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Magnificent- no really, that's its name!

Let's show our houseplants some love, huh? Here's one of our favorites. Crotons are known for their vibrant, colorful foliage. While they are show stoppers, they can also be a bit dramatic. Read on to learn how to properly care for these beautiful plants!

Crotons are tropical evergreens grown for their colorful foliage- green, orange, red, nearly black and yellow, all at once! Leaves can be ovate, slender and elongated or even curly. While they do flower, the event is rare, especially indoors. They have an upright growth habit of 3-5' tall and wide with a moderate to fast growth rate.

Crotons are best grown in containers. If you plant them in the ground, they will be unhappy once temperature dip down into the 50's. They may start to drop leaves and are only cold hardy to 30º. Keeping them in containers means they can easily be moved indoors for winter. Or just leave them there!

Give these tropicals bright, indirect light. If your Croton's leaves aren't as colorful as you had hoped, or start to fall off, your plant may need more light. Be careful about moving these guys all around trying to find the right spot, however. They don't do well with change and may drop their leaves. Drama queens. Don't worry, they are also resilient and with some love, they'll forgive you.

When watering Crotons, water evenly and let the soil dry out in between drinks. Too much or too little water and they will let you know by (guess what?) dropping their leaves. They love humidity, keep a misting bottle of water handy to spray around the foliage. Wiping the leaves down with a damp cloth from time to time will keep the leaves looking nice and dust free. It can also help deter pests such as mealybugs, spider mites or scale.

Petra & Mamey

Crotons should be fertilized in spring and summer and don't need much else. Unless you want to. If you're crazy about fertilizing, feed Mr. Croton about once a month until dormancy in winter. Use a balanced formula for houseplants like a 10-10-10 or triple 20.

So, maaaaybe these houseplants are not the best for beginners. But if you're willing to experiment and take some time to get to know your friend the Croton, it will reward you with gorgeous color for years to come! Ready to try it? We have them now at The Garden Center. Choose from Franklin, Petra, Mamey or Magnificent!

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!


June Plant of the Month



Hibiscus are known for their huge blooms that come in almost any color! There are also many different types of these plants. At The Garden Center, you can find both tropical and perennial plants.

Tropical Hibiscus have are tropical evergreen plants with thick, glossy leaves and large flowers. Not only do their flowers come in a rainbow of colors, they can have frilly edges or even double petaled! They make a great hedge growing to about 4-6' tall and wide. They can be easily sheared or even trained into small trees. Tropical Hibiscus are somewhat tender here in San Antonio and will need protection from hard frost in the winter. Try planting them near your home away from the north wind. They are also great in containers!

One way to avoid the hardiness problem is to choose a perennial Hibiscus instead. Also called Mallow or Hardy Hibiscus, these will die back each winter, but return in the spring. Their leaves are a little thinner, a lighter green and can be anything from heart-shaped to thin and serrated. Some varieties have flowers as big as dinner plates! They will grow about 4-6' tall and wide with a more open growth habit than its tropical cousin. They look great when planted behind other perennials.

Whichever type of type you choose, they are sure to add beautiful, show stopping color to your landscape. Oh, by the way, both types tolerate our Texas heat!