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By: Liz Baessler
Twinflower (Dyschoriste oblongifolia) is a Florida native related to the snapdragon. True to its name, it produces blossoms in pairs: beautiful light purple tubular flowers with dark purple or blue spots on the lower lip. It’s easy to grow and the flowers are attractive from a distance and striking up close. Whether you’re a Florida native looking to plant locally or from a similarly hot environment and in search of something different, the twinflower might be for you. Keep reading for more information on growing twinflowers.
Growing Twinflowers in the Garden
Those looking to learn how to grow Dyschoriste twinflowers will find that it’s quite easy. Twinflower plants are small and delicate, reaching a maximum height of 6-12 inches (15-30 cm.). Because of this, they make for beautiful groundcover and are particularly effective as a low tier plant in a mixed plant container arrangement or wildflower garden.
They reproduce both by underground runners and by seed, and can be grown from either seeds or cuttings. They are evergreen in zones 7-11 and can be planted at any time of year in these zones.
The flowers attract a variety of pollinators, but the leaves are a particularly favorite food of the larval common buckeye butterfly. Blooming is strongest in late spring, but it can last from mid spring to as late as November.
Twinflower Plant Care
Twinflower plant care is easy. The plants prefer drier climates, but die out quickly in both extreme moisture and drought.
Though twinflower plants reproduce through runners and spread easily, they are not particularly aggressive and are often muscled out by larger plants. This means they will not overrun your garden, but if you want to use them as groundcover, you should give them a designated spot all their own and room to spread if you want them to multiply. The plants can reach a spread of 2 feet (60 cm.), but grow very open; plant them densely to achieve a full appearance.
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Best Agave Plants to Grow In Your Garden
If you want to find out more information about agave, make sure to check out the list below for the best agave plants to grow in your garden. We will also provide some tips that can help you be successful in growing agave plants whether indoors or outdoors.
Agave varieties prefer full sun exposure and they do best in sandy, well-draining soil. Agave is the perfect plant for forgetful gardeners that tend to forget to water their plants from time to time since they can live even with a small amount of water. Some varieties are cold-tolerant while others cannot tolerate cold climates. Agave plants bloom flowers although it is a rare occurrence, they produce a large flower spike that resembles asparagus.
Here is a list of the best agave plants to grow in the garden:
1. Agave attenuata – This succulent is a spineless variety of agave, which makes it a safe option. It is also known as the Foxtail or Dragon-Tree Agave. It can grow up to 4-5 feet tall. Its flowers are greenish-yellow on the spike. This plant can be used as a houseplant as it does not have spines which can be quite dangerous, unlike the other varieties mentioned on this list. You can plant the Foxtail Agave in a small yard or as a poolside plant where it is not at risk of being brushed up on accidentally by pets, guests, or family members alike.
2. Agave americana – This plant is commonly known as the American Century Plant. Its leaves are bluish and have saw-tooth spines. You can use this plant as a specimen plant in the garden as it can grow quite large with the appropriate growing conditions. Agave Americana Marginata is a known variegated variety of Agave americana.
3. Agave filifera – This plant is also known as the Thread Agave. Its leaves have white edges and have thread-like filaments, hence the name, Thread Agave. This plant has dark green leaves with a slight bronze shade. If you prefer a medium-sized plant, you can choose the Thread Agave it can grow up to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
4. Agave victoria-reginae – It is also known as Queen Victoria Agave. It is a smaller plant, making it perfect for pots or containers as it only grows about a foot up to 18 inches in height. Its leaves have black tips and it is curved inward which creates a compact dome. This plant can live up to 20 to 30 years and can produce lovely cream or reddish-purple flowers on a fifteen-foot stalk.
5. Agave parviflora – It is also known as the Small Flower Agave, Small Flower Century Plant, or Santa Cruz Striped agave. This plant is a small variety of agave it can grow up to 6-8 inches tall. It is also similar to the Agave filifera because its leaves have white graphic markings with beautiful hair filaments. This plant produces a flower stalk after 6-8 years that can reach up to 3-7 feet high and blooms cream or yellow flowers that are quite attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
6. Agave bracteosa – It is also known as Squid Agave or Candalebrum Agave. It is a drought-tolerant, slow-growing agave plant. It can be used as a potted specimen and be added to your rock garden.
