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Houseplant of the Week: Syngonium ‘Maria Allusion’

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Syngonium ‘Maria Allusion’ plant in a 4-inch pot in the nursery

The unique Syngonium ‘Maria Allusion’ is a beautiful and easy to care for houseplant native to Central and South America. What make’s this plant striking is it’s new leaves, which will come in pink and red before fading into green.

This plant tends to be compact with lovely arrowhead-shaped leaves.

Maria Allusion is tolerant of a wide range of conditions, making it perfect for new houseplant owners.

Caring for your Maria Allusion Syngonium:

Although relatively easy to grow – and resistant to most pests and diseases – it does have some specific requirements. It prefers bright, indirect light and should be watered when the top inch of soil is dry. Maria Allusion doesn’t require frequent feeding, but you should fertilize every 6-8 weeks.

Creating A Special Space in Your Garden

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Part of the true joy of gardening is watching individual plants grow, flourish and provide beauty (and sometimes really great eats!)

But the other thing you cultivate when you create a garden is a special space – a green, leafy outdoor oasis. It makes your garden and yard another “room” where you can unwind and enjoy life with your family.

Here’s what that room looks like at my house.

My yard has a bit of everything, and we’ve set it up so there are little surprises tucked into every corner. There’s a greenhouse for me to putter in and an outdoor chess set to play with. We make sure there are different seating areas where you will have a different view of the pretty flowers, so anyone can find a spot to just hang out and enjoy.

Water features are a big part of our backyard. There’s a waterfall and stream for the kids and dogs to get in when it’s hot.  I like to have running water for the birds, so we made a boulder with a hole on top that bubbles water. They love it! They also play in the stream, bathing and drinking out of it.

Speaking of water, one big change we did make is trading our lawn for artificial turf in order to be more water wise.

There are endless choices for what you can include in your backyard oasis. It can be rustic or elegant, modern or traditional. Just make sure the elements make you and your family happy and make it easy for you to enjoy the outdoors.

Flagstaff is beautiful in the summer and it seems silly to travel somewhere else when you can, with just a little effort, create your own paradise to enjoy all summer long, literally in your backyard.

Houseplant of the Week: Rabbit’s Foot Fern

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Fronds of rabbit's foot fern plant

The rabbit’s foot fern (Davallia fejeensis) is a beautiful and easy-to-grow tropical fern that was originally found in Fiji, but is cultivated all over the world. Like many ferns, it has lacy, graceful fronds, but what makes this fern unique is its rhizomes, which are covered with a fine, fur-like mat of hairs.

Rabbit’s foot ferns are epiphytic, which means they grow on other plants and absorb nutrients and moisture from the air in the wild. They are adaptable enough, however, that they can be grown in containers or hanging baskets, and they make a great addition to any indoor plant collection.

Growing Rabbit’s Foot Ferns

Although rabbit’s foot ferns are relatively easy to grow, they do have some specific requirements.

Light: Your fern will need bright, indirect light.

Soil: Rabbit’s foot ferns like a loamy, rich soil with plenty of peat. Look for a peat-based potting mix, which will also have a slightly acidic pH that these plants like.

Watering: Rabbit’s foot ferns need to be watered regularly, but the soil should not be soggy.

Fertilize: Feed with liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks throughout the growing season (April through September). In the fall and winter, feeding can be reduced.

Neon Pothos

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Pothos is that plant that you usually give to your friends when you aren’t sure if they have green thumbs or not. Almost anyone can cultivate this not-too-fussy plant.

While most pothos fall into the “golden pothos” family, there is one that’s particularly eye-catching because of its extremely bright, heart-shaped leaves: the appropriately named “neon” pothos.

Like the more common golden pothos, these plants look great in a pot or hanging in a container. We suggest that you give your plant bright indirect light, not only so it can thrive, but also so it can maintain that striking neon color. (Neon pothos in low-light conditions will survive, but their leaves will start to get darker).

One of the very few demands of all pothos is to not be overwatered, so keep the top few inches of soil dry and test the soil prior to watering. While pothos don’t necessarily require fertilization, particularly if they have good nutritious soil, you can feed them on a regular schedule from April or May through August. Just follow the instructions on the label of your favorite plant food.

