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Plant Library

Rain Lily

 
Making it Through The Rain (Barry Manilow). Rain rain go away come back another day. We have all sung that little jingle at some time in our life.We have Raining on Sunday,(Keith Urban),Rainy Days and Mondays,(Carpenters), there is Kentucky Rain,(Elvis), Smokey Mountain Rain,(Ronnie Milsap), Rains Down in Africa,(Toto) and it Never Rains in Southern California,along with A Rainy Night in Georgia. Now I begin to think there is Signing in the Rain,(Gene Kelly), Kissin’ in the Rain,(Toby Keith), Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head,(B.J. Thomas). Then we have Purple Rain,(Prince), Fire and Rain,(James Taylor), Rainy Day Feeling Again, Here Comes the Rain,Love a Rainy Night. Again we have Have You Ever Seen the Rain and Who’ll Stop the Rain, (CCR). There is Rhythm of the Rain,(Cascades), Rain Fell Down,(Stones) and finally Rain is a Good Thing,(Luke Bryan).
 
So by now you may be wondering what does all these rain songs have to do with production? Read on for the answer!! It all starts with the Zephyr Lily. The Zephyr winds from the west must blow in the rain for the Zephyr lily,( AKA Rain lily ). This easy to grow bulb, a crocus look alike, transforms like magic across the landscape. Get it? Yes it blooms after the rain.
Although many of the common names include lily, these plants are in the Amaryllis family. The Rain Lily is a hardy perennial that can be planted in mass groupings or here and there in nooks and crannies. This plant is easy to cultivate and fast to naturalize. This is one plant that is perfect for our hot summer climate, growing in full sun and or part shade with well drained soil. So the production plant of the month is the rain lily.
The production team planted 3,000 rain lily bulbs in wonderful colors of pink,white and yellow. Remember with the Magic lily, Fairy Lily, or Rain Lily, the” MAGIC” is the rain, it’s a good thing. Please stop by the nursery to witness the magic.

Tropical Hibiscus, Bling for your Garden

I admit it. I am a compulsive plant collector. I collect native plants, heirloom vegetables, antique roses and all kinds of salvia. My new obsession… tropical hibiscus.They are the most showy, colorful, stunning, spectacular plants and flowers in the world! (in my opinion) And the fun part is growing them is easy. Tropical hibiscus have a few requirements but nothing hard.
 
These hibiscus need full sun to filtered light in our hot summer afternoons. Water them regularly but don’t let them get soggy. A very important requirement is fertilizer. Hibiscus really need their own food. These plants originate from volcanic regions which are high in potassium. Potassium is the third number on your fertilizer container. Maas carries food specifically for hibiscus to meet the unique nutrient requirements of these plants. I use granular food because it is easy. Water your hibiscus a little first, sprinkle the food around the plant and water again to start the feeding. Slow release fertilizers will feed the plant every time you water. Do this for your hibiscus every month or more during the blooming season. My hibiscus in pots get fed every two weeks.
 
The only real issue with hibiscus is they are not freeze hardy. Bring your hibiscus pots in if the temperature gets to the low thirties. For hibiscus planted outside use Insulate cover over the plants and secure it to the ground with rocks. Do not use plastic as this will burn the plants and bed sheets sometimes are not enough cover. One of my colleagues at Maas is very clever. She uses cotton backed plastic picnic table cloths to prevent freezing hibiscus. The cotton side goes on the plants. She says they work great. If after all your precautions your plants still freeze, do not pull them up immediately. I have had hibiscus come back from the dead several times because the roots did not freeze. In spring, cut the dead plants back to the ground and wait. Miracles do happen.
 
Sometimes hibiscus get pests or fungus. Treat your hibiscus with Triple Action when this happens. It is an organic pesticide and fungicide all in one that does the trick every time. Spray your plants when you first notice the problem, Don’t let the bugs get out of hand.
 
There are so many beautiful pictures of hibiscus from the nursery. Here are some examples of the colors and varieties Maas carries. If you want a special variety, call before coming. Our stock changes daily. My advice is come to the nursery and see what we have. It’s a fun outing and the hibiscus won’t disappoint!
 

Elephant Ears.