7. Agave vilmoriniana – It is also known as Octopus Agave. It has untoothed arching and twisting leaves. Its rosettes can grow up to 3-4 feet tall and 5-6 feet in width. This plant is considered as one of the friendlier Agave varieties because it has soft serrations on the margins of the leaf and it has a soft terminal spine.
8. Agave tequilana azul – It is also known as Weber’s Blue Agave, Tequila Agave, or Blue Agave. It is commonly used to make tequila in Jalisco, Mexico. It is a beautiful garden plant and it can grow up to 6 feet tall and blooms in 6 to 8 years with a 15 feet spike with yellow flowers.
This plant can be used in landscapes for areas found in high altitudes. The Blue Agave prefers rich, well-draining sandy soil. It can grow quite huge and can live up to several decades, so you must grow it if you are ready for a long-term commitment.
9. Agave parryi – It is also known as the Artichoke Agave. It is a lovely plant and it has sharp black spears tip on the end of its wide bluish gray-green leaves. It can grow even in rocky and dry slopes. This plant loves full sunlight and can be planted in pots or containers.
10. Agave desmettiana – It is also known as the Smooth Agave. If you prefer people and pet-friendly agave, this one is perfect for you. It can be used as a focal plant in xeriscapes or desert gardens.
You can also plant the Smooth Agave near patios, whether as a single specimen plant or placed in groups. This succulent produces its pups from basal offshoots, making it easy to propagate you can easily repot the pups in new containers.
11. Agave lophantha – It is also known as a Quadricolor Agave. This plant has dark green leaves with yellow stripes, pale green midstripe with reddish edges lining the teeth. It grows slowly and takes a long time to grow in their containers.
12. Agave macroacantha – It is also known as the Large-thorned Agave or Black-Spined Agave. This plant has medium-sized rosettes and blue-gray narrow leaves. It has sharp 1-inch black terminal spines on the tips. It produces offsets and blooms tiny purplish-green flowers and prefers full sun exposure.
13. Agave geminiflora – It is also known as Twin Flower Agave and Agave Palito. This plant has hundreds of leaves that form a well-rounded compact rosette that grows up to 3 feet tall. It takes up to 10 to 15 years for the plants to mature. It produces a beautiful flower spike that grows up to 8 to
12 feet tall. Its flowers grow in pairs hence the name Twin Flower Agave. This variety of agave is monocarpic, it dies after it blooms flowers. Plants grown indoors do not bloom flowers.
14. Agave potatorum – It is also known as Butterfly Agave. This succulent’s leaves resemble a butterflies’ wings. It is a medium-sized agave that grows slowly so you can plant it in pots or containers. If grown in a container, the butterfly agave is easy to control.
15. Agave angustifolia – It is also known as Caribbean Agave. This plant has narrow leaves and forms a rosette it is a variegated Century Plant and grows up to 4 feet tall and wide. It has pale green leaves with cream-colored margins.
It is stiff and has dangerous, sharp spines on the tips. Be careful when growing this succulent as it is quite painful when the spines prick your skin. Its flower stalk produces small plantlets that can be replanted. It is quite fragrant and tends to attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.
16. Agave bovicornuta – It is also known as Cowhorn Agave. This plant has glossy leaves that widens and resembles a spatula with spiny red tips. The Cowhorn Agave grows up to 3 feet in height and 4 feet in width.
17. Agave salmiana – It is also known as Ferocious Agave. It has well-armed spines on the edges of its leaves and a stout stinger on the tips. It grows up to 4 feet in height and 3 feet in width. It can withstand cool weather but must remain dry during the wintertime.
Growing Salvia Plants for Easy Summer Colour!
Salvia plants add wonderful colour to a summer garden. They require only moderate watering, they can handle extreme heat, and they flower for months.
Summer in Australia tends to be very hot and dry. Where we live temperatures close to (and sometimes over) 40 °C (104 °F) are not uncommon during the summer months. This extreme heat can be hard on our garden so we try to choose plants that can tolerate these conditions. Plants that require lots of water don’t tend to last too long in our garden!
