Plant of the Week: Season 1

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Plant of the Week: Season 1

Episode 1: Dwarf Alberta Spruce

        Common Name:Dwarf Alberta Spruce
        Dwarf Alberta Spruce

        Scientific Name:
        Picea glauca ‘Conica’

        Plant Profile & Needs:

  •      Foliage: Evergreen needles
  •      Height: 4 to 6 feet
  •      Shape: Upright
  •      Hardiness Zone: 3 to 8
  •      Light: Full sun
  •      Moisture: Moist
  •      Soil Type: Sandy, loam, or clay
  •      pH Range: 3.7 to 6.5

        Planting Notes: Transplants readily. Grows best in full sun.

        Plant Description: The Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a miniature, cone- shaped tree that grows very slowly (2 to 4 inches per year) and rarely needs pruning. This naturally occurring dwarf conifer has a conical shape and a formal appearance. The foliage is dense, bright-green, and very fine. It is primarily a novelty specimen plant and is often used as a container plant.       

        Care: Maintenance sometimes needed to control red spider mites. Water young plants weekly in hot, dry weather. Place hose at base of plant and let water trickle into soil until thoroughly soaked. Water well in the fall to reduce winter damage.

Episode 2: Black-eyed SusanBlack-eyed Susan

         Common Name: Black-eyed Susan

         Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta

         Plant Profile & Needs:

  •     Plant type: perennial
  •     Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
  •     Light: full sun
  •     Height: 12 in. to 36 in.
  •     Spread: 12 in. to 18 in.
  •     Habit: erect
  •     Soil: fertile, well drained
  •     Soil pH: slightly acidic to neutral, pH 6.5-7
  •     Soil moisture: moist
  •     Bloom time: summer, fall
  •     Reblooms: continuous throughout the growing season
  •     Flower color: yellow (single, daisylike flower daisy-like flower with brown center)

Planting Notes: Start with new plants, spring and fall divisions or seed sown indoors, lightly pressed into soil, 6–8 weeks before last frost or broadcast in fall. Choose a sunny site with well-drained soil, and amend with well-rotted manure or compost before planting. Set plants 14–18 inches apart. Water upon planting. Mulch to conserve moisture.

Plant Description: From summer to fall, black-eyed Susans traditionally provide a display of pale- to deep-yellow daisylike petals surrounding cone-shaped purple-brown centers. Often grown as an annual, this short-lived perennial is easy to care for and attracts bees and butterflies to the garden from summer to fall.

Monitor soil all season to maintain moisture. Apply a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer at the beginning of the season, following label directions.

Episode 3: Dwarf fountain grassDwarf fountain grass

Common Name: Dwarf fountain grass

Scientific Name:
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’

Plant Description:
These tuft-forming plants usually have leaf blades that are flat. They are usually grown for their flower clusters (plums) that appear in summer to fall and can be used in flower arrangements both fresh and dried. Most species are very frost hardy.
Upright mounding clumps, greenish white flowers mature to creamy tan. 12-20 inches in height. This plant is ideal for locations where larger grasses are not desired.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  •     Foliage green, fine textured, 50-75 cm (20-30")
  •     Flowers July through September, 75-100 cm (30-40")
  •     Hardiness: Zones 6-9
  •     Habit or Plant Use: Grass
  •     Exposure: Sun
  •     Water Requirements: Low

Planting Notes:
Culture: Moist well drained soil, full sun to light shade; Will grow in any soil except those that are poorly drained.

Episode 4: LoropetalumLoropetalum

Common Name: Loropetalum

Scientific Name: Loropetalum chinense ‘Ruby’

Plant Description: This fringe flower is bushy, upright evergreen shrub noted for its graceful, arching stems of reddish-purple foliage and spidery, fuchsia-pink flowers that appear in early spring. An elegant addition to a mixed shrub border, fringe flower’s dense growth also makes it useful for screening.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Light:Performs well in full or partial sun.
  • Hardiness: Zones 8-9
  • Plant Use: Shrub: Excellent for borders, screens and foundations.
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Part Sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium

Planting Notes: Prefers acidic, moist, well-drained soil. Blush, Burgundy, and Plum Delight™ are newer varieties with outstanding foliage.

Care:No special watering attention is needed. The plants watering needs are similar to most other broadleaf evergreen shrubs. A light mulch of bark or peat moss will help retain moisture and keep the roots cool during the summer.

Loropetalum is an attractive evergreen to add some bright foliage color, interesting texture and showy flowers to the landscape.