Interested in Elephant Ears?
Are you looking for an interesting tropical plant for that spot in your yard that doesn’t drain well? Or perhaps you’re looking for a striking plant for a container or water garden. Take a look at the many elephant ear varieties available, a group of tropical perennials grown for their large heart-shaped leaves, for both sun or shade.
Elephant ears belong to the family Araceae, as do caladiums, and can either be from the genera Colocasia (Taro) or Alocasia, native to tropical Asia and Pacific islands, or Xanthosoma, native to tropical America. All are grown year-round in more tropical areas but die back and go dormant during our zone 9 winters.
Colocasia varieties, perennial in USDA zones 8-11, prefer full sun and wet soil, and can tolerate standing water.
 
These can make an attractive addition to any water garden. The plants grow from tubers or corms, with propagation by division only. Alternately, Alocasia varieties, perennial in zones 8b-11, prefer shade or part sun with frequent watering in well-drained soil. Grown from both tubers and rhizomes (underground creeping rootstalks), both can be used for propagation of new plants.
By appearance, Colocasia varieties can be identified by their downward pointing leaf tips, with leaves extending from long petioles (succulent stems) coming directly from the corm and attaching near the middle of the lower surface of the leaf. Alocasia and Xanthosoma leaf tips point outward and upward generally, with the petioles attaching at the base of the leaf.
The plants do well in pots with lots of organic matter mixed into the soil and appreciate regular watering. Many varieties of the Colocasia genus are wetland plants that can also be featured in water gardens, but Alocasia varieties prefer well drained soil. Both varieties do well in part shade to sun with some protection, but the darker purple-leaved types especially enjoy full sun. In beds, elephant ears can be planted en masse, or play well with other striking tropicals like cannas, criniums, or bananas. Coleus and caladiums also make good planting companions.
Many elephant ear species have traditionally been grown as a staple food for the edible starchy corms or tubers.
 
The Hawaiians pound the cooked taro (Colocasia esculenta) tubers into a paste known as poi and use the leaves to wrap fillings like chicken or fish that are then steamed. (All parts of the plant contain calcium oxalate crystals, and uncooked, will cause stomach upset if consumed; sap can be a skin irritant.)
Some fantastic Colocasia selections at Maas Nursery include Black Coral, a clumping variety with deep purple leaves, growing 3 to 4 feet tall and wide, and Hawaiian Punch, a clumper with small 8-inch-long green leaves and bright red stems. Alocasia selections include the Yucatan Princess, a dark green leafed beauty with burgundy stems that grows 6 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide, or the large similarly sized Portadora with dramatic ribbed leaves. We also carry Lime Zinger, a bright chartreuse Xanthosoma variety growing 2 to 4 feet tall and 1.5 to 3 feet wide that will brighten up any planting area.

Xanthosoma-Lime-Zinger

Colocasia White Lava.

Colocasia Black Coral

Colocasia-Hawaiian-Punch-

Give Mom the Gift of Herbs

 by Kim Nichols Messer

 

        It is important to celebrate our moms all year long, but on May 14th we want them to feel extra special.  Consider an herb pot.  You may select one already potted, we have many to choose from, or design your own.  A 19 inch pot will hold six herb plants easily depending on the growth pattern of the herb.  An Herb de Provence pot will provide an excellent source for seasoning many kitchen creations from baked chicken to roasted vegetables.  Using a 19 inch clay pot, put drainage material in the bottom and add a good organic soil.  The Provence herbs of your choice may be planted together.  I would put Basil in the middle as an anchor plant for some height. Oregano, Thyme and Sage on the outside ring, and Prostrate Rosemary can dangle down the side of the pot. The Basil will also repel mosquitoes as an added bonus.
       You may do a combination mint pot for cool and refreshing summer beverages.  Peppermint, Spearmint and Chocolate Mint are all fun and easy to grow.  You may do a pot with Fennel and Lemon Grass sharing the center of the pot as an anchor, then add Garlic Chives and Thai Basil, or Coriander and Cilantro for a stir fry or soup pot.  Lemon Grass will do double duty and also repel mosquitoes.
        A simple pot of Basil will provide almost endless pesto opportunities for al fresco dining.  And now that tomatoes are ready, my favorite combination, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes and mozzarella with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, some olive oil and cracked pepper… Yum!
       Give the gift of herbs.  They are easy to grow and low maintenance. Sunshine and well drained soil will give you happy plants to cook with and share with others, Good gardening!

