Weeping Fig Tree Ficus benjamina

Rough draft date 9/6/2021

Intro

This Weeping Fig is very common as an indoor office or house tree, This is found and often sold in stores just as a ficus tree. The weeping fig is native to Asia and Australia. Interestingly enough this ficus is the official tree of Bangkok, Thailand. A ficus can be noticed by its slender branches that arch gracefully from a light gray trunk. Their trunks are sometimes braided for a unique decorative appeal. The tree grows dense, glossy, and dark leaves. When grown indoors, these trees are normally pruned to keep them about 3 feet to 6 feet tall. This tree is also considered an evergreen tree that flowers in the spring when grown in the wild or outdoors. When this tree is planted indoors it is very uncommon to have this tree produce flowers in the spring.

Weeping Fig Care

Sunlight and Watering Measures

This tree grows quite easily in large tree pots or containers indoors. Also this tree grows well when placed near a bright sunny window for part of the day, but not in the line of direct sunlight because that may burn the tender leaves. Indirect sunlight is ideal for growth and vitality. Afternoon shade is acceptable to help this tree thrive. Weeping fig trees grow easily indoors in containers filled with soil-based potting mix and it should be regularly watered during the growing season of spring and summer but allowed to become drier from fall to late winter. Also like many indoor plants this tree should be planted in well drained soil, and keep the roots from sitting in water. If it becomes too waterlogged or if the roots are sitting in water it will start to drop leaves.

Temperature

Ficus trees also cannot tolerate low temperatures or drafts. They need to be kept in temperatures above 60 degrees F.  Ficus Trees actually do really well with temperatures above 70 degrees F.  Beware of shifting air temperatures in your home or office because cold drafts from windows or doors will harm  a ficus tree. By keeping them in a place where the warm air temperature can stay at a constant level is perfect. 

Conclusion

It may seem that a weeping fig tree could be finicky to take care of or grow as a novice gardener. In all reality it really isn’t once all of the care tips are learned. Having your beautiful fig tree in the perfect spot will just result in a watering routine that may coincide with other indoor plants. A great point to make is that this tree is a great addition to any bedroom/ bathroom master suite or kitchen area. It’s a popular houseplant that purifies the air around you which is why it’s in the top 7 list of air purifying plants to incorporate into your home.

Resource links

https://www.thespruce.com/grow-weeping-fig-indoors-1902440

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/ficus/ficus-tree-care.htm

Catawaba Crape Myrtle Tree Lagerstroemia indica

Rough Draft 9/10/2021

Intro

Catawba pronounced “kuh·taa·buh”. This Crape Myrtle Tree is the bright purple flowering variety that produces the vibrant purple flowers on a rich green tree from early spring into fall. This is a fast growing tree where the flowers don’t carry a scent. This tree reminds me of a lilac bush as being a  definate eye catcher.  There have been known to have around 50 species of Crape Myrtle’s yet only a very few are grown today. Crape Myrtles usually grow in warm or tropical regions with some as shrubs or trees. These trees are extremely heat-tolerant and quite drought-tolerant after being well established. These trees can flourish best in zones 7 -10. 

Planting, Growth, and Care

Planting and Watering

Like lemon trees the Catawba tree loves the heat. The best time to plant your crape myrtle is during the months of June – September when the soil is warm. Prepare the soil with a typical shrub fertilizer. Start by digging in your desired planting spot by using the tree’s root ball as your guide.  The hole should be as deep as the root ball yet dig wider than the width of the root ball so the roots have room to stretch out and grow.  Return the soil to fill and mound around the trunk(s) i of the tree. This is why myrtle trees remind me of lilac trees because they typically have multiple trunks while they are young.  Water in well.  Water this tree once or twice a week during the hot months and less if needed during the winter months. The Catawba Myrtle Tree loves the tropical climate and will show fast growth during the hot months.

Sun Requirements

When choosing a special spot in your landscape  for this tree it can be very lovely planted near an outlooking window because of the continuous blooms of color. Note this tree needs 6-8 hours of sun a day but needs to be  protected from the superhot sun of the afternoon to evening hours. 

