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What is the difference between an annual and a perennial?  Evergreen, and deciduous?

 

An annual plant is one that lives for a short period of time. Its whole mission in life is to sprout from seed, grow, flower, and produce more seed before dying. In the Southwest area, we have a few different planting seasons, each with different annuals appropriate for that season.

 

Annuals usually produce the maximum number of flowers per plant for their given time. We also carry some tropical plants that will say “treated as an annual in our area.” This is a plant that is not annual in nature, but will not live for many years here.

 

A perennial plant is a plant will survive for many years, but usually freezes down in winter months (some perennials may go “dormant” in our hot, summer months). These plants have roots that stay alive, but the top of the plant goes away, only to return the next season. There are some “evergreen perennials” which are plants that are perennial by nature, but usually stay green all year in Austin.

 

An evergreen plant is a plant that is just that – green forever. Some evergreens may be barren for a very short period when the newest leaves come on in spring (such as our Live Oaks).

 

A deciduous plant is one that loses all its leaves over the winter, but grows back from the existing wood the next spring, as opposed to perennials that grow up from the ground.

 

What does “well drained soil” mean?

 

Well-drained soil is simply soil that does not hold excessive amounts of water when it rains or is watered. Most plants do not enjoy having the soil stay wet for too long, as this leads to disease problems. The test for soil drainage is as follows:

 

Dig a small hole about one foot deep. Fill the hole with water. Observe the hole to see how long it takes for the water to drain away. It should be less than a half hour. Any longer may mean poor draining soil and may require the use of certain plants or the addition of aggregate, such as expanded shale, to improve drainage.

 

What does full sun mean?

 

To us, full sun means at least five to six hours of direct sun. This should be adequate to provide for best growth and flowering. Less sun may still mean decent growth, but a reduced flowering.

 

How often should I water my plants? And what is “regular watering”?

 

There are too many variables (type of plant, location in the sun, plant age, soil type, etc) to answer that question. We can provide some basic guidelines:

 

When you water your plants, you should make sure to water them thoroughly. A plant, potted or planted, cannot be watered too much at any one time. Overwatering is a function of watering too often. When it is time to water, soak plants very well. Indoor plants may need to be taken to the sink, tub, or even outside for a good soak. Plants in the ground need a good, slow soaking (that’s why we love soaker hoses). Before a plant is watered again, the soil should be allowed to dry out a bit.

 

The difference in types of plants, let’s say between a cactus and a fern, is how much you allow them to dry. Ferns should only be allowed to dry on the very top of the soil, whereas a cactus would like to dry completely. If you are unsure of how much water a particular plant needs, just ask one of our sales people. We’ll be glad to help!

 

The term “regular watering” is used to mean that plants need to be watered throughout the first growing season. Depending on the type of plant and weather,  this can mean every 2-3 days.

 

How do I (or should I) fertilize my plants?

 

There are generally two types of fertilizers available – liquid and granular. A liquid fertilizer is generally mixed with water and watered onto the roots of your plants. For best results and least waste, water your plants well before you fertilize. The advantage of liquid fertilizers is that they act quickly – usually showing results in a few days. Generally, liquid fertilizers are used every week or two during the growing season.

 

Granular fertilizers are mixed into soil at planting or sprinkled on top of plants that are already planted. They do take a bit longer to act, needing as much as a week or two to begin breaking down and feeding. Their advantage is that they feed for longer periods, anywhere from a month to three months.

Gardening 101
Deer Resistant Plants

Keep in mind that these are deer RESISTANT plants. Few plants are truly deer-proof, but many are undesirable enough to deer that they will leave them alone as long as other food is available. During droughts and other food-shortage situations, deer can become hungrier and may eat plants they would normally avoid. With this in mind, here are some plants that you could try:

Trees*

  • Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia)
  • Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica)
  • Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
  • Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)
  • Fig (Ficus spp.)
  • Flameleaf Sumac (Rhus lanceolata)
  • Ghinkgo (Ghinkgo biloba)
  • Golden Ball Lead Tree (Leucana retusa)
  • Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora and others)
  • Mexican Olive (Cordia boissieri)
  • Mexican palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata)
  • Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)
  • Pride of Barbados
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. mexicana or texensis)
  • Roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii)
  • Texas Buckeye (Acsculus arguta)
  • Texas Persimmon (Diospyrus spp.)

