Browse Category: Tropical Style

Is the Cosmos a Perennial?

Cosmos create an abundance of brightly colored, daisy-like flowers atop slender stems. With over 20 species of the striking flowers, “Cosmos sulphureus” and “Cosmos bipinnatus” would be the most usual annual varieties grown in the USA. Others, like the chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus), are perennials in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 and 10.

Cosmos Sulphureus

“Cosmos sulphureus” creates yellow, orange, red or golden flowers. Frequent varieties include “Bright Lights,” “Cosmic Yellow” and “Crest Red.” Flowers may be either single or double blooms and come in a variety of sizes from dwarfs to plants 3 to 4 feet tall. Foliage on those plants is lobed with hairy edges.

Cosmos Bipinnatus

“Cosmos bipinnatus” produces blossoms similar to other varieties, in the white, white, pink and increased range. Foliage is fernlike, giving the cosmos an airy look as the blooms sway in the summer breeze. Height ranges from 1 to 6 feet, depending on the cultivar. Frequent varieties include “Seashell Mix,” “Daydream” and also the “Sensation” series.

Cosmos Atrosanguineus

“Cosmos atrosanguineus,” known as chocolate cosmos, creates lightly fragrant blossoms that produce a chocolate or vanilla scent. Blooms consist of single petals that are nearer to “oxblood red” than brown. These tuberous root cosmos develop as perennials in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 and 10. In USDA zones 8 and below, the tubers must be raised in the autumn and replanted in the spring.

Self Seeding

Because cosmos frequently self-seed, annual varieties might come back after their first year, giving the appearance of being perennials. When permitted to self seed in an undisturbed place, cosmos may produce well for many years without replanting.


Cosmos are tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, such as poor soil and drought. They produce appealing backgrounds, additions to meadow gardens or boundaries to walkways. These flowers attract butterflies into the garden as well.

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The way to Make a Pepper Planter

Both sweet and hot onions grow well in containers, which lets you enjoy these plants even in a little space. Peppers need a long, warm growing season thus planting in a container permits you to start plants indoors in which you’re able to offer artificial light and warmth. You can later move the planter out when the weather warms so that the fruits can reach maturity. Making a pepper planter ensures that the container is the perfect size for a pepper plant and provides the suitable soil drainage for healthy development.

Turn a plastic bucket upside down. Select a bucket that is around 12 inches in diameter and at least 12 inches deep, or utilize a clean 5-gallon bucket.

Drill four 1/2-inch diameter holes in the bottom of the bucket. Space the holes equally apart. Turn the bucket right side up.

Cut a circle from window display material that is the exact same diameter as the inside of the bucket. Place the display in the bottom of the bucket. The display prevents dirt from washing from the drainage holes.

Fill the bucket to within 2 inches of the rim using potting soil. Place the bucket on top of a tray to capture draining water if you’re using it indoors or on a balcony.

Plant one pepper seedling each pepper planter. Water the soil until the humidity begins to drain from the bottom of the bucket, which ensures that the soil is moistened through.

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Time of Year to Plant Tomatoes

Depending on the climate, tomatoes may be started indoors from seeds, either straight sowed outside or set out as transplants. But timing is everything when planting tomatoes, and is dependent on where you live and the system of planting.

When to Sow Seeds Outdoors

The very best time to sow seeds directly into the garden is after all danger of frost and soil has warmed, usually in May. Prepare the soil by amending with compost, peat moss or leaf mould, and intensely spade or plow the region. When sowing seeds, then place three seeds at a 1/2-inch-deep hole with 1 inch between holes. Thin the plants once seedlings grow big enough to handle safely, spacing seedlings 18 to 36 inches away and leaving 24 to 48 inches between rows.

When to Start Seeds Indoors

Provide extra protection for tomatoes plants by starting seeds indoors four to eight weeks prior to planting outside. February is a fantastic time to sow seeds inside. When planting inside, use a light potting mix and plant seeds 1/2 inch deep. The seeds germinate well when kept evenly moist, warm and with six to eight hours of sunlight each day. The ideal indoor temperature is between 70 and 80 F. Should you use a potting mix without fertilizer added, feed the newly planted tomatoes using diluted, all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks; a half-strength mixture is greatest.