Conclusion

If a purple Catawba Myrtle Tree is not the desired color for your yard or garden that is okay. Myrtle trees come in other beautiful colors such as white, salmon pink, crimson red, and a few shades in between. Good news for novice gardeners to experienced gardeners once this tree has been planted, watering is pretty much the only special care it needs. If pruning needs to happen to keep the desired shape, the winter months is the time to prune. Crape Myrtle wood is tough wood  having sharp pruning shears or tree saws would be ideal when getting ready to prune. A good thought to remember is that any extra care is well worth the consistent popping blooms nine months out of the year. 

Resource links

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/trees-and-shrubs/choosing-the-right-crape-myrtle-for-your-landscape

https://www.brighterblooms.com/pages/plant-care-catawba-crape-myrtle

Elijah Blue Fescue Festuca glauca

Rough Draft 1.0  9/1/2021

Intro 

 Elijah Blue grass isn’t the genre  of music here… it’s an ornamental grass that is an icy green with a bluish and purple tinge. Elijah Blue fescue (grass) full grown will be about 8 inches tall , with a spread of 12 inches. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. I’ve heard that under ideal conditions it can be expected to live for approximately 8 years. We have all 4 seasons where we  live. The summers can be hot and the winters cold. We’ve had our bluegrass for going on 10 years.  With our experience it can  last longer than 8 years.  I truly enjoy this grass because it really does stay in it’s space and has cut little grass like feathers that bloom in the spring.

 Growing Conditions

 Sun, Soil, and Water 

Elijah blue fescue thrives in full sunlight, it will tolerate shade but will not flower as well. This plant prefers being planted in well draining soil and can tolerate dry spells with minimal watering. Usually doesn’t need to be watered in rainy spring and fall seasons. It’s okay during cold winter months to not be concerned about watering, and only if high temperatures are truly cold.  During hot summer months your plant may need to be watered at least once per week.  Watering works with trial and error sometimes. During constant hot summer conditions I’ve watered my Elijah blue grass within well draining soil during the morning almost daily and it seems to perk up nicely,  The roots need dry conditions for ultimate growth, make sure it doesn’t sit in  any wet or soggy soil dips or conditions.

 Care for your Elijah

 Spring and Fall

We have noticed that it has new growth in the spring, it does die back in the winter but no worries this is why its a semi evergreen grass..  Zones 4 – 11 seem to be the best zones to grow this great bordering plant. It’s a joy in the spring when you noticed the new shoots emerging for the new growing season. Keep an eye on the weather because if its a dry spring or summer it may need more watering by hand or sprinklers as needed.

Propagation

Dividing and Replanting

Timing Propagation

 With very dry summers. A good rule of thumb is to divide this plant every two to three years to improve its appearance and refresh its root system.  The key when dividing and transplanting is to care for its roots .As a cool-season grass, fescue performs best when divided in spring or autumn. Keeping the roots moist before and after transplanting decreases stress while providing the moisture it needs during the rooting process. Water the grass well in prepared well draining soil after it’s placed in its new home

Division and Planting Process

Moisture loss and root damage often cause divisions to fail, so it is important l to prepare the “Elijah Blue” fescue ahead of time to ease the division and planting  process. Water the plant to a 4-inch depth the night before dividing it. The root ball is fairly compact but still subject to damage, so measure out 3 inches around the plant and dig down to a depth of 4 inches to preserve as much of the root ball as possible. Gently pry and pull the plant from the base. The center of the clump should be cut out and the outer edges sliced into two to four divisions or parts, each with an equal share of foliage and roots. Caring for all of the roots plant in prepared spots as deep as the length of the roots, usually about 4-inches. Press the soil firmly around the plant once filled and water well. 

Conclusion

There are about six different bluegrass varieties. For new gardeners blue fescue is a great bordering plant to start with because it is very hardy and easy to water. Have fun finding the blue grass that grows well in your climate and use your new grass as  a centerpiece or border in your yard or garden.

