This Week’s Specials

Posted on by

This week’s specials are good until April 18th. 

  • $10 off rain barrels
  • Warnergrown quart For Laramie Strawberry plants, not $4 (regularly $5.99)
  • 20% off Bareroot Asparagus (Mary Washington)
  • Select Warnergrown 1-gallon perennials, now 2 for $12 (regularly $7.99)

Houseplant of the Week: Tradescantia

Posted on by

Tradescantia goes by many names, including wandering jew and the purple inch plant. Whatever you call it, however, it is a beauty that looks great in a hanging planter or spreading along a flat surface.

Part of the spiderwort family and originally from Mexico, Tradescantia is a plant that grows easily – some might argue too easily. In fact, in certain zones, it is grown outside and can be seen as invasive!

But as a indoor plant, it will be a welcome and colorful addition to any room.

Typically, Tradescantia matures into a plant about 6 to 9 inches in height spreading 12 to 24 inches.

Caring for Your Tradescantia

Probably the trickiest part of cultivating your Tradescantia is getting the moisture levels right. These plants like their water, but like most plants will develop root rot if they are soggy. Your best bet is to make sure that it is planted in potting soil that drains well. Mixing a little sand into your potting soil can help. Water them when the soil starts to get dry; don’t let the plant fully dry out.

You’ll also be looking to find the right balance for light. Tradescantia likes bright but indirect light. Too little light and the distinctive variegation on its leaves will start to fade. Too much direct sunlight and those leaves will scorch. However, they can tolerate some direct light, which makes them a great choice for growing in a sunny window.

Propagating Your Inch Plant

Remember how we said this plant was easy to grow? Well, that applies to creating new plants from cuttings. Simply take a one-inch piece of stem containing at least one leaf and set it in fresh potting soil. Water it regularly and you should have a fully rooted new plant in just a few weeks.

Houseplant of the Week: Spring Cactus

Posted on by

A close relation to the Christmas Cactus, the Spring Cactus (also known as the Easter Cactus) is a succulent that can bloom well into May.

But don’t think of it as a seasonal plant that’s only for spring. After it finishes blooming, this cactus makes a lovely houseplant and, with a little work, you can coax it to bloom again in the future.

Caring for your Spring Cactus
These plants prefer bright, indirect light. Use a cactus mix soil to make sure they get the drainage they need. We can’t stress enough how important this is, because these plants can get root rot, so make sure you do not let it sit in water.

Spring cactus, unlike regular cacti, like cool temperatures. Fertilize monthly after the bloom period with food with a low nitrogen count. 

Following this care plan, you’ll have a nice, healthy green cactus for the bulk of the year. But if you want to have blooms the following spring, you need to be a little mean to your plant.

First, you need to stop feeding it. Then you need to put it in the dark for about 12 to 14 hours a day. Then you need to keep them cold (the best budding will happen when temperatures are about 50 degrees).

At the end of the year, you can move the plant to somewhere warmer, say about 65 degrees, and your plant will start flowering again in February.

Bulbs, Bulbs, Bulbs

Posted on by

Typically, I write to you about bulbs during the fall to remind you to plant the ones that are coming up right now – things like tulips, crocus, daffodils and irises. It’s always heartbreaking when we get people in the nursery around this time of year looking for tulip bulbs and we have to break it to them that they missed getting them into the ground in time.

But getting your spring-blooming bulbs into the ground in time is only half the story. You also need to know how to maintain these plants once they’ve poked their pretty blossoms out of the soil.

Here are some tips:

  • You need to keep the soil moist but well drained. You don’t want to allow the bulb to dry out during this time as it will affect how long the blooms will last.
  • Once they are done blooming, it’s important NOT to cut back the unsightly foliage, because this is how the bulb stores energy in order to bloom next year. Instead, you can fold the foliage over and secure it with a rubber band to hide it.
  • Another way to make areas with spent bulbs look more attractive is to plant other perennials to hide the foliage. I love using pansies and violas, since they look beautiful paired with bulb flowers and both can take our current cold nights.

It’s also good to remember that spring bulbs aren’t the only ones around. There are summer blooming bulbs, like begonias, caladium, dahlias, gladiola, elephant ears and more. So you can still plant some spectacular looking bulbs this year, but understand the planting process will be a little different than for spring bulbs.

