Sep 23

Plant Garlic Now

We all know that fall means planting bulbs such as tulips and daffodils that will reward us with beautiful color come spring time. However, there is another bulb that I think a lot of us often overlook. It’s not known for its bloom but more for its pungent flavor. I’m talking about garlic and October is the ideal time to plant it in our area.

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I really never thought much about growing garlic and that was partly due to how readily available it is at the local grocery stores. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I purchased fresh, locally grown garlic for the first time and I’ve been hooked ever since. Experiencing the taste of fresh garlic from the garden totally surpasses what you’re accustomed to getting at the store.

The history behind garlic is very interesting and its true origin is commonly argued by historians. The use of garlic goes back as far as the Egyptian days but for the most part it’s believed it originated in central Asia.

In addition to its culinary uses, garlic possesses many medicinal benefits. Garlic has been known to lower blood pressure, provide antiseptic protection, lower bad cholesterol and protect against heart disease, just to name a few.

There are only two basic types of garlic, softneck and hardneck. You can easily tell them apart. If the stem at the top of the bulb is soft and papery, it is a softneck. Most of the garlic you see today in the store is the softneck variety. The botanical name for softneck garlic is Allium sativum and it does not produce a flowering stalk. The softnecks tend to have longer shelf lives than the hardnecks. They also tend to have more, but smaller cloves per bulb, and are sometimes harder to peel than hardnecks. This variety is the one that you will see braided or sometimes made into a decorative wreath. Recommended varieties; “German Extra Hardy,” “California” and “Mother of Pearl.”


Hardneck, as the name implies, has a hard stalk almost as thick as a pencil and are the hardier of the two varieties. The botanical name for hardneck garlic is Allium sativum ophioscorodon. Hardneck garlic will produce scapes which should be removed so that all the energy is directed towards the development of the bulb and not the bloom. Hardneck varieties will grow one ring of cloves around the stem and are larger than softneck cloves making them easier to work with in my opinion. Recommended Varieties; “Music,” “Spanish Roja” and “Chesnok Red.”

garlic_3   garlic_4The bulb is not the only edible part when it comes to cooking with garlic. The scapes add a wonderful flavor and pizzazz to pasta, pesto and dips and can also be sautéed as a simple side dish.

The one thing you have to try is roasting garlic, the flavor is absolutely wonderful! Every garlic fanatic has to have a garlic roaster, they’re mostly available in terra cotta clay and occasionally you’ll see cast iron versions, as well.

When roasting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Just trim the upper quarter inch or so off the bulb, exposing the cloves. Drizzle olive oil and place in the oven and roast until soft, about 45 minutes.

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After removing from the oven, you will need to squeeze the pulp from the bulb. Grip the bottom of the bulb and squeeze with your thumb and fingers. The pulp will easily slide out and remove any remaining bits and skins. Be careful, the garlic is extremely hot. Some garlic roasters come with a rubber holder that keeps you from potentially burning your finger tips.

Place the garlic in a ramekin, add olive oil and whisk into a creamy paste. Get creative by adding some of your favorite fresh or dried herbs. Forget the carbs; you can’t beat the subtle flavor of roasted garlic, especially when you spread it on your favorite bread.

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Garlic is easy to grow, rewarding and well worth the wait. Plant cloves pointed side up, 3 inches deep, leave the paper on, space cloves about 6 inches apart. Plant in an area that receives full sun, make sure there is adequate drainage because garlic does not like wet feet. As with any new planting, always amend the soil with organic matter, compost or aged manures.

If you enjoy cooking with garlic then get planting! Check with your local garden centers and nurseries that sell fall bulbs, they should have garlic readily available.


Sep 16

Fall Containers

     In about another week, fall will officially be here. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready! Right now local garden centers and nurseries are overflowing with colorful plants needed to spruce up those tired window boxes, patio and deck planters. Now is the time to change them out and create a magical fall look!


Mums are coming into color; asters are looking great showing off their vibrant blue and pink blooms. Don’t forget about the pansies, their cheery blotched faces always add pizzazz to any garden or container planting. The cooler it gets the better they will look and they’ll provide color throughout the fall season. If you plant your pansies in the ground and the winter is normal unlike last year, they are capable of wintering over and giving you color next spring.