Episode 5: Joe Pye Weed   Joe Pye Weed

Common Name: Joe Pye Weed

Scientific Name: Eupatorium purpureum

Plant Description: This species of Joe Pye weed is a tall Missouri native perennial which occurs in low moist ground, wooded slopes, wet meadows and thickets and stream margins throughout the State. It is an erect, clump-forming perennial which typically grows 4-7' tall and features coarsely-serrated, lance-shaped, dark green leaves (to 12" long) in whorls of 3-4 on sturdy green stems with purplish leaf nodes. Tiny, vanilla-scented, dull pinkish-purple flowers in large, terminal, domed, compound inflorescenses (12-18" diameter) bloom in mid-summer to early fall. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies. Flowers give way to attractive seed heads which persist well into winter.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Zone: 4 to 9
  • Habit: Herbaceous perennial
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Range: Eastern United States
  • Height: 5 to 7 feet
  • Spread: 2 to 4 feet
  • Bloom Color: Mauve pink
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Water: Medium moisture
  • Maintenance: Low

Planting Notes: Many people perceive Joe Pye weed to be nothing more than a roadside weed and have never seriously considered its outstanding ornamental attributes. It is a substantial plant which needs space, but when planted in groups or massed can provide spectacular flowering and architectural height. Border rears, cottage gardens, meadows, native plant gardens, wild/naturalized areas or water margins.

Care:Easily grown in average, medium wet to wet soils in full sun. Prefers moist, fertile, humusy soils which do not dry out. Cut plants to the ground in late winter.

Episode 6: Elephant Ear Elephant Ear

Common Name: Elephant Ear

Scientific Name: Colocasia esculenta

Plant Profile & Needs: When grown as a warm-season annual, this spectacular foliage plant can give a tropical feel to areas with the coldest of winters. Its gigantic, heart-shaped, dark-green leaves tower over other plants, adding height and drama to the border. Taro tolerates a wide variety of conditions, thriving in well-drained soil or when submerged in the water garden. Its foliage colors range from vibrant green to purplish-black. This is a fun plant for children.   It will grow nicely in larger containers. Be sure to fertilize regularly. They do well in rich and organic soil.
In areas where they must be taken up for the winter, keep the tubers dry while dormant. Divide in the spring when setting out.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Plant type: tender perennial treated as annual, bulb or bulblike plant, houseplant
  • Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Light: full sun to part shade
  • Height: 36 in. to 5 ft. Spread up to 36 in.
  • Soil: fertile
  • Soil pH: slightly acidic to neutral, pH 6.5-7
  • Soil moisture: moist
  • Bloom time: rarely seen on cultivated plants
  • Flower color: white (spathe and spadix)
  • Foliage color: dark-green (heart-shaped to arrow-shaped leaves)
  • Foliage size: up to 24 in.

Planting Notes: Prune yellowing foliage to the ground. Where not hardy, dig up tubers after frost has blackened leaves. Store in a dry, frost-free location.

Care: Maintain soil moisture all season. Apply a balanced all-purpose fertilizer monthly, following label directions.

Episode 7: Mexican Sage BushMexican Sage Bush

Common Name: Mexican Sage Bush

Scientific Name: Salvia leucantha   ‘Santa Barbara’

Plant Description: Mexican bush sage is a bushy evergreen subshrub in frostfree climes, and a returning perennial where it gets frosted back in winter. It grows in a loose, spreading mound up to 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m) tall and about the same width. The leaves are lance shaped, like willow leaves, 1-5 in (2.5-12.7 cm) long, puckery on top and white-wooly underneath. They are on petioles about an inch long and arranged in opposite pairs along the squarish stems. The young, fast growing stems are thick and conspicuously white-wooly. From autumn throughout winter (or until the first frost) Mexican bush sage blooms with white flowers 1-2 (2.5-5 cm) long that extend from velvety purple or lavender-blue calyces. The bicolored inflorescences are borne in very showy elongated arching clusters 6-12 (15-30.5 cm) in length at the ends of erect, spreading stems. At any given time, there will be just a few actual flowers per cluster, but lots of pretty purple calyces. These inflorescences are profuse and extend way beyond the foliage, making this one of the most attractive of the salvias. Some cultivars of Mexican bush sage (for example, 'Midnight' and 'Purple Velvet') have flowers the same color as the purple calyces.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Plant Type: Spreading subshrub
  • Origin: Mexico
  • Zones: 9 - 10
  • Height: 2'-3'
  • Rate of Growth: Fast
  • Salt Tolerance: Moderate
  • Soil Requirements: Well-drained soil
  • Water Requirements: Drought tolerant
  • Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Form: Arching subshrub
  • Leaves: 2"-6" linear lanceolate, aromatic; pinch young plants to promote fullness
  • Flowers: Long, slender spikes of lavender or white flowers, cut out old stems after flowering
  • Fruits: None
  • Pests: Few
  • Uses: Border shrub

