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|Shrubs that bloom in February...|
|Despite the winter weather all sorts of plants, shrubs and trees are in bloom. Here in our area of Southern California we can have blooms all year long if we plan our gardens carefully. Most of these plants need little water once established and so are perfect for our drought conditions. Here is a list of some of the less common shrubs that are in bloom right now and available at Deep Roots:|
Ceanothus: California Lilac: Large group of native shrubs some low and spreading, some compact and bushy, and some reaching 10 – 12 ft. All have flowers in early spring with flower color ranging from white through pale powder-blue to very dark blue-violet. Extremely drought tolerant, needs fast draining soil. Good for maritime garden. We have several varieties in stock.
Ribes sanguineum glutinosum: The Pink Flowering Currant is an erect, spreading, deciduous shrub that grows 4'-6' tall. It has lobed, toothed foliage, pink flowers, and black berries between January and March. The Pink Flowering Currant is a California native, drought tolerant and attracts hummingbirds.
Grevillea is a diverse group of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants in the protea family Proteaceae native to Australia and perfectly adapted to our climate and soil. The species range from prostrate shrubs less than 20 inches tall to trees 115 ft tall. Common names include grevillea, spider flower, silky oak and toothbrush plant. The brightly colored, petal-less flowers appear in early winter and last for months. They attract hummingbirds.
Acacia: There are many different types of Acacia, most are native to Australia but some are native to the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of North America. Acacias come in all forms, from groundcovers to trees, and consequently have incredible versatility in the landscape. Many have beautiful yellow puffy blooms in winter and early spring.
Arbutus 'Marina' (Marina Strawberry Tree) A medium-sized evergreen tree, growing to 20-25 feet tall with a broad dense crown. The tree's growth causes the older bark to peel away from the trunk and branches revealing the beautiful shiny red new bark underneath. The pendulous clusters of urn-shaped white-blushed-pink flowers are produced year-round along the coast with peaks in spring and fall. The flowers are followed by red edible fruit. Considered to be drought tolerant, but looks best with occasional summer watering. Plant in full sun.
Breath of Heaven. An evergreen South African shrub with pink flowers that blooms in the winter and early spring. It grows in sun or shade 4-6 feet high and 4-5 feet wide and likes regular water. Also available is a lovely golden yellow variety called Sunset Gold...
Fremontodendron (Flannel Bush) An evergreen shrub can grow 10-20 ft tall. In spring it explodes with yellow flowers, 3 inches across. Native to dry slopes in the Sierra Nevada, coast ranges, and Southern California mountains. Is drought tolerant and likes sun to part shade.
Manzanita ‘Louis Edmunds’ is an upright shrub or small tree that can reach up to 10 feet tall and will spread 6 – 8 feet. ‘Louis Edmunds’ manzanita is an adaptable, drought tolerant specimen tree making it an excellent choice for a screen or as a courtyard focal point in almost any garden. The open habit of this manzanita shows off beautiful branches of dark chocolate bark, contrasting nicely with its small light gray-green leaves. Clusters of light pink urn-shaped flowers bloom in late winter or early spring offering hummingbirds a good nectar source when few other natives are in bloom. The showy berries on ‘Louis Edmunds’ are red turning to a coppery brown.
Philotheca myoporoides 'Profusion' (Long-leaf wax flower) - A hardy, compact shrub that grows to 4-5 ft. tall and wide. In late winter and early spring, pink buds open to a profusion of white flowers. It has aromatic leaves that are somewhat reminiscent of an apple fragrance when the plant is brushed against or if the leaves are crushed. It does best in dappled shade, but will tolerate full sun. It tolerates extended dry periods and appreciates well-drained soils, especially if regularly irrigated. Plants react well to supplemental chelated iron and slow release fertilizers - consider using fertilizers developed for citrus.
Buddleia "Silver Anniversary" - This fairly recent introduction has lovely silvery felted foliage. The honey-scented white flowers have a yellow eye and are very attractive to butterflies, bees and hoverflies. Buddleias grow in almost any type of soil however poor and do well by the sea. "Silver Anniversary" is smaller than some varieties, probably reaching no more than 4ft
We have a wonderful selection of California Natives in right now including several varieties of Ceanothus, Manzanitas, Ribes, Santa Cruz Ironwood and many others, all premium quality from Native Sons.
Happy Valentine's Day!
|Fertilize! Fertilize! Fertilize!|
Feed your soil ... As plants wake up with the lengthening days they will all benefit from fertilizing. Feed the soil they grow in with with Fox Farms organic fertilizers or Gro-Power all purpose fertilizer and soil conditioner and the soil will feed your plants.
Sandy soil is inherently infertile and needs regular fertilizer. One of the most common problems we discuss in the nursery is lack of growth and vigor. Our advice is to fertilize!
Avocado trees are ready for fertilizing if you are on the coast or any other frost free areas. If there is still a chance for frost where you live, wait a couple of months so you don’t lose new growth that spurts from your feeding.
This is the month to fertilize your citrus trees. Remember some major holidays as a guide for when to fertilize your citrus: Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Nitrogen is the element that established citrus trees need the most and it is responsible for assuring a good fruit crop and a healthy tree. Water the tree the day before, spread the fertilizer over the root zone and water in well. The feeder roots of citrus trees are very close to the surface, so it’s important not to over fertilize, or you could burn your tree.
Don’t forget your houseplants… they could use a little bit of fertilizer now that it’s starting to warm up. We recommend GrowMore Palm Food, which is great for indoor foliage plants. Check to see if your plants are root bound and need re-potting. If so re-pot them into a pot that is only slightly bigger than the one it is in now. Re-potting into a much larger pot might result in the soil volume retaining too much water and the plant may die from root rot. If your pot IS much larger, use Cactus mix instead of potting soil to ensure proper drainage.