Fragrant Plants

Deb Pavlosky
“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.” – Helen Keller
When most people think of fragrant flowers, I would assume roses come first to mind. Roses have such a wide array of colors and bloom types and growing habits and, yes, also fragrance. So, though Shakespeare wants us to believe differently, a rose by any other name does not necessarily smell as sweet. Actually, there are roses with no scent at all. Peggy Martin is one very popular variety of pink climbing rose that has no scent.  So, if you are trying to grow fragrant plants, and you are planning to use roses, be sure to smell the blooms before you purchase your plants. Also, check the temperature and time of day when you sniff the blooms. Some roses have stronger scents in cooler weather and some have stronger scents in the mornings. So, do a little research before picking your roses.
The following are just a few fragrant rose varieties that you can find at Maas Nursery.
Fragrant Cloud – Coral or red orange blooms, Strong sweet spice and rose scent
Iceberg Rose
Double Delight – Red blooms with cream interior, Strong spicy rose scent
Don Juan – Red climbing rose, Strong rose scent
Cecile Brunner – Pink Climbing rose, Moderate tea scent

Mister Lincoln – Velvety, deep red blooms, Strong Damask rose scent

Mister Lincoln Rose
   Bulls Eye – Cream or Ivory flowers with cranberry centers, Moderate sweet spice scent
   White Licorice – Yellow blooms (more yellow when cool), Licorice and lemon scent
Belinda’s Dream – Pink blooms, Moderate fruity scent
      Iceberg – White blooms, Mild honey scent
Beyond roses, there are many choices of very fragrant plants to use in your landscape.
More choices to add fragrance to your garden:
Annuals:
Sweet Alyssum

Flowering Tobacco – This plant is also known as flowering tobacco. Grows to 48″ in sun to part shade. Can bloom all year and blooms range in colors including white and pink.

Stock (this one likes cool weather) – Stock blooms in a variety of colors (pink, purple, white) in spring. Grows well in sun to part shade.
Sweet Alyssum – This plant blooms in clusters of very fragrant flowers (colors can be white, pink or purple). This annual is a prolific bloomer all year and some varieties can be grown as short-lived perennials.
Perennials/Shrubs:

Banana Shrub – Creamy-yellow flowers that have a banana scent.   This shrub blooms

Frost Proof Gardenia

during the warm seasons. Slow growing, 6′-10′ tall and wide. Part to full sun.

