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GARDENING TIPS FOR SONOMA COUNTY


July 2018 Gardening Tips

www.thegardeningtutor.net - Clematis 'Multi-Blue'
Monarch Butterfly on Red Dahlia

JULY 2018

ANNUALS AND THE BEST USE OF YOUR MONEY

    Have you ever purchased six-packs or 4 inch containers of Pansies at this time of year? You planted them in the sun and even though you watered them they quickly bloomed themselves out and died. If you have, you are not alone. Even though Viola x wittrockiana (Pansies) are a cool-season annual best planted in late September through early October here in Zone 9. Nurseries offer them at this time of year because people want them. If you do buy pansies now, plant them where they will get morning sun and afternoon dappled shade.

    When the weather is hot consider buying warm-season annuals for color instead. Suggested annuals include Zinnia, Lobelia erinus, Celosia (Cockscomb), Cleome hasslerana (Spider flower), Petunia, Lobularia maritime (Sweet alyssum), Cosmos and Amaranthus (Love-Lies-Bleeding).

    The life cycle of an annual plant is to germinate from seed, bloom, create seeds and then die. Without care, Pansies and most other annual plants will put their energy into creating seed and slowly the amount of new blooms will decline. The good news is that you can trick some of your annuals into blooming for many months by deadheading and/or shearing. By cutting off the spent flowers (and their stems) the plant gets the message to keep making more blooms! To learn more about buying pansies and there care watch The Gardening Tutor video Pansies 101.

    In defense of the novice gardener, I have noticed that many of the gardening magazines feature Pansies in their summer issues; however, here in Sonoma County (Zone 9), Pansies perform better when they are planted when temperatures are just about to cool down. In our demonstration garden, I plant Pansies and other cool season annuals, such as Iceland Poppies, in the fall. Plan ahead and plant where they will receive full winter sunlight. There is a window of time between the last two weeks in September through the first two weeks of October (protect on the occasional high 90's to 100 degree days) to plant cool-season annuals. Planting while the soil is still warm from summer temperatures will encourage more root growth. If planted too late when the soil is too cold Pansies will sulk.

    When regularly deadheaded (remove spent flowers and their stems) these cool season annuals become large plants that continue to bloom all winter and well into spring!

    -Mary

    July 2018
    Gardening Checklist*
    What to SHOP for . . .
    Checkbox Butteryfly Attracting Plants - Achillea, Monarda, Liatris spicata, Zinnia, Helianthus angustifolius, Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Rudbeckia, Lantana.
       
    Tasks to do . . .
    Checkbox Planting Holes - Summer soil can be a challenge to dig. It's also harder on plants to be planted at this time of year. Give plants the best chance to thrive by starting with a good planting hole: Watch The Gardening Tutor video How to Dig a Planting Hole on our YouTube Channel.
    Checkbox Pruning - If you haven't pruned out the spent flowers of Phlomis fruticosa yet it's time to prune out the flower stems. Phlomis fruticosa will sprout new growth from bare stems so prune down low to invigorate new bushy growth low in the foliage. Many plants, such as Erigeron can be sheared now to rejuvenate them. Watch The Gardening Tutor video Shearing Plants to Encourage Flowers and Foliage. Remember to give newly pruned plants extra showers from the hose to help encourage the new growth. Continue to remove the spent flowers with their stems (deadheading) from Fuchsias and Begonias.
    Checkbox Pest Management - Whitefly are those little white flies that swarm up when you walk by plants infested with them. Whitefly can damage plants with their piercing mouth parts that suck the life out of leaves. Nepeta is one of the most whitefly attracting plants. Whitefly like hot, dry and dusty environments. One way to manage them is to change the environment by watering the area more often with a shower from the hose. Another management tool is to use yellow sticky traps hung close to the plant. The flies land on the sticky traps, get stuck and die. If the area still has multiple whitefly after trying these techniques you may need to spray with insecticidal soap or Neem oil but Whitefly are hard to spray because the spray needs to land on them to kill them. In winter you will have more success with spray by using Neem oil to spray dormant plants and the surrounding soil.
    Checkbox Fertilizing - Continue to fertilize repeat blooming plants throughout the growing season. Apply liquid fertilizer once a month at full strength or use half strength every two weeks. This is especially helpful for plants in containers. Remember to avoid applying liquid fertilizer to dry soil. Also, fertilizing too often can encourage rapid growth that is weak and more attractive to pests. Watch The Gardening Tutor video Fertilizing: Two Quick Methods to Apply Liquid Fertilizer.
    Free printable . . .
      Looking for a way to stay organized in your garden?
    Download this Free Printable Gardening Checklist* and you’ll be amazed how inspired you’ll feel!
    Let us know how you’re doing. You can do it!
    Remember, this printable was created as a short list of tasks with minimal information. If you would like more in-depth information,
    you can always refer back to the checklist above each month for more details.
     

    The Gardening Tutor June 2018 Printable

    *Colors may vary depending upon your computer screen and printer.


*For More Detailed Gardening Tips
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Hands-On Individualized Gardening Instruction and Consulting in Sonoma County