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Showing posts from May, 2014

Are You Crazy in Love with Containers?

Containers are a great way to try new plants and the world of perennials has never been so diverse or so useful. New varieties offer more colorful foliage and longer bloom times and dwarf habits that are perfect for small container gardens.

         Artful Container Combinations

Match Plants.  Assemble Plants with similar growing conditions, with as succulents in a terra cotta pot on a sunny porch, or shade loving hostas, and bleeding hearts.

Connect colors.  Try choosing pot color and plant colors to give a unifying thread in the collection.

Provide steady maintenance: To get the most out of your containers you must pay attention to watering, fertilizing and grooming.  Most soilless mixes' don’t container enough nutrients to support plant growth for any le3ngth of time and frequent watering quickly washes out whatever nutrients are present.  At planting time sprinkle with a slow-release fertilizer onto the soil surface.  When you water take time to groom, remove any spent blossoms…

How to Grow Dipladenia and Mandevilla

Dipladenia is actually a member of the mandevilla family. It is widely thought that mandevilla and dipladenia are the same plant, but while similar, dipladenia foliage is somewhat smaller and the plant is more shrub-like. Mandevillas will require some special attention because they cannot remain outdoors all year round in most parts of the country. When planting in containers or in a garden outdoors, use a rich soil mixture of sand and humus and ensure good drainage. A container with a hole in the bottom and a trellis, frame or stake for support is the best situation for this vine. The North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension says mandevillas need 6 full hours of direct sunlight as an outdoor plant.
However, both plants have the same care and growth requirements and are very similar. These gorgeous, vining plants have soared in popularity and can be used in mixed containers, hanging baskets, or on their own in a container. They are easy to grow and should flower their hea…

The Best Flower for Spring the Iridescent Iris

Irises are exotic looking perennial flowers that offer a huge range of colors and patterns, heights, and bloom times, with variations on a common theme of flower shape and plant form. They have a lovely sweet spring scent. By far the most popular group is the large collection of hybrids termed the “bearded” irises, named for the hairy caterpillar-like tuft creeping out of the center of each fall. They bloom in late spring and early summer, from 2 inches to nearly 5 feet above stiff, sword like leaves. A number of cultivars rebloom from late summer into fall, to double the show; these reblooming cultivars are worth seeking out. The USDA Zones chart says they grow in zones 3–8, but I live in Las Vegas zone 9b and they grow proficiently in our dry hot climate.



How to growMost bearded irises are easy to grow, but they do have specialized needs. Plant and divide every 3 to 4 years in summer or early fall, splitting them into individual “fans” with the rhizome attached, or into divisions wit…

Why You Should Grow “Zebrina” MalvaThe Other Hollyhock

Smaller and more refined than regular hollyhocks (Alcea rosea), zebra hollyhocks (Malva sylvestris "Zebrina") grow 2 to 4 feet tall and half as wide. Although not true hollyhocks, they are related plants and share the same trumpet-shaped blooms that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Zebra hollyhocks have 2- to 3-inch-wide, lavender-pink flowers with purple throats and pronounced purple veins that give them their common name. They're a good choice for sunny perennial borders and for hummingbird gardens. Also called zebra mallows, these plants are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant zones 4 through 8. I live in Las Vegas zone 9b and I have no trouble growing Malva and it comes back every year as a sturdy little bush.
Zebra hollyhocks  can bloom as early as May in warmer climates and as late as July in zone 4 to 5. They give good color and bloom to the late summer garden when other plants die back. Plants grow 18 to 45 inches tall in clumps that spread through …