That’s why we like growing salvia plants in our garden. They provide colour and they also cope well with our hot dry summers. Unlike some other flowering plants, they don’t droop and the flowers don’t get burnt off in the hot baking sun. We water our salvias once or twice a week depending on how hot the weather is. Often this is because the surrounding plants are drooping, not because the salvias are stressed.
Salvia plants are very easy to care for too. We just prune them back by about half when they have finished flowering at the end of the summer. In the spring time they bush up nicely and are soon providing lots of colour.
The salvia plant is also known as sage and it is in the mint family. Like mint the salvia has a strong smell when you brush against or crush the foliage. We have several salvia plants in our garden and they are bright and colourful even on the hottest days.
If you want to attract birds and butterflies to your garden then salvias are a great plant to have. We have many nectar loving birds in our garden and they just love the salvias. In the last couple of years we have also noticed an increase in butterflies in our garden which could be because we planted out several salvias a few years ago.
Most of the salvias that we have are members of the ‘Heatwave’ series that was developed in Melbourne Australia in response to our hot dry climate. There are lots of other ornamental salvias available thought (check some out here).
You can even get a salvia variety that is grown as an annual where we live. It is called salvia splendens or ‘scarlet sage’ and it is more tender and frost sensitive. In warmer climates they would grow year round but in our garden they die off completely once the winter frosts begin and we pull them out.
The ones we planted were mixed colours and while smaller than other salvias they provided lots of summer colour. Ours even self-seeded so we had quite a few new plants come up the following spring!
Actually once you have a salvia plant it is fairly easy to grow more yourself. You can take softwood cuttings and plant them up or harvest some spent flowers and grow from seed. I have found that our salvias also produce new plants by layering very easily. I trim back the branches that run along the ground to stop them from spreading too much. But you could also chop off the spreading branch that has taken root, then dig it up and transplant it to another part of the garden!
One last benefit of growing salvias is that rabbits don’t seem to eat them! It might be because of their strong smelling foliage. Check out my post on which plants that rabbits will and won’t eat in our garden for more information.
Salvias are one of my favourite summer flowering plants just because they are so easy to care for. Even when the sun is really burning down the salvias still have their bright masses of flowers.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
by Jordan Charbonneau, photos by Ira Wallace
Traditional wooden vegetable garden trellising at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
In my dreams of a picturesque garden there are always trellises. They may bring to mind quaint little fairy tale cottages, but trellises aren’t just for their good looks. There are so many plants that can be grown on a trellis and so many reasons to grow them that way.
Trellising saves resources.
Want to grow more vegetables in little spaces? Grow up! One of the easiest ways to make the best use of small garden spaces is by growing plants on trellises. Plants like pole beans are extremely productive and can be grown in narrow rows if trellised.
Trellised plants also use less water. Instead of watering an entire sprawling plant, you can just water the base where the plant roots are located. But trellised plants require special care from the soil. The soil must be properly rotated from time to time with the beste gereedschappen for proper rotation.
Adding structure and height to a garden is often done to make gardens more beautiful. but there are other benefits too. Song birds will appreciate having places to land in your garden and they can help control insect populations.
Having the plants up off the ground also increases air flow and can help minimize plant diseases.
Trellising plants can also help you add much needed summertime shade. A vining vegetable crop like cucumbers can be grown on a slanted trellis above a bed of a cool weather vegetable like lettuce, thereby helping you to grow a late season crop. Deciduous perennials (those that drop their leaves in the fall) can be grown on trellises on the southern side of houses to shade the home in the heat of summer and let the sun through in the winter. Some plants, like pole beans, gourds, and flowers like morning glories, have such long vines they can easily cover small structures (like teepees) making excellent summer forts for kids.
Trellised plants are easier to harvest.
Vegetables on trellises also tend to be easier to harvest. Instead of searching through a sprawling jungle of squash plants, you can easily spot them hanging from a trellis. Plus there’s little or no bending over. The fruits also tend to be cleaner and more uniform, perfect for market growers.
What can be trellised?
