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Plant Pets

In: English and Literature

Submitted By johndoe2015
Words 2697
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Fireweed (Fall)
Fireweed, also known as rosebay willowherb and narrow-leaf fireweed, is a perennial wildflower that grows in many areas of the United States. The plant can reach a height of 5 feet and produces small pinkish-purple flowers. As long as you live in a climate with adequate moisture, you can grow this plant by planting the seeds directly in the ground. Fireweed can become dormant during hot summer weather. The plant will require some care to promote health and growth. 1.) Select an area with full to partial sunlight. Ideal locations include areas near drainage ditches or near bodies of water in full sunlight. These areas will be high in humidity, which is ideal for fireweed. Make sure the soil is moist to slightly soggy. 2.) Pull up any weeds in the area before planting the seeds. Mix an all-purpose fertilizer in the soil according to the package directions. Use a small tiller or shovel to mix the soil and fertilizer about 5 inches in depth. 3.) Smooth out the top of the soil without packing it down firmly. Spread the fireweed seeds over the soil. You can place the seeds about 3 feet apart, as the plants will grow fast and fill in the bare spots. The optimum time to plant fireweed seeds is during the fall season. Cover the seeds with 1/2 inch of soil. Due to fireweed’s rapid reproduction rate, only plant a few seeds at a time, as stated by the University of Washington, until you determine how many plants you will need. 4.) Water the seeds after planting, then only water when the soil feels dry or when drought occurs. After the plant is established, little to no water is needed. 5.) Keep fireweed trimmed to avoid it from becoming invasive. The plant spreads quickly by reproducing both rhizomes and seeds at a quick pace. Keep the plant trimmed to avoid its rapid nature. * TIPS: With extremely hot temperatures, the fireweed many stop blooming until the next fall. * Collect your own fireweed seeds from the wild in August and September. * Fireweed will usually not bloom until the second season.

Watsonia (Fall)

Growing Watsonia is easy enough. The garden plant Watsonia will thrive in well-drained soil where there is full sun exposure.
Prepare a bed in fall by adding a generous amount of compost and working it in to a depth of 6 inches. Bury corms 4 or 5 inches deep, spaced 12 inches apart. Cover them with the amended soil and tamp down lightly. In zones below USDA 8, start corms in a peat and potting soil mixture in a moderately lit room, where temperatures exceed 60 F. (16 C.).
Watsonia bulbs, or corms, will rot in soils that don’t drain well. Ensure adequate drainage in any location where you want these spectacular blooms to grow. The proper care of Watsonia will reward you season after season with a little effort. While corms can rot in sodden soils, they do require supplemental water during the growing season. Keep soil moderately moist. * Cut the spent blooms off at the end of the season but leave the green leaves to continue to gather solar energy to fuel the next season’s flowers. * Fertilize in very early spring with a good bulb fertilizer. Be cautious in warmer zones, as the plant can become invasive in much the same way Crocosmia can spread and invade other plants. * In cool zones, cover the dormant clumps with a heavy layer of mulch and then pull it away in spring as soon as the first green leaves break the soil. * These beauties are so glorious it is tempting to want to share them with fellow garden lovers. Division is necessary every few years or when the clump begins to reduce bloom formation. * Dig up the clump in fall, cut it into several sections with healthy roots and corms and replant. Share the clumps with friends and family or dot them around your property. * Care of Watsonia divisions is the same as established corms. They will bloom lightly the first year but bloom thickly the next season.

Lavatera (Spring or Fall or late Winter)
Lavatera grows in most well-drained soil types, including poor soil. However, it performs best in sandy or loamy soil. Similarly, this adaptable plant blooms best in full sunlight but tolerates partial shade.
The most effective way to plant this rose mallow is by planting seeds directly in the garden after the last frostin spring. Lavatera has a long root system, so plant them in a permanent location where they won’t require transplanting.

Don’t plant Lavatera too early, as the plant won’t survive frost. However, if you live in a mild climate, you can plant the seeds in autumn for blooms in late winter and spring. Remove the weakest plants when the seedlings area about 4 inches tall. Allow 18 to 24 inches between each plant.
Alternatively, you can plant Lavatera indoors in late winter. The plant, which grows quickly, benefits from planting in small pots because they outgrow tiny pots or celled trays very quickly.
Caring for Lavatera
Lavatera care is not complicated. The plant is drought tolerant but benefits from regular water during hot, dry periods. The plant will drop blooms if the soil becomes bone dry.
Feed the plant a general-purpose garden fertilizer according to label recommendations every month during the growing season. Don’t overfeed; too much fertilizer may produce a green, leafy plant at the expense of blooms.
Deadhead Lavatera regularly to promote continued blooming throughout the season, but leave a few blooms in late summer if you want the plant to reseed itself.