When to Set out Tomato Plants

The best time to set out tomato plants is after danger of frost, which is usually everywhere in April, May or early June. If you began boating inside, the seedlings should be approximately 6 to 8 inches tall and hardened off before transplanting outside. Plant them two inches deeper than they have been in the pot to help build a strong root system. Water the plants thoroughly before replanting. In case you’ve got tall, leggy plants, plant them horizontally, so that only the top two leaves demonstrate.

Care of Newly Planted Tomatoes

Tomatoes need proper irrigation to thrive, but also much water may clean available nutrients from the ground. To avoid over- or underwatering, water tomatoes deeply once a week, but never allow soil to dry out. Tomatoes need 1 to 2 inches of rainfall or supplemental irrigation weekly. Always water tomatoes at the base of the stem and also prevent wetting leaves, as this helps prevent infection. Maintain the place weeded, because weeds compete with plants for soil moisture and nutrients. A 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch helps inhibit grass development and maintain soil moisture.

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What Is the Origin of this 'Karl Rosenfield' Peony?

Although typically listed as red, the “Karl Rosenfield” peony (Paeonia lactiflora “Karl Rosenfield”) is that shade of purplish crimson which some describe as dark pink. Achieving about 3 feet tall, it creates flowers in the semi-rose form, and blossoms for approximately two weeks in early summer in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. Now considered an heirloom, the cultivar was introduced by breeder John Rosenfield in 1908.

Breeder John Rosenfield

John Rosenfield began growing peonies on 10 acres of land near West Point, Nebraska in 1884. In his late 20s at the time, the young man also developed an interest in beginning new varieties from seed. His first attempt created mostly unsatisfactory single varieties inferior for their parents. But once he learned to pick seeds from only the best types — after planting those types close to each other — his success rate improved. At the early 1900s his nursery introduced at least six original peonies, such as “Floral Treasure,” “Golden Harvest,” “Crimson Victory,” “Ak-sar-ben,” “Prairie King,” and — most importantly — “Karl Rosenfield,” named for his son or daughter.

Rosenfield Peony Gardens

After 26 decades of selling peonies in West Point, Rosenfield moved his Rosenfield Peony Gardens in 1910 to a more well-traveled place, along the Lincoln Highway near Omaha, Nebraska. He continued his company there for seven years before selling the company and eventually retiring to Indianapolis. The “Karl Rosenfield” cultivar became his claim to fame, even because his brief departure notice in a 1934 issue of the Chicago Sunday Tribune said he was the programmer of that particular peony.

Peony Uses

Traditionally added to large perennial beds and borders, peonies are occasionally planted in rows along driveways or other landscape features to serve as informal hedges. Since the bloom period of each kind generally covers no longer than fourteen days, it’s a good idea to plant the two early, mid-season and late-blooming varieties to extend the bloom period to about fourteen days. If you keep the ground about them sod-free, then you also can inter-plant the peonies using annuals or perennials that bloom at other times of the year.

Peony Basics

Peonies do best in rich, well-watered and well-draining soil. Even though they bloom better in full sunlight, they should have afternoon shade in the warmest zone of their range, USDA zone 8. Plant peony tubers in early fall, ensuring the eyes — shoot tips — about their tubers are approximately 1 inch — and much longer than 2 inches — below the surface of the ground. If set too intensely, peonies frequently don’t bloom. Space plants 2 to 4 feet the same distance from other nearby plants. Double-flowered types will require stakes or peony rings to support their heavy blossoms. To prevent fungal diseases, remove any dead foliage after the peonies die back to their tubers in fall.