Right now, summer bulbs can be purchased, but other than edibles like onion, scallions and garlic, these summer-blooming bulbs are tropical. Unlike spring bulbs – which not only like, but need cold weather – these summer bulbs can’t take the cold. That means they shouldn’t be planted outside until the threat of frost is over – which, as we know, can be well into spring in Flagstaff.

We suggest planting in containers inside and moving them out towards the end of May. The general rule of thumb is, if it’s time for you tomatoes to go outside, it’s time to plant your summer bulbs.

And, unlike your spring bulbs, chances are you’ll need to plant new bulbs every spring for summer blooms.

Whether you are enjoying your bulbs in the spring or summer, they are a beautiful addition to any garden.

Happy Spring!
Misti

Houseplant of the Week: Schefflera

Posted on by

Better known as the umbrella or parasol plant, the Schefflera is yet another example of a houseplant that will not only lend beauty to your home, they will also clean the air for you.

Available in both solid green and variegated varieties, the Schefflera likes “medium” light, which basically means good light without being in direct sunlight, which can scorch its leaves. It will tolerate a darker house, but you’ll want to rotate your plant, because it will lean towards the light source.

Schefflera likes nice moist soil, but it’s forgiving if you forget to water it for a week or two. On the other hand, you definitely don’t want to overwater as this will eventually kill it. A good rule of thumb is to water it when the first inch of soil dries out. Get rid of any excess water lying in the drip tray to avoid problems like root rot.

You also may need to prune your schefflera periodically, particularly when it is being grown in lower light situations, which can lead the plants growth to be “leggy” or floppy. Just cut away the overgrowth until the plant regains it shape.

Schefflera is occasionally susceptible to spider mites, mealy bugs and other scale insects. Insecticidal soap can usually take care of it, but if you have a persistent infestation of bugs, you might need to break out the neem oil or possibly use a systemic insecticide for houseplants.

Soil: the Foundation of Your Garden

Posted on by

The foundation for all gardens is the soil we use to grow our flowers and food, and the sad truth is that soil in and around Flagstaff often isn’t up to the job. 

Our arid climate means that both rocks and plant materials break down very slowly, so soil doesn’t have a chance to develop. This results in soil that is nutrient-poor (about 1% organic matter) and slightly alkaline, both of which interfere with a plant’s ability to draw needed nourishment from the soil.

Add to that the amount of clay in our dirt, which is impermeable and doesn’t give our plants the porous environment needed for proper drainage.

However, soil can be amended to make it more hospitable for your garden.

You first step is to determine the pH level and “texture” of your soil. We have inexpensive kits at the nursery to find out what your soil has and what it needs to be good garden soil.

Once you determine what your soil’s made of, the next step is to amend it to adjust the pH (if needed), improve texture, and add nutrients. Our staff at Warner’s can help you choose the correct amendments to adjust your soil and give a solid foundation to your garden.

Here are a few other tips for good soil in northern Arizona:

  1. Whether it’s broccoli or begonias, it’s important to plant your garden organically.

  2. Reduce waste by composting and create a probiotic for your soil. Added benefit: it will reduce your household trash significantly.

  3. Grow cover and pulse crops such as buckwheat, beans, lentils and clover. They do double duty- enriching garden nutrients while controlling weeds.

These steps will give you healthy, happy and organically rich soil for your garden.

Happy Spring!
Misti

Houseplant of the Week: African Violets

Posted on by

Looking for a cutie to cultivate in a very small space? If so, check out the African violet.

This distinctive looking plant has bunches of purple, pink and white flowers surrounded by green, slightly fuzzy leaves.

African violets like medium to bright indirect light, which encourages blooming. You also want to make sure that the soil is moist but not soggy as they can suffer from root and crown rot. Make sure to water at the base and not on the leaves.

You also need to make sure that you take care of the leaves as their fuzzy texture can catch debris. Brush the leaves off with a small soft brush to remove dirt. Fertilize every two weeks during the spring and summer growing season.

Houseplant of the Week: Arrowhead Plants

Posted on by

A hardy houseplant with uniquely shaped leaves, the Arrowhead plant is actually a vine, although you won’t see that early on since it grows very slowly. It works well as a hanging plant or in a standing pot and is also very easy to maintain.