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Create drama, spice up your containers and window boxes. They don’t have to be just mums. In addition to mums, tuck in other complimenting fall plants like ornamental grasses, colorful peppers, swiss chard, ornamental mustard plants, asters, cabbage and kale.


The sky is the limit when it comes to conjuring up unique designs for your containers. Believe me, there is nothing more inviting than seasonal containers. They just have a perfect way of saying welcome to your friends and family when visiting.

Join us Saturday on In and Around the House as we’ll be discussing ways to add beautiful fall color around your home and landscape. In addition, we’re going to give you tips on how to repair those troubled areas in your lawn and talk about the importance of fertilizing your lawn now with the Ferti-lome three step program.


Sep 09



You’re starting to see Chrysanthemums (mums) at your local garden centers throughout the tri-state. The Chrysanthemum has been around for quite sometime. The name Chrysanthemum is from the Greek chrysos which means gold and anthos which means flower.


The mum is the mainstay of the autumn garden. This time of year mums fill the color void in the garden as summer winds down. They’re great for borders, mass plantings, containers and anywhere you want and need color.

Still, the traditional fall colors like bronze, orange, yellow and red are the most popular. However, there are a lot of other colors available, as well. When buying mums, try to select plants that still have tightly closed buds that are showing only a small bit of color. Doing so will allow you to enjoy the blooms a lot longer.

There has been a lot of controversy regarding the hardiness of mums in recent years. Because garden mums are hardier than florist mums, they are often referred to and called hardy mums. Unfortunately, some mums are not as cold hardy as others. As a result they cannot be relied upon to make it through the winter months. Keep in mind Chrysanthemums possess a shallow root system and are affected by severe cold, repeated cycles of freezing and thawing, wet heavy clay soil and a lack of snow cover.

However, there are several things that can be done to increase the chances that your mums will survive the winter. Select varieties that are known to be hardy in your area. For example, some of the more popular and hardier varieties of mums are the Mammoth and Belgian mums. The Mammoth mums are introductions from the University of Minnesota and are cold hardy up to -30 degrees. They can become quite large over time, so be sure to leave plenty of room for them in the garden. You can expect to see them get up to 2 to 4 feet in height and the same applies for the width.


Avoid planting mums in areas subject to cold, dry north winds. If you are growing mums from earlier in the spring or the prior year, stop fertilizing by the end of July to discourage late season growth.

What I’m about to tell you next is very interesting. Don’t prune your mums back in the fall. Research has found that garden mums survive the winter better if the old foliage is left in tact (standing) through the winter. Don’t ask me why, but that has been my experience as well. You may be thinking why one would want to see old dead mum foliage throughout the winter months. It creates winter interest in the garden, especially after a snowfall.

Mulching is the best insurance for overwintering mums. It helps keep the soil uniformly cold after it has become frozen, thus eliminating the alternate freezing-thawing cycle and the resulting soil heaving. Apply 4 inches of mulch in late November or early December when the soil surface freezes.


Companion Plants for Chrysanthemums

Sedums pair well with rounded mums in shades of bronze, lavender, pink, and red. In addition, pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale also compliment mums in the landscape.


The daisy-like blooms of asters peak at the same time as those of chrysanthemums. Because aster blooms are usually smaller than those of mums, they add a finer texture to the mix.

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Ornamental grasses come into their glory in autumn as mums display their beauty. Mixing ornamental grasses along with mums make for attractive plantings.

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Aug 24

Time to Fertilize Your Lawn

     It’s hard to believe that September is knocking on our door. The school season has started. Yellow buses are busy picking up students like bees gathering pollen, where does the time go? It wasn’t long ago we were kicking off the Spring season and now we’re about to kick off the Fall season. When I think fall, I think about our lawns.

Labor Day weekend is right around the corner. The extended weekend gets us away from the daily grinds of work and allows us the opportunity to spend time with family. In addition, the Labor Day weekend reminds me it’s time to apply the first of the two fall feedings for our lawns. I cannot emphasize the importance of fertilizing our lawns in the fall.