Brunfelsia – Also known as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Very fragrant purple flowers fade to violet and then white over a period of days. Some varieties only grow to 4′ tall and wide and others 3′ to 8′ tall and 4′ -6′ wide. Part sun.
Buddleia – Also known as Butterfly Bush. Most varieties are purple flowering and bloom summer through fall. Butterfly bush ranges in size from 3′ to 7′ tall and 3′ to 5′ wide. Full sun.
Butterfly Ginger – This ginger blooms white from mid summer to early fall. Best grown in sun to part shade. This ginger will grow 4′ to 6′ tall.
Crape Jasmine – White blooms through spring and summer. Fragrance is stronger in the evening. Can grow to 6′ to 8′ tall and wide. Part to full sun.
Gardenias – There are many varieties of Gardenias and they range in size from Radicans (6″ to 12″ tall and 2′ to 3′ wide) to First Love (5′ to 8′ tall and 3′ to 6′ wide). First Love blooms late spring through early summer, Radicans and Frost Proof bloom in the summer and August Beauty blooms through spring through fall. Most people are familiar with the stark white blooms and amazing fragrance of gardenias.
Geraniums (lemon scented) – Blooms in summer with light pink to purple flowers. It’s the foliage with the lemon scent that you smell. Grows 18″ high and wide. Part to full sun.
Heliotrope – Can be perennial, but mostly grown as an annual. Purple flowers with intense fragrance that bloom spring through summer. Part to full sun.
Mock Orange – Blooms white flowers in April and May. Can grow to 6′ to 8′ tall and wide. Full to part sun. This shrub is deciduous.
Natal Plum– White flowers are very fragrant and this plant will bloom all year in sun to part shade.   Fruits will form on this plant, but leaves and flowers are poisonous.
Night Blooming Jessamine (aka Night blooming cestrum or night blooming jasmine) – Very small greenish white flowers bloom in the summer. Grows to 8′ to 10′ tall and 3′ wide. Part to full sun. Blossoms only open at night.
Pineapple Sage (Tender perennial) – Blooms, showy red flowers in late spring to fall. The foliage has a pineapple scent and can be used in drinks and foods. Grows 3′ to 4′ tall and wide. Full sun.
Pittosporum – Pittosporum shrubs bloom with very small clusters of orang-blossom scented flowers in spring. The Japanese Mock Orange variety can grow to 10′ to 12′ tall and wide.   The Variegated Japanese Mock Orange grows 6′ to 8′ tall and wide or even larger with age. Wheeler’s Dwarf Pittosporum grows 2′ to 3′ tall and 4′ to 5′ wide. All like part to full sun.
Sweet Olive – Small white blooms in the spring that are very fragrant. This plant likes morning sun and afternoon shade. It can grow to 10′ tall if un-pruned.
Viburnums– Eastern snowball viburnum blooms masses of white flowers though summer. It will grow 12′ tall and 10′ wide or larger with age. This shrub requires part to full sun. This shrub is deciduous.
Vines:
Arabian Jasmine (can be considered a shrub as well) – The fragrant white flowers open at night and bloom June through September. This plant will reach 6′ to 8′ tall and 3′ to 4′ wide. Part to full sun.
Carolina Jessamine – Blooms bright yellow flowers in late winter to early spring. This vine will grow to 20′ with support. Part to full sun.
Confederate or Star Jasmine – Very fragrant white flowers from spring to summer. This vine can reach 18′ to 20′ with support or 1′ to 2′ as groundcover. Part to full sun.
Honeysuckle – Hall’s Japanese Honeysuckle has white to yellow flowers that bloom in the summer. This plant can be grown as a vine to 15′ tall or groundcover to 2′ tall. Full sun. Trumpet Honeysuckle has trumpet-shaped scarlet-orange flowers and blooms spring through fall. It grows fast to 20′ long. Part to full sun.
Passion vine – The incense variety blooms violet to lavender from late spring to early fall in sun to part shade. This vine can grow to 10′ long.
Pink Jasmine – Very fragrant light pink flowers spring to early summer. Will grow to 20′ long. Full sun.
Rangoon Creeper– Also known as Drunken Sailor, this plant blooms in clusters of red flowers that fade to pink from late spring to mid fall. Can grow to more than 40′ in sun to part shade. This is a tender perennial.
Wisteria – The Texas Purple Japanese Wisteria blooms purple flower clusters in the spring.   This is a fast growing, deciduous vine that will grow to 25′ long. This vine likes full sun. Amethyst Falls Wisteria is also deciduous and will to 10′ long. This vine blooms with purple racemes in late spring and repeats lightly through summer. This vine likes part to full sun. Evergreen Wisteria blooms late summer to early fall and will grow to 15′ long in full sun. Evergreen Wisteria has been described as having a camphor-like scent.
Trees:
Angels Trumpet – These small trees can grow in sun to part shade. Blooms can be pink, white, yellow or orange and appear from summer to early fall. They usually grow 6′ to 8′ tall and these are poisonous plants. Angels Trumpet flowers are most fragrant in the early evening.
Citrus – All varieties of citrus trees produce fragrant flowers before they fruit.
Magnolia – Brackens Brown Beauty is a moderate grower to 50′ tall and 30′ wide in full sun. This variety blooms in late spring. The creamy white flowers are very fragrant. Sweet Bay Magnolias are moderate growers to 20′ tall and wide in part sun. The creamy-white, lemon scented flowers appear through the summer.
Mexican Plum – This tree will grow 15′ to 35′ and blooms fragrant white flowers before leaves appear. This tree does well in full sun.
Texas Mountain Laurel – This small shrub or tree blooms purple blooms in the spring that smell like grape soda. This plant prefers full sun and is slow growing to 10′ to 15′ tall and 8′ to 10′ wide. Can also be trained on an espalier or grown as a patio tree. Once established, it will only need occasional watering.
These are just a few options for adding fragrance to your garden. There are so many more….
Spring is here and I am looking forward to the aromas of freshly mowed grass and sweet smelling blooms. Time to add some sweet-smelling plants to your garden too.

