Baby Ginger- August Plant of the Month

August Plant of the Month

Baby Ginger

baby ginger

Want to be able to eat what you grow? Our August Plant of the Month is one of our picks! Baby Ginger is a tropical looking plant with edible pink and cream colored rhizomes. But this ginger is a little different from the kind you get at the grocery store. Baby ginger is very tender and does not require peeling! It also doesn’t have the tough, fibrous center like in other ginger roots. You can use it fresh only for about 2 weeks, but works well when put in the freezer for later.

baby gingerHow to Grow

Baby Ginger will grow to 3 or 4 feet tall and wide with a clumping growth habit. Grow it in a shady spot, where it can get some morning sun. You can grow it in containers too, even indoors with a good light.

Ginger needs consistent watering, but does not like wet feet. Make sure your soil is well drained. This plant is easy to grow, with few pest or disease problems. Feed your ginger plant every 4 to 6 weeks to improve your crop. Try FoxFarm’s Happy Frog Fruit & Flower food or Medina Hasta Gro Plant formula.

How to Use it

The stalks can be used fresh or dried for tea or soup. The roots will be ready to harvest about 4-6 months after planting. Save some to replant the next season! You can overwinter it as a tender perennial or grow it in containers to bring it inside for winter.

We have a few of these Babies at The Garden Center ready to go home with you! Pick up a 3 gallon container for $29.99. Ready to make some tea? Here’s two ways to do it!

To make ginger tea from the leaves: Cut off the stalks about 2 inches above the root. Cut off the leaves and rinse, then blot dry with a towel. Cut the leaves into small pieces and put them on a paper towel to air dry. When the leaves are thoroughly dried, store them in a glass jar or plastic bag. You can also use the leaves as flavoring for soups!

To make ginger tea fresh from the roots: Cut two slices of ginger root about 1 or 2 inches long. Boil four cups of water, add the ginger and let simmer for 15 minutes. Strain out the ginger, pour into a cup and enjoy!

 

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Elephant Ears-July Plant of the Month

July Plant of the Month

Elephant Ears

elephant ears

Do you need a little paradise near the patio? Elephant ears are a refreshing sight in the landscape when it’s a billion degrees outside. They are grown for their bold, dramatic foliage, though some varieties sporadically make a cup shaped flower. Although they are tropical plants, they generally come back from winter year after year and are pretty easy to grow.

Way to Grow

There are many different varieties of Elephant Ear- Calocasia, Alocasia and Caldium are the most common. Their large leaves, resembling the ears of a well known pachyderm, can be a cool emerald green, nearly black, spotted or with white margins. Caladiums come in variations of pink, red and white. Depending on variety, their leaves may be pointed up like an arrow, or appear heart-shaped and sitting flat on their stems.

In San Antonio, these plants may stick around all year if we have a mild winter. After a freeze, their foliage will die back, but return in the spring. Don’t worry, they are fast growing and will get back up to their mature height in a short growing season.

Elephant Ears do best in moist but well-drained soil. Acidic soil is even better. Because of their rapid growth, they do need to be fertilized often. Use a slow release fertilizer at planting time and regularly thereafter. Plant these beauties in shade or part sun (morning sun). Planting in an area with lots of hot afternoon sun may get you some crispy leaves. You will also need to make sure you have enough space. Most varieties will get about 3 or 4 feet tall and wide, but some can get up to 9 feet tall!

Designing with Elephants

Elephant Ears look great planted poolside or used as a background plant for shorter perennials and annuals. Combine them with other tropicals like bananas, canna lily or coleus or use them as a centerpiece in your container gardens. Grow them along walls or fences to break up straight lines or add interest to bare walls. In addition, they can even be grown as houseplants! Whatever you choose, Elephant Ears are sure to grab attention. Come see our great selection at The Garden Center today!

 

 

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Muhly Grass- Plant of the Month June 2017

Muhly Grass

Plant of the Month 2017

muhly

Ornamental grasses are a great way to add texture and variety to your landscape and Muhly Grass is one of our favorites! The long verticle lines of grasses are a nice addition and contrast to all of the typical broad leaf plants in the garden. They also add movement and life to the landscape when the wind blows!

muhlyMuhly grass is a good choice for areas where larger ornamental grasses (like Pampas Grass) would not fit. It will grow to about 2-4 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. Its thin grass blades are blue green in color and grow in an upright fashion.

In late summer or early fall, delicate, wispy flower plumes appear. Depending on the variety of Muhly grass they can be light pink to purple. These look spectacular if planted in the east or west; the rising or setting sun will shine through the flower plumes, really lighting them up!

Muhly grass is also very versatile and can be planted in full sun or part sun. It looks especially nice when planted in large groups. Probably the best part is that this grass tolerates heat, drought and poor soil. It’s great for dry spots that don’t get a lot of maintenance. Plus deer tend to overlook ornamental grasses because of their tough texture and lack of moisture.muhly

Another great thing about this grass? It’s on sale! Now through August 31st one gallon size  (#1) Muhly grass is only $5.95 (regularly $9.99). We also have lots of other plants included in this summer special. Check out the full sales list here!

