blue spots on the thorax. The caterpillar then goes into a resting stage, forming a chrysalis from which the butterfly will emerge
Milk, it does the body good.
But did you know it may also be good for the garden? Using milk as fertilizer has been an old-time remedy in the garden for many generations. In addition to helping with plant growth, feeding plants with milk can also alleviate many issues in the garden, from calcium deficiencies to viruses and powdery mildew.
Let’s find out how to take advantage of the beneficial fertilizer components in milk.
Milk Fertilizer Benefits
Milk is a good source of calcium, not only for humans, but for plants as well. Raw, or unpasteurized, cow’s milk has some of the same nourishing properties for plants that it has for animals and people. It contains beneficial proteins, vitamin B and sugars that are good for plants, improving their overall health and crop yields. The microbes that feed on the fertilizer components of milk are also beneficial to the soil. Like us, plants use calcium for growth.
A lack of calcium is indicated when plants look stunted and don’t grow to their full potential. Blossom end rot, which is commonly seen in squash, tomatoes and peppers, is caused by a calcium deficiency. Feeding plants with milk ensures they will get enough moisture and calcium.
Feeding plants with milk has been used with varying effectiveness in pesticide applications, especially with aphids. Perhaps the best use of milk has been in reducing the transmission of mosaic leaf viruses such as tobacco mosaic.
Milk has been used as an effective antifungal agent, specifically in the prevention of powdery mildew.
Drawbacks to Feeding Plants with Milk
Along with the benefits of using milk fertilizer, one must include its drawbacks.
•Using too much milk isn’t a good idea since the bacteria in it will spoil, resulting in a foul odor and wilty, poor growth.
•The fat in milk can produce unpleasant odors as it breaks down as well.
•The benign fungal organisms that colonize leaves and break down milk can be aesthetically unattractive.
Dried skim milk has been reported to induce black rot, soft rot, and Alternaria leaf spot on treated cruciferous crops.
Even with these few drawbacks, it’s plain to see that the benefits far outweigh any downsides.
Using Milk Fertilizer on Plants
So what type of milk can be used as milk fertilizer in the garden?
I like to use milk that is past its date (great way to recycle), but you can use fresh milk, evaporated milk, or even powdered milk as well. It is important that you dilute the milk with water.
Mix a solution of 50 percent milk and 50 percent water. When using milk fertilizer as a foliar spray, add the solution to a spray bottle and apply to plant leaves. The leaves will absorb the milk solution. However, keep in mind that some plants, like tomatoes, are prone to developing fungal diseases if the fertilizer remains on the leaves too long.
If the solution is not being absorbed adequately, you can gently wipe down the leaves with a wet cloth or spray them with water.
Less milk can be used if you have a lot of plants to feed, as with a large garden area. Using a garden hose sprayer is a common method for feeding plants with milk in large gardens, as the flowing water keeps it diluted. Continue spraying until the entire area is coated.
Distribute about 5 gallons of milk per acre or about 1 quart of milk per 20-by-20-foot patch of garden. Allow the milk to soak into the ground. Repeat every few months, or spray once at the beginning of the growing season and again during mid-season.
Alternatively, you can pour the milk mixture around the base of the plants where the roots will gradually absorb the milk. This works well in smaller gardens. You can place the top portion of a 2-liter bottle (upside down) in the soil next to new plants at the beginning of the season. This makes an excellent reservoir for both watering and feeding plants with milk.
Do not treat the area with any form of chemical pesticide or fertilizer after applying milk fertilizer. This can affect the main fertilizer components in milk that actually help the plants—bacteria. While there may be some odor from the decaying bacteria, the aroma should subside after a few days.
Queen’s tears – a striking, sturdy bromeliad
If you’re looking for an unusual plant to fill an empty pot, consider Billbergia nutans. Also known as queen’s tears or the friendship plant, this member of the Bromeliaceae family grows almost anywhere in common soil or no soil and with little care. The plant’s nearly indestructible foliage and unusual blooms provide an exotic accent to a deck, doorway or flowerbed.
History and habitat
Billbergia nutans was named for the Swedish botanist, zoologist and anatomist Gustaf Johan Billberg (1772-1844). Nutans means “nodding,” a description for its undulating blooms.
A native of Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, this bromeliad is also found in Mexico and Central America, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina. Generally an epiphytic in its native habitat, flourishing on rocks and trees, Queen’s tears also thrives on the subtropical forest floor and in the well-drained soil of gardens or containers. As a ground cover, the plant spreads quickly growing outward from the original rhizome.
