Gerbera Daisies – gerbera jamesonii

Rough Draft 12/7/2020

Intro 

Gerbera daisies are a bright colorful flower with hues that vary but also include the colors red, pink, yellow, salmon, orange, and white. They are also known to originate in south Africa but can be found at most florist or shopping stores more common as a plant instead of cut flowers. This flowering plant has stems that are sturdier for being a compact plant which is ideal to be planted in a container garden, pot, or flower bed. These varieties of colored flowering plants are tender perennials and can be enjoyed in the spring and summer in any climate. 

The Meaning of the Gerbera

The meaning stems from the well known daisy family and stands for innocence and purity, as well as being a classic symbol of beauty.  This flower is also known to be the 5th most popular flower in the world. The gerbera variety holds an added meaning of cheerfulness, which is attributed to their perky variety of colors. An assorted bouquet of gerbera daisies can quickly lift the spirit and are an ideal way to bring sunshine indoors or  brighten someone’s day.

Gerbera Daisy Care

These flowers are known to resemble sunflowers because of their large flowering heads ( the diameter of the flower can grow between 2 – 5 inches). Gerberas don’t need too much attention, as they’re quite sturdy plants! Misting with a spray bottle regularly is a plus for growing indoors.

Sunlight:

Gerberas are huge fans of the sun. They prefer direct morning sun and afternoon shade. Unless you’re in temperatures of 80ºF and higher, allow the gerberas to receive more shade (at least two to three hours a day). If the gerbera is placed indoors, make sure to place inside a garden window or next to a window that receives direct  bright sunlight. Your gerbera is perennial and with care your flowering plant can last upto 2 – 3 years.

Water

Deeply water gerbera daisies exactly once a week. To water deeply, a general rule of thumb is to soak at least eight inches below the soil surface. This is beneficial for gerberas since their roots grow deep into the soil. During hot summers (85ºF or higher), you may want to water your gerberas twice a week. From experience,  If you’re leaving on vacation find a way to keep your gerberas watered to keep them flowering and living.  They can look like the leaves are drooping if they are not being watered enough. After a dose of water they’ll perk right up.

Temperature

Gerbera daisies thrive best in temperatures between 70ºF and 75ºF. Since the gerbera daisy is a frost-tender perennial they can tolerate temperatures as low as 30ºF, but any frost will cause damage. Ideal temperatures are between 40ºF and 70ºF. Tip transplant healthy flowering plants to pots to keep indoors through the winter months if your area outdoors is known to receive frosty conditions or snow.

The gerbera daisy is definitely a beautiful bouquet of flowers to grow indoors, in or near a kitchen window. The bright colors from these blooms are vibrant enough to bring sunshine into your home. 

Resource links

https://www.gardengatemagazine.com/articles/how-to/start-seeds/how-to-grow-better-gerbera-daisies/

Mycorrhizal Fungi and Plants

If you’re like me, you may have thought “mycorrhizal fungi” described a specific fungi, which isn’t quite accurate. It’s actually descriptive of a process or system wherein fungi interact with plant roots. The mycelium of the fungus radiate out into the soil to enhance phosphate uptake, with the host root providing carbohydrates to the fungus.

Mycorrhizae Definition

Mycorrhizae’s literal translation is “fungus-root”, which is the mutually beneficial relationship between the colonizing fungus and the plant root. These fungi can grow on the surface or within the plant root. The fungi facilitates water and nutrient uptake and the plant provides food and nutrients to the fungi.

Types of Mycorrhizae

Ectomycorrhiza

This type of fungi tend to grow on woody plants, including oak, spruce, fir, willow, pine, beech and birch trees. This fungi forms a dence hyphal sheath or mantle around the outside of the root. Five to ten percent of terrestial plant species have ectomycorrhiza.

Endomycorrhiza

Eighty percent of extant plant species, including crops and greenhouse plants, most vegetables, grasses, flowers, and fruit trees, have endomycorrhizal relationships wherein the fungi penetrate the cortical cells. The exchange mechanism between the fungi and root system is internal, inside the root, but the fungi’s hyphae extend outside the root. This makes for a much more invasive relationship compared to ectomycorrhiza.

Mycorrhiza examples

Orchid Mycorrhiza – Orchid seeds require fungal invasion to germinate because the seeds lack necessary nutrients to grow. Once the seed sprouts and roots emerge, the hyphae of orchidaceous mycorrhiza penetrate the root’s cells and create hyphal coils or pelatons, which are where nutrients are exchanged.

Arbuscular Mycorrhiza – The most widespread mycorrhiza which are obligate symbionts; they cannot grow without a plant host.

Ericaceous Mycorrhiza – Generally found on plants in the order Ericales. Inhospitable, acid environments where these fungi help regulate the plant’s uptake of minerals including iron, manganese, and aluminum. They form hyphal coils outside of the root cells significantly increasing root size.