Jacaranda (Fall-Spring) 1. Plant jacaranda trees anytime from autumn until early spring, when the weather is mild and rainy. Avoid planting during the heat of summer, since the trees will be stressed, which might cause extreme damage or premature death. 2. Choose a planting site. Select a site with at least eight hours of sun exposure each day and fast-draining, loamy or sand-based soil. Avoid deeply shaded beds and areas with clay-based soil, since both conditions will inhibit growth and produce a spindly tree with few blossoms. 3. Prepare the planting site by removing all weeds and debris from the soil. Break up the soil using a rotary tiller. Work the top 18 inches of soil until it is loose and all large clods are broken up. Water the planting site to settle the soil. 4. Water the jacaranda deeply the night before planting it. Add water to the container until it trickles freely from the base. Let the water soak in overnight to hydrate the roots and soften the soil before planting. 5. Plant the jacaranda the following morning while the day is still cool and moist. Dig a planting hole measuring twice the width and the same depth as the jacaranda's original nursery container. Roughen up the inside of the hole with your shovel. 6. Remove the jacaranda from its original nursery container. Cut off and discard any roots with visible signs of disease or damage such as black, oozing or squishy spots. Gently tease the roots apart with your fingers and shorten any tightly circled roots with a clean knife. 7. Settle the rootball in the center of the planting hole. Make sure the base of the trunk is approximately one-fourth to one-half inch above the surrounding soil and that the trunk is upright. 8. Fill the bottom one-third of the planting hole with soil. Gently tamp it to collapse any air pockets. Add another layer of soil and firm it with your shovel. Continue this until the hole is filled in, the trunk is straight and the top of the rootball is still exposed. 9. Build a 3-inch-tall soil berm in a 30-inch diameter circle around the base of the jacaranda tree. Fill the berm with water and let it soak in. 10. Spread a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch inside the berm to discourage weeds from growing. Use lightweight mulch, such as chipped fir bark, since heavier mulch will impede drainage and may cause damage to your jacaranda's roots. * Water the jacaranda weekly to a 4-inch depth during their first summer in the garden. Withhold water during rainy weather. Stop providing irrigation once the tree is established, except during periods of prolonged drought or heat. * One piece of jacaranda tree information that many nurseries and catalogs don’t share is that when the flowers drop, they cover the ground in a thick layer and must be raked up before they decompose into slime. An afternoon with a rake will do the trick, but this is the reason so many jacarandas are planted as street trees, allowing most of the spent blooms to fall on the street instead of in the yard.

Eastern Redbud
Magenta-colored flowers cover Eastern redbuds in early spring. These small ornamental trees reach around 30 feet tall and wide. Eastern redbuds (Cercis canadensis L.) are native to North America and grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. They live up to 150 years, but often have a shorter life span of 30 to 40 years. Eastern redbuds adapt well to a variety of growing conditions and establish quickly after planting. 1. Choose a planting site for Eastern redbuds at least 6 to 8 feet from existing structures and about 3 feet from fences. The site should receive full sun to partial shade, with the shade in the afternoon. Eastern redbuds do poorly in soggy soil, so choose a site that drains well and doesn't have standing water. 2. Clear a 3- to 4-foot circle of any plants, weeds, mulch, debris or grass. Test the pH levels in the soil. While Eastern redbuds grow in many soil types and pH levels, they perform best in alkaline soil with a pH around 7.5. Broadcast dolomitic or agricultural lime to raise the soil pH levels following the manufacturer's directions. 3. Spread 4-inch layer of compost over the planting site to improve soil drainage and improve the soil texture. Incorporate the lime (if used) and compost into the soil to around 1 foot deep and 3 feet in diameter using a shovel and spade fork. The tree roots establish quicker in loosened, aerated soil. 4. Remove any twine on a burlap-wrapped redbud. Cut the top of the burlap open and fold it down a few inches. Gently pull the tree out of the planter if it is container-grown or use a sharp knife to remove the planter if the tree feels stuck. Rub the root ball to loosen the outer roots and uncurl roots that have wrapped around the ball. 5. Dig a planting hole for the redbud twice the width of the root ball or planter. Make the depth the equivalent of the top of the root zone. Place the tree in the hole and adjust it until it sits straight. Fill the hole halfway with the removed soil and top it off with water. Fill it in the rest of the way with soil and water it again to settle the soil, using a total of about 15 gallons of water. 6. Spread 3 to 4 inches of mulch over the planting site. Pull the mulch about 4 inches away from the base of the trunk to prevent rot. Mulch conserves water in the soil, adds nutrients as it breaks down and aids in weed prevention. Adding a mulch ring also protects the thin-barked redbud from mower or string trimmer injury when grown in lawns.
* When planting more than one redbud, space the trees 12 feet apart. * You can plant Eastern redbuds in the spring, fall or winter. Avoid planting them during a hard freeze or during the heat of the summer months.
* Plant redbuds at least 15 feet away from septic systems. * Avoid covering any part of the trunk with soil. * A small tree may need to be staked to keep it upright.