Pothos love a good misting and it’s also important to dust them when needed so they photosynthesize efficiently. This also gives you a chance to inspect your plant for any pesky pests or bugs.

‘Bee’ Kind to Our Pollinators

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Several years ago, I started blogging about our concerns for pollinators – the bird, bees, and butterflies – that are key to our gardens and essential to much of our food supply.

At that time, the headlines talked about things like bee colony collapse disorder, butterflies that were disappearing at an alarming rate, and how these declines could impact crops that depend on pollinators. Up to 75% of the food we eat relies in part on pollinators, from almonds to watermelons. 

The news is somewhat better today. Honey bees have made a remarkable comeback and while some species of butterflies (specifically the iconic monarchs that migrate between Mexico and Canada) were formally put on the endangered species list last year, other butterflies are stable and even thriving.

Yet, the danger isn’t over. One of the biggest concerns is climate change, which is impacting pollinators’ food sources. Flowering plants are blooming earlier or later than they used to, putting them out of sync with when pollinators are active. Extreme weather events like droughts, heat waves, and flooding are also endangering pollinators.

Together, we can help alleviate the challenges faced by pollinators, either by creating more gardens or making some changes in existing gardens so they are more friendly to birds, bees and butterflies.

You can expand pollinators’ garden habitats by planting at least three different pollinator-friendly plants that bloom in three different seasons (spring, summer and fall) to help ensure a consistent food supply. 

Towards the end of summer and beginning of fall, your best pollinator attractors include: Rudbeckia, Gaillardia, Catmint, Coreopsis, Agastache, Monarda, Lavender, Penstemon, Yarrow, Echinacea, Summer Phlox, Trumpet Vine, Russian Sage and, of course, Butterfly bushes.

Adopting some other strategic choices in your garden will help pollinators thrive as well. You can:

  • Create habitats for pollinators by supplying necessary water, food, shelter and places to raise their young. A great example is a “bee condo,” which you can make or purchase. 
  • Plant in clumps as clustering plants makes them easier to find and shortens the need for travel, reserving the energy of backyard pollinators.
  • Choose a variety of colors and shapes, as different pollinators are attracted to different types of flowers. (For example, flat petal flowers for butterflies, who “taste” with their feet; funnel-like flowers for hummingbirds; yellow and blue flowers for bees, who have difficulty seeing red.)
  • Use pollinator-safe pesticides and follow the directions for use carefully.

Warner’s locally grown native plant selection, as well as all the other quality plants from our nursery, provide multiple food sources for pollinators. Not only will they keep your local pollinators well fed, they’ll also keep your garden and yard looking lovely too.

Stop by and let us know if we can help.

Happy Gardening,

Houseplant of the Week: Kalanchoe

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Kalanchoe, which also goes by the lively names “Flaming Katy” and “Madagascar Widow’s-thrill,” is a popular succulent that comes in a wide variety of vibrant colors, including yellow, pink, magenta, orange and red. These blooms are set off by gorgeous, large, deep-green leaves.

They like bright, natural light as long as they don’t get too much direct sun, which can cause burning. The more light they get, the better; the flowers often won’t bloom if the plant doesn’t get enough.

As succulents, Kalanchoe don’t want to be sopping wet. They need good drainage. Water well and then water again when dry (which could mean up to two weeks depending on your house temperature, lighting and the size of the pot).

When you repot, use a mix of regular potting soil and one designed for succulents. And while Kalanchoe aren’t particularly vulnerable to pests, keep an eye out for aphids and mealybugs.

Houseplant of the Week: Aloe Vera Plant

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Aloe vera plants are succulents, meaning they store water in their leaves. This makes them very drought-tolerant and easy to care for. However, there are a few things you need to do to keep your aloe vera plant healthy and happy.

Light: Aloe vera plants need bright, indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves. If you’re growing your aloe vera plant indoors, place it in a south- or west-facing window. If you’re growing it outdoors, plant it in a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade.

Water: Aloe vera plants should be watered deeply, but infrequently. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. If you overwater your aloe vera plant, its roots will rot.

Soil: Aloe vera plants prefer well-draining soil. A cactus mix or a succulent mix is ideal. You can also add some sand or perlite to your regular potting soil to improve drainage.