 

 *large trees require protection with cages until they grow taller than the deer

Shrubs

  • Abelia (Abelia spp.)
  • Acuba (Acuba japonica)
  • Agarita (Berberis trifoliolata)
  • American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Blackberry (Rubus spp.) (thorny only)
  • Boxwood (Buxus microphylla)
  • Barberry -Rose Glow, Cr. Pygmy (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus)
  • Bush Germander (Teucrium fruiticans)
  • Ceniza/Texas Sage (Leucophyllum spp.)
  • CoralberryCotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri)
  • Dwarf Chinese Holly (Ixex cornuta)
  • Eleagnus (Eleagnus spp.)
  • Esperanza (Tecoma stans)
  • Evergreen sumac (Rhus virens)
  • Fragrant mimosa (Mimosa borealis)
  • Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
  • Flowering Senna (Cassia corymbosa)
  • Goldcup (Hypericum spp.)
  • Japanese Arelia (Fatsia japonica)
  • Japanese Yew (Podocarpus macrophyllus)
  • Juniper (Juniperus spp.)
  • Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa)
  • Mexican silktassle (Garrya lindheimeri)
  • Nandina (Nandina spp.)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium)
  • Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana)
  • Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
  • Primrose Jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi)
  • Pyracantha (Pyracantha coccinea)
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
  • Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
  • Split Leaf Philodendron (P. selloum)
  • Thryallis (Galphimia glauca)
  • True Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
  • Viburnum (Viburnum spp.)
  • Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera)
  • Wooly Butterfly Bush (Buddleia marrubiifolia)
  • Yaupon Holly –reg and dwarf (Ilex vomitoria)

Grasses

Bamboo Muhly

Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens)

Blue Fescue (Glauca)

Carex

Gulf Muhley (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Japanese Blood Grass (Imperatacylindrica Red Baron)

Japanese Silver Grass (Miscantussinensis gracillimus)

Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)

Lindheimer’s Muhley (Muhlenbergia lindeimeri)

Maiden Grass (Miscantus sinensis)

Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana)

Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum)

Sacahuista/

Bear Grass/Nolina (Nolina spp.)

Groundcovers

  • Aarons Beard (Hypericum calycinum)
  • Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum)
  • Carpet Bugle (Ajuga reptans)
  • Frog Fruit (Phyla incise)
  • Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys)
  • Monkey grass (Ophiopogon japonica)
  • Pigeonberry (Rivina humilis)
  • Santolina (Santolina spp.)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
  • Strawberry Begonia (Saxifraga lamium)
  • Thyme (Thymus spp.) Vinca (Vinca major)

Cacti and Succulents

  • Agave parryi
  • Aloes
  • Cactus (opuntia spp.) any with stout spines
  • Hen and chickens (Sempervivum spp.)
  • Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia compressa)
  • Red Yucca (Hesperalae parvifloria)
  • Soft Leaf Yucca (Yucca recurvifolia)
  • Sotol (Dasylirion spp.)
  • Yucca (Yucca spp.)

Flowers, Ferns, Perennials and Herbs

  • Acanthus mollis
  • Ageratum (Ageratum spp.)
  • Amaryllis belladonna
  • Amaryllis (Hippeastrum x Johnsonii)
  • Anisodentea
  • Artemesia
  • Autumn Aster (Aster spp.)
  • Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
  • Angel’s Trumpet (Datura spp)
  • Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
  • Bearded Iris (Iris spp)
  • Begonia (Begonia spp.)
  • Beebalm (Monarda didyma)
  • Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinensis )
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium lecanthum)
  • Blanket Flower (Gailardia grandiflora)
  • Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis)
  • Blue Mist (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Dark Knight’)
  • Bulbine
  • Butterfly Weed (Aesclepias spp)
  • California Poppy
  • Candy Lilly (Belamcanda chinensis)
  • Calla Lily (Zantedeschia)
  • Calylophus berlandieri
  • Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)
  • Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis)
  • Cast-Iron Plant (Aspidistra lurida)
  • Catmint
  • Chile Pequin
  • Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.)
  • Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)
  • Coprosma
  • Copper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes lemonii)
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera)
  • Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
  • Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
  • Crocosmia
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil (Narcissus)
  • Dalea
  • Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • DietesDusty Miller (Senecio cineraria)
  • Dwarf Plumbago (Ceratostigma)
  • Elephant Ears (Alocasia spp/Calocasia spp)
  • Euryops
  • Euphorbia
  • Evergreen Pavonia (Pavonia hastata)
  • Firebush (Hamelia patens)
  • Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus wrightii)
  • Fleabane (Erigeron)
  • Freesia
  • Four-Nerve Daisy (Hymenoxys)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis spp.)
  • Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)
  • Gayfeather (Liatris spicata)
  • Gazania (Gazania rigens)
  • Indian Blanket (Gallardia pulchella)
  • Grevellia
  • Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falicatum)
  • Hummingbird Bush (Anisacanthus wrightii)
  • Hyssop (Agastache)
  • Indigo Spires (Salvia ‘Indigo Spires)
  • Iris (Iris spp.)
  • Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticosa)
  • Lantana (Lantana spp)
  • Lavender, English (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus spp.)
  • Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina)
  • Lion’s Tail (Leonotis)
  • Larkspurs (Delphinium consolida)
  • Mallow Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)
  • Marguerite (Chrysanthemum frutescens)
  • Marigolds (Tagetes spp)
  • Mealy Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea)
  • Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucanthia)
  • Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes spp.)
  • Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longifolia)
  • Oregano
  • Palms (almost all of them)
  • Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)
  • Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)
  • Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima )
  • Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea angustifolia)
  • Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria)
  • Rosemary (Rosemarianus officinalis)
  • Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
  • Savory (Satureia spp.)
  • Scaevola
  • Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum superbum)
  • Society Garlic (Tulbaghia fragrens)
  • Spearmint (Menta spicata)
  • Speedwell (Veronica spicata)
  • Spider Flowers (Cleome hasslerana)
  • Sword Fern (Nephrolepis spp.)|
  • Texas Betony (Stachys coccinea)
  • Thyme
  • Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea)
  • Turks cap (Malvaviscus arboreus)
  • Verbena (Verbena spp.)
  • Wallflower (Erysimum cheiri)
  • Wedelia (Wedelia trilobata)
  • Wood Fern (Dryopteris spp.)
  • Whirling Butterflies (Guara lindheimer)
  • Wooly Stemodia
  • Wormwood (Artemisia schmidtiana)
  • Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina)
  • Zexmenia (Zexmenia hispida)
  • Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)