 

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Frog Fruit Verbena- May Plant of the Month

Frog Fruit Verbena

frog fruitFunny name, serious ground cover. Frog Fruit is a fast growing Texas native ground cover with many names. You may have heard of it as Creeping Lipia, Mat Grass, Cape Weed or Turkey Tangle Fogfruit. Say that one three times fast.

Frog Fruit Verbena forms a dense mat that can take the place of traditional turf. You can even mow it like a lawn! It’s an evergreen perennial with gray green foliage. In winter the foliage sometimes turns a purplish hue from cold temperatures.

This tough little plant is perfect for areas with heavy foot traffic, including dogs and the kiddos. It grows 3-4 inches tall, about 3 feet across and does best in full sun. Although it may not bloom as much, it will also tolerate part shade.

frog fruit frog fruitTiny white to lavender-pink flowers appear in spring and continue through fall. Because the flowers are rich in nectar , they attract bees and butterflies. Frog Fruit is also a host plant to the Common Buckeye, Phaon Crescent and White Peacock butterfly.

In addition, Frog Fruit Verbena is heat and drought tolerant. It also tolerates poor soil and is deer resistant. HOORAY! This plant super tough and is great for walkways, used as a filler for large open spaces and trouble spots. You can even grow it in containers and it looks great in rock gardens and xeriscapes.

Pick up this versatile ground cover at The Garden Center today! We have plenty on hand in 1 gallon containers for $7.99. See ya soon!

 

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Salvia Greggii- April Plant of the Month 2017

Salvia Greggii

April Plant of the Month

salvia greggiiSalvia greggii is one of our favorite perennials! Also called Autumn Sage, this shrubby plant comes in almost every color you can think of. Salvia greggii is native to Central, West and South Texas as well as Mexico. This is great news not only for your water bill, but for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds too!

Autumn Sage is a perennial, but will sometimes stay green through a mild winter. The oval shaped, olive green leaves grow on long woody stems. These plants can have an upright, bushy or even sprawling growth habit depending on variety.

The flowers of Salvia greggii resemble lips, with the top having a hood shape and the bottom which is wider. Colors can vary from pale yellow to soft pink, hot pink, magenta, coral, red, violet to almost blue! There’s also the popular variety, Hot Lips, a bicolor flower of red and white.

One of the best things about these perennials is the blooming season. Expect blooms from spring until the first frost! Removing spent flower stalks and pruning back on occasion will encourage new blooms and a tidy look. All of those flowers will also attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds! It seems like lots of critters love Salvia greggii, but fortunately, deer are not one of them. While nothing is deer proof, this plant is not their favorite.

Autumn Sage will grow between 12 inches to about 3 feet tall and wide. Your mileage may vary. Plant it in full sun or part sun. A shadier spot may work okay, but you may not get as many blooms. Salvia greggii thrives in rocky, well drained soil and can be planted just about anywhere. It looks great in whiskey barrels or used as a border. Salvia greggii is also drought tolerant once established.

It’s no wonder that Salvia greggii is so popular. That’s why we decided to put it on this year’s spring sales list. Right now at The Garden Center, you can get any variety of Salvia greggi in a one gallon container for only $4.95! Prices are good through May 31st. While you’re at it check out all of our other favorites on the list by clicking here!salvia greggii

 

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Canna Lilies-March Plant of the Month 2017

canna lilies

Canna Lilies have arrived!

Canna lilies have arrived at The Garden Center! These beauties are a great way to add a tropical look to your landscape. They are easy to recognize by their large leaves and vibrant blooms. They almost look like banana plants. Cannas come in many colors including red, pink, salmon, orange, yellow, white and bicolor. Hummingbirds love the flowers too. Some varieties even have variegated or colorful foliage.

Canna Care

Canna lilies are perennial plants that will bloom spring through fall. Removing dead flower stalks at the base will also encourage more flowers. Plant Cannas where they can get at least half a day of sun. They don’t perform well in the shade. Although Canna lilies are heat and drought tolerant once established, they can also grow in wet, boggy areas. These plants will grow 2 to 5 feet tall and should be spaced 1 to 2 feet apart. Plant cannas in containers, along foundations or use as a background plant.

Canna Get a Amen?

Canna’s are easy to grow, bloom all season and can take our Texas heat! What more could you ask for? Well, in case of zombie apocalypse, you could also eat the tubers like a potato. But also, we have them at a great price! Grab a 2 gallon container for only $14.99 or a 2 gallon specialty Tropicana Canna for $24.99. Come by and see ’em!

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February Plant of the Month- Bush Cherry

February Plant of the Month

Bush Cherry

bush cherryBush Cherry are blooming now, adding some brightness to wintry gray days! They bloom only once in the spring, but boy, do they put on a show. The stems are densely covered with dark pink flowers. These are a nice alternative to cherry blossom trees, which don’t perform well here in San Antonio.