I’ve been using Fertilome’s 3 step program for years, and have had great success and I wouldn’t consider using any other product. If you haven’t tried using any of Fertilome’s lawn products, I highly recommend you do. Fertilome’s Lawn Food plus Iron (Orange Bag) is all you need for the two fall feedings. Apply the first application around the Labor Day weekend or (anytime during the month of September), and the second application sometime mid November. The reason why I suggest Labor Day weekend, you will get the opportunity to see and enjoy the beautiful green color and results the Lawn Food plus Iron will give you.

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You can find Fertilome’s Lawn Food plus Iron at independent garden centers such as Allison’s Landscaping, Burger Farm, Bard’s Nursery, Jackson Florist & Garden Center, Maddox Garden Center, McCabe’s Floral & Greenhouses, Robben Florist & Garden Center, and Schwab Nursery

Spreader Use and Settings

     I’m often asked about spreaders and what settings should be used when applying granular fertilizers. There are many spreaders available and they definitely make applying fertilizer a lot easier. You do not need an expensive top of the line spreader, nor do you want to by the cheapest either. Remember, you get what you pay for. Purchase a middle of the road (for a lack of a better term) spreader. Earthway makes an excellent rotary spreader; they have a great reputation and offer a warranty.

There are two types of spreaders available for granular fertilizers. They are the drop and rotary spreaders. Drop spreaders distribute the fertilizer directly below the hopper in a more defined pattern. The rotary spreaders throw the fertilizer material out beyond the spreader in several directions. The broadcast spreader is the most popular and preferred. For settings and rates visit

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<Broadcast Spreader     Drop Spreader>






Timely Things to Do

     It’s still not too late to apply Dimension in your landscape beds to prevent weeds. If your lawn is in good shape and you’re not planning on reseeding this fall. Then apply it on your lawn as well so you can prevent annual weeds like Bittercress, Henbit, Purple Deadnettle and other weeds from germinating. The weed problems we experienced this spring germinated late last summer and fall.

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If you are going to reseed your lawn or do a total renovation, now is the time to put your plan into action. September is the optimal time to sow grass seed. First you must eliminate any weed issues prior to sowing seed. Be sure to carefully read the label on any and all herbicide products you choose to use. There is a waiting period after applying before sowing grass seed. For example, Fertilome’s Weed Free Zone suggests treated areas not to be reseeded until 14 days after application.

Aug 19

Nearing the End of Summer

As we steadily approach the fall season, now is a good time to look back and reflect on what plants did or did not do well in our landscapes. That includes everything from window boxes, container planters, landscape beds and vegetable gardens. Take notes on how your plants thrived or struggled. Did they get enough sun or shade? Were the combinations you chose complimentary and stunning? I find capturing this type of information to be extremely beneficial because I have a tendency to forget what I did the prior year.

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That is why I encourage gardeners to keep their plant tags, note how many plants were used in a particular grouping and you’ll make planting next year a lot easier. So if you haven’t already, start keeping a gardening journal and you’ll have a lot of valuable gardening information right at your fingertips.

In addition, this time year our gardens should be overflowing with summer’s bounty. Hopefully your garden is full of edible goodies and there is more produce than your family can possibly eat. If that is the situation, keep in mind there is a way to make it last through the winter months. You can help preserve a great American tradition by canning or pickling the rewards you’ve reaped from your vegetable garden.

If you didn’t plant a garden and are interested in canning, you can find a great selection of locally grown produce at farmer’s markets. There are many markets throughout the area in which you can find beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans etc.

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We are fortunate to have one of America’s finest markets in our very own backyard and that is Findlay Market. Remember to support our local farmer’s markets and preserve summer’s rewards.

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This Saturday, we’ll talk more about canning, the various methods used, equipment needed and some tasty recipes.

If you have a favorite salsa recipe, canning recipe, pickling recipe or any other type of recipe that you would like to share, give us a call Saturday on “in and Around the House”, (513) 749-B105. In addition, we welcome you to share your favorite recipes with us on Facebook. While visiting our page, be sure to like us.

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Until then, try the following salsa recipe and tell me what you think!