Fertilizer: Your aloe vera don’t need much fertilizer. Feeding once a month during the spring and summer is all they need.

The Peace Lily

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This week, we take a look at Spathiphyllum, better known as the “Peace Lily,” a great example of a spadix type of plant, where a spike of tiny little flowers is encased in a curved leaf-like structure known as a spathe. Peace Lilies are sometimes called Spathe flowers.

Besides being quite beautiful, Peace Lilies are valued as houseplants because they are easy to take care of and can acclimate to lower levels of light.

Peace Lilies symbolize purity and innocence and are often given as a gift to those who have suffered a loss, as the white lily represents the rebirth of the soul.

Caring for Your Peace Lily

Peace lilies are tropical plants, so they like warm temps, moist soil and high humidity.

  • Try not to put them near a cold, drafty window. A nice cozy room with indirect light will make them feel at home.
  • They will put up with dry soil for a little while, but eventually, their leaves will start to brown if neglected, so keep that soil moist. On the other hand, don’t overwater!
  • Northern Arizona is a dry place, so mist their leaves on occasion for increased humidity.
  • Peace lilies are not big eaters, so you only have to fertilize occasionally – about every six weeks, particularly to encourage growth in the spring and summer.

Our Commitment to Community

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As gardeners and plant enthusiasts, we’ve always believed in the importance of “cultivating” the good in our community. When you sow seeds of kindness and commitment in the place you live, your community will grow and thrive, just like a flower bed or vegetable patch.

Over the next few weeks, Warner’s Nursery will be supporting two community efforts to benefit our friends and neighbors (including some four-legged ones) in Flagstaff.

On Sunday, June 25, we’ll be the venue sponsor for High Country Humane’s annual Paws For The Perfect Taste fundraiser. Join us in our beautiful nursery for an evening of savory appetizers and delicious desserts, beer and wine tastings, entertainment and live and silent auctions.

Since the beginning of this year, High Country Humane has been bursting at the seams with approximately 1,000 intakes of dogs, cats and other animals. It’s going to be a busy summer for the shelter, which needs your help now more than ever.

Tickets are $75 a person ($140 a couple) and benefit the High Country Humane animal shelter. You can get tickets here for what promises to be an enjoyable evening. Don’t miss this chance to have a blast while helping a good cause!

The following week, on July 1, we’ll be having our annual Summer Blood Drive in the parking lot of the nursery. Donors will give blood inside Vitalant’s comfy donation bus. Giving blood is vital during the summer, when donations drop off as people go on vacation and that’s particularly true during the Independence Day holiday weekend.

In addition to doing good, you’ll be eligible for a whole slew of rewards and goodies for participating in the blood drive:

  • You’ll be automatically entered to win a 2023 VW Tiguan S, donated by the Valley Volkswagen dealers.
  • You’ll receive a voucher from Culver’s for a free pint of fresh frozen custard.
  • You can enter a drawing for a chance to win one of two $50 gift certificates at Warner’s Nursery.
  • You’ll get a coupon for 15% off regularly priced items at Warner’s Nursery.
  • You can get a special Vitalant cooler, redeemable by email.
  • And all donors receive a complimentary cholesterol test!

Please make your appointment to give the gift of life by clicking HERE.

We hope we’ll see you at one of the events we are hosting and thank you in advance for helping us cultivate a better community.

Happy Gardening,

Houseplant of the Week: Peperomia ‘Ginny’

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Peperomias are tropical plants from the pepper family that are popular as indoor plants because they are easy to take care of and come in an almost endless array of colors and varieties.

One of the newest versions is Peperomia clusiifolia known as Peperomia Ginny or sometimes a Tricolor Peperomia because of its varigated, colorful leaves.

Like other Peperomia, this plant thrives in medium to bright, indirect light, but it can also tolerate low light relatively well.

You’ll want to water your plant every one to two weeks, allowing the potting mix or soil to dry out between waterings. If you see your leaves turning yellow and dropping off, it can be a sign that you are overwatering.

Because of a tendency towards root rot, you’ll want to plant your Peperomia in a pot with good drainage and use a light, well-draining soil for your plant.