Vines

  • Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.)
  • Potato Vine (Solanum jasminoides)
  • Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
  • Texas Wisteria
Pest and Disease Control

What can I do to keep bugs off my plants?

 

This is a common question with a simple answer. Keep your plants healthy! Healthy plants are much more resistant to attacks from bugs and disease. The best ways to keep plants healthy are as follows:

 

Feed plants on a regular (but not excessive) basis during the growing season.

Water plants properly, ensuring they are not too wet or too dry.

Prune plants as needed to avoid overgrowth, bad limbs, etc.

Use a compost tea on you plants on a regular basis during the growing season.

Even healthy plants may get a bug or disease from time to time. Proper identification and quick response is the best way to avoid excessive chemical use and undue expenses. Some pests, such as aphids, can be easily dealt with by a strong blast of water to remove them from the plant.

 

What can I do about the mosquitoes in my yard?

 

During a large part of our year, mosquitoes are a nearly constant problem for. There are two fronts on which they must be attacked for proper control.

 

First, there are the adults that are biting and buzzing you and your family. We carry a number of products designed to repel adult mosquitoes from you living area. These products use natural oils and extracts to repel the pests with no effect on people or pets. They include sprays, granules, and even incense.

 

Second, and probably most important, there are products designed to kill the larvae around your home. If you have standing water that you cannot get rid of, Mosquito Bits and Dunks contain a bacteria (BT) that is harmless to people and pets, but kills the larvae.

Plants For Shade

Part Shade Perennials

  • Achillea (Yarrow)
  • Alocasia amozonica
  • Bacopa
  • Betony, Purple (Stachys officinalis)
  • Betony, Texas (Stachys coccinea)
  • Blue-eyed Grass (Sisrunchium bellum)
  • Bicolor Iris (Morea bicolor)
  • Calla Lily (Zantedeschia)
  • Chili Pequin
  • Columbine (Aquilegia)
  • Cuphea, Batface (Cuphea llavea)
  • Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi)
  • Jimson Weed or Gypsum Weed (Datura)
  • Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis)
  • Ginger, Variegated (Alpina sanderae)
  • Guara
  • Ground Orchid (Bletilla striata)
  • Heuchera
  • Hosta
  • Houttuynia cordata
  • Lamium
  • Leopard Plant (Ligularia/Farfugium)
  • Lobelia Cardinalis
  • Lilium
  • Lysimachia congestiflora
  • Mint
  • Mexican Oregano
  • Ox-Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
  • Oxalis (Nepeta)
  • Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)
  • Penstemon
  • Plumbago, Dwarf (Ceratostigma plumbainoides)
  • Mexican Tuberose (Polianthes tuberose)
  • Rain Lily (Zephyranthes)
  • River Fern (Thelypteris kunthii)
  • Ruellia
  • Rock Rose (Pavonia lasoipetala)
  • Sage, Majestic (Salvia guaranitica)
  • Sage, Tropical (Salvia coccinea)
  • Shrimp Plant (Justicia)
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.)
  • Skullcap, Pink (Scutellaria suffrutescens)
  • Strawberry Begonia (Saxifraga stolonifera)
  • Mexican Tarragon (Tagetes lucida)
  • Turks Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii)
  • Umbrella Plant (Cyperus)
  • Wallflower (Erysimum linifolium)
  • Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata)