Planting Notes: Mexican bush sage is easy to propagate from root cuttings and stems that have rooted where they touch the ground. Ordinary stem cuttings can also be rooted.

Episode 8: Ornamental PepperOrnamental Pepper

Common Name: Ornamental Pepper

Scientific Name: Capsicum annuum 'Chilly Chili'  and Capsicum annuum 'Explosive Ember'

Plant Description: The Chilly Chili is an All American Selection Winner . The plant produces high yields of 2" long hot peppers. Peppers grow upright and turn from greenish yellow, to orange, to red when mature. A beautiful plant suitable for indoor pots.There are about 23 species of chile peppers (genus Capsicum), but nearly all of the cultivated varieties belong to one of just four or five species. All of the peppers are perennial semi-woody sub-shrubs, although they usually are cultivated as annuals. They are mainly glabrous (without pubescence), much branched, 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m) tall, with alternate leaves and modest little flowers which give rise to colorful fruits.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Peppers are grown much like tomatoes.
  • Light: Full sun.
  • Moisture: Peppers will produce best when supplied with adequate water. They are not particularly drought tolerant. If the soil is well drained they thrive best when it rains every day.
  • Hardiness: Although they are perennial, peppers (except for rocotos) are usually grown as annuals, even in tropical climates. Mature plants can tolerate a touch of frost.

Episode 9: Dwarf GoldenrodDwarf Goldenrod

Common Name: Dwarf Goldenrod

Scientific Name: Solidago ‘Baby Gold’

Plant Description: Goldenrod is an excellent garden perennial that often gets accused of causing hay fever. It is actually ragweed that is the cause and not goldenrod. Goldenrod is a vigorous late summer to early fall flowering plant. Goldenrod grows well in full sun to very light shade in well drained soil of average fertility.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Height: 18" to 24"
  • Spread: 10" to 20"
  • Flower color: Yellow-gold
  • Bloom time: Autumn
  • Light: Full sun or light shade
  • Zone: 4-8
  • Water: Average
  • Soil: Average to Rich
  • Maintenance:
  • Other info: Plants will bloom the first year from seed. Compact, upright growth. Great cut flower. Attracts butterflies.

 Episode 10: Miss Huff (Lantana)Miss Huff

Common Name: Miss Huff

Scientific Name: Lantana camara ‘Miss Huff’

Plant Description: This selection of lantana was introduced by Goodness Grows Nursery in Georgia, from, whom else... Miss Huff of nearby Athens.  The plants emerge from the ground in early May and within a couple of weeks are topped with showy orange and pink flower heads that are produced nonstop until frost. Virtual sterility also prevents unwanted seedlings and promotes more flowering. Established clumps will get quite large (to 10' spread) when happy! It attracts butterflies like magnets, while the pungent foliage repels deer. Drought tolerance is another outstanding feature that should not be overlooked.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Growth Height: 36 - 60"
  • Recommended Zone: 7 - 11
  • Growing Characteristics: full sun, mounded form 3 to 5 feet tall, deer resistant

Planting Notes: For full hardiness, establish well prior to winter. Do not cut old stems in fall or winter when grown in marginal climates. A complete, balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 applied at 1 pound per 100 square feet at planting time and when new shoots emerge in the spring will provide adequate nutrition in most situations. Although it's tempting to prune back the old foliage soon after fall frost singes the foliage, cold hardiness increases when pruning is delayed until early spring, just as new growth begins.