This monocot’s thick grasslike grey-green leaves with saw tooth edges and pointed tips present themselves in funnel-shaped rosettes. Each rosette, approximately 12 to 15 leaves, can reach heights of over 15 inches. Once a year, in springtime, a long arching pink stem emerges from the rosette’s center bearing one of the most striking of floral color combinations I’ve ever seen.
Imagine this long arching pink stem topped with day-glo reddish pink pendant bracts bursting with flowers.
And that’s not all.
The blooms hang in clusters, tubular in form, with three backward curved pink sepals with violet-blue margins, three reflexed lime-green petals outlined in navy blue to purple, and six protruding stamens one inch long with bright yellow anthers.
The blooms exude nectar. Sticky and clear, these visible droplets are often described as “weeping,” which occurs when the plant is touched or moved. These “tears” in combination with the purple color of royalty that outlines the lime-green petals, is the reason for its common name queen’s tears. Since this bromeliad readily produces new offsets called “pups” that are dividable from the original plant and easily shared. If you are fortunate to receive “a start” from a friend, remember that most Billbergia nutans need two to three years to mature before flowering.
Tolerant of drought, queen’s tears can survive months without water. This plant obtains moisture and nutrients from rain or overhead watering or misting, not from the roots. If you place your plant in a pot with a saucer, do not allow water to accumulate in the saucer, which leads to root rot. Use regular garden soil or planting soil and keep the soil slightly dry. Repot and/or divide when the rosettes overgrow their container. Billbergia nutans prefers partial shade and can scorch in full sun. A location beneath an overhang or tree is best.
Queen’s tears is hardy for USDA Zones 8-11. My plant, which I obtained as an offset from a friend, grows outdoors in a pot – a sturdy survivor of several Vacaville winters.
Launa Herrmann is a Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Fairfield. If you have gardening questions, call the Master Gardener’s office at 784-1322.
Winter is the perfect time to grow lettuce in Florida.
Lettuce comes in four major types: crisphead, butterhead, leaf and romaine. All can be grown in Florida, but leaf lettuce often works best since it’s more suited to our mild climate and can be harvested throughout the season.
Good leaf lettuce selections for Florida include ‘Black-seeded Simpson’, ‘Red Sails’ and many Salad Bowl varieties.
You can start yours from seed or purchase transplants. Try planting in the ground, in containers, or even in a floating hydroponic garden. When you should plant depends on where you live, so check with your local Extension office for exact planting dates.
With proper watering and care, your lettuce should be ready to harvest within a few months of planting.
Zen with a Monarch on Milkweed
Fire Bush -Hamelia patens
Hummingbirds and butterflies enjoy the nectar in the flowers.
There is a continuous crop of these seedy fruits and birds are quite fond of them.
The sap has been used to treat skin rashes.
The firebush can be used as a foundation plant for large buildings and is superb when placed in the background of a mass of shrubs in a border. It is excellent in a mass planting and functions well as a screen or border. A hedge of firebush will need regular clipping. Flowers are often removed during this process.
Hamelia patens can be found growing naturally in a variety of situations in Florida from Sumter County southward. However, it grows best when well supplied with moisture and prefers a full sun to partial shade location in the landscape.
This plant can take heat and drought, but a strong wind can cause some leaf browning.
Though native, it is quite tender and can be killed to the ground during a freeze. Regrowth from the roots is rapid and rampant, and it has proven to be root hardy through zone 9.
It functions very well as an annual in more northerly zones. The firebush is known to be tolerant of the lime bearing (high soil pH) soils of southern Florida.
Fertilize this plant sparingly to bring out its best characteristics, and do not allow lawn grasses to invade its root zone.
Propagate Hamelia patens by seed (which must be fresh), cuttings, or air-layers.
Pest and Diseases
Occasional attacks of scales or mites may require control measures. New growth may be attacked by aphids in early spring, but natural predators often rapidly check the invasion. In south Florida, larvae of a moth species sometimes partially defoliates the stems, but they are easily controlled if you wish.
Scientific name: Hamelia patens
Pronunciation: huh-MEE-lee-uh PAY-tenz
Common name(s): firebush, scarlet bush
Plant type: shrub
USDA hardiness zones: 9 through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 9: Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: specimen; accent; screen; border; mass planting; attracts butterflies; attracts hummingbirds
Height: 6 to 12 feet
Spread: 5 to 8 feet
Plant habit: spreading
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: fast
Leaf arrangement: whorled
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: undulate
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: brachidodrome; pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: red
Fall characteristic: showy
Prune it as needed to keep it to a reasonable size but avoid over-pruning. This will limit the production of flowers. You can propagate firebush by seed or by cuttings.