Herbs

Herbs

 Herbs are so easy to grow in the Houston area!

This category includes plants that at some time in history have been considered valuable for seasoning, medicine, fragrance, or general household use. As you look through this list of plants, you can recognize certain herbs because they bear the species name officinalis– meaning sold in shops , edible, medicinal, recognized in the pharmacopoeia. Today harvest is used almost entirely for seasoning foods.Herbs are versatile. Some creep along the ground, making fragrant carpet. Others are shrublike. Many make attractive pot plants. However, many herbs do have a weedy look, especially next to regular ornamental plants. Many herbs are hardy and adaptable. Although hot, dry, sunny conditions with poor but well-drained soil are usually considered best for most herbs, some thrive in shady, moist locations with light soil rich in humus.

Many of the commonly grown herbs are interesting enough that they make nice additions to any landscaped area, not just confined to the vegetable garden!

Anise ! Basil Bay Bee Balm
Borage Burnet Chamomile Caraway
Catnip Cayenne Chervil Chinese Celery
Chives Comfrey Coriander Costmary
Dill Fennel Foxglove Garlic
Geranium Ginger Horehound Horseradish
Hyssop Lambs Ear Lavender Lemon Balm
Lemon Grass Lemon Verbena Marigold Mint
Oregano Parsley Pennyroyal Pyrethrum
Rosemary Rue Sage Santolina
Sassafras Savory Shallots Southwood
Tansy Tarragon Thyme Vanilla Grass
Watercress Yarrow

 

Ferns

FERNS

Ferns are a very ancient family of plants: early fern fossils predate the beginning of the Mesozoic era, 360 million years ago. They are older than land animals and far older than the dinosaurs. They were thriving on Earth for two hundred million years before the flowering plants evolved.

As we know them now, most ferns are leafy plants that grow in moist areas under forest canopy. They are “vascular plants” with well-developed internal vein structures that promote the flow of water and nutrients. Unlike the other vascular plants, the flowering plants and conifers, where the adult plant grows immediately from the seed, ferns reproduce from spores and an intermediate plant stage called a gametophyte.

What makes them different from other vascular plants? There are two answers to this. The first is that ferns are (relatively) delicate plants that only grow in areas where there are suitably moist conditions. They favour sheltered areas under the forest canopy, along creeks and streams and other sources of permanent moisture. They cannot grow readily in hot dry areas like flowering plants and conifers.

The second explanation ties in with the first: ferns reproduce differently from the conifers and flowering plants. It all has to do with moisture. Not just the moisture that allows the plant to live where it does, but the moisture that allows it to reproduce there.

How do they reproduce? As flowering plants are so common, we are all familiar with how they reproduce. It’s useful to look at this first, to give us something to compare to ferns. Flowering plants (and conifers) reproduce when pollen from a male flower – carried by wind, insect or other vector – fertilises the female flower. (Many flowering plants, of course, include both male and female parts in the same flower). The male pollen cell carries half the genetic material of the adult plant and fuses its genetic material with that of the female cell, which carries the other half. The complete, fertilised cell grows into the seed, which, when ripe and when it finds itself in suitable soil and moisture, is capable of producing a complete adult plant.

Higher plants have a very robust propagation system: the pollen from the male flower is very hardy, and the female flower nurtures the seed until it is ready to grow. The seeds themselves are often very durable, able to wait for long periods in adverse conditions before they grow. So the higher vascular plants have evolved to occupy nearly every niche on the land surface of the earth.

Ferns do it differently. They have a more complicated method that depends on there being liquid water for the process to complete. As a result, they can only reproduce where there is sufficient moisture: the reproduction process itself requires moisture.

So, how do they do it? To detail this, I’ll need to describe some of the parts of a fern.

The leafy branch of the fern is usually called a frond. The small leaflets that make up the whole frond are called pinnae. If you look underneath a fern frond, you will often see small clumps, spots or patches that look like they are stuck onto the under surface of the pinnae. These patches are where you find the spores. The spores grow inside casings called sporangia. The sporangia may clump together into what are called sori (singular: sorus). below shows sporangia clumped into sori on a Kangaroo Fern frond. Sometimes these sori follow the fern leaf veins, sometimes they are set into indentations in the underside of the pinna. Not every frond has spores under it: fronds that have the spores are called fertile fronds.