Episode 11: Acoma Crape MyrtleCrape Myrtle

Common Name: Acoma Crape Myrtle

Scientific Name: Lagerstroemia ‘Acoma’

Plant Description: A long period of striking summer flower color, attractive fall foliage, and good drought-tolerance all combine to make `Acoma' Crape-Myrtle a favorite small tree for either formal or informal landscapes. It is highly recommended for planting in urban and suburban areas and has good resistance to powdery mildew. This crape myrtle cultivar (a cross between L. indica and L. fauriei) is one of several mildew resistant hybrids developed by the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., all of which have been given Native American tribe names. It is a deciduous, upright, spreading, multi-stemmed shrub. Features dark green foliage turning dull red to reddish purple in fall, gray bark which exfoliates with age and terminal, crepe-papery, 6-7" long inflorescences (panicles) of white flowers from mid-summer to early fall. Flowers give way to round seed capsules which often persist well into winter. In the South, this cultivar can easily be grown as a woody shrub with a maximum size of 10' tall and 11' wide.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Height: 10 to 15 feet
  • Spread: 6 to 10 feet
  • Growth rate: moderate
  • Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
  • Leaf type: simple
  • Leaf color: green
  • Fall color: purple, red
  • Light requirement: full sun
  • Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; acidic; slightly alkaline; well-drained
  • Drought tolerance: high
  • Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate

Episode 12: Yuletide Camelia   Yuletide Camelia

Common Name: Yuletide Camelia

Scientific Name: Camelia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Plant Description: The leaves of Sasanqua Camelias are much smaller and dense than the Japanese Camelias, making for a smaller more compact shrub. Like the Japanese Camelia Sasanqua Camelias need a moist acidic soil. The Yuletide Camelia has dark green dense foliage and a upright growth habit. The Yuletide blooms a profusion of small, single bright red flowers with bright yellow stamens late in the season, and it has a long bloom season.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Recommended Temperature Zone:
  • sunset: 4-9,12,14-24
  • USDA: 8b-11
  • Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 15°F ( -10°C)
  • Heat Tolerance: Give afternoon shade in summer
  • Sun Exposure: Light shade to shade
  • Origin: Japan
  • Growth Habits: Evergreen shrub, up to 8 feet tall, 8 feet wide (2.4m x 2.4m)
  • Watering Needs: Regular to abundant water the first year, regular later years

Episode 13: Goshiki OsmanthusGoshiki Osmanthus

Common Name: Goshiki Osmanthus

Scientific Name: Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’

Plant Description: Don't be fooled into thinking this is a variegated English holly. Yes, its leaves are spiny, but Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' does not seed around and grows to only 4 feet high at most (a little wider). A telltale sign: Osmanthus has leaves arranged in opposite pairs; the leaves of holly are alternate. The leaves of 'Goshiki' are streaked with cream, and new growth has a pink tone to it. 'Goshiki' makes a fine container plant or garden component. It will maintain its good looks throughout the seasons, while deciduous partners and herbaceous plants come and go. It has an upright growth habit, so you can judiciously prune off one stem at a time to lower its height (prune off at a junction with another, larger stem). Grow 'Goshiki' in full sun or part shade.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: fertile, well-drained soil
  • Rate of growth: slow
  • Flowering period: July to September
  • Flower color: white
  • Hardiness: fully hardy
  • Goes well with: Myrtus communis, Choisya ternata 'Aztec Pearl', Deutzia x magnifica, Sarcococca confusa, Clematis viticella 'Purpurea Plena Elegans', Galanthus nivalis.

Care: Minimal pruning is required. Remove misplaced, dead or diseased branches in late spring and apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant.

Episode 14: Autumn Ruby Encore AzaleaAzalea

Common Name: Autumn Ruby Encore Azalea

Scientific Name: Rhododendron x Encore ‘Autumn Ruby’

Plant Description:

  • Autumn Ruby is superb in formal gardens and small hedges. It has attractive foliage on a small shrub.
  • Mature Size: 3 1/2' HT x 3' SPD
  • Bloom: 1.75"-2", red blooms
  • The Encore Azalea™ is similar to traditional azaleas in that it requires proper planting, watering, and care to thrive in its new home. The following guidelines will help to ensure that your new plant grows to its full potential.

GROUND PREPARATION: Dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and fill it with water. If the hole drains within a few hours, you have good drainage. If the water is still standing 12 hours later, check the drainage in your yard, you may have to take corrective actions.

PLANTING: Turn the soil well and dig a hole twice as wide as it is deep. Add organic material, such as compost or peat moss, to the soil. Remove the azalea from its container and loosen the root ball. Set the plant into your prepared hole, making sure the top of the root ball is above the soil level. Pull your soil around the plant, water in firmly and cover with mulch.

SPRING/SUMMER PLANTING CARE: Water the azalea well when you first plant it and keep the soil moist until winter. New azaleas will die quickly when the soil dries excessively. Your new azalea should not need regular watering after the first year unless there are periods of drought. Fertilize with the recommended levels of azalea feed soon after planting. Do not fertilize in the fall.