For southern gardeners, growing a firebush is a great way to add color and density to a space. With the right conditions of sun, heat, and moderately dry soil, you can easily keep this pretty bush happy and thriving in your garden.
Deltona Gardens Contest
The Deltona Garden Club is sponsoring students from first through fifth grade to participate in the 2020 National Garden Clubs, Inc. Poster Contest!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. are giving students the opportunity to demon- strate through original drawings of Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl their understanding of wildfire prevention and basic environmental conservation principles.
Any child/group of children may participate. Scout troops, after school programs, and the like are perfectly appropriate. Children must be Florida residents.
See Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl Contest Poster Rules for details:
The child’s grade must be included on the poster so that the participant can compete in the correct grade category.
Children must be Florida residents and “sponsored by a garden club”.
Contact Jill Anderson, FFGC State Chairman JillAndersn@aol.com or Anna Sarich
Local winning posters must be received by the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl State Chairmen by January 20, 2021.
Youth Gardening in Deltona
Please enjoy these articles from 1999.
DIY Plant Markers
Recycle ♻️ Reuse ♻️ Repurpose
Any old used mini blinds will work for this project. No need to wash blinds if a little dirty. I however used a garden hose outdoors and sprayed the ones I’m cutting to demonstrate!
First thing to do is to cut each end where strings connect top and bottom. The slats come off in one piece with less mess or additional cutting.
Take each one, set aside and pile up! You’ll have a nice collection to use in all your pots and they’re waterproof and reusable!
From the Greek the name Crinum simply means “Lily.”
By all the looks and feel Crinum plants have all the characteristics of a lily.
- Origin: South Africa
- Family: Amaryllidaceae
- Botanical Name: Crinum
- Common Name: None sometimes called “spider lily”
- Plant Type: perennial plant and sun-loving bulb
- Size: 24″ inches to 6′ feet tall and wide
- Flowers: large fragrant flowers in white to pink to wine-red
- Bloom Time: late spring and summer
- Hardiness: USDA hardiness zone 6b – 11 depending on the variety
- Exposure: Sun-loving plants
- Soil: rich, moist soil
- Water: drought tolerant but do better well watered
- Fertilizer: balanced liquid fertilizer during growing season
- Propagation: division of side shoots
- Pests & Problems: grasshoppers and aphids
Crinum lily bulbs… they’re exotic, related to the Amaryllis plant, with exciting “bell-shaped” fragrant flowers, that come with a lovely sweet scent.
The seed bulbs need to be placed in a pot or directly into the ground. Very hard to save bulb if not planted!! They do not keep and will dry out otherwise.
The White Crinum is also in the same family! They differ in leaf and flower color. The blooms are white while the Red Crinum are pink.
Heat-Loving Fruit Trees
When planning your USDA zone 9b garden, begin with the trees that love mild winters and hot summers.
The time to plant trees is now 🌳
Consider your garden’s “microclimates”, whether warmer or colder than the average within your hardiness zone, sun exposure, space available and soil type. Always check the recommended hardiness zone for the species and cultivar before making a final selection for your home orchard.
Native to Central America, the avocado (Persea americana) has been cultivated since at least 500 B.C. This subtropical tree grows in zones 8 through 11. The three different types of avocados vary in their cold tolerance. The Mexican cultivars tolerate frosts down to 16 degrees Fahrenheit, Guatemalan down to 24 degrees and West Indian down to 32 degrees. Avocado trees can grow to over 60 feet tall under ideal conditions.
The lush fruits of citrus trees (Citrus spp.) make them a desirable addition to your zone 9b garden. In general, the many cultivars of lemon, lime, orange and mandarin thrive in zones 9 and 10. A few, such as pummelo and grapefruit, need extra protection if frost threatens.
Grown in climates from temperate to tropical, the fig (Ficus carica) grows in zones 5 through 10, depending on the cultivar. Native to western Asia, figs have been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean since at least 5000 B.C. The Spanish brought figs to Mexico in 1560 and to California’s San Diego Mission in 1769. ‘Chicago Hardy’ is the hardiest of the figs, grown in zones 5 through 10. Other fig cultivars, such as ‘LSU Gold’ and ‘LSU Purple,’ prefer the warmer temperatures of zones 7 through 10. Most figs are self-fertile but produce a larger crop when a second tree is planted nearby.