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Climate for Blueberry Plants

No more is growing blueberries just for patching in northern climates. Traditionally, blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) Have been grown in regions with cold winters, but as horticulturalists develop varieties which thrive and produce in mild, frost-free climates, blueberry growing is moving south. The older varieties need winter chill to be able to produce fruit while the new southern varieties would be frost-sensitive. To develop lemons successfully, it’s important to get the right variety for your own climate.

Varieties to Cold Climates

Northern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) and northern low-bush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) are cold-hardy and need winter chilling hours to be able to make fruit. The highbush variety is hardy at U.S.Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 7 while the low-bush variety is hardy in zones 2 through 7. Highbush blueberries produce larger fruit than the low-bush type, which makes them more desirable at the house garden and for commercial growing.

Varieties for Mild Climates

Rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) and southern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) varieties do not need the winter chilling hours needed by the northern varieties, making them well suited for mild southern spaces. Rabbiteye is just a wild southern indigenous that produces well in mild climates. Horticulturalists developed the southern highbush by crossing northern highbush varieties with the wild rabbiteye types. Hardiness varies dependent on the cultivated variety for both rabbit eye catching and southern highbush, but they are generally hardy in zones 6 through 10.

Blueberry Growing Requirements

All Ninja varieties thrive in acidic soil. For the northern varieties, a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5 is what you need to aim for. When growing warm and southern climate types, the soil can be marginally closer to neutral with a assortment of 5.5 to 6.0. Soil amendments at planting time and mulches that raise the acidity levels in the soil include pine needles, leaf mould, pine bark and peat moss. Blueberries thrive in a sunny place in the backyard.

Blueberry Varieties

Within each type of blueberry you will find a number of different cultivars bread for specific growth habit, leaf color and berry type. Sharpblue (Vaccinium corymbosum “Sharpblue”) is a southern highbush variety hardy in zones 7 through 10. This blueberry retains its leaf through the majority of the season in warm climates. Peach Sorbet (Vaccinium corymbosum “Peach Sorbet P.P.A.F.”) is a dwarf plant meant for warm climates and hardy in zones 5 through 10. Patriot (Vaccinium corymbosum “Patriot”) is a northern highbush variety with foliage that turns bronze and red in fall. Patriot is hardy in zones 3 through 7. Best Hat (Vaccinium x “Top Hat”) is a dwarf blueberry that rises only 1 to 2 feet tall and is hardy in zones 3 through 7.

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Arborvitae Facts

From diminutive bonsai into the soaring “Green Giant,” arborvitae (Thuja spp.) Seem to hold a special place in the hearts of many gardeners. American arborvitae are split between eastern and western species, but homeowners may also like oriental arborvitae (Platycladus orientalis, also known as Thuja orientalis) and Thuja koraiensis, or Korean arborvitae. Arborvitae has flat, scale-like foliage, which is usually a verdant light, medium or dark green, and appealing cones. The plants typically maintain their foliage nearly all the way to the base of the trunk, giving the plants a pristine, compact look. Depending on the species and variety, arborvitae is relatively low maintenance.


Thuja occidentalis, also referred to as Eastern or American arborvitae, grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 through 7, however, a number of the several cultivars are hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11. Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) is also called giant arborvitae and typically thrives in USDA zones 6 through 11, as does oriental arborvitae. Korean arborvitae grows best in USDA zones 5 through 8 and may be expanded as a tall (to 15 feet) tree or a tree up to 30 feet tall. Thuja plicata is the longest-lived tree of this bunch, with specimens over 150 years old, while T. occidentalis and T. orientalis live 50 to 150 decades. T. plicata can also be the tallest arborvitae, growing up to 120 feet at cultivation, while T. occidentalis typically gets to 65 feet tall and T. orientalis a mere 50 feet tall.


