12 May 2011

Mail order plants arrived - take care of them

Santa Rosa Gardens (http://www.santarosagardens.com/) sent plants to garden writers last week. They will go into our garden after they have been out of the box and in the shade for a few days.


The new plants in the shipment were:

Blue Fescue, Festuca glauca Elijah Blue, is a summer-blooming, clumping, ornamental grass that grows to a foot tall. Blue Fescue likes full sun and somewhat dry ground. The Missouri Botanical Garden site (mobot.org) says it tolerates drought, poor soil and some shade, but will not survive in wet soil. Elijah Blue is short-lived and has to be replaced in 3 years even though it is cold tolerant to zone 5. Other names include: Festuca ovina 'Elijah Blue' and Festuca ovina var. glauca 'Elijah Blue'.

North Wind Switch Grass, Panicum virgatum Northwind,
has wide, 5-foot tall, olive-blue-green leaves, and in September, it has plumes of flowers. This native of North America, is from the tall-grass prairies and tolerates a wide range of soils and conditions. The flowers can be dried for flower arrangements. No disease or insect problems. Plant in clumps of 3, or more.

Houseleeks or Sempervivum Hardy Mix, is a combination of Hens and Chicks in mixed colors that will spread to form a dense mat. Hens and Chicks prefer sandy, well-drained soil. They grow well in containers, especially strawberry pots. They can be planted in sunny rock gardens, on the edge of a sidewalk and on stony banks. The flowers are pink-red on 2-foot-tall stems.

Goldstorm Coneflower, Rudbeckia fulgida Goldsturm,

loves the sun and butterflies flock to it when it blooms from summer through fall. Another native American, Goldsturm grows up to two feet tall and becomes bushy with brown-eyed, gold-orange daisy-like flowers. The seed heads attract birds in the fall. Mass plant them with ornamental grasses to make a new bed. Remove faded flowers for continuous bloom. Divide next spring. Goldstorm was the Perennial Plant of the year in 1999 but has been popular with gardeners for 50-years. This is a hardy, long-lived, plant with few disease or insect problems.

Tickseed or Coreopsis Jethro Tull, is a cross between Coreopsis Zamphir and Early Sunrise. The flowers have fluted petals and come back all season if the faded flowers are snipped off. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9. Grows well without fertilizer and tolerates dry soil after it gets established. Blooms and thrives in spite of heat, humidity or drought.

TAKE CARE OF MAILORDER PLANTS
Shipped plants need to be treated with care. Open the box immediately. Santa Rosa Garden’s plants were wrapped in 4 sheets of brown paper that we carefully removed. Each pot was wrapped in a stem and leaf protecting, woven knit sock that easily rolled off.

Mail order plants are usually dry by the time they arrive, so, water them thoroughly and allow to drain overnight in a protected place.

Many shipped plants have not been hardened off. Put the unpacked plants outside in the shade for a couple of days while you prepare the planting area. On the third day, fertilize and water the planting area and move the pots to a location where they will receive a half day of sun.

Dig holes a little deeper, and twice as wide as the pot. Gently squeeze the pot on all sides and slide the root ball out into your hand. Fluff up or tickle the outer rim of the root ball/soil. If the roots are going around in a circle, carefully pry them out so they will expand into the surrounding soil when planted. Remove dead leaves and broken stems. Water the plants in to ensure root and soil contact.

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