Not only that, an established and healthy plant is easy to propagate with cuttings.

So what is the Arrowhead (also known as a Nyphthytis) looking for in its home?

  • Let your plant dry out between waterings. 
  • It likes a little humidity, particularly in the winter, so misting the plant daily or placing it on a pebble tray will help it thrive.
  • Make sure its soil drains well (if it’s too wet, it will lead to root rot).
  • Make sure your lighting is right. Arrowheads actually come in different shades and while green leaves will enjoy low or medium light, plants with pink or white leaves want bright, indirect light.
  • In either case do not place directly in the sun, which can bleach out the leaves.

Planning Now for Veggie Garden Success

Posted on by

Northern Arizona Gardeners have two big challenges every year as they work to get their veggie gardens growing. The first is our high elevation and the second is a shorter-than-average growing season. We barely have 100 days where it doesn’t dip into freezing temperatures overnight.

The good news is that with a little prep work outside and some seed starting indoors, you can still enjoy the whole range of cool- and warm-weather veggies.

Getting the Ground Ready

First off, identify and prepare your planting space. For vegetables, you want a spot with at least five to six hours of full sun.

You also need good soil. Rich soil that drains well and has a proper mix of nutrients is crucial to successful gardening. 

Bad soil is rampant throughout northern Arizona, but the only way to be sure is to test your soil. (We have DIY kits here at Warner’s). The tests will let you know what amendments you might need to improve your soil.

If your soil won’t support a garden, however, consider creating a “raised” garden bed. You’ll want to fill the bed with a mix of topsoil, compost and other organic materials like manure to give your plants that nutrient-rich environment that is so important for their growth.

Growing from Seeds in Early Spring

While you are getting your soil ready in your yard or building your raised bed, you can start your plants off inside your home from seed.

The first step is to get the right supplies. In addition to the seeds, you’ll need containers, soil and eventually, fertilizer. Seed trays are probably the easiest and most convenient way to start off your garden.

Resist the temptation to repurpose houseplant soil or just get dirt from your garden. Instead, invest in a “seedling mix” that is specifically formulated to help grow seeds and is typically a lighter soil, which makes it easier for seedlings to break through the soil once they germinate.

When you see the first true leaves appear, you’ll want to add some fertilizer to provide nutrients and make sure they are getting the sunshine (or lighting system) they need to grow.

Transplanting

As we get further into spring, watch the weather and look for a period with no frost in the forecast, probably around late April. This is a good time for “cold-season” veggies, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, lettuce and spinach to move outside. You’ll want to wait until May to transplant warm-season vegetables like eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and squash.

Here’s a trick you might want to try as you transplant your vegetables: expose your seedlings to the elements gradually before moving them to their final container or garden bed. One way is to leave the seedlings out during the day and bring them back in at night so they can adjust and “harden” to the elements.

Remember that northern Arizona weather is changeable. You might need to cover your newly planted veggies with frost cloth on certain nights. Or you can use season extenders, tubes of water that surround an individual plant. The water in the tubes heats up from the sun during the day and keep the soil beneath the plant and the air around it warm.

We wish you the best of luck as you start your 2021 garden. If you have any questions, please stop by the nursery or give us a call. We’d love to help.

Happy Gardening, 
Misti

Houseplant of the Week: Air Plants

Posted on by

Tillandsia are plants that – believe it or not – live on air. Appropriately enough, they are nicknamed “air plants.” They are a great example of evolutionary adaption – they can grow on telephone poles and rocks and other places without soil. Their photosynthesis process allows them to get most of their nutrients from the air around them.

This relatively low-maintenance plant needs a good soaking when you first get it. Once it’s dry, you can place it in its new home, preferably with some bright, indirect light (or even artificial light). Do not plant it in soil and make sure there’s plenty of air circulation.

Air plants on a pebble filled bowl

Depending on the size and type of air plant you get, maintenance involves periodic misting or soaking – more in the summer when they are likely to dry out and less often in the winter.

A couple of tips – when you soak your air plant, make sure it’s completely dry before putting it back into its home so it doesn’t develop mold. If the tips of the leaves get dried out, that’s a sign that your air plant might be thirsty or that it is getting too much direct light. You can carefully cut off these tips with sharp scissors.