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|What to do in the garden in February|
It's February and the earth is beginning to warm up. The daylight hours are getting longer. Spring might just be here already!
Spring flowering shrubs are in full bloom all over town (see article left). In the garden Hardenbergia and Winter flowering Jasmine vines are in full bloom, the roses and clematis are beginning to leaf out, the bluebells and daffodils are pushing their green tips through the earth, and violets are blooming.
Azaleas are sending out the first buds of the year from the branch tips so it’s time to feed with a high phosphorus fertilizer from now until they are finished blooming.
February is a month for maintenance and preparation. There is pruning and fertilizing to be done. A lot of what you do this month will reap benefits when the warmer months arrive.
Stay ahead of those weeds!!! We have had a warm winter and everything is growing fast including weeds. If you don’t keep the weeds down now you’ll be sorry!
Finish clearing up old leaves
and debris from under roses and deciduous trees. This debris is a breeding ground for insect lava and fungal diseases and should not be left on the ground.Once you have cleaned it all up, spread a generous layer of mulch to feed the soil and prevent weeds.
Working with nature by using organic products is good for us and good for the plants. Incorporating earthworm castings into your soil is a great first step to going organic. Earthworm castings are a rich, all-natural source of organic matter with lots of nutrients and moisture-holding capabilities. Castings improve the soil structure and increase fertility making them the most enriching soil conditioner available.
This month you will see gardeners de-thatching lawns all over town in preparation for warm-season grass. (FYI – Early fall is de-thatching time for cool-season lawns). Thatch is the layer of matting between the soil below and the blades of grass above. A layer of thatch up to one half inch is okay, but thicker than that is not healthy for a lawn. To keep thatch down to a minimum, don’t mow more than one half of the length of the grass height at one time, and allow the clippings to lay where they fall. The clippings will decompose and will provide a good source of nitrogen to feed your lawn. Feed your lawns, and patch bare spaces with seed amendments, Topper or, if you are old school, Steer Manure.
If you want to transplant or plant shrubs, perennials, grasses, fruit trees, citrus trees, herbs, or roses, February is the month to do it! Get these plants into the ground while the weather is still nice and cool. They will experience very little stress and have time to establish themselves before the heat of summer.
Many succulents and cacti bloom at this time of the year. February is a good time to repot them if they have out grown their pots – just make sure that they have finished blooming.
Plant azaleas and camellias now while they are in bloom, amending the soil with acid planteing mix.
You can still plant winter crops:
lettuces, broccoli, greens, sugar snaps, and cabbage, and you can also still plant cool season annuals such as pansies, cyclamen, primroses, sweet peas and snapdragons.
Tomatoes: We have been so warm that the spring crop of tomaoto plants are here early. We have 8 varieties now with many more to come. It feels so like spring what are we waiting for? Go ahead and start planting!
Get your herb garden started! We have a comprehensive range of new season herbs in 4" pots - all can be planted or potted up now.
Time to start seeds for flowers and vegetables for transplanting in early spring. Seeds to sow outside – ageratums, alyssum, bachelor’s buttons, calendulas, candytuft, celosia, columbines, coreopsis, English daisies, delphiniums, dianthus, forget-me-nots, four-o-clocks, hollyhocks, larkspur, lunaria, pansies, California and Shirley poppies, salvias, snapdragons, stocks, sweet peas, sweet William, and native wildflowers.
Seed Planting Tip: Don’t plant seeds too deeply. Seeds planted too deeply will never reach the soil surface. One of the biggest mistakes made by a beginning gardener is planting too deeply. As a general rule, the soil that covers the seeds should be only three times their thickness. Small seeds, like carrot or lettuce seeds, need only a one-eighth-inch covering of soil at the most.
When annuals such as pansies start to get spindly, pinch back the weakened growth and promptly remove faded flowers. Then feed with a liquid foliage fertilizer. This will make the plants become full and lush again.
We have had very little rainfall this winter and the ground is very dry. Water conservation is vital! However the temperatures are still relatively low and plants and trees do not need as much water as when it is hot. Water your garden in the early morning or in the evening so as to reduce evaporation. If we get some rainfall make sure your irrigation is turned off, but keep an eye on your garden in case we have a hot spell. This is a great time to do irrigation maintenance and repair. Contact our landscape department for all your irrigation needs.
Plumerias have dropped all their leaves with the cold weather. If you want to take cuttings of your plants, this is the time to do it, before the new leaves start to develop. Let the cuttings dry up at the cut end and wait for a week or two before planting.
Pruning winter flowering vines and shrubs like Hardenbergia and some Ceanothus after they bloom gives them a nice clean look, and a head start on next year.
If plants such as liriope and other blade-leaf plants look ragged and unsightly, you can shear them to the ground now before new growth appears and wait for their new leaves to take over.
Cut your cannas and gingers down to the ground now.
Time to give your fuchsias and begonias a hard pruning. Fuchsias bloom only on new wood and need to be cut back annually to produce new growth. Cut back hanging basket plants to container’s edge or 4 inches above the soil. Cut back shrub fuchsias by half or more. Prune begonias to keep them from getting leggy. Cut cane and angel-wing begonias to pot level or three or four nodes from the ground. Prune wax begonias 1-2 inches from the ground.
Buddleias, more commonly known as Butterfly Bushes, need to be hard pruned now. Most plants can’t handle the heavy pruning that these plants can. You can cut back 75% of the plant now and keep pinching the new growth to promote thicker growth over the next few months.
If plants such as agapanthus, coral bells, daylilies, Japanese anemone, Shasta daisies, become crowded or had sparse
bloom last season, it’s time to divide them. Dig up clumps, pull or cut them apart and replant the sections, or share them with your friends. This is easier to do after a good rain or watering the day before.