Decorative wrought iron trellis at Atlanta Botanical Garden
Many plants do well on a trellis and some require one. Below are some of the vegetables, flowers, and perennials that make ideal candidates for trellising.
|Pole Beans||Morning Glory||Hardy Kiwi|
How do I make a trellis?
There are tons of trellis designs and it can be hard to choose. The major deciding factors will be your garden’s style, your budget, the materials you have on hand, and which plants you plan to trellis. Trellises can be whimsical, practical, or a mix of both. They can be shaped as arches, forts for children, or simple fences.
Many people choose to make simple teepees like these which can be made from bamboo, straight saplings, or branches, and held together with twine or wire. There are also many different shaped designs using the same materials.
Cattle panel arch trellis at Heritage Farm
Hog panels or sections of wire fencing are another popular choice. Hog panels and sturdier fencing can be used two ways: as a fence or bent over as an arch.
Landscaping your property may be a huge investment and you’ll make use of the services of a fence company to form it look beautiful. a beautiful fence can enhance the landscape. you’ll match the fence design to the landscape to make your own unique style. an honest fence are often an ornamental item to your lawn and may help increase the general appeal and value of your property. Before you select fence companies to put in the fence of your choice, you’ll need to take several things into consideration because it can a difficult process. it’s important that you simply research the fencing companies before you create the ultimate choice. Materials used, cost, warranty and knowledge are a number of the items that you simply may need to consider in order that you’re ready to make an informed choice. Choosing the proper fencing company for the work is vital in order that you’re ready to avoid complications at a later stage. Contact the local building authorities to realize knowledge about fence restrictions. Style, height and site could also be suffering from the restrictions specified by the local authorities. Gaining knowledge about these restrictions may assist you make the selection as per the wants specified. In some cases you’ll need to get a building permission before you begin constructing a fence.
Purchase or build trellises from lumber.
You can get design of trellises or a knack for woodworking, from woodworking . They have all the latest designs for folding trellises that can be stored each season as well as more creative designs. You can also install large trellises in front houses or over patios.
Some people also repurpose old junk into awesome trellises. Things like iron bed frames and gates, old umbrella frames, and old antennas are great for climbing plants.
When designing any trellis it’s important to think about what you’re growing. Is it a permanent trellis for a perennial that will be in the same spot for years or something you’ll want to rotate next year? You’ll also need to decide on the size. Obviously pea plants require smaller trellises than grape vines. Some plants, like pumpkins, melons, and larger squash varieties, will need sturdy trellises to support the immense weight of their fruit.
How do I trellis plants?
Some plants (including morning glories, beans, and cucumbers) are easy to trellis. Simply sew seeds next to a trellis and they’ll do the work. Some plants, like tomatoes, need a little help: they need to be manually trellised. You can use tomato-specific trellis methods like the “Florida Weave” which surrounds the plants with twine. Or use traditional trellises and attach plants with tomato clips or even old scraps of fabric. Just be sure that your method does not cut into the plant as it grows.
Tomato trellis of string weaving at Twin Oaks Community Farm
For some large-fruited plants like pumpkins, melons, and large squash varieties, you may need extra support. You can create small “hammocks” for each fruit from an old shirt or other stretchy material that can be tied off to the trellis as the vine cannot support the fruit’s mature weight.
If you’re ready for a super productive and beautiful garden this year it’s time to get some trellises ready! The best time to add trellises is before planting, not after, so don’t delay! It’s finally spring and setting up trellises is a great way to get out in the garden.
Want to know more about trellises? Check out these posts:
How to Grow English Lavender
In the garden, English lavender forms a rounded mound that’s roughly 24 to 36 inches tall and wide when plants are mature. These fragrant perennials are hardy in Zones 5 to 10 and have a sunny disposition. Give them a spot in full sun for best flowering. The plants prefer well-drained soil year-round, especially in winter. Poorly draining winter soils quickly kill English lavender. Soil should also be alkaline. Take a soil test to see where your soil pH falls.
25 Classic Cottage Garden Flowers 25 Photos
English lavender makes our list of classic beauties for use in a charming, vibrant cottage garden.