Western Redbud (Fall)
California redbud, also known as western redbud (Cercis occidentalis), is a deciduous bean family shrub that grows from 7 to 20 feet in height. Specialists with the United States Department of Agriculture claim that the shrub’s fall colors – yellow, turning to red and then brown – rival “that of some eastern hardwoods.” Western redbud doesn’t propagate reliably by cuttings, so the best way to grow new trees is with seeds. Grow western redbud in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9.
Collection - Don’t collect the western redbud seeds too early or the seeds won’t germinate. When the bean-like, flat seedpods turn from purple to brown, it is time to collect them. Inside, you’ll find seven seeds, resembling beans. Throw the woody parts of the pod away and dust off the seeds lightly by blowing on them.
Scarification - Western redbud seeds have an outer seed coat that is impermeable to water, and the embryo is dormant. To wake it up requires penetrating the seed with moisture. Professional growers use a sulfuric acid soak to do this. Home gardeners can get the same results by soaking the seed for 24 hours in 190 degree Fahrenheit water. Soak the seeds in a thermos to ensure that the water remains at 190 degrees for the full 24 hours.
Stratification - Western redbud seeds require a three-month stratification period. During this time, the seed may sprout, but most likely that will happen in spring. Plant the seed ¼-inch deep into a pot filled with equal parts of moist sand and peat moss and then put it in the refrigerator. Check it weekly to make sure that the planting medium remains moist. When you remove the pot in three months, place it in a partially shady protected area outdoors.
Germination - Continue to monitor the potting medium’s moisture content, never allowing it to dry out. When the seedling has its third set of leaves, fertilize it with 1 ounce of 4-12-4, diluted in 1 gallon of water. Water the western redbud seedling with the formula every four to six weeks. Plant the seedling into the landscape in fall in a sunny area

Hong Kong Bauhinia – (Fall)
You can hurry up the germination of orchid tree seeds by using a set of nail clippers and very gently clipping one corner of the long top of one seed, just removing enough of the outer shell covering to expose the greenish white seed beneath. Then soak them in a shallow bowl of water overnight, enough to see them slightly swell. You can then place them on dampened paper towels, beside each other, and place in a plastic baggie under the sink or some other dark place. Check daily for germination. This is when you will see on one end, a little sprout. It can take anywhere from 3 days (super fresh seed) to 6 weeks. Some of this depends on the species too.
Now they are ready to plant in a moist, homemade seedling mix or one you buy, your choice. I have one year old red galpinii seed I soaked as mentioned above, and planted on September 12th. I will report back on the first few to germinate, as an example.
Another thing to note about planting bauhinia galpinii (and other species of bauhinia too) seeds is to let them lie very close to the soil surface, just barely dusting them with any cover of soil. Bauhinia seed will come through the soil with their seed coat leaves up on the stem, (the actual seed!) and use the foodsource inside as the stem continues to grow and the plant creates new leaves. They do eventually absorb them, but they turn green as they are kissed by the sun and need to be left intact. After they dissapear you can begin lightly fertilizing the young seedling. Notice in the photo that on day one of up, it already has the little 'tree' inside the two seed leaves? It is even more pronounced on day 2.

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