Salsa recipe Combine

1⁄4 Cup finely diced onion
Tomatoes (about 2lb) diced
2 chiles, serrano or jalapeno, finely diced 1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 t sugar
2 t salt
2 T fresh lime juice

Aug 12

What’s Buggin You : Fall Webworms

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Fall Webworms have recently shown up on trees throughout the area and they generally have an appetite for shade, ornamental and fruit trees. You do not have to worry about them getting on your evergreens.

They differ from the Eastern tent caterpillar in that they always place their tents out on the ends of tree branches and will have more than one generation per year. They are about an inch long, hairy and usually a posses a pale green or yellow color. In addition, they may also either have a red or black head.

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Controlling these pesky fellows involves either destroying the tents when they are small or by spraying an insecticide. Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) and other insecticides are effective for controlling tent worms.Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 2.15.36 PM

Application is best done early in the morning or evening when the larvae are in the tents. Keep in mind, a high pressure spray may be needed to penetrate the tent or simply use a long stick to do so and then spray.

Sources: University of Kentucky & Purdue University
Fall Webworm Photos: University of Illinois, University of Florida & G.K. Douce University of Georgia

Aug 12

The Native American Pawpaw

It’s fruit is extremely nutritious and contains high antioxidant qualities. When I ask what kind of flavor do they have, I either hear “I don’t know, never had one or Oh my gosh, they’re tasty”. However, for those who are familiar with them say their flavor resembles a combination of bananas, mangos and pineapples. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never had one.

I’m talking about the pawpaw tree and fruit they produce. Their appearance resembles a small mango, they grow in clusters and are generally harvested sometime in September.
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The pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba) is a Native American species that dates back to 1541 when Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto witnessed Native Americans growing and eating pawpaws in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. In addition, there is a historic marker describing the Pawpaw Tree Incident that occurred between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s in Pike
County Kentucky. An election-day feud broke out and was settled amongst a few pawpaw trees.

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Imagine that, of all states, I can’t believe this happened in Kentucky. I wonder if Ernie knows this, he did stay glued to the TV when the Hatfield and McCoy TV series aired.

Even today the pawpaw is still an attention getter. The 2016 annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival will be held this year at Lake Snowden in Albany Ohio. You will get to sample and taste all kinds of foods made with the pawpaw. The festival kicks off on September 16th and runs through the 18th. For more information click on the following link

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The pawpaw is certainly a unique tree. Its wonderful antioxidant properties found in its twigs and leaves are being used to develop anti- cancer drugs and botanical pesticides. Skin moisturizers are being formulated with the pawpaw’s antioxidants and are believed to prevent premature wrinkling.

Is the pawpaw tree recapturing its notoriety? Maybe we should consider giving these easy to grow natives a try. They are hardy in zones 5 – 9 and you can expect this tropical looking tree to reach 15 – 20 feet in height and its glossy foliage with turn a striking yellow in the fall. To bear fruit, two or more trees are needed. Plant them in a sunny location with good drainage about 15 feet apart. You will be attracted to their unusual purple flowers and interestingly, the flowers are the only known host for the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly. Another interesting fact is they are not pollinated by bees as would be expected. They are primarily pollinated by carrion flies and beetles.

Join us Saturday on “In and Around the House” and let us know what you know about the American Pawpaw.

Jun 17

Summer Lawns

     Past summers have been known to bring about above normal average temperatures along with minimal timely rainfalls. As a result, our lawns struggle to maintain the beautiful look we all strive to achieve. Historically, the months of July and August bring hotter temperatures and less precipitation.

Most home lawns in the tri-state area are considered cool season grasses. The most common are Fine Fescue, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass. When daytime temperatures are around 60 to 75 degrees along with ample moisture, cool season grasses perform their best. That is why you see lawns look their best during the spring and fall.

The summer months, without a doubt, are the most stressful time of the year for cool season grasses. Higher temperatures and dry soils will cause a homeowner’s lawn to suffer in quality and could potentially be a lawn’s demise.Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.28.37 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.28.43 PM


Watering If precipitation is lacking,an inch of water per week will be adequate in maintaining a healthy and green lawn. When watering, it’s best to mimic nature and irrigate deeply and infrequently to simulate natural rainfall. This will also encourage deep rooting by forcing the roots to search for water. Lightly watered turf creates shallow roots which need water all the time and are ill prepared for a drought.