Prune plants to shape in spring after new growth appears. Harvest flowers for culinary or craft uses, or simply remove spent flowers. A second flower flush may appear, especially in regions with cooler summers. English lavender dislikes high humidity. If you’re trying to raise it in a humid environment, add a stone mulch around plants to raise air temperature. English lavender grows best where summer temperatures hover in the 80-degree-range instead of 90 degrees F. Flowering typically stops as temperatures rise in summer.
Other Tips for Avoiding Plants Not to Grow In Your Gardens
Another good rule of thumb to follow, if a plant’s description references “wildflower,” or has “weed” in the name, just beware. Also watch for the words: “vigorous spreader” or “aggressive.” Do your research and ask lots of questions.
Even if you’re okay with having vigorous spreaders in your gardens, just know they can easily take over an entire flower bed and smother out other less vigorous flowers. Please though, if you are not planning on staying in your current home forever, don’t plant any of these plants. I happen to be one of the unlucky ones that lots of these naughty plants came with the house we purchased.
Just because one variety of a certain perennial is considered invasive or a vigorous spreader, doesn’t mean all varieties or species are invasive or overly vigorous spreaders.
It’s interesting to see what’s considered invasive or aggressive in different areas of the country or different gardening zones. I recommend doing your homework up front and planning what plants you want to purchase for your gardens. Google invasive plants in your state and see what comes up and make sure you don’t include those. Also, be sure to read the comments section to see what other plants readers have listed as plants not to grow in your garden.
There are several perennials that others would call invasive or aggressive, but I did not include them on my list because I don’t have a problem with weeding them out and I like them enough that they are worth the trouble. These plants include: bee balm, lamium, ajuga, cherry bell campanula (and a few other varieties) and agastache. Also, read through the comments below and you’ll hear about reader’s experiences.
Have you ever planted a perennial that you regret planting, or any on my list of plants not to grow in your garden? Please leave a comment and let me know (the easy to use form is at the bottom of the page). Also feel free to leave a comment if you have a gardening question. I would love to be able to help you.
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Transplanting Wildflowers from the Wild into Your Garden
Wildflowers can introduce the look of wild, native beauty to your yard, as long as you follow some simple steps for transplanting wildflowers from their natural wild into your garden. Starting flowers from seeds takes time and results are not guaranteed. Taking an established plant from the wild offers a much better chance of success if done correctly.
Before taking any wildflower, make sure it is not an endangered plant and that it is not growing in a national forest, as harvesting in either situation is illegal. If the flower is on private land, make sure you obtain permission from the landowner before taking anything.
Step 1: Find a Specimen
Locate the wildflower you want to add to your garden. Make sure to find an appropriate location from which to take the flower. Be careful to observe the natural habitat of the wildflower, because you will need to recreate the environment as closely as possible, including the soil type. Find more than just one area where the flower grows so you can compare the environments. Mark the spot of the flower so you can easily find it again. Make sure the wildflower is not something that will take over your entire yard and be hard to control.
Step 2: Consider the Timing
Wildflowers are best transplanted when they are not in bloom. Flowers that bloom in the spring are best harvested in the fall. Fall blooming flowers are best harvested in the fall.
Step 3: Prepare the Wildflower's New Environment
Make sure you have a spot picked out in your garden that closely resembles the wildflowers natural habitat. Consider light, neighboring plants, moisture and soil type. Add some compost if the flower grows in rich soil. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the flower and a good sized chunk of dirt that will come with it.
Step 4: Harvest the Wildflower
When the flower is past its blooming season, it is time to harvest. Using a spade, cut into the soil around the wildflower. Make sure you take as much area around the plant as possible. This ensures that the roots are not damaged, and that the wildflower get to bring as much of its home soil with it as possible. Make sure to clear away any grass or weeds that come up with the flower and soil. Place the dirt and flower into your transporting container.
Step 5: Plant the Wildflower
Once you have the new wildflower home, get in the ground as soon as possible. Place the flower with its dirt into the hole you prepared. Make sure the plant is level so that it grows straight up out of the ground, and not at an angle. Pack soil around the plant firmly, but not too densely.
Step 6: Water the New Addition
Once the wildflower is planted, give it a thorough watering. You will need to keep it moist for several days as it makes its environment transition. You should be able to tell if the transplant was successful in just a few days by the health of the leaves and stems.