Take a look more closely at the spore structures under the pinnae of a fertile frond, using a hand lens. In some cases, you will see that each is composed of myriads of smaller structures. These are the sporangia – the spore casings that hold the spores. Some ferns protect their sporangia with thin semi-transparent membranes, often globular in shape, called indusia. Inside the indusium (if there is one) there are the sporangia. Other ferns don’t have the indusium, the sporangia are open to the outside world. The sporangia are usually tiny – maybe half a millimetre (one fiftieth of an inch) across. The spores of course are even smaller.

Sometimes the sporangia are tucked under a curled-over part of the margin of the pinna.

If you take a piece of mature fertile fern frond and place it face up inside a book – or on a piece of paper under a weight – so that the spore material is on the underneath of the frond , then leave it overnight, you’re likely to find the next day that the spores have been released as a fine coloured powder onto the paper. They show up as a fine pattern tracing the form of the fern frond. They can be black, brown, reddish, yellow or even green, but they are extremely small. Each of these spores is capable – through a circuitous process – of growing into an adult fern.

How do the spores grow? If the spore finds suitable conditions, it will grow into a tiny heart-shaped plantlet called a prothallus or gametophyte. In this regard, the spore behaves quite like the seed of a higher plant, except that what grows from the seed is the full adult plant, but what grows from the spore is the gametophyte. The gametophyte is not the full fern, but a plant with only half the genetic material of the adult fern, rather like a sperm cell or an egg cell. The gametophyte is the intermediate stage from spore to adult fern.

If the gametophyte finds itself in a suitably moist place, fertilisation takes place, and it is transformed into a complete adult plant. It becomes what’s called a sporophyte. Given the right conditions, this tiny sporophyte will continue to grow into a full adult fern, where it can produce spores of its own, to repeat the life cycle.

This is how it works, in more detail: What happens with a gametophyte can only be seen under a strong lens, as the gametophyte is small – usually less that half an inch across. The gametophyte has two sets of reproductive organs on its underside – the male parts called the antheridia, and the female parts called the archegonia. The antheridium contains sperm cells while the archegonium contains egg cells. They are each located on the gametophyte, a little separated from each other. If there is a film of moisture, the sperm cells from the antheridium swim towards the egg cells in the archegonium. This may be on the same gametophyte or an adjacent one.

When the sperm cells find the egg cells, they fuse their genetic material to make a cell with the full adult fern set of genes. This cell is the beginning of the adult fern, located in and protected by the gametophyte structure. As it grows to become the sporophyte, it takes over from the gametophyte and becomes the adult fern.

Ferns can reproduce in other ways, too. It is possible for a sporophyte to grow from the gametophyte without fertilisation, a process known as apogamy. This can happen in drier areas where there is insufficient water to allow normal fertilisation. Ferns can also grow from spreading rhizomes (roots) of existing plants. Brackens often spread this way. Or they can sprout baby ferns at the “proliferous” tips of their fronds. When the parent frond droops and touches the soil, the baby plant takes root on its own. It is a faster method that some ferns use to reproduce mature adult plants, in addition to normal reproduction by spores.

Of course, the proliferous baby plant, or the frond that grows from the spreading rhizome, is identical genetically with the plant it sprang from. Only ferns that grow from spores using normal fertilisation can take advantage of the genetic diversity offered by the full reproduction process.

What affects where ferns will grow? There are several factors that adult ferns need to survive (ignoring pests or disease):

moisture in the soil
moisture in the air
suitable nutrients in the soil
sufficient light for photosynthesis
suitable temperatures
protection from wind
protection from too much sunlight
protection from freezing
dependability and continuity of the previous requirements.

Depending on the type of fern, the degree of each factor required can vary greatly.

Another factor that is less often recognised is the difference between the conditions needed for a fern to survive, and the conditions it needs to reproduce. A fern may live quite happily in a relatively hostile environment, but it may not reproduce there. You will only find ferns growing naturally in areas where, at least for some of the time, the conditions suit both survival of the adult plant and reproduction – which means the survival of the gametophyte. Perhaps more than any other factor, it may be the hardiness of the gametophytes that determines whether a fern will thrive naturally in an area or not.