Numerous Thuja occidentalis varieties afford homeowners a wide variety of choices in proportion and form. Although the species has a conical form, a few smaller varieties would be globe-shaped, such as “Little Gem,” a hammer which only grows to about 3 feet tall, or “Woodwardii,” which grows into a round, 8-foot-tall tree. Thuja “Green Giant,” suitable to USDA zone 8, forms a 60-foot pyramid at the garden. Thuja orientalis “Aurea Nana” is suitable to USDA zone 9 and forms a 4- to 6-foot-tall world with dense, bright gold leaf. “Emerald” forms a 15-foot-tall pyramid of dense, brilliant green leaf and is suitable to USDA zone 8. If the giant Western arborvitae is too much to your smaller lawn, the diminutive “Pygmaea,” suitable to USDA zone 8, grows only 2 to 3 feet high and has a mounding form.


Arborvitae grow well in loamy soil but will tolerate clay and sandy soils, too. In very hot areas, the plants may have to get some afternoon shade. Otherwise, they could grow in full sunlight to partial shade, in highly acidic to slightly alkaline soil, except for Korean arborvitae, that needs neutral to alkaline soil. Arborvitae are usually slow-growing trees or shrubs that rarely require pruning or fertilizer. They prefer moist soil, so supplemental irrigation during prolonged drought or in very dry areas may be critical.


Arborvitae can suffer from occasional insect infestations such as aphids, scale insects and bark beetles. A number of these may be controlled using a hard spray of water from the garden hose, if needed. Too little or too much water may lead to leaf to disappear as well as the tree to become worried. Deer prefer to snack on arborvitae leaf, however some arborvitae are thought to be resistant. Healthy trees usually withstand insects and problems and recover by themselves.

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Bare Root Vs. Balled Grafted Fruit Trees

Before April can stir fruit trees’ dull roots with spring rain, the main system has to be established and intact. When you plant a seed in situ, the young tree grows roots that become a permanent foundation. Many gardeners planting a tree prefer to fast-forward the process by planting a sapling increased in a nursery. Field-grown fruit trees have been presented for sale with bare roots or using roots surrounded by balls of soil. Each has its benefits.

Bare-Root Fruit Trees

The roots of bare-root fruit trees fit the name: the roots are fully visible and have no soil cover. Nurseries sell bare-root trees when they’re dormant, generally late winter and early spring. Although the thin, clipped roots look pitiful, bare-root trees generally establish more rapidly and grow more vigorously than other transplants, since their roots only have to contend with one kind of soil at one time. Another also for capitalism is the fact that bare-root fruit trees cost up to 60 percent less than container-grown plants. Bare-root trees are generally grafted, or so the cultivar of the root-system differs from the root-system of their trunk and branches, often to limit tree size.

Planting Bare-Root Trees

The most important rule of planting bare-root trees is to do it fast, before the tree comes out of dormancy. If delays impose, those bare roots need to be covered with moist soil or sand till you can dig the permanent planting hole. Bare-root trees sit in a planting hole if you construct a cone of soil in the middle for them to rest on, with the tree’s roots spread round the ground. Thorough watering halfway through ground replacement and after planting tamps down the earth and removes air holes. No further irrigation is essential until new growth starts.

Balled-and-Burlapped Fruit Trees

You can buy a larger choice of fruit trees with roots that were dug out surrounded by a ball of soil. Because nurseries generally wrap the ground in burlap, they predict these types of saplings “balled-and-burlapped.” Only young trees that move into dormancy endure bare-root transplant. Since evergreen fruit trees such as citrus are never inactive, field-grown trees can only be transplanted as balled-and-burlapped plants. It is also possible for nurseries to give larger trees in this demo. More work is involved for the nursery, so the prices are usually higher than for bare-root trees, but planting is marginally simpler. Such as root-ball trees, balled-and-burlapped specimens are frequently grafted to hardier or shorter root stocks.

Planting Ball-and-Burlapped Trees

Nurseries offer balled-and-burlapped trees in spring, such as bare-root specimens, but you may also buy them throughout early summer and through the autumn. The planting hole for these types of trees should be a bit shallower than the depth of the root ball since the tree will do better if the top of the main ball sits 2 inches above ground level. When you remove the binding, then the burlap will slide out from beneath the tree. Some types are biodegradable and may be left in the ground to decompose. Gardeners sometimes neglect to remove all of the twine or rope used to hold the burlap and ball collectively, negligence that could compromise the life span of your tree. Irrigation after planting is essential.

