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Daylily bulbs are very hardy and do not require very much attention. However, you may want to provide your daylilies with a winter mulch. These winter mulches should not be soft in nature, as you do not want them to mat down or flatten. The best winter mulches for daylilies are straw, hardwood leaves, or hay. A layer of six inches of winter mulch works well for mature daylilies. Newly planted, or transplanted, daylilies benefit from having a foot of mulch added to their growing sites.
What many people may not know is that geraniums need to thoroughly dry out between watering periods. Geraniums grow best when they are planted in clay pots. This is because a clay pot helps the soil to dry out quicker. Geraniums tend to get sickly when planted in plastic containers because they hold too much moisture.
Another thing you may know about geraniums is they can be started with a cutting. Simply pinch off the bottoms and push them into a soil-less mix such as peat moss or perlite. Add heat by placing on a heating pad and roots generally appear in about ten days.
Mass planting is when you choose a favorite flower and flood the entire flower bed, or planting area, with that flower. Using the same flower in different colors is a quick way to bring diverse colors into your landscape without having the hassle of selecting and planting a variety of plants and flowers. Mass planting not only saves time, but it can save money.
You should plant your canna bulbs horizontally in the ground with the eyes facing up. There is no chance that you will ever plant your canna bulbs upside down, as they do not have a top or bottom. Cannas should be planted three inches deep and about two feet apart. However, you can plant them closer together if you are trying to achieve a block look. For the block effect, plant the bulbs six inches apart.
Before you plant your flower seeds, you should read the instructions on their individual packets. The packet will tell you when the flower seeds should be sown. If you are planting your flower seeds in a tray or pot, you should make sure that it is washed and well rinsed. You do not want your new plants to contract a disease from a previous plant. You should use a seed starting compost when planting. Using a seed starting compost will ensure that more of your seeds germinate, and that your seedlings are healthy.
When digging up your canna bulbs for winter storage, you should leave as much soil around the roots as possible. Allow the bulbs to sit a few days out of direct sunlight, then put the entire clump into a large paper bag. Any bare roots that are showing should be covered with dampened peat moss. Close the bag and store in a cool area. However, do not put store them in an area where your bulbs may freeze. By spring, you will notice that your clump is starting to sprout.
Many people grow hibiscus in pots. This is so they can easily be moved indoors when winter arrives. While hibiscus does acclimate to colder weather, they will not tolerate being in below freezing temperatures for many hours.
An interesting fact about hibiscus is that many varieties will actually bloom better if they are a little rootbound. Hibiscus planted directly in the ground would continue to get taller and taller with less blooms. Planting in pots allows you to control growth and you reap the reward of more blooms.
Believe it or not, many people plant daylily bulbs because the leaves and flowers are edible. The buds and blossom can be eaten at any point in their growth cycle. Very tight buds are used by many chefs in salads and stir-fries. Blooms can also be dipped in batter and fried. “Golden needles” is the Chinese cooking term for buds and young blooms which are air dried, then soaked in warm water for a few minutes before they are eaten.
If you would like to nibble on your daylily, make sure it has not been sprayed with a fungicide or insecticide.
Begonia bulbs are favored by shade gardeners. Begonia bulbs are much stronger than seed-grown types, which can be fussy, fragile and small. Begonias have staying power and can be grown for many, many years. Begonia bulbs should be lifted and stored during the cold months. By storing your bulbs during the winter months, you are almost guaranteed that these regal bulbs will never relinquish their titles as the “Queens of Shade.”
When taking cutting from your hydrangea, you should make the cuts from the ends of the nonflowering shoots. Each hydragnea shoot generally has three pairs of leaves. Remove the bottom pair of leaves and make your cut at the stem, just below a joint. Place your cutting in well-packed sand inside a cold frame or propagating case. Once the roots form, allow a few days before you plant in a container.
Daylilies can easily be divided. When you are dividing your daylilies, you should try to separate them into segments of about three shoots each. Gardeners refer to these sections as “fans.” The best time to divide daylilies is in the spring before new growth appears, or in the late fall. You should avoid dividing daylilies that are already blooming.
To encourage your daylily bulbs to produce prolific flowers each year, you should fertilize the plants in the spring and summer. Daylilies also benefit from being watered, especially during the flowering season. Every three to five years, you should divide your daylily clumps. This will allow them to maintain their vigor and produce steady flowers.
If your winters are not hardy, you should store your begonia bulbs. Dig the tubers up before the first expected day of frost in your area. Allow the bulbs to dry for a few days. Then, put the bulbs in a cardboard box or paper bag that is filled with peat moss and store. This process allows your begonias to take a much needed rest which will energize them and ensure they are ready for the next growing season.
Smaller seeds are harder to handle and are often best germinated directly in the pot or flat they will be grown in. Choose a sterile container. If the flat or container you choose has had plants grown in it before, wash it out and rinse it with hydrogen peroxide to sterilize it. Bleach can be used in place of hydrogen peroxide, however if you miss any bleach when you rinse the container out your plants may die. Hydrogen peroxide is safer for plants and will not kill them if any is left behind. Once the container is clean, fill it about halfway with a seed starting mixture. Add a small layer of vermiculite to the top of the seed starting mix, then sprinkle the seeds on top. If the seeds require darkness to germinate, cover them with a light layer of vermiculite. If they need light, do nothing else. Place a clear plastic cover over the seed tray to help keep humidity in. Saran Wrap can be used for this if you do not have a regular seed tray cover. Be sure to check the containers because once germination occurs the clear plastic cover can be removed. At this point the seeds will not need as much humidity and should begin adjusting to regular environmental conditions. A diluted fertilizer should be given to help the seedlings grow. Once the seedlings are large enough to easily handle, carefully loosen the dirt around their roots, making sure not to damage the root system, pick the plant up and transplant it into a larger pot. Grabbing the plant by the stem could damage it so be sure to hold it by the leaves only.
The key to container gardening with begonias is to make sure the pots or urns have adequate drainage holes. Begonia tubers hate sitting in waterlogged soil and they will begin to stink and rot. When choosing your containers, you should also keep in mind the mature size of the begonia varieties you have chosen. Plant your begonia bulbs in pots that will allow adequate room for them to grow.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|