FALL/WINTER PLANTING CARE: Azaleas do well when they are planted at this time. New roots produced in the fall will help the azalea flourish in the next growing season. Although less watering is necessary, do not allow the roots to become dry. Your azalea should not need watering after the first year unless there are periods of drought. Cover your young azalea with insulating covering when extreme cold weather approaches. As your Encore Azalea™ matures, it will need less winter care. Do not fertilize until after the last frost. Once the danger of frost has passed, use azalea feed as directed.

PRUNING: If you think that your Encore Azalea™ needs pruning, do so immediately after spring flowering for maximum bud set.

Episode 15: Autumn SageAutumn Sage

Common Name: Autumn Sage

Scientific Name: Salvia greggii

Plant Description: Autumn sage forms a nice mounding shrub up to 4 feet tall by 2 feet wide. Most of the branches originate near the base of the plant, giving a vase-shaped appearance. Many flower colors are available, although shades of red, pink and white are the most common. The leaves are leathery and small, adaptations that probably help prevent moisture loss. Autumn sage is usually evergreen, but a hard freeze may cause it to die to the ground, usually to reemerge in spring.


  • Light: Full sun to part shade; can take extreme sun and heat.
  • Moisture: Autumn sage is very drought tolerant. It can take prolonged dry periods once established. Autumn sage requires well-drained soil.
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 - 9.
  • Propagation: Cuttings; may self-seed in mild climates

Usage: Autumn sage is good as an evergreen medium-size shrub.

Features: S. greggii is a very useful landscape plant and is especially well adapted to hot, desert-like areas. It has a long period of bloom. This Salvia also provides winter interest, due to its evergreen habit. Regular pruning is suggested, since these plants can get woody and spindly.

Episode 16: Holiday CactusHoliday Cactus

Common Name: Holiday Cactus

Scientific Name: Shlumbergera truncata

Plant Description: While the poinsettia remains the most popular of the holiday plants, a healthy Holiday cactus in full bloom is a great gift idea for that special gardener. They are easy to care for and can be grown indoors throughout the year. The flowers range in color from yellow, salmon, pink, fuchsia and white or combinations of those colors.

Plant Profile & Needs

  • Recommended Temperature Zone:
  • USDA: 10-12
  • Frost Tolerance: Avoid frost
  • Minimum Avg. Temperature: 55°F (12°C)
  • Sun Exposure: Light shade
  • Origin: Brazil (Rio de Janeiro)
  • Growth Habits: Epiphytic, occasionally lithophytic, cactus
  • Watering Needs: Keep the soil moist
  • Propagation: Cuttings in spring

Planting Notes

  • Light ~ While the Holiday cactus can adapt to low light, more abundant blooms are produced on plants that have been exposed to high light intensity. Keep your plants in a sunny location indoors. Plants can be moved outdoors in summer, but keep them in a shady or semi-shady location. Too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves. When it's time to bring the plants back inside in the fall, slowly adjust the plants to life indoors by gradually increasing the number of hours they spend indoors each day. If you want to grow it indoors in a south or west window, you should shade the plant with glass curtains. No diffusion of light is needed on the north or east. Many growers move the plants to the broken shade of a porch or patio or plunge the pot in a shady spot in the garden during the summer months. Holiday cactus needs shading from the sun between May and September.
  • Soil ~ Well-drained soil is a must for Holiday cactus. Use a commercially packaged potting mix for succulent plants or mix your own. The ideal soil for Holiday cactus is composed of equal parts of garden loam, leaf mold and clean coarse sand (not sand from the seashore). Add a quart of wood ashes per bushel of mixture. One-tenth part by bulk of old dry cow manure may be added if garden soil is poor.
  • Water ~ The plant is not a true cactus and is not quite as drought tolerant as the name infers. However, it is a succulent plant and can store a reasonable quantity of water in the leaves. Water thoroughly when the top half of the soil in the pot feels dry to the touch. The length of time between waterings will vary with the air temperature, amount of light, rate of growth and relative humidity. During the summer, water so that the soil is continually moist. When fall arrives, water the plant only well enough to prevent wilting.