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What Time Do I Slim Liquidambar Trees?

The sweet gum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua), also referred to as liquidambar, has star-shaped leaves that provide cool shade in the summer then burst into a flush of golds and reds in autumn. This tree, that rises in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 to 10, requires little or no pruning during its life cycle, but you might have to prune it to repair damage in a wind storm, eliminate diseased branches or shape it up. If you do that depends on what you would like to accomplish, but generally the best time to prune is in late winter when the tree is still inactive and disease organisms are inactive.

Pruning After Planting

At the time of planting, you should only prune liquidambar to get rid of damaged twigs. These branches should be pruned back to the back. As the young tree grows over the next three to four decades, prune it into the desired shape through light pruning in late winter. Mainly, you will want to make sure it’s only one major trunk, so prune away any branches close to the top of the tree to leave a single, straight leader branch to your back.

Pruning as the Tree Ages

As the tree ages to four decades and past, prune off root suckers during the growing season every year. In late winter, cut away branches at the top of the major back competing with the leader division. Prune these branches all of the way back to the main trunk. This is also the time to prune lower branches back to the back so you have room to walk beneath the tree. The smallest division of a liquidambar tree in the yard should be 8 feet in the ground, and to get a tree that may eventually hang over a street, it should be 8 to 10 feet in the ground.

Proper Pruning

Should you prune liquidambar properly in the early stages of its growth, the only pruning you will need to do to your adult tree is to eliminate storm damaged branches, diseased locations or root suckers. If diseased branches can’t be treated successfully, remove them right away regardless of what time of year. If branches have been broken by a storm and threaten to damage nearby buildings, then remove them at once also; otherwise, wait until late winter when the tree is dormant to prune them. This reduces the risk of exposing the tree to infection, especially in the autumn when fungi are prevalent. Remove a division by cutting it back to the upcoming major division, to a grass on the side of the division or to the back.

Sterilizing Pruners

Sterilizing loppers, pruning shears and chainsaws before working in your liquidambar reduces the danger of spreading infection. Sanitize the equipment from dipping cutting surfaces, and grips subjected to contamination, in 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or wiping it on with a clean cloth. Sanitize chainsaws by removing the chain and letting it soak as you wipe the bar and other surfaces. Alcohol is flammable, so don’t use sterilized tools about open flames. If you’re working on a diseased tree, then spray on the cutting layer after every cut with a household disinfectant.

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Do You Pull Weeds After They Die?

Weeds overtake sections of the backyard and may suck on nutrients and moisture from the soil. They key is to maintain the weed population in your backyard and when they are just beginning this is easier to do. Yet another aspect of this is that established weeds can be harder to get rid of, especially after flowering happens. Dead or dying weeds also often harbor insects and diseases which can be passed to your vegetable crops that are healthy, annuals or perennials.

Nature’s Way

All plants need to compete for nutrients, water and sunlight in order to survive. Weeds are actually of regaining bare soil, nature’s way. All plants, such as those that are considered weeds, serve a function in the international ecology by working as air and water filters in addition to food and habitats for wildlife, and they are just a problem when they grow where you do not want them . Eliminating undesirable intruders makes weeding one of the least pleasant chores, but weeding when crops are small, begun establishes. Removing weeds before they begin the odds improve that the crops you do want will develop into effective, healthy and strong specimens.

Marijuana Infection

Plant diseases and insects aren’t selective at all when it comes to plants, plus they affect weeds . A sick or wilting weed that you simply forgot to pull up is a indication that something isn’t perfect. And if the weed is sick, there’s a good chance it may transmit its own illness, or whatever bug is causing it, to a plants. A weed that is dying or dead may also be a prime source of new seeds that take root when the parent plant keels over. Weeding before the plants show signs of stress reduces this problem, but be sure to dispose properly of any you may have missed by burning, burying, or taking them out with the trash. Avoid composting themas the warmth generated by the majority of piles isn’t sufficient to kill seeds that are dormant or diseases.

