Friday, September 27, 2013

Over-wintering Tender Plants and Tropicals

I was able to have my Red Star Dracaena over-wintered for a number of years by friends and the plants grew to quite a nice size. That’s the lure, growing larger plants, along with big savings. None of the following methods are foolproof, but, as you experiment, you will find you are able to use more than one method to over-winter some species.

Warm, Bright Conditions

Experts suggest moving plants to a shady spot for a week or two and checking them for insect and disease before bringing them indoors. Bring the plants indoors before the first frost and place them by a bright east, south or west facing window .Large plants can be cut back by a half to two-thirds before bringing them in, to reduce their size and slow them down. Water whenever the soil dries out and give the pots a quarter turn every couple of weeks so they don’t get lop-sided. Additional humidity can be provided by grouping the plants together and putting the plants on top of trays filled with pebbles and water. Avoid misting, unless necessary, as this encourages insects and disease. In winter, our indoor air becomes so dry and this can really take a toll on tropical plants. Turning the temperature down to the mid-sixties helps with the humidity. As the days start to get longer, provide an occasional dose of diluted fertilizer. The new foliage on some plants may be noticeably smaller because of the lack of light. You might consider supplementing this with some kind of grow light.
Some plants that can be over-wintered under these conditions are:
Begonias, Bird of Paradise, Coleus, Elephant’s Ears, Hibiscus, Oleanders, Passionflowers, Plectranthus and Sages.

Cool, Bright Conditions

The following can be over-wintered under these conditions:
Cestrums, Clivias, Cordylines, Crinums, Flowering maples, Honey bush and New Zealand flaxes.

Cool, Dark Conditions

Many tropical plants have a dormant period triggered by a dry period, not the onset of winter. Cool, dark conditions are ideal for planters that go dormant. The bulb can be taken out of the ground; remove the mud and store it in a plastic bag that is not closed. Mist the bulb lightly once a month until spring; Many plants can survive the winter without light, water and sometimes even soil.
For shrubby plants or plants with fleshy stems and foliage, such as banana plants, cut down on the watering and stop the fertilizing. Cut them back and take them inside to a cool spot. Bulbous plants need to be blackened by frost before digging. Use a pitchfork when digging to prevent damage. Remove the blackened foliage and store in dampened peat moss in a cool spot. Ensure the peat moss is not too wet, otherwise they may become diseased, get fungal infection and rot. Divide rhizomes or take offsets from bulbs and tubers in the spring.

The following can be over-wintered under these conditions:

Angel’s trumpets, Bananas, Caladiums, Calla Lilies,, Cannas, Dahlias, Durantas, Elephant Ears, Ginger Lilies, Gingers, Glory bushes, Lantanas, Pineapple Lilies and Tropical smoke bush.

Much of this information was taken from the Fine gardening web-site.

Arlene Ortiz (Wheeler)
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:14 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Arlene's Tips on Growing Tulips and Fall Bulbs

Spring bulbs must be planted in the fall. In our climate, we can plant bulbs from September through December as long as the ground can still be worked. Over the years I have planted spring bulbs as late as mid December. One secret is to prepare the hole where you would like to plant the bulbs. Take in the soil you remove from the hole to use when planting. Cover the hole with a board or cardboard box and mark the spot so as when we get snow, you are still able to identify the spot. Plant your bulbs when you are able using the warm soil and water them in. Use a bulb booster or bone meal when planting. Following are some of my tips:

1. Choose healthy, unblemished bulbs that are hardy to our area, Zone 3.
2. Soak your bulbs in Plantskyd to avoid having them dug up by squirrels.
3. Also, squirrels, rabbits and deer don’t like Daffodils so they are always nice to plant in with tulips to deter the critters.
4. Break up the soil before planting. This is the time to amend your soil with peat moss or compost and a bit of sand.
5. Make sure you plant the bulbs with the pointed end up. If you are unsure of which is the right end, plant the bulb on its side and it will find its own way.
6. The general rule of thumb for planting is to plant the bulb two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall. In our zone you can add a few more centimeters in depth. Read the packaging for information on how far apart to plant that type of bulb.
7. Bulbs like it dry so avoid planting them in wet spots. Add sand to the bottom of the hole for good drainage.
8. When planting, group bulbs of the same colour and type together for a “Wow”! You might try planting some taller tulips near the back with some daffodils; some grape hyacinths in front bounded by a bed of crocus Let your imagination go wild! Make sure you plant some in a spot that you can enjoy looking out a kitchen or living room window. Avoid planting tulips in a straight line if you’re planting a border. Plant them in a triangle all the way along and they will look much fuller when they bloom. Try planting some bulbs you’ve never planted before, or try planting some in the lawn or around trees or shrubs. Snowdrops, Crocus and Grape Hyacinths are great bulbs to plant in the lawn.
9. Consider the bloom time and you will be able to create waves of colour in your garden for many months.
10. After the bulbs bloom in the spring, let the stems and leaves die back naturally and brown before you remove them. The stem and leaves replenish the bulb for next year’s bloom. To encourage more blooms for next year, apply fertilizer as the shoots emerge from the soil and again immediately after flowering.
11. Plant the bulbs behind or near perennials that will grow and hide the stem and leaves as they are browning.

