When you water succulents, you want to make sure the soil is completely soaked. Why? Because your succulents will expect a drought and will soak up as much water as they can. Then, give your soil a couple of days to dry out and don’t water again until the soil is completely dry. [Read more…]
Is trouble plaguing your yard? It could be pests like chinch bugs or sod webworms. Be aware of suspicious areas in your yard that could indicate a problem. Cyonara or Bug Blaster can rid your landscape of these pests, but catching a problem early is the first step.
Recognizing a Problem Early
To catch a problem before it advances to a level that requires a lot of your time and attention, you should be out in your yard frequently. Warren’s Southern Gardens believes that hand-watering is a great way for you to spend time in your landscape inspecting the condition of your plants and lawn. At least twice a week, try to hand water in your yard and you’ll likely spot problem areas sooner. [Read more…]
There’s a lot of talk about encouraging pollinators to visit your yard by featuring some of their favorite plants, like pentas, cone flowers, salvia, and lantanta, which can attract bees, butterflies, and birds to your yard. But why is it so important?
Plant Reproduction 101
To understand the importance of pollinators, we need to first revisit some basic environmental science.
Pollination occurs when pollen from the male anther of a flower is transferred to the female stigma. Flower seeds can only be created when pollen is transferred between flowers of the same species. Of course, the goal is future offspring. And, the same is true for every living organism. While some plants can self-pollinate, many require cross-pollination to reproduce. [Read more…]
Consider adding water lilies, lotus, or pitcher plants to your current landscape for more variety and visual interest.
Water and bog plants can be intimidating, especially without the know-how to get started, but Warren’s can help! There are so many combinations and solutions. Let’s first identify the main difference between water and bog plants.
Water vs. Bog Plants
Water plants prefer to have their roots submerged in at least 2 to 6 inches of water. Alternatively, bog plants will be happy in continuously moist soil outside of a pond. In fact, some containers work great for bog plants!
Pond Alternatives: Water Containers
If you don’t already have a water feature in your backyard, like a decorative pond, you might consider constructing one. But if you feel like that’s the only way to enjoy water and bog plants, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn there are lots of other options.
For example, you can use a faux whiskey barrel, or almost any other container, to create a water feature in your landscape. Basically, you can create a pond environment in any container you select. Then, you can keep the plants in individual containers and continue providing fresh water to keep the roots submerged.
Be watchful for algae and make sure mosquitoes aren’t using it as a breeding ground.
Building a Bog
If you have a low area in your yard that stays continuously moist, you can turn the underutilized area into a bog garden! You can prepare the ground by pulling out grasses and any unnecessary plants. Then, consider laying down a weed barrier before creating a bed of gravel. The key to bog success is the constant presence of moisture.
Water + Bog Plant Benefits
In a decorative pond and even in smaller containers, water and bog plants work as water filters. Plants like water lilies are known for absorbing heavy metal and all water plants oxygenate the water. If you’re interested in adding koi fish to your water feature, these plants serve as a food source for the koi – while the plants keep it a healthy environment for the fish.
Additionally, adding a water feature to your landscape will encourage birds, butterflies, and dragonflies to visit your oasis.
Visit the Garden Center to shop our new inventory and let our expert staff delve into the many options with you. Warren’s Southern Gardens will get you growing!
We enjoyed an extraordinarily long spring season, but summer weather hit us hard and fast. And with the heat and humidity arrived a familiar, but dreaded, buzz from mosquitoes. Find out how you can deter these pests naturally using plants available now!
Plants like citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, lemon gum eucalyptus, and lemon basil are excellent additions to help fend off mosquitoes, which can carry harmful diseases, such as West Nile, dengue fever, Zika, and more.
These pungent plant selections will aid in controlling the mosquito population in your garden and backyard. Since plants like citronella have strong fragrances, mosquitoes find them unattractive.
Furthermore, many of these plants are multi-functional. Not only are they mosquito repellents, but decorative additions to any landscape, and you can cook with options like basil, rosemary, and lemongrass! Plus, these plants perform well in our region. When cared for properly, they stand up to the harsh conditions of Houston’s summer months.
The most effective way to keep mosquitoes away from your skin using plants is to crush the leaves or rub a handful on your skin. You can even stuff some in your pockets to keep away mosquitoes while you’re outdoors.
Other steps you can take to protect yourself include wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when possible and considering an EPA-registered repellent if necessary.
It’s important to keep in mind that mosquitoes only need a small amount of standing water to breed – as little as a cap full.
- Change out the water in birdbaths and pet bowls at least every three to five days.
- Keep rain gutters clear.
- Remove any containers that could hold water, like tires, toys, or unused flower pots.
By taking preventative steps to clear your yard of potential breeding zones and including mosquito repellent plants in your landscape, you can better protect yourself and your family this summer.
Stop by the Garden Center or call 281-354-6111 to get started today – we’ll get you growing!
Soil in southeast Texas is naturally very alkaline, but many plants prefer more acidic conditions. If changing the pH in your soil seems daunting and time consuming, it’s easier than you think! With the right products and some patience, you can set yourself (and your plants) up for gardening success!
Many flowers shrubs and plants, like the hydrangeas, gardenia, roses, and azaleas we’re featuring now at the Garden Center, prefer acidic soil. But how can we achieve that?
