Monarchs on the Move

The annual migration of monarch butterflies occurs each year in the fall. No one knows for sure how millions of monarchs instinctively know when to depart and where to go. But it seems to be triggered by the autumn equinox and related to the Earth’s magnetic field.

Butterflies are important contributors to the world’s ecosystem. In fact, they not only pollinate flowers, but serve as a food source for birds, small animals, and other insects. The epic migration of monarchs is one reason they are so essential to the environment. These resilient insects travel all the way from Canada to Mexico across the United States each year, pollinating plants the entire way. They spend their winter hibernation in Mexico or Southern California. [Read more…]

National Indoor Plant Week 2018

National Indoor Plant Week is the third week each September to celebrate indoor plants and their many benefits!

  1. Indoor plants work to purify the air in your home or work space. But how? The leaves and roots absorb pollutants, refreshing the air you breath.
  2. Studies show plants reduce stress and tension.
  3. Indoor plants brighten a space and encourage a more relaxing, restful setting.

[Read more…]

Why Attract Pollinators?

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…]

Water and Bog Plants for Your Home Garden

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!

How to Create Acidic Soil

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.

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!


The bou∙gain∙vil∙lea is in the family of ornamental woody shrubs and vines, producing sensational brightly colored purple, red, and pink bracts that surround small flowers. Find out how to incorporate these showstoppers into your landscape.

Train this plant in a small convenient container or as a substantial tree, grow it vertically on a wall or trellis with graceful arches, or as a hedge, bush, or bonsai. The bougainvillea’s versatility is endless!

Bougainvilleas were discovered in the 1700’s along the coast of Brazil, so they work wonderfully in warm climates. What is tropical in the middle of summer if not Houston? Get the most out of these impressive bloomers with these quick tips.

  1. How to plant.

    Bougainvillea thrives when its root system is crowded. For that reason, they work great in containers! But you can plant them in the ground as well. The size of your bougainvillea is only limited by the size of the container you select and your pruning preferences. They can even be grown in hanging baskets!

  1. Soil.

    Be sure to use a high-quality potting soil mixed with compost and make sure your containers have plenty of holes to drain well.

  1. Sun and more sun.

    It’s no surprise these plants love the sun since they originate from a tropical environment. They will perform best in an area that receives as much sunlight each day as possible.

  1. Water.

    Bougainvilleas are not only drought-tolerant, but prefer to have dry soil in between waterings. You can soak the plant thoroughly each time you water, but wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again and make sure the containers are draining well.

  1. Fertilizer.

    NutriStar for Bougainvilleas is ideal to promote heavy flowering and durability. You’ll want to apply the NutriStar Bougainvillea Food every two weeks or so during spring and then monthly in summer.

  1. Cutting back.

    You can deadhead the spent blooms during growing season to encourage regrowth. Or, cut back your bougainvillea more significantly for added blooms.

  1. Cold-weather care.

    Protect your bougainvillas from freezing temperatures by bringing them into the garage. In temperatures below 40 degrees, the bracts and leaves may wilt. Be sure to water those planted in the ground thoroughly before a freeze, and place frost cloth or a similar covering over them for added protection.

Stop by to see the beautiful selection of bougainvilleas we have in stock at the Garden Center. And don’t forget to pick up a high-quality soil and NutriStar Bougainvillea Food!

A Rose is a Rose?

We just received a wonderful stock of antique, Knock Out, and Drift roses at the Garden Center! Wait a minute. A rose is a rose, right?

Actually, there are more than 150 species of roses! And the number of garden hybrids is in the thousands. To help you understand the difference between all the rose varieties, we have a quick breakdown.
[Read more…]

All About Encore Azaleas

The beautiful blooms azalea bushes provide are often associated with springtime. But, fortunately, Encore Azaleas rebloom in the spring, late summer, AND fall.

There are thousands of azalea species, hybrids, and cultivars, but only 31 are Encore Azaleas. Development of these special hybrid blends started in the ’80s. As a result, we get to enjoy these showy flowers several times throughout the year!

[Read more…]