Plant loquat trees (Eriobotrya japonica) in zone 8 through 10 gardens. You can prune the 10- to 25-foot tall evergreen trees to a shrub or tree form. The small orange fruits are described as a combination of a plum and kumquat. Loquats do well in full sun and partial shade.
Persimmon trees are native to Asia (Diospyros kaki) and North America (Diospyros virginiana). The Asian species thrive in zones 6 through 10, while the native trees are more cold tolerant, growing in zones 4 through 10. The cold and heat tolerance of both species depend on the particular cultivar. The fruits of native persimmons, and some of the Asian cultivars, are lip-puckeringly astringent until fully ripened.
The pomegranate (Punica granatum), a native of southern Europe and middle to western Asia, thrives in zones 8 through 10. It attracts hummingbirds and bees to its orange-red flowers and produces rounded fruits filled with juicy sacs that contain its edible seeds.
New Cultivars of Old Favorites
In general, many favorite fruit tree species have minimum chilling requirements. The winter chilling requirement is a range of hours each year that hover just above freezing, between 32 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The three basic ranges are high at 1,000 chilling hours or more, medium at 700 to 1,000 chilling hours and low at less than 700 chilling hours. There are a few cultivars that require few or no winter chilling hours, which are suitable for USDA plant hardiness zone 9b.
Planting your own apple (Malus domestica) orchard in zone 9b requires heat-tolerant and low-chill varieties. Among the apple trees that thrive in the mild winters and hot summers of zone 9b are ‘Golden Delicious’ (zones 4-9); ‘Anna,’ ‘Ginger Gold’ and ‘Granny Smith’ (zones 5-9); ‘Ein Shemer’ (zones 6-9) and ‘Cinnamon Spice’ and ‘Dorsett Golden’ (zones 5-10).
Like apples, most apricots (Prunus armeniaca) require more chilling hours than zone 9b can provide. There are a few low-chill varieties, including ‘Garden Annie’ and ‘Tropic Gold’ (zones 6-9). There are also a variety of apricot hybrids (Prunas salicina or Prunas cerasifera x Prunus armenica) available. Of these, ‘Cot-N-Candy’ and ‘Summer Delight’ apriums (zones 7-10) and ‘Candy Stripe’ and ‘Flavor Supreme’ pluots (zones 6-9) will all produce a good harvest in your zone 9b garden.
Natives of Asia, the Asian pears (Pyrus pyrifolia and Pyrus ussuriensis) thrive in a wide range of climates, from zones 4 through 10. There are thousands of cultivars available in Asia and several dozen in North America. The crisp, apple-like fruits smell and taste like pears. Add two different cultivars to your garden to ensure a good crop. ‘New Century’ (zones 4-9) and ‘Hosui’ and ‘Korean Giant’ (zones 7-10) are among the cultivars that will produce fruit in zone 9b.
European-Asian pear hybrids (Pyrus communis x Pyrus pyrifolia) will grow and produce fruit in your garden. ‘Flordahome’ (zones 8-10), ‘Leconte’ (zones 8-9), ‘Hood’ and ‘Spaulding’ (zones 6a-9), and ‘Maxie’ (zones 5-9) are among the possibilities. Some cultivars are self-fertile; plant two to ensure a good harvest.
Though sour cherries (Prunus cerasus) require more chilling hours than your zone 9b garden can provide, you can still grow a few sweet cherry (Prunus avium) cultivars. Your cherry orchard might include sweet and juicy ‘Lapins,’ ‘Sam Sweet’ and ‘Starking Hardy Giant’ (zones 5-9). When selecting cherry trees, consider your available space. Dwarf and semi-dwarf trees are suitable for most home gardens. Standard trees grow up to 30 feet tall with an equally wide canopy.
Most North American native pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba) prefer the colder winters of zones 4 through 8. Low-chill cultivars include ‘Mango,’ ‘Shenandoah’ or ‘Wabash’ (zones 5-9). Pawpaw trees grow from 12 to 25 feet tall and equally wide, depending on the amount of sunlight they receive. The trees tolerate partial shade, making them a good choice in gardens that are shaded by walls, buildings or larger trees in the afternoon. Two different cultivars are needed for pollination and fruit production.