If you do not have the luxury of owning an irrigation system, simply purchase a portable sprinkler head and a rain gauge from your local garden center. If possible, try to water in the morning, there will be less evaporation and watering at night can bring about lawn diseases.

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Mowing This is important, mowing height should be at least 2.5 – 3 inches. Mowing at a higher setting promotes deeper and more extensive root systems, and helps your lawn withstand summer stress. In addition, a taller lawn will provide more shade and helps retain soil moisture. Finally, keep your mower blade sharp. Tattered grass blade ends can lead to rapid moisture loss.

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Fertilizing I advise against fertilizing during the summer months. Over fertilization during the summer can promote too much top growth and deplete the food reserves stored in the lawn’s root system. Therefore, I recommend waiting until the fall season to do so. When you do fertilize in the fall use the following Ferti-lome fertilizers.


When You Start to See Crabgrass And Nutsedge,

Here Is What You Need To Know

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.29.34 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.29.57 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.29.43 PMUse Fertilome’s Weed Out with Crabgrass Killer if you’re having issues with crabgrass. If by chance you still have at home or see the old version called Weed Out with Q on store shelves, they are exactly the same and will take care of crabgrass and most broadleaf weeds.

There is one key thing to keep in mind when using herbicides and that is temperature. Applying Weed Out and crabgrass killer is most effective when temperatures are between 60 – 85 degrees. Do not treat when air temperatures exceed 90 degrees.
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Nutsedge is rather easy to identify in the lawn. It has a light green color and always outgrows the rest of the lawn. Its stem has a triangular shape at the base and it also has a distinctive mid-rib. If you attempt to pull it, you risk leaving other reproductive nutlets in the ground. As a result, it spreads even more. You can eradicate Nutsedge simply by applying Hi-Yield’s Nutsedge Control.


Leave as much of the Nutsedge leaf as possible. Do not mow your lawn two days before and two days after application. I strongly recommend using Hi-Yields Spreader Sticker for treating Nutsedge. Spreader Sticker is a surfactant which helps penetrate the waxy layer of the Nutsedge leaf, thereby facilitating absorption into the weed. Add 2 teaspoons per gallon of mixture.


May 20

What’s Going on with Roses?

What is the windowpane effect you’re seeing on the leaves of your rose bushes?  It’s actually caused by the feeding activity of one of the pesky members of the roseslug sawfly family. These guys can quickly chew up the foliage of a rose bush like nobody’s business.


Rose slug larvae are active and have been having their way on rose bushes during the past few weeks. The above photos are an excellent illustration of the unsightly damage they can do. .

There are three types of Roseslug Sawflies; the Bristly Roseslug Sawfly, the Roseslug and the Curled Rose Sawfly. The early instar larvae of these sawflies feed on the upper and lower surfaces of the rose leaves creating a skeletonized appearance. On the opposite side of the leaf, part of the epidermis stays intact and turns a whitish color thus creating what is referred to as the transparent windowpane effect. The later instars feed between the veins of the leaves producing a total see through look.

Bristly Sawfly Larvae

Bristly Sawfly Larvae


Curled Rose Sawfly Larvae

Curled Rose Sawfly Larvae

The Bristly Roseslug can have as many as six generations throughout the growing season. The Curled Rose Sawfly has two generations per season and the Roseslug only has one. Because the Bristly and Curled Sawflies have multiple generations, I’m in favor of and encourage using a product containing imidacloprid. Sawfly damage can be prevented annually simply by using Fertilome’s Systemic Tree and Shrub Insect Drench at the time leaf buds start to flush. However, it’s not too late to apply the drench now if you still wish to do so. You can dramatically reduce future sawfly generations.


If your rose bushes have been severely chewed on and you have patience, go ahead and cut them back and apply Fertilome’s systemic drench. They’ll respond favorably, I’ve done it many times.