Episode 17: Diane Witch HazelWitch Hazel

Common Name: Diane Witch Hazel, Jelena Witch Hazel

Scientific Name: Hamamelis intermedia ‘Diane’, Hamamelis intermedia ‘Jelena’

Plant Description: Very few things demonstrate the ending of Winter as well as the flowers and fragrance of Witch Hazel (Hamamelis). These small deciduous trees or woody shrubs are renowned for their attractive yellow, orange or red, wispy, scented, flowers that bloom on bare branches in Mid to Late Winter or Early Spring. While all are fragrant to some degree, some feature stronger fragrances than others. Some cultivars are also regarded for their attractive Fall foliage. While there are several different species in the genus, the most common garden varieties are hybrids between the Chinese Witch Hazel, Hamamelis mollis and Japanese Witch Hazel, Hamamelis japonica, and are known as Hybrid Witch Hazels or Hamamelis x intermedia.

Plant Profile & Needs: Witch Hazels perform best in moist, but well drained acidic soil. They do not grow well in heavy, wet or compact soil. Use mulch to cool roots, preserve moisture and assist in the plants growth. Avoid drought as it may stress or damage the plant. Although they will tolerate partial sunshine, Witch Hazels will flower better in Full Sun. If pruning is required, do so after flowering but before the Summer as to avoid damaging the growth of next years flower buds. Witch Hazels make a tasty treat for deer so keep them protected. Most Witch Hazels are hardy in zones 5-9 but many cultivars require a decent cold spell before they will be able to produce flowers.

Episode 18: Diane Witch Hazel & Cabbage/KaleCabbage/Kale

Common Name: Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, Jelena Witch Hazel

Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea

Plant Description: There is a renewed interest in growing ornamental or flowering cabbage and kale. Beautiful in a garden, these plants are very showy in a variety of colors, from white through pink or red, with a leaved center and green outer leaves. Identified by a number of names, such as floral kale, decorative kale, ornamental-leaved kale, and flower kale, ornamental cabbage and kale belong to the Brassica oleracca Acephala Group.The culture of flowering kale is similar to that of kale, as both are commonly grown as a fall crop in the north. The seeds can be planted outdoors in early summer, and can also be grown in containers. They are often planted singly or in beds or groups, and can be transported for ornamental purposes. Plants grow to about one foot in diameter and about 15 in. tall (depending on the time of planting). As their root system is not too extensive, plants can sometimes be dug up and potted in 8 to 10 in. pots to be used for decoration. They will last much longer indoors if placed in cool, brightly lit locations. Individual plants can also be cut off and used in floral decorations if desired.Most authorities indicate that the leaves can be eaten, cooked or raw, but there is occasional disagreement; some say they could cause vomiting and diarrhea if eaten raw in large quantity by small children. The roots of the plant are most dangerous and should not be eaten.

Plant Uses: The plants have unlimited use in the landscape. They are attractive in borders or can be used very effectively grouped in plantings of three, five, or more plants. They are good plants to use in containers for the deck or patio and for window boxes. They are especially good to use to replace warm season annuals for a fall or early winter display. Ornamental cabbage and kale usually grow about eight to eighteen inches high and twelve inches or more across. For best displays, plants should be set about twelve to fifteen inches apart. Unlike most annuals and perennials, cabbage and kale improve in appearance after a frost or two. Leaf color usually intensifies after a light fall frost. They are usually attractive in the garden until Thanksgiving or later. Hint – when the plants smell like cooked cabbage, it is time to pull them out!

Episode 19: Tutti Fruiti AgastacheTutti Frutti

Common Name: Tutti Fruiti Agastache

Scientific Name: Agastache ‘Tutti Fruiti’

Plant Description: 'Tutti Frutti' has bright lavender pink flowers all summer. A vigorous and trouble-free grower, it is an excellent choice for the middle or back of the border. If it gets consistent moisture, look out! It may reach 5 feet. A favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  •    Type: perennial
  •     Bloom Color: rosy pink
  •     Blooms Time: spring to first frost
  •     Height: 36 - 48 inches
  •     Light: full sun
  •     Soil: well-drained
  •     Hardiness Zones: 6 - 9
  •     Contribution to Garden Design: Elegant stature and willowy form add movement and grace to the garden. Brilliant pink blooms appear all season long attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

Plant Notes: Container Cultivation: Grow in full sun in a standard mix with very good drainage, adequate ventilation, and consistent moisture. Go easy on the fertilizer - too much leads to lanky, floppy plants. Suitable for quarts and 1 gallon containers.Do not over water!