The Bush Cherry is just what it sounds like. It is a bush form of ornamental cherry growing only 4-6 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide. Growing in an upright form, you can easily tuck it away just about anywhere in the landscape.

It’s perfect for foundation planting, mass planting or as a hedge. It could also be used as an accent plant and looks especially pretty near water gardens. After blooming, you’ll see bright green foliage tinged with red on reddish bark. In fall, Bush Cherry will get a nice yellow color before dropping its leaves.

Bush Cherry can also take our Texas heat and different soil types as long as it’s got good drainage. Plant them in full to part sun to make them happy. Want one? Better hurry! The Garden Center has a limited number of these babies right now. Pick up a five gallon container for $29.99. See ya soon!

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Sea Green Juniper Plant of the Month

Sea Green Juniper

January Plant of the Month

sea green juniper

January is for Juniper!

Juniper shrubs are evergreen and come in many different varieties. Sea Green Juniper is one of our favorites for its unique shape. It’s arching branches form an upright, vase-like form and is easy to grow. It has very few insect or disease problems. YAY! The deep blue-green, aromatic foliage and rough texture is not a favorite of deer. Double YAY! In addition, you’ll see waxy, light blue ornamental berries from time to time.

In the Landscape

sea green juniperUse this juniper almost anywhere in the landscape! Sea Green Juniper will get about 4 feet tall and wide, easily fitting into any part of your garden that needs some year-round green. They look great as a stand alone specimen plant or group them together as an informal hedge. These are also great for foundation plantings. They’re wonderful for rock gardens or use them as a ground cover. You could even grow it in a container surrounded by some bright annual color!

How to Grow

Another great feature of Sea Green Juniper is that it’s also low maintenance! Most important to the success of this plant is to find a spot in full sun with well draining soil. While this shrub does need moisture, wet feet will make it unhappy. Once established however, this juniper is drought tolerant. Finally, prune it every so often to keep it compact.

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Plant of the Month- Arizona Cypress

December Plant of the Month

Arizona Cypress

arizona cypressWish you could keep your Christmas tree year-round? This tree keeps the spirit alive! Arizona Cypress are evergreen trees that are probably best known for their aromatic, icy blue foliage. Decorate one for the holidays, then plant it in the yard! They have a conical shape that can reach up to 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide over time. They are somewhat fast growing at about 15 inches per year. The more water they get, the faster they will grow.

Arizona Cypress has soft blue foliage that keeps its color all year and the flaky bark is interesting with colors ranging from gray to reddish purple. The color of these trees is especially striking against your everyday bright green scenery.  They look great as a single specimen or use them as a privacy screen when planting in multiples. These trees are also useful as a windbreak or noise barrier.

As the name suggests, Arizona Cypress do well where heat and drought can be an issue. They will need water to get established and a good, deep soak now and again but areas that lack good drainage will be a problem. They don’t like soggy feet! Plant your tree in full sun, or even in a partially shady spot.

If you’re looking for low maintenance, this is a great choice. Arizona Cypress has few pest and disease problems and does not require regular trimming unless you want to turn it into a hedge. Right now at The Garden Center, we have 5 and 15 gallon containers of Carolina Sapphire or Blue Ice Arizona Cypress available. Pick one up today!

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November Plant of the Month-Dwarf Chinese Holly

November Plant of the Month

Dwarf Chinese Holly

Chinese Holly

Dwarf Chinese Holly

‘Tis the season to plant holly fa la la la la la la la la! Okay, so it’s not quite holiday time yet, but it’s the perfect time of year to plant trees and shrubs. Especially if you’re thinking about ways to add color to your winter landscape. Hollies not only offer beautiful, glossy green foliage when everyone else is asleep, many hollies produce colorful berries. Here’s just one of the many varieties that we carry at The Garden Center.

Dwarf Chinese Holly has those hallmark spiny holly leaves and lots of them! Its very dense branching gives it a compact, rounded form. While it does produce berries, the foliage is so thick that you might not ever notice them!

This holly is excellent when used as a low hedge or barrier plant. It’s perfect for those hard to fill landscape areas like corners. Plant a few together for a groundcover look. Plant it under windows where the spiny foliage could deter intruders. Since it’s slow growing, you could even plant Dwarf Chinese holly in a container.

This plant is tough too! It can adapt to a wide range of soil types as long as it’s got good drainage. While it prefers cool, moist soil, it is also very drought tolerant once it’s established. Plant Dwarf Chinese Holly in full to part sun for the best results. Pruning will help to keep this plant neat and tidy, but won’t need it often. Bonus: Dwarf Chinese Holly’s thick, spiny leaves make it deer resistant.

Ready to plant one? The Garden Center has Dwarf Chinese Holly available right now! Pick up a three gallon container for $24.99. We also have plenty of other holly varieties to choose from. Don’t forget that we are still having our 40% off sale until the end of November!

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