Ectotrophic Mycorrhiza – Associate with Ascomyota and Basidiomyota families. They are found in cooler environments around tree roots. They derive their nutrients from the living plant exclusively.

Arbutoid Mycorrhiza – Similar to ectomycorrhizal fungi with the exception they are nonpenatrative. Instead they encompass the roots of the plant.

How do Plants Benefit from Mycorrhizae?

  • Increase available water and nutrients to the plant through their finer hairs, mycelia, which increase surface area and act as a second set of roots for the host plant.
  • Studies have shown that mycorrhizal fungi can be an effective disease control creating a physical barrier between pathogens and plant roots.
  • In addition to this, mycorrhizal fungi can also impart to the host plant resistance to toxicity and resistance to insects.
  • Improve soil structure and quality. Mcorrhizal fungi create humic compounds, polysaccharides, and glycoproteins that increase soil porosity, bind and promote aeration and water movement in the soil.
  • Some ectomycorrhizal associations create structures that host nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Mycorrhizal fungi do not fix nitrogen themselves.

What’s in it For the Fungi?

  • Sugar – glucose and sucrose.
  • Photosynthetically fixed carbon – which triggers nitrogen uptake and transport.

Resources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/mycorrhizal-fungi

https://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/hcol/mycorrhizae.asp.html

https://mycorrhizae.com/how-it-works/

Wisteria – genus Wisteria

Rough Draft 1.0  9/19/2020

Intro   

If you are looking for large and gorgeous hanging sweet smelling purple flowers to bloom in the spring have I got the vine for you. Try a wisteria bush. Wisteria summer foliage is abundant and comes with beautiful bushy leaves which make this plant an eye pleaser. From this bush vines are formed and can climb wildly. Upon an arbor, pergola or the top of a fence is the best structure to let your flowering bush grow free.

Where is the Best Place to Plant Wisteria?

Location 

Wisteria grows best and loves full sun. Sunlight is essential for wisteria to present flowers. The flowers which grow in large, drooping clusters fall between the colors of  blue, purple, rose, or white. Wisteria is a perennial so it will continue to grow and bloom year after year. It is best to find a spot away from other plants because wisteria can grow quickly and can easily overtake the space where it is planted.. As it grows you can help the vines find their way onto the structure and during  the late spring when the flowers bloom they will hang freely.  As the vines grow and climb the new tendrils are very flexible. With a gentle touch you can move and place  the vine where you would like it to grow. We planted our wisteria nest to a fence going up a long driveway. We were able to keep an on it and train the branches and vines to grow on top of the fence line. Tip:   Make sure the structure that the wisteria will be planted close to is super sturdy. As the plant matures it can become very heavy and has been known to break structures so make sure the materials used to build a structure are heavy duty.

Soil and Water

The wisteria vines require deep, rich soil that is somewhat moist but also may tolerate many soil conditions.  It’s also been known to grow in poor soils.  However for best results, if your soil is in poor condition it’s best to add compost to the soil when planting your wisteria. Since this vine is an aggressive grower, there’s no need for fertilizing and being drought tolerant, wisteria requires little watering.

Can Wisteria grow in Pots? 

Yes, container gardening with a wisteria plant can be quite lovely. Planting wisteria in a pot is easiest if you buy a single stem plant since it is easier to train to one trunk. Install a sturdy stake or sturdy stick about 5 feet tall at the time of planting, then train the stem of the wisteria to grow up and around it. Tie the stem to the support post as it grows

Pruning Wisteria

Pruning Guidelines and to Keep Blooms Appearing Year after Year

Pruning is the key for obtaining abundant flowers. Wisteria flowers only bloom on new seasons wood. Pruning can take place in late winter, January – February depending where you live of course. Remove by clipping at least half of the prior years growth. Watch out or look for buds on each stem because you’ll not want to remove too many of those. The buds are where the flowers will bloom in the spring. Tip: For more blooms cut back the shoots forming every 2 – 3 weeks during the summer. Wisteria needs to be established to bloom. Wisteria is widely known to be an invasive plant. This next tip really won’t hurt your shrub or flowering vines. Damage about half of the roots and the bush will be shocked into reproduction (flowering). Frigid winter temperatures can also affect wisteria’s blooms. If your winter was frigid, add compost in the spring. Compost with a natural organic fertilizer will help your plant stay healthy.

When wisteria is flowering it will be  a great pollinator magnet. It will attract bees, beautiful hummingbirds and butterflies. Tip  – providing  extra water for your wisteria during the months of July through September will help with bud development for the coming springs display of flowers.  The sweet scent is marvelous and unforgettable. Blooming wisteria can be a beautiful addition to your yard and/ or garden.

Resource Links

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

https://www.britannica.com/plant/Wisteria

https://www.burpee.com/gardenadvicecenter/encyclopedia/perennials/learn-about-wisterias/encyclopedia__Wisteria-article.html