Episode 20: Dawn RedwoodDawn Redwood

Common Name: Dawn Redwood

Scientific Name: Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Plant Description:

      The Story of the Dawn Redwood

An excellent description of the discovery of Metasequoia glyptostroboides by scientists in the 1940s is in, A Reunion of Trees, by Stephen A. Spongberg, Harvard Univ. Press, 1990.

Briefly, in 1941 Shigeru Miki, a Japanese paleobotanist, established a new genus, Metasequoia, to accommodate Pliocene fossils from deposits about five million years old. The fossils had previously been confused with Taxodium (bald cypress) and Sequoia (redwoods). Also in 1941, a Chinese forester chanced upon a strange deciduous, coniferous tree near a remote village in eastern Szechwan Province. In 1944 a few leafy branches from the trees and some cones picked from the ground were passed on to a botanist, W. C. Cheng, at the National Central University. He thought the plant samples might be from the Chinese swamp cypress (Glyptostrobus lineatus), but was frustrated by the incomplete specimens. In the winter and spring of 1946 more complete specimens were collected and it was determined that the trees were not the Chinese swamp cypress.

Cheng thought the tree represented an undescribed species and a new genus and in the fall of 1946 sent herbarium material to Dr. H. H. Hu, director of the Fan Memorial Institute in Peking (Beijing). Hu was aware of Miki's article and noted the similarity of the Miki's fossils and the specimens he received. Herbarium specimens were also sent to Professor Elmer D. Merrill of Harvard's Arnold Arboretum, who immediately corresponded with Professors Cheng and Hu, requesting seed and providing funding to them for a special seed-collecting expedition. The expedition was undertaken and seed arrived at Arnold Arboretum in early January and in March 1948, and was immediately shared with institutions and individuals around the world.

In the same year Professors Hu and Cheng described the new conifer in the Bulletin of the Fan Memorial Institute of Biology. The tree was given the name Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu & Cheng. The generic name, first used by Miki, was derived from the Greek meta, meaning alike or akin, and Sequoia, the generic name of the coast redwood, to which the tree resembles. The specific epithet, glyptostroboides, is a reference to the genus Glyptostobus, the Chinese swamp cypress with which the tree was initially confused. The popular common name of Dawn Redwood, was a suggestion of Ralph W. Chaney, a professor of paleobotany at the University of California, Berkeley. The use of "dawn" in the name was an attempt to emphasize the tree's early fossil record.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Hardiness Zones: 4-8
  • Habit: Deciduous
  • Growth Rate: Rapid
  • Site Requirements: Sun; moist well drained soil
  • Texture: Fine
  • Form: Pyramidal; conical; straight trunk; broad spreading crown
  • Height: 50 to 90’
  • Width: 15 to 25’
  • Leaf: .5" opposite leaves; soft, light green feathery; brown fall color
  • Flower/Fruit: Flowers not showy; .7 to 1" dark brown cones on long stalks

Comments: Easy to transplant; possible street tree; red brown bark; cast medium shade


Episode 21: Underway Leatherleaf MahoniaMahonia

Common Name: Underway Leatherleaf Mahonia

Scientific Name: Mahonia bealei 'Underway'

Plant Description: The Underway leatherleaf Mahonia is a great winter-flowering evergreen. It's leaves are leathery, thick and pinnately compound. This plant is characterized by its stalks of flowers that come out in December and flower in late December into January. The Underway Leatherleaf Mahonia is versatile and needs well-drained soil. It will tolerate partial shade and makes a great barrier plant in the landscape.

Plant Profile and Needs:

  • SIZE: 6 to 10'(12') high.
  • HABIT: Clumsy, upright, coarse, evergreen shrub.
  • LEAF COLOR: Dull dark to blue-green.
  • FLOWERS: Lemon yellow and extremely fragrant, March-April, 3 to 6" high and 6 to 12" wide inflorescence; flowers open from the base to the apex and are not as vivid in color or as showy from a distance as M . aquifolium.
  • FRUIT: Fruit is a bluish, 1/3 to 1/2" long berry maturing in July-August; the fruits assume a bloomy, almost "robin's egg" blue color as they pass toward maturation; the fruits are especially attractive and occur in great numbers; apparently the birds love the fruits since they are often removed shortly after
  • ripening; also, numerous seedlings develop in out-of-the-way places where only birds could disseminate the seeds.