Peaches (Prunus persica) and nectarines (Prunus persica nectarina) are essentially the same species. Nectarines are a smooth-skinned subspecies of the peach. Peaches ‘Desertgold,’ ‘Galaxy’ and ‘Newhaven’ (zones 5-9), as well as nectarines ‘Crimson Gold’ and ‘Flavortop’ (zones 5-9), are among the better choices for home gardens in zones 9b.
From ‘Burbank’ to ‘Santa Rosa,’ Japanese plum trees (Prunus salicina) offer a wide range of cultivars suitable for zones 5 through 9. European plums (Prunus domestica) also grow in zones 4 through 9, with a few cultivars suitable for zone 9b.
Protect Your Trees From Freezing Temperatures
To successfully grow subtropical and tropical fruit trees in zone 9b, monitor weather forecasts. When a frost is predicted, protect your trees by covering them with fabric or plastic sheeting “suspended on poles”.
Weigh the edges down with bricks, rocks or boards to prevent cold air from seeping under the coverings. A heavy layer of mulch, at least 4 to 5 inches, placed over the root ball and thorough watering before the temperatures drop also help protect the tender roots of cold-sensitive trees.
Be sure to remove plastic off your tree as soon as the sun rises. The sun will heat up inside the plastic and do more harm than good. Use plastic as a last choice.
Over the years, i stopped covering plants. I found they were capable of survival on their own. It became exhausting and now I only keep choices suited for 9b growing!!
Wolf or Recluse?
Now that fall is upon us, spiders and other critters are tying up loose ends! The animal kingdom knows winter is not far off and lots of other mammals, insects and birds are also preparing.
Did you know all spiders are poisonous? It’s only a few that actually can inflict harm. The venom of the Brown Recluse and Black Widow come to mind.
Curb Appeal Ideas
I have never thought of growing peanuts until my friend Denise from NJ recently posted the peanuts she grew!
What a great sustainable food to grow full of protein! Peanut butter fresh from the garden? This thought has me hooked!
This is what I’ve learned.
Peanuts are a great addition to a home garden since they require minimal care and provide bountiful yields. If you’re looking to try something new in your garden this year, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at the potential of peanuts.
Home-grown peanuts offer lots of possibilities in the kitchen. Talk about peanut gallery! They can be roasted in their shells, ground into peanut butter or boiled for a traditional down-home Southern snack.
When you are selecting peanut seeds for planting, it’s helpful to keep in mind that there are four main types of peanuts. Virginia peanuts have the largest seeds, and are usually roasted in the shell and have a more gourmet quality. Runner peanuts typically have a uniform size and are the preferred choice for grinding into peanut butter. Spanish peanuts have the smallest seeds, and are used for mixed nut snacks. They also have the highest oil content. Valencia peanuts are known for being the sweetest and for having attractive, bright red skin.
If you purchase a peanut seed package from us, you’ll notice that we ship peanuts still in their shells to ensure seed protection and preservation. Before you plant your peanuts, they will need to be shelled. Be careful not to damage the seeds while cracking them open.
In the garden…
Peanuts generally need a long growing season and relatively sandy soil, although Tennessee Red Valencia peanut can grow in clay soil. However, if you add enough organic matter by hilling or planting in raised beds, most peanut plants will be able to grow in clay soil.
Selecting peanut seeds for planting is easy once you figure out what works best with your garden conditions. Growing peanuts requires 130-140 frost-free days from the time they are sown until harvest time. If your growing season falls just short of this time window, it’s possible to start growing your peanuts indoors or in a greenhouse until the danger of frost passes and then transplant them outside.
Plant peanuts one to two inches deep and about six inches apart. Next, add a thick layer of compost and a layer of mulch.
Be aware–peanuts need shallow weeding. You could damage them by digging too deeply into the ground where they are are developing. When the plant begins to flower, pegs will drop into the ground under the flower and produce peanuts. Hand-weeding is the only option after the peanut pegs.
Also, after your plants start flowering, it’s important not to let them dry out or they won’t produce as many of the mouth-watering legumes you’ve been waiting for.
Once frost is in the forecast or the plant stems begin to turn yellow, it’s time to harvest. Try not to harvest while the soil is wet, and don’t wait too long to harvest your peanuts–they’ll start sprouting in the ground if left unattended! Dig around the perimeter of where the plant’s leaves have sprawled. Lift the plant out of the ground and flip it, so that the leaves are on the ground. If rain is in the forecast, bring your plants into a shed or garage.