Why do ferns grow in some places and not others, and why do some species thrive where others don’t? Like all plants, ferns have evolved to suit their environment. Some can tolerate extreme drought and heat, others only live in the deepest rainforest. You can’t grow a cactus in the sub-Antarctic, though grasses will survive there. And likewise, you can’t expect a tree fern to grow in a desert, though some varieties of rock fern do.

Ferns are very successful niche plants: they are well adapted to particular environmental niches – soil moisture, humidity, light, etc. They seldom grow outside these niches, some of which are very specific.

If you want a fern to grow, you have to come to the party by creating an environment similar to the one it has evolved to live in. It involves creating the right niche for the plant. For example, in the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, there is a deep gully that is full of tree ferns and many other varieties of fern. The microclimate in the gully is kept constant by sophisticated watering systems at high humidity and with permanent soil moisture. The ferns thrive. Before the watering system was set up, this was a dry gully in dry sclerophyll eucalypt forest and grassland. At best, a few small ground ferns might have grown in the moister crevices. With the right microclimate, an entirely different set of plants can grow there.

If you have that odd spot in the garden then our selection of Ferns may be just the answer. They will survive and thrive in all conditions but shade or semi shade is where they grow the best.

Maas Nursery has a wonderful selection of for inside and outside. Come see the variety and healthy ferns we have.

 

Bamboo

There are two main types of bamboo: clumping and running.

At Maas Nursery, we carry the following Clumping Varieties: Alphonse Karr, Beechey, Buddha’s Belly, Golden Goddess, Feather, Oldham Giant Timber, Silver Stripe, Weavers and Hedge. Our running varieties include Black, Congesta, Golden, Henon, Nari-Hire, Robert Young and Yellow Groove.

 

Marigolds

marigoldsMarigolds are easy to grow. Take a look at what will help your marigolds thrive:

  • Sunlight: Marigolds can grow in full sun to partial-shade, but it is preferable to plant them in sunny locations as shading may have an adverse effect on flowering.
  • Soil: Marigolds grow best in moist, well-drained and fertile soil.
  • Spacing: Grow your tall Marigold varieties 40cm apart and the dwarf varieties 20cm apart to give room to the growing branches. This will result in a uniform display.
  • Watering: Marigolds do not need regular watering but require so during the dry spells. Be careful not to sprinkle water on the flowers of tall varieties, otherwise they become water-logged and soft. It is better to water Marigolds during the early morning hours so that there is sufficient time for the water on the foliage to dry up.
  • Fertilizers: Marigolds do not require fertilizers if the soil is rich in organic material. For poor soils, you can add a slow-acting, granular fertilizer(about 1 teaspoon per plant), but be careful not to add an excess of fertilizers which may result in an increased growth of foliage instead of flowers.
  • Mulching: When the marigold seedlings are tall enough, spread a 2 or 3 inch layer of some organic material such as dried grass, wood chips or chopped leaves on the soil around them. This mulch reduces weeds, retains moisture in the soil, cools the soil, and fertilizes the soil as it decomposes.

Let’s Talk About November

By: Pat Cordray


 

Painted Lady Sweet peas at The Nursery

Painted Lady sweet peas at The Nursery

Okay, this is the first time that I have to say this, but I will repeat it each month until spring has sprung.  You ready? Here you go:  What to do if there is a freeze warning for our area?  Water your plants; this protects the roots, so water thoroughly, not just for 60 seconds.   Cover your plants tenting the fabric to the ground then secure it with pegs.  Once the weather warms up remove the fabric.  For hanging baskets, take them in or set them on the ground, water and cover them.  For plants in containers, take them in or water and cover.  These instructions are for plants that are tender to the cold.  This doesn’t freeze proof your tender plants but it will help add just a little warmth and that may be all that is needed to save a plant.  It is better to be prepared than scrambling around at the last minute trying to find your cold weather gardening supplies.  So, place your N-Sulate cloth and pegs where you can find them.  No worries if you don’t have any, we have all you need in stock at the nursery now.    You’re ready!