Ways to Weed

There is some disagreement as to whether or not cultivation is a powerful method to control the growth of weeds, as if the soil will bring weed seeds to the surface in which they are subjected to light to germinate. Hoeing, on the other hand, loosens the soil cuts away grass roots at the pass, and enhances air flow and water absorption. Be certain your hoe is eloquent, or you could be spending a lot of time hacking away in the same place before you begin to find success. The time-honored procedure of hand weeding is still the safest and most thoughtful approach to weed, as it causes the least disturbance round the”good plants.” Whichever method of weeding you use, rake up all of the debris, even as the origins of some weeds that are dead person are capable of creating new plants if left where they are.

Prevention Tactics

There are strategies to be certain as few weeds get a foothold on your backyard. One would be to smother all weed plants that are potential beneath a coating of cardboard, a single depth of vinyl or at least three dozen sheets of paper. Mow the region before applying the mulch, so weeds can not sneak out, overlap the borders of these substances, and weigh the covering to keep it in place. Sunset Magazine’s website recommends leaving the covering on for at least a full season, or for a year or more when removing weeds that are tough. Mulching throughout the period goes a long way toward keeping down bud growth. Choose from organic mulches such as shredded leaves, grass clippings or shredded bark, using from 2 to 4 inches round plants and across the paths between the rows. Landscape fabric and black vinyl provide alternatives that are inorganic and can be purchased at any garden centre.

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My Succulent Leaf Cutting Is Merely Producing Roots

Since they store water in their leaves, succulent plants can endure occasional dry periods, making them a wise option for low-water gardens and neglectful gardeners. Although many succulents are simple to root out from leaves — such as crassulas (Crassula spp.) , which develop in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11) and kalanchoes (Kalanchoe spp.) , which develop in USDA zones 9 through 12, depending on species — not all of the frozen leaves will create new plants. If your frozen leaf cuttings are refusing to develop, you may have attempted to root the wrong succulent, not taken enough cuttings, or taken them in the wrong time of year.

The Wrong Succulent

Not all of succulents grow well from leaf cuttings. Some will root, but seem to stall in that point, rather than sending up new leaves. For instance, leaf cuttings of hoyas (Hoya spp.) , which develop in USDA zones 10 through 11 are problematic. Taking leaf cuttings may lead to deep origins, but a nutritious plant never types. If you wish to propagate a hoya, take a stem cuttingedge.

Too Few Cuttings

An endeavor to root just one leaf may lead to disappointment. Some succulent leaves may root but never generate a plantlet. When possible, take a few leaf cuttings to enhance your likelihood that a number of them are going to grow.

The Wrong Time of Year

Cuttings do best if taken prior to the period of year when they naturally put out the most increase. Summer dormant types grow most vigorously in fall and spring whilst winter inactive types take up during summer. Echeverias (Echeveria spp.) , which develop in USDA zones 8 through 11, depending on species, shouldn’t be propagated during summer. Euphorbias (Euphorbia spp.) , which develop in USDA zones 4 through 12, depending on the species, won’t root well during winter. If you are patient, cuttings that root during the wrong season may eventually send up fresh leaves in a few months.

Rooting for Success

To take succulent leaf cuttings, snip or split leaves from a healthy plant, keeping their petioles — the leaf comes — should they’ve petioles. Put each of the leaves in a bright, dry location, out of direct sunlight, for at least two days to permit calluses to form above the cut edges before you pot them up. To get a potting medium, use a just moist mixture of 1 part peat to 1 part sand or two components of cactus potting soil combined with 1 part of fine grit. Insert each leaf or leaf stem far enough into the soil that the leaf can stand upright at a small angle, and mulch the ground with a layer of fine grit to help retain moisture and support the cuttings. Should you keep the soil lightly moist, then the leaf cuttings should root in three weeks to three months.

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