Episode 22: Coral Bark MapleMaple

Common Name: Coral Bark Maple

Scientific Name: Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’

Plant Description: Widely known as the coral bark maple, this cultivar is popular due to its flaming, coral-red bark. The soft green leaves are a sharp contrast to the brilliant bark and in winter the shining stems stand out against the white drifts of snow. Watch for bright, golden fall color for another surprise effect. Brilliant coral fall and winter color on young stems. New leaves red tinged becoming green in summer and then yellow gold with light red overtones in fall.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  •     Deciduous tree, 20-25 ft (6-7.5 m), upright, twiggy, numerous stems. Leaves simple, opposite, 4-5 cm long, 5-7 lobes, doubly serrate, new leaves reddish, becoming light green in summer, and yellow and light red in fall.
  •     Sun to part shade, well-drained soil; protect from winds. Highly susceptible to bacterial blight (Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae).
  •     Hardy to USDA Zone 5-8

Episode 23: CrotonCroton

Common Name: Croton

Scientific Name: Codiaeum variegatum

Plant Description:The colorful foliage of this tropical shrub provides contrast in the world of green houseplants. The croton's oblong leaves may be green, yellow, or red; the veins are a contrasting color. Good light (with at least a few hours of sun), even temperatures (above 60°F), and high humidity are the keys for success with croton. Best foliage color develops in high light to semi-sun. Allow the soil surface to dry slightly between watering. Croton responds to extra humidity but leaf drop occurs in low humidity or temperatures below 50 degrees.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Temperature: Keep the plant warm - minimum 60F in winter. Good light is necessary.
  • Water: Water moderately from spring to autumn. Water sparingly in winter/ Misting is necessary.
  • Propagation: Propagation is by air layering or stem tip cuttings. Cuttings are taken in spring or summer and rooted at temperatures between 70 F and 80 F.


Episode 24: Firepower NandinaNandina

Common Name: Firepower Nandina

Scientific Name: Nandina domestica 'Firepower'

Plant Description: This plant can be a fluorescent glowing red. Will be a dense, compact shrub, best planted in a mass perhaps 2 1/2 ft apart to create a stunning display and not individual balls that need weeding. One of the best coloring nandinas! Brilliant crimson fall through winter foliage. Neat mounds are terrific for borders, massing and containers

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Hardiness: 6-11
  • Plant Use: Shrub
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium

Plant Care: Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Watering can be reduced after establishment. Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.

Episode 25: Winter DaphneWinter Daphne

Common Name: Winter Daphne

Scientific Name: Daphne odora 'Variegata'

Plant Description: Winter Daphne is a tightly mounded shrub with bright green glossy leaves. In January rose-purple trumpet like flowers appear in clusters on branches. The blooms will last into March. The irresistible aspect of this plant is the wonderful fragrance of the flowers. The Winter Daphne requires perfect drainage, but the effort is repaid by the floral display and intense fragrance.  It is totally evergreen with pronounced yellow margins. Prefers semi-shade and protection from winter winds and sun. Will tolerate Zone 6B. Plant in high traffic areas where fragrant blossoms can be enjoyed during the winter months.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • LEAVES: Alternate, simple, evergreen, 1 1/2 to 3" by 1/2 to 1", dark green
  • SIZE: 3 to 4' tall, similar width
  • HARDINESS: 7 to 9
  • HABIT: Dense evergreen shrub
  • FLOWERS: February/March, red/purple, fragrant
  • FRUIT: Yellowish brown
  • SOILS: Well drained, moist, neutral
  • LIGHTING: Sun or part shade
  • USES: Shrub border

Maintenance: Prune after flowering

Episode 26: Redtwig DogwoodDogwood

Common Name: Redtwig Dogwood

Scientific Name: Cornus sericea 'Baileyi'

Plant Description: Bailey's Redtwig Dogwood is a fast-growing shrub that will grow almost anywhere.  It is probably the most popular cultivar due to its vigor, quick establishment, and thick stems. The dark red color is best displayed on sunny winter days.

Plant Profile & Needs:

  • Size: 8-10'
  • Zone:3
  • Growth rate: Fast
  • Bloom Color: White
  • Ornamental features: Attractive bark
  • Culture:
  • Adaptable. Tolerates wet sites. Full sun to partial shade.

Maintenance: Renewal pruning is accomplished by removing the largest, oldest stems (generally 1/4 to 1/3 of the total stems) as close to the ground as possible. This will stimulate new shoots to develop below the cuts which will fill in the plant creating a more dense and pleasing habit. Renewal pruning should be done when the plant is dormant, late fall to early spring.