November can be a great gardening month here, especially for certain flowering plants; like bulbs, annuals, herbs, and camellias.  I love all this beautiful color, let’s get the planting started!

Tulips and paper whites at The Nursery

Tulips and paper whites at The Nursery

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Aphrodite amaryllis in my garden

Bulbs are here and are ready to be planted.  For forcing inside your home, ziva narcissus, amaryllis, and hyacinths will look beautiful and give your home a festive look for the holiday season. The ziva’s will bloom in 3-4 weeks, the amaryllis bulbs take 3-8 weeks to bloom (depending on variety), and the hyacinths will bloom in 6-8 weeks. You can stagger your plantings to keep fresh flowers blooming in your home all season. When the amaryllis are finished blooming indoors you can replant them in your garden for blooms the following spring. Fun, fun, fun! But don’t stop there, we have many different amaryllis bulbs, tulips, ranunculus, daffodils, Dutch iris, leucojum, lycoris, and other varieties of narcissus besides ziva’s that are just as fun!

When to plant your bulbs?  Tulips can be planted from mid-December through mid-January, they must be refrigerated for 4-6 weeks at about 45 degrees before planting.  We keep our tulips and hyacinths in the fridge so they will be ready to plant at the right time.  Daffodils, Dutch iris, leucojum, narcissus, hyacinths, and ranunculus can be planted this month.  To learn more about bulbs, come to our Bulb Class on Saturday, November 19th.  This class will be hands on, we are going to layer the bulbs in a pot and top it with annuals.  You won’t want to miss this one.

Nasturtiums in my garden

Nasturtiums in my garden

Julep with Amazon dianthus in my garden

Julep with Amazon dianthus in my garden

How about beautiful color now? Cool weather plants like pansies, lobelia, alyssum, violas, stock, calendulas, snapdragons, English daisies, cyclamen, phlox, petunias, nasturtiums and dianthus can add wonderful fall and winter color to your containers and landscapes. Did I mention how beautiful dianthus looks with my dog, Julep? What do you think? Don’t forget to add sweet peas, foxglove, holly hocks, and delphinium for early spring color, to your garden, there is no time like the present. Full sun, well-draining soil, water, and Microlife are all that is needed to keep these cool weather plants blooming for months.

Rosemary at Festival Hill, Round Top, TX

Rosemary at Festival Hill, Round Top, TX

This would also be a good time to plant herbs in your garden; the cold weather makes for strong roots.  Oregano, salad brunet, winter savory, chamomile, dill, rosemary, and fennel are just a few of a long list of herbs to consider planting now.  Most herb plants need full sun and well-draining soil. Give your plants plenty of room in the garden, when you buy herbs in a 4” container you may think, “Oh, good a small plant”, but no, no, no, herbs are bigger than you think. Herbs will add a whole new dimension to your garden with fragrant leaves that attract beneficial insects and many can be used to enhance the flavor of your meals. Fertilizer is only needed a couple of times of year. Oh, so easy and very fragrant.

Bonanza Camellia at The Nursery

Bonanza Camellia at The Nursery

Camellias have some of the most amazing blooms of any shrub.  Can you believe that the blooms are prettier than the pictures? They are, wow!  Camellias are slow growing evergreen shrubs that bloom from about October through March depending on the variety.  Sasanqua camellias bloom in the fall and have small leaves and flowers, usually the flower forms are single, double or semidouble. Sasanqua camellias grow to about 10-12 feet tall for upright varieties and 2-5 feet tall for spreading varieties. Japonica camellias have larger

Nuccio's Gem Camellia in my garden

Nuccio’s Gem Camellia in my garden

leaves and usually have bigger blooms. The forms of the Japonica Camellia blooms are usually single, semidouble, anemone, peony, rose, or formal double. Japonica camellias start off as shrubs, growing to about 6-12 feet tall and wide, but can slowly become a tree reaching 20 feet tall.

Camellias are easy to grow here and are just too beautiful to not be included in your garden.  For the healthiest plants, with the most blooms, give your camellias good organic soil that drains well, regular water, and a fertilizer for acid loving plants.  Protect them from our afternoon sun and strong winds and prune them at the right time, just after they finish blooming. Your camellias will be simply beautiful.

November is so alive with vibrant color to enjoy,

Pat