Don’t forget roses are heavy feeders during the growing season, f you want to both fertilize and protect at the same time for rose slug issues, use Ferti-lome’s rose & Flower Food with systemic insecticide.


It contains all the necessary nutrients to help with more blooms, newer growth and greener foliage. In addition, its insecticide is absorbed through the root system protecting your roses from rose slugs, aphids, thrip and Japanese beetles along with many other insects. Apply monthly throughout the growing season and always follow the instructions on the label.

Another issue that has wreaked havoc on roses is Rose Rosette disease.  It’s going to take a collective effort amongst everyone to be able to accurately identify the disease and immediately remove infected plants as soon as possible.

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If you suspect you have rose rosette disease and aren’t sure, prune off a couple of pieces and take it in to your local garden center and see if they can help you with identification.

Rapid elongation of new shoots that contain undeveloped distorted foliage known as witches broom is one symptom to be on the lookout for. In addition, you may also notice some of the canes have developed an unusual amount of thorns; this is definitely an indication of rose rosette disease.

Other diseases that commonly effect roses are black spot, powdery mildew, rust and botrytis. These rose varieties, among others, include the old fashion, hybrid teas and climbing roses. Earlier this week, a customer brought in a piece of her rose bush that had a severe case of black spot. A lot of these issues are environmental and weather related. Fluctuations with moisture, humidity and temperature are the culprits.


Black Spot

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew

Rust Spore Pustules Underneath Leaves

Rust Spore Pustules Underneath Leaves

Rust on Upper Side of Leaves

Rust on Upper Side of Leaves

To help control disease issues, always allow for ample air movement around your roses. Keep overcrowding to a minimum. In addition, immediately remove infected leaves or any debris that has fallen on the ground to prevent further infection from occurring. Either burn it or place debris in the trash. Also sanitize your pruners frequently to avoid spreading diseases.

In conclusion, there are products that you can use to help control diseases on roses and keep them at a minimum. It’s always best to take a proactive approach versus being reactive when it comes to disease control. Anyone of the following products can be found at your local garden centers and will do an excellent job controlling diseases.

Ferti-lome Systemic Fungicide II

Ferti-lome Systemic Fungicide II

Bonide Rose RX 3n1

Bonide Rose RX 3n1




May 13


A vining plant that loves the heat

     Colorful and eye-catching, the mandevilla will definitely be a conversation piece amongst family, friends and neighbors by midsummer. In addition to being utilized in the landscape, mandevillas can also be used in containers. This tropical vine will give you nothing but performance. It will bloom virtually nonstop all summer long, especially when it gets hot and some other annuals are struggling to survive.Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 12.20.58 AM

This vining beauty produces an abundance of large trumpet shaped blooms and is available in pink, red and white. If you have sun, plenty of room and something for it to climb on you will not be disappointed. It’s great for pergolas, arbors, trellises and even around mailbox posts.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 12.21.15 AM     This beautiful flowering plant attracts pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies and best of all it is easy to grow, and is deer resistant!

Place mandevillas in an area where they will receive as much sun as possible, at least six hours of sun or more a day. Otherwise you may not get the bloom production it is capable of giving you.

Mandevilla doesn’t like wet feet, so allow it go a little to the dry side between waterings. Fertilize with an all purpose fertilizer about every two weeks to keep it happy and blooming, especially in containers.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 12.31.42 AMThe only insect you will have to be on the lookout for are aphids. Occasionally you will see these guys starting to congregate on the plants stems and newly formed buds. Gently spray them off with a hose and spray the infected areas with an insecticidal soap as a first line of defense. If that doesn’t work, try using Ferti-lome’s Triple Action.

Since the mandevilla is a tropical plant, it will need to be brought inside during the winter months. Many homeowners have wintered over their mandevillas and have had great success. Prior to the first frost and before temperatures during the night start averaging in the 40’s treat your mandevilla for insects before bringing indoors. Place your mandevilla near a window where it will get as much light as possible. Back off the watering and do not fertilize while inside during the winter. Treat it as an indoor plant and take it back outside in the spring when there isn’t any danger of frost.

Join us Saturday on In and Around the House as we talk more about the mandevilla and other tropical plants that love the heat.

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