Understanding pH Levels
Neutral soil has a pH of 7, while alkaline soil is above 7 and acidic soil is below 7. The interesting part of the soil pH scale is the vast range between each number. Just one digit in either direction indicates a pH that’s 10 times more or less alkaline or acidic. For example, a soil pH of 7 is 10 times more alkaline that a pH of 6. Similarly, a pH of 3 is 10 more acidic than a pH of 4.
If you’re interested in testing the pH in your soil to find out exactly what you’re working with first, you can send a sample to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/solutions/soil-testing/
Fertilizers and More
Fertilizers and soils specifically designed for acid-loving plants are available to help adjust the pH, so that’s a great start. For hydrangeas, gardenia, roses, and azaleas, you can plant any of them using rose soil. Then, you can introduce amendments to acidify the soil. So what’s the common denominator?
Typically, it’s some form of sulfur in these products that’s altering the pH, like sphagnum peat, elemental sulfur, aluminum sulfate, or iron sulfate. Acidifying nitrogen and other organic materials can also increase the acidity.
For container plants, you could add 2 tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water to adjust the pH. Additionally, peat moss and leaf compost are great organic options.
Patience and Persistence
Keep in mind that altering the pH can take some time. It won’t happen overnight, but with ongoing care and attention, you’ll be convinced it’s all worthwhile when you see your efforts in the form abundant blooms and overall plant health.
The expert staff at Warren’s can help you select the right products to acidify your soil. Stop by the Garden Center today, we’ll get you growing!
Did you know there’s a better way to water your plants and trees? Home irrigation systems are convenient and often work great for lawns, but plants and trees need a little more attention. Learn some watering tips that will keep your landscape looking great all season.
To Water or Not to Water? That is the Question.
Sometimes, it’s hard to know the best time to water – especially during the spring season when there are periods of heavy rain.
A good rule of thumb is to water as if rain is not in the forecast. Then, if it doesn’t rain, your plants are still well hydrated. Alternatively, if a heavy shower comes through, you’ll just adjust your watering schedule afterward. So, if you’re on the fence about whether or not to drench your flower beds, go for it! As we all know, the weather in Texas can change in a matter of minutes.
It’s easy to assume lawn irrigation systems supply all the water your yard might need. But, your landscape plants and trees really need a thorough, deep watering. The best way to ensure you’re providing a deep watering is to get outside with the water hose or watering can.
There are also some garden accessories, like watering stakes, that help achieve a thorough watering. If you’re watering plants in containers, pay attention to the drainage holes and keep pouring until water is seeping from the bottom.
Plants and trees, especially newly planted varieties and young trees, are vulnerable and need lots of help getting established. Deep water two to three times a week for the first few months.
Of course, be sure to not over-water either! The best way to tell if your plants are ready for a good watering is by pushing your finger down into the soil. If the soil is still damp, wait another day. If the soil is dry about an inch or so down, then it’s likely your plants are ready for a drink.
Reflect and Relax
If you’re concerned about the time it takes to hand water, consider it a preventative measure to inspect the health of your plants, trees, and even the condition of your home’s exterior. You may be able to stop a pest insect in its tracks or diagnose a diseased tree before it gets out of control. Furthermore, gardening is great for stress relief, and many enjoy hand watering as a time to reflect and relax.
Call 281-354-6111 to learn more or stop by the Garden Center – we’ll get you growing!
You’re ready to add to your landscape and prepared to purchase great fertilizer, too. After all, you don’t want your investment to fail. But there’s more to the foundation your plants need to thrive. Well-drained soil is absolutely necessary, but how do you create it?
Figuring Out the Foundation
Chances are, the soil in your yard is very sandy and full of clay. Most people in the greater-Houston region can say the same.
Because of the naturally condensed conditions we have in the region, it’s necessary to add materials to your soil for most plants to thrive.
Gardening can be deceiving. Perhaps you’ve researched, purchased the right plants for your yard based on the sunlight you get – and you even bought that fertilizer you saw advertised recently! What could go wrong!? Prepare yourself – the truth is, a lot.
There are so many factors to consider when gardening, which is part of what makes it such a challenging and entertaining hobby! It’s like an ongoing science experiment. But, the most important step in gardening is the very first one: the soil!
You must first create the best soil foundation possible for your plants to succeed.
Building a Better Soil
Seasoned gardeners refer to well-drained soil all the time – but what is it? Often times, when homeowners dig a hole to plant something new, they discard the soil dug from the ground. But that native soil is needed, so don’t get rid of it! Instead, use a wheel barrow to place the ground soil in while you’re working. Then, add in some cotton bur compost and expanded shale. You should have equal parts of all three materials in the wheel barrow. Mix thoroughly and voila, well-drained soil!
Expanded Shale = Magic
What is expanded shale? Expanded shale is a lightweight aggregate (similar to a rock), but heated at very high temperatures, so there are small pockets like popcorn. It helps break up heavy compacted soil to move air, water, and nutrients through the soil more efficiently.
Expanded shale is especially beneficial because it absorbs water during wet periods and later releases the moisture during dry times. So, it’s especially useful for gardens in the Houston area exposed to the extreme weather conditions we experience.
Don’t forget to add a high-quality organic root stimulator or fertilizer when you place new plants and trees in the ground. And, of course, thoroughly water in all your new additions.
Stop by the Garden Center or call 281-354-6111 to learn more or pick up some cotton bur compost and expanded shale. We’ll get you growing!