BEDDING & POTTED PLANTS
The most beautiful and productive gardens beds are the result of planning the size, shape and location. In South Texas it is important to select plants and blooms that are well adapted to our climate.
Milberger’s is your best source of bedding, plants, and flowers with fresh stock arriving on a regular basis and the best plants for the season put on sale weekly.
“The advantage of using native plants in the landscape is they are capable of surviving the droughts and local pests without excessive irrigation or pesticides since they evolved in the local climate and soils.” ~ Jerry Parsons, Bexar County Horticulturist.
Choosing native plants allows developed landscapes to coexist with nature, rather than compete with it. This is important in South Texas where the fate of your garden beds, foundation shrubs and even container plants depend on selecting varieties that thrive in our hot and dry climate. Fortunately we have a lot of colorful plants to choose from. Native plants are frequently used around homes and in gardens to create sustainable landscapes. Most native plants are perennial and have extensive root systems. They support wildlife including beneficial insects, pollinators, and native birds. Native plants are hardy, do not require fertilizer once established, and provide food and habitat for native animals. Most native species are perennial, and they also maintain themselves by reseeding on the same site that hold soil and slow runoff. Persistent stems, leaves, and flower parts which remain through the winter also reduce runoff, especially in the spring, as snow melts and rainfall begins before new growth is present. Particulate matter accumulates around these native plants and the plants themselves absorb chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorous that would otherwise enter the runoff.
Native plants have many positive characteristics. Native plants used as buffer strips along water margins slow runoff and absorb nutrients. They are also self-sustaining, and they support wildlife including beneficial insects, pollinators, and native birds.
Plant Perennials That Bloom
in Our Summer Heat
Summer gardeners are fond of perennials — plants that come back year after year. They provide a dependable background for colorful seasonal annuals that must be replaced every year. If chosen carefully the hardiest perennials will give you waves of reliable color throughout spring well into fall. While perennially blooming plants may need tending to show their best value of buying and planting a plant only once makes them a great investment. Many perennials favored by gardeners in our part of Texas are heat and drought tolerant and many gardeners are not likely to spend time and effort on finicky plants requiring extra work. Experienced gardeners have learned the lesson of putting the right plant in the right place to keep their garden beds looking there best. May is a good time to plant the heat-tolerant, summer-blooming perennials.
Daylilies: Texas’ Favorite Perennial
By Judy Barrett, Homegrown Texas
Daylilies are prolific and colorful bloomers. Few pests show any interest in them. They will grow in sun or shade, dry or wet soil, can tolerate both flooding and drought, and produce beautiful flowers throughout Texas. You can find tiny flowers and large flowers, compact plants and tall plants. You can even create your own varieties with relative ease. It is no wonder that every gardening expert recommends daylilies for the home landscape. Although daylilies will tolerate poor soil, you want them to bloom well, so take some time to prepare the soil. Daylilies require good drainage; they will rot if they are planted in a spot where they constantly have wet feet. Plant only to the base of the crown, the area above the roots on the plant where it is white in color and gradually goes to green.
For best growth and bloom of your daylilies, select a location that has full morning sun and some protection from afternoon sun. All-day sunshine in Texas is hard for most plants to take, and daylilies appreciate afternoon shade. April is a good time to plant one of the easiest to grow perennials. Water plants thoroughly after planting and continue to deep soak them until they are well established. Although they are drought-tolerant, consistent watering while budding and flowering produces better quality flowers. Blood meal, cottonseed meal, agricultural molasses, composted manure, sludge compost and compost are all good organic amendments for your daylilies and will keep them at the peak of health. Be careful not to mulch heavily around the crown of the plant to avoid rotting and maintain air circulation. In the spring, a good blend of fish emulsion and seaweed is a fine tonic to get them growing. Daylilies grow from fleshy roots below ground with fans of leaves above ground, coming together at the crown of the plant. From the crown, flower stalks (scapes) will emerge in May and June, bearing typically 10 to 20 flower buds. Though each flower is only open for one day (thus the name), the buds will take turns opening, resulting in weeks of garden color. And many cultivars send up repeat scapes into June, July and August
Care of Poinsettias after Christmas
“Many mistake the poinsettia’s bright red leaves as flower petals, but the flowers are actually the smaller, yellow buds in a poinsettia’s center. Poinsettias bloom in December, making them an ideal holiday flower.” ~ Sam Abramson
It’s holiday time and you are probably admiring your poinsettias. Dressing your house with the bright cheer of poinsettias and giving the gift of poinsettias is one of your season’s great traditions. Poinsettias are tropical shrubs from Mexico and Central America where they have had a rich history in the culture of the Aztecs who used them to dye clothing, cure fevers and in their religious ceremonies. Since the poinsettia is a tropical plant, it flourishes in warm temperatures. To maximize the plant’s bloom time, which can extend from Thanksgiving to Easter you will need choose a strong plant to begin with, moderate it’s temperature, keep it watered.
Poinsettias should never dry out to the point of wilt. The typical plant has a relatively small root system supporting a large top with lots of leaf surface that is transpiring moisture. If you can, place a catch pan under the container and water when the soil surface dries to the touch. The water ideally should wet the whole root ball and begin to trickle out the pot into the catch pan. This may mean water every day or every other day. The second best option is to use the ice cube trick. If you can water the poinsettia well once per week, placing 6-8 ice cubes in the container every day will do a good job of keeping the soil adequately moist. You could become quite sophisticated with the ice cube tactic and calculate exactly how many cubes you need to provide all the water needed each day.
How long your poinsettia lasts depends on the maturity of the plant, when you buy it, and how well you care for it. To keep your poinsettia looking its best throughout the holiday season, follow these simple tips.
After selecting and purchasing your poinsettia ensure it is well wrapped to insulate it during the ride home. Exposure to extreme temperatures even for a few minutes can cause leaves and bracts to drop prematurely. Never purchase your poinsettias and leave them in the car while you do other shopping.
Place your poinsettia in a bright, naturally sunny location. Six hours of sunlight a day is ideal.
Poinsettias do not like fluctuations in temperature. Ideally temperatures should be in the mid-70’s during the day and mid-60s at night. Do not place your plant near radiators or stoves. Also, placing on a windowsill can cause damage to leaves and bracts that touch the cold window.
After the Holidays cut-back the poinsettia and keep it in extremely controlled lighting for it to have any chance to re-bloom.