Resource Links

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=c760

https://www.thespruce.com/blue-fescue-grass-21

32481

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/elijah-blue-fescue-propagation-86814.html

Sword Lily Gladiolus palustris

Rough draft 9/16/2021

Intro

Pick your favorite color(s) with this flower. Sometimes called a sword lilly the gladiolus comes in all shades light or bright  red, orange, yellow purple, pink, and white, When I was a child growing up mt parents had these tall orange gladiolas that would pop up every summer, when I started my own flower garden the color I chose to grow and enjoy was dark violet. One of my all time favorite flowers to grow. Living in the Pacific Northwest in Western Washington i didn’t have to worry about watering these too much or too often. There is usually 30 days of sun after the fourth of July, only then did keep an eye on the heat and water needs because these are a blooming summer flower.

How to Plant and Care

Sun / Water

Gladiolus are purchased not as seeds but they look like bulbs yet they are called corms. Gladiolus are perennials so they will come back every year.  Many gardeners plant these at the beginning of spring after the last frost and it takes about 90 days from first planting to flowers in full bloom. If you have a large number of corms a new batch can be planted every 10 days up until the beginning of July for wonderful  blooms into the fall. These flowers grow best in full sun, in molst well draining soil. Checking the soil by touch is the best way to tell when the gladiolas need to be watered. Mulching around the shoots is a good way to keep the soil moist during hot days in the summer.

Planting

Some gardeners have shared tips for planting gladiolus. First they like to soak their corms the night before in just regular tap water other like to use purified water. Second, corms need to be planted deeper.  Each planting hole should be 8” – 10” deep, this helps also it the stalks grow high to keep them standing on their own. Staking my need to take place if the stalks start to fall. If choosing to cut the flowers for a vase or flower arrangement leave the flat green leave or stalks as they continue to grow this helps fortify the corms through the summer. Continue watering as needed and the best time to clan up the extra foliage is when it turns brown. Just pull away to clean up. It’s not imperative to dig up the corms every fall and replant in the spring, the flowers will regrow the following year where they were planted. If you want to dig them up to move them or to replant make sure the dry out for a week and keep them in a dry cool place through the winter months.  

Conclusion

A shortened name for this flower is glads. Glads grow to be anywhere from 2 – 5 feet tall. With this height glads can make a beautiful backdrop with shorter flowers grown in front within a flower garden. Choose a flower garden or plant  along or as  a boarder. Gladiolus can even be planted in a container garden to enjoy.

Resource links

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/gladiola/care-of-gladiolas-how-to-grow-gladiolas-in-your-garden.htm

https://www.almanac.com/plant/gladiolus

Bleeding Heart Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Rough draft 9/1/2021

Intro

The bleeding heart flower was given its name because of the remarkable appearance of its flower. The petals are shaped like little hearts lined up in a row that have a smaller drop of a  bottom part that almost looks like a tear or a drop of blood that is connected from the heart-petal. The heart shaped petals vary in three colors, white, deep pink, and red. Pink tends to be the most common color. It’s been said that this is the oldest plant still in cultivation. This plant is also a perennial. Although  their leaves and petals die back in the winter usually at the first sign of frost, their roots survive through winter months and come back every spring.

Watering for Flowers

After blooming in the spring the  plant will drop during the hot summer months especially if there is hot direct sunlight on them.. The bleeding heart needs rich well draining soil. It enjoys growing in damp soil but not sitting in water and keeps it from having any type of  waterlogged conditions .Woodland shade is a prime spot of where this plant can thrive.  Although  their leaves and petals die back in the winter usually at the first sign of frost, their roots survive through winter months and the shoots of foliage and blooms come back every spring. Hostas are a great companion plant that also loves and thrives in shade.

 Size, Heat and Summer Months

The plants will grow two to four feet tall and will spread one to two feet in width. They are non-aggressive, and even some plants will self-seed in very moist areas. The spring is really the ideal time to enjoy this plant because the bleeding hearts are really blooming  in their prime. As the heat of the summer approaches the flowers drop and the foliage can turn yellow or brown.  To keep the plant from being an eyesore feel free to cut the dead looking foliage without disturbing the roots.

Conclusion 

Many are surprised how easy it is  to grow this uniquely flowering plant. Bleeding hearts are another shade-loving plant that attracts hummingbirds, although these perennials can grow quite large. Once you plant a bleeding heart, the enjoyment from the bright flowers in a shady spot or shady garden is beautiful for years to come.

Resource links

https://www.thespruce.com/growing-bleeding-heart-plants-1402834

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/life-cycle-bleeding-heart-plant-69907.html