Arlene Ortiz (Wheeler)
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 11:43 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fall Yard Care



• Spot treat visible weeds with “Killex”.
• Instead of fertilizing this fall try applying “Myke Turf”. It reduces watering needs, and increases drought tolerance. It will also promote root growth, to give you a more lush lawn next year.
• Fall Fertilizers can now be applied if you are not using “Myke Turf” such as Scotts Turf Builder. It is designed for Early Spring, Late Spring, and Early Fall Fertilization. Scotts Winter Pro is designed for Late Fall Fertilization.
• Rake and clean up all leaves and debris from lawn.
• Top-dress and over seed to improve the appearance of your lawn. This can be done after the 15th of October.
• Spray with “Plantskyd” to protect against vole damage. This can be done at the end of October or before snowfall.
• Cut the grass short to a height of 2 ½” at the end of October. A lower height will help soil dry more quickly in the spring. This will also help prevent vole damage.


• Dig up and discard annuals, and vegetable plants to put in your compost pile. Dig up and discard any weeds in the garbage. Rake up any fallen leaves and debris in your flower beds. Fallen leaves can hold diseases that may overwinter.
• Remove summer bulbs and store in peat moss or vermiculite indoors for the winter.
• Get your beds ready for fall planting or spring gardening. Add organic matter such as peat moss, coco, compost, or soil booster. This can help improve aeration and drainage, as well as supply nutrients. This can be done in addition to liquid gypsum to give the soil a really good boost for next year.
• Plant your tulips using bulb food and fresh garden soil. Soak the bulbs in “Plantskyd” prior to planting to prevent squirrels from digging them up!
• Plant shrubs, evergreens, and perennials. Early fall planting gives new plants enough time to get their roots established before winter. Use a growth supplement such as “Myke” to help stimulate healthy roots, and prevent transplant shock.
• To promote new growth on an old shrub, thin it out by removing a few of the oldest stems as near to the base as possible.
• Cut back a shrub to promote more branching and to create a bushier shrub. Cut shoots back to a bud or lateral branch.

• A treatment of “Myke” can be given to any shrubs or trees that have been stressed or not growing well. This is done by putting holes in the ground around the root ball of the shrub or tree. The “Myke” is poured down the holes, then watered in.
• If your plants have had problems with fungus, mold, mildew, blight, or insects Dormant Oil will prevent these from wintering over. It can be applied once the leaves have dropped if the temperature is above 5 °C. It also can be applied in early spring when the buds on the plants are swollen, but before they leaf out.
• Perennials can be moved or split safely now. Use a growth supplement such as “Myke” to stimulate new root growth.
• Apply “Plantskyd” to protect from winter animal damage. Skoot can be used as an alternative but not until plants are dormant. (leaves have dropped)Be sure to spray as high as animals can reach after the snow has fallen. Be sure to spray right to ground level to prevent vole damage on the base of trees.
• Add a tree wrap around the base of any smaller trees to prevent animal damage
• Spring flowering perennials can be cut back. Fall flowering perennials can be left to enjoy over the winter.
• At the end of October peat moss can be mounded around sensitive plants and perennials to protect over winter.
• Water regularly till the ground is frozen.


• If evergreens have been stressed over the summer a treatment of “Myke “ around the roots will help it repair any root damage that may have occurred.
• Throughout September and October water evergreens weekly so they can build up their water stores until spring. The moisture is important to help them through our harsh winters. Just before freeze up give evergreens a good soak.
• Any cedars that are in a sunny location can be sprayed with an antitranspirant “Wilt-Pruf” to protect against spring moisture loss.
• Any newly planted cedars can be protected with burlap and a frame made with wooden stakes. It is very important that the burlap does not touch the cedars.
• Spray with Skoot to prevent animal damage

Jensen Nursery and Garden Center
2550 McGillivray Blvd

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 11:17 AM 0 Comments