Ornamental Grass - Putting on a Show

October 25, 2009 by Rick

Muhly Grass is a Florida Friendly native grass that is a spectacular fall bloomer.

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This grass is widely adaptable to wet and dry areas throughout Florida

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Look for them now in most Florida Home Depot stores.

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Red Fountain Grass is the most popular ornamental grass. Use ornamental grass as a substitute for thirsty turf areas where you don't want to irrigate as much.

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Ornamental Grass adds accent structure and height to a garden.

Fountain Grasses work well in containers. Be sure you cut back the old foliage and flowers in February to 4 inches above the soil line so all new foliage and flowers resprout to repeat the spectacular show again each year.

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Movement is another design element that adds interest and is most easily attained with ornamental grasses sited to sway in the breeze.

 

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Florida Friendly Coleus

July 2, 2009 by Rick

Select Coleus varieties for the long haul. Coleus often last as perennials in Florida if the winters are not extreme. One key is to grow varieties that are extremely late to flower. The second key is to find varieties that are not susceptible to leaf diseases. The leaf disease that is a problem is Downy Mildew. Chartreuse or yellow leaved varieties are most susceptible.

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We sell varieties at The Home Depot in gallon pots that are late to bloom and disease resistant with vibrant colors. Below are just a few of our best varieties. All our varieties are suited to sun or shade.

ColeusOrange and Finger Paint

Coleus Rustic Orange and Finger Paint in production.

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Coleus Finger Paint sports red, yellow and a mosaic of red & yellow. Pinch out the color you desire the least of and customize the color patterns of your Finger Paint. The yellow in Finger Paint is not prone to disease.

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Coleus Mariposa is a very large growing big leaved coleus. Pinch Mariposa before it gets too big and falls over in a windstorm. Mariposa becomes variegated in the fall with wide hot pink edges against dark red centers.

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Coleus Peter's Wonder is very strong and very popular too.

 

Diablo Coleus

Defiance is one of the all time best performing mildew resistant gold edged reds.

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This is the new Versa Crimson Gold that is also downy mildew resistant. It flowers quicker than the vigorous growers we supply to The Home Depot but pinching the flowers is not much more trouble than pinching non-flowering tips of the vigorous varieties to keep them compact so the windstorms don't topple them. This Versa series upgrades the quick blooming and mildew prone Wizard Coleus series that has been so widely used for many years. We are trialing the other colors of Versa to see if they are mildew resistant too. We sure need a chartreuse that won't get mildew like the one pictured at the top of the page. The Versa implies versatility for use in sun or shade. When pinching you should not remove more than 1/3 the length of any of the stems of the plant. Pinch often and you will enjoy your coleus more. Experiment with staggering where and when you pinch parts of a plant so it always looks full and stays relatively compact and windstorm resistant. Another problem with coleus is that they eventually succumb to nematodes, microscopic parasitic root feeding worms. You can grow coleus in containers and they will remain nematode free. A good deterrent in your flower beds is organic soil. The good bugs (bacteria, fungus and other microorganisms) in organic soils kill nematodes. Consider growing coleus and other annuals in our Pot-in-Pot method and you will be able to keep them longer and lift them to protect from frost or while mulching and getting rid of weeds in the garden. With this method you can better focus the water and fertilizer to the plant and waste much less while saving time.

Growing coleus in containers is very popular. Here is a window box with gallon containers featuring Coleus Peter's Wonder, Sweet Potato Vine, a great Spiller, and the most beautiful and popular grass, Red Fountain Grass which is also commonly called Purple Fountain Grass. Pennesetum setaceum 'Rubrum'. Such a Thriller!


Perennial Mania at The Home Depot - Day 2

May 21, 2009 by Rick

The WOW price on perennials in the green Florida Friendly Plants containers continues until Memorial Day, Monday May 25 while supplies last. Tell a friend. Click the Pass it on Florida link at the top of the page. (See store for limits and details). Included in this event are Pentas lanceolata, one of the most popular Florida Friendly perennials. It blooms continuously and is one of the best Butterfly attractors. The tall varieties should be pruned several times a year to shorten and strengthen their structure. Soil enriched with 50% organic matter (compost, leaf mold, cow manure, peat) supports beneficial bacteria and microbes that combat microscopic nematodes, a pest that can cause the eventual decline of Pentas. Pentas is adaptable to full sun and partial shade and repeating several groupings across the length of your garden alternating with another tough and colorful plant like Variegated Flax Lily adds harmony, texture and formal appeal to a design.

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Pot in Pot in Pot 15  DiamondFrostPentas

Pentas is a versatile ever blooming perennial that is useful as a combination component.

Mixed with Euphorbia Diamond Frost, another ever blooming perennial, Pentas makes an appealing arrangement or mass planting in a flower bed or border.


Why we created a Florida Friendly Plant blog

January 22, 2009 by Rick

For the last 30 years we’ve gained quite a bit of experience and have learned some design principles from working with the plants we grow. We’ll add tips and ideas here in the blog to supplement the plant facts in our web site database. The placement of plants offers many possibilities for gardening enjoyment. We hope you find something interesting here and come back from time to time to see how we’re doing. We want to be a ‘good news’ source of information without a lot of advertising. Gardening and decorating are good for you and hopefully you’ll find something here to complement your lifestyle. We’ll share posts and links to ideas that inform you about successful gardening, using colors in a pleasing way and getting the most from your efforts. It’s our hope that the plants we grow and the information we share will add lasting beauty and value to your home.

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