Groundcovers and Vines

Agapanthus

Asian Jasmine

Aztec Grass (Ophiopogon intermedius)

Fig Ivy (Ficus pumila)

Frog Fruit (Phyla incise)

Monkey Grass (Ophiopogon japonicas)

Spring Cinquefoil (Potentilla tabernaemontani)

Sedge

Vinca Major/Minor

Virgnia Creeper (Parthenoscissus quinquefolia)

Shrubs

  • American Beautyberry (Calicarpa Americana)
  • Evergreen Sumac
  • Holly, Dwarf Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria ‘Nana)
  • Honeysuckle Bush, White (Lonicera albiflora)
  • Nandina, Dwarf)
  • Japanese Aralia (Fatisa japanica)
  • Japanese Yew (Podocarpus)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)
  • Palmetto, Texas Dwarf (Sabal minor)
  • Viburnum

Groundcovers

  • Ajuga
  • Asian Jasmine
  • Dalea, Gregg (Dalea greggii)
  • Horseherb (Calyptocarpus vialis)
  • Liriope (Liriope muscari)
  • Mondo Grass (Ophiupogon)
  • Mountain Pea (orbexilum sp. now)
  • Myoporum (Myoporum parvifolim)
  • Sedum
  • Violet (Voila missourensis)

Full Shade

Perennials and Bulbs

  • Acanthus mollis
  • Alocasia
  • Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
  • Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana)
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia)
  • Hosta (heat tolerant varieties only)
  • Horseherb (Calyptocarpus vialis)
  • Lamium Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon)
  • Pidgeon Berry (Rivina humilis)
  • Purple Heart Wandering Jew (Setcreasea pallida)
  • River Fern (Theylpteris kunthii)
  • Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)
  • Ruellia, Dwarf (Ruellea brittoniana)
  • Skullcap, Heart Leaf (Scutelleria ovate sp. Bracteata)
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia)
  • Strawberry Begonia (Saxifraga stononifera)
  • Turks Cap (Mavaviscus arboreus var. drummondii)
  • Umbrella Plant (Cyperus)
  • Wine Cup (Callirhoe involucrata)

Grasses or Grass Like

  • Acorus (Sweet Fig)
  • Bamboo Muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa)
  • Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium)
  • Horsetail (Equisetum scirpoides)
  • Mexican Feathergrass (Nassella tenuissima)
  • Sedge, Blue (Carex flacca)
  • Sedge, Berkeley (Carex tumulicola)

Shrubs

  • Abelia, Glossy (Abelia grandiflora)
  • Aucuba (Aucuba japonica)
  • Boxwood, Japanese (Buxus ‘Green Beauty’)
  • Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra)
  • Coralberry (Symphoricarpa)
  • Primose Jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi)
  • Gardenia
  • Indian Hawthorn (Raphiolepsis)
  • Loropetalum
  • Leatherleaf Mahonia (Mahonia bealei)
  • Pittosporum
  • Japanese Yew (Podocarpus)
  • Rose of Sharon (Hibisicus syriacus)
  • Sweet Olive (Osmanthus)
  • Silverberry (Elaeagunus x ebbingei)
  • Sumac, Evergreen (Rhus virens)
  • Viburnum, Sandankwa (Viburnum suspensum)
  • Wax Myrtle (Myrica)

Trees

  • Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
  • Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)
  • Eve’s Necklace (Sophora affinis)
  • Mountain Laurel, Texas (Sophora secundiflora)
  • Possumhaw
  • Rhus (Sumac)
  • Redbud, Mexican or Texas (Cercis canadensis)
  • Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana)
  • Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa)
  • Vibrunum, Rusty Blackhaw (Viburnum rufidulum)
  • Yaupon Holly (Pride of Houston)

Vines

  • Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus)
  • Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Fig Ivy (Ficus pumila)
  • Honeysuckle, Japanese (Lonicera japonica)
  • Honeysuckle, Coral (Lonicera sempervirens)
  • Star Jasmine (Trachelospereum jasmoides)
  • Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)
  • Virgin’s Bower (Clematis paniculata)
Plants and Gardening Resources

Texas A&M Horticulture

Native Trees of Texas

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Nature and the Environment

Fertilizing Your Yard

Monthly Lawn Care Checklist

Gardening in Southwest Texas

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