Houseplant of the Week: Fiddle Leaf Fig

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Two weeks ago we told you about rubber plants (ficus elastica) and last week we talked about the weeping fig (ficus banjamina). This week we complete our ficus trifecta by focusing on the fiddle leaf fig or ficus lyrata.

This is the glamour puss of the ficus world. Tall and stately, it grows in a column and tends to go up, instead of out, so it works well as a decorative tree that has the drama of big leaves without taking over the whole room. Those leaves are violin or lyre shaped, thus the name.

Fiddle leaf figs tend to get a bad rap as being, well, fiddly, but they honestly are not that demanding. Probably their biggest concerns are getting enough bright (but filtered) light and keeping warm (remember this is a tropical plant – putting one near the fan or the a/c is just torture). Like most plants, the fiddle leaf fig likes its soil moist but not sopping wet, which will lead to droopy leaves and root rot.

What they do like is a little moisture in the air, which can be hard to achieve in dry Arizona, so try misting to make the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig happy.

Making the Most of Monsoon Season

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It hasn’t quite hit us yet, but we are right on the verge on Monsoon Season, with its cooler temps and welcome water.

We often talk in this space about being “water-wise” in our dry climate – things like using drip irrigation systems and selecting drought-resistant plants for your garden. Now, as the monsoon season starts, it’s time to take advantage of the weather by practicing rainwater harvesting.

There are lots of great reasons to harvest rainwater: lower water bills and general water conservation immediately spring to mind. But it’s also better for your plants since it’s not treated with any chemicals and it reduces soil erosion.

Rain barrels, which can be any container you use to catch water from a downspout, typically have a screen mesh to prevent debris from getting into the container and a spigot allowing you to attach your hose to the barrel and water your plants or grass.

You want to make sure your barrel is on a sturdy platform. Remember, unless you plan to install a pump, your rain barrel will be using gravity to move the water from the barrel through the hose and into your garden or yard, so the additional height will help increase the rate of flow.

Here are a few tips to make using a rain barrel safe and easy:

  • You can use emitters and timers with your rain barrel system for distribution, but make sure they are for low-pressure systems. If you get parts that require 10 or 15 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI), they will not work with your rain barrel.
  • Make sure to keep your rain barrel clean; remove any debris that might block the screen mesh and clean the inside regularly to reduce algae growth.
  • Keep your rain container out of direct sunlight. That will slow down evaporation of the rainwater you collect and also discourage mosquito breeding.
  • Make sure no one drinks from this water. This water is great for your plants, but it’s not potable, so you might want to mark it so and take extra care that your kids and pets don’t try to drink from it.

Properly thought out and installed, rainwater harvesting can be great for you, your wallet and your garden.

Happy Gardening,
Misti Warner-Andersen

Houseplant of the Week: Ficus benjamina

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Keeping with our ficus theme from last week, we turn our attention to ficus benjamina, also known as the weeping fig or ficus benjy.

Like other ficuses, it features nice thick foliage with dark rich leaves. It needs a bright room and steadily moist soil.

So why does it weep? Well, it doesn’t like being distressed and when it is, it responds by dropping its leaves. But if you put it in a nice bright room and leave it there (it doesn’t like moving around) and don’t overwater it, it should stay calm and beautiful.

On the plus side, this is one of the great houseplants for cleaning your indoor air.

Early Bird Specials This Saturday

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Stop by bright and early this Saturday, July 6, for our Early Bird Sale at Warner’s Nursery. All specials available from 8 am to 11 am.

  • 30% off fountains & birdbaths
  • Buy 2, get 1 free 4” perennial plants
  • 20% off roses
  • 10% off all flowering shrubs

Sales only good from 8 am to 11 am this Saturday, July 6.

4th of July Savings

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4th of July Holiday Hours: 8:30 am – 4 pm

Warner’s is celebrating Independence Day with these
July 4th specials:

  • Buy 2, get 1 free on 6 pack annuals
  • 20% off any 1 perennial
  • 30% off any 1 item not already on sale

Attracting the Wildlife You Want

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On the days I get to sit back and enjoy my garden (instead of working at the nursery to help you with yours!) one of the big rewards is getting to see the ecosystems my garden supports in my little patch of the world.

There’s nothing like sitting on your patio, feeling the sun on your back and watching butterflies floating around your shrubs, bees collecting pollen from your flowers, and hummingbirds filling up from your feeders.

Besides bringing buzz and birdsong into your yard, these pollinator-friendly gardens allow you to help Mother Earth. We’ve all heard about bee colony collapse and anything you do to help bees helps all of us. (It’s estimated that bees and their power of pollination are responsible for about a third of the food we eat).

But your garden might also attract animals that will wind up feasting in your veggie patch and stomping on your blooms. Yep, I’m looking at you, Bambi and Thumper.

Here’s what I do to attract the wildlife I love – and keep out those animals that might damage my flowers and veggies:

  • Bird feeders. Nothing says “come on by” better than free food. Suet, seed and sugar water keep my backyard filled with lovely feathered friends. I also have a water feature with running water that the birds seem to love.
  • Layered plantings. By layering your plants, you give little critters more safe spaces from creatures that might prey on them. It also allows them to go from plant to plant without expending too much energy.
  • Pollinators favorites. My garden is full of Dianthus, Catmint, and Monarda and these are very popular with the bee and butterfly set.

I’m fortunate in that my home has fencing, so I don’t get rabbits and deer. However, there are deer resistant plants and shrubs you can plant, and you might want to use a repellent spray to keep away the mammals likely to feast on your flora.

  • Deer shy away from some plants because they are actually poisonous to them (think daffodils and foxglove), while others just “stink” as far as they are concerned, such as ornamental salvia, lavender and peonies.
  • Rabbits are pretty voracious, but tend not to like gardens with: daffodils, lavender, lilac bushes, marigolds, zinnias and snapdragons.
  • Groundhogs also don’t like lavender along with many, many herbs (basil, sage, chives, rosemary, mint and oregano).

Unfortunately, nothing seems to keep the squirrels away – which is one of the reasons I’m really happy I have a dog. 🙂

With careful planning and a little prep, you’ll be able to share your backyard with the wildlife you want – and keep those garden destroyers out of your yard.

Happy Gardening,
Misti Warner-Andersen

Houseplant of the Week: Rubber Tree

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Tall, dark, handsome and super easy to grow: what’s not to love about a rubber tree plant?

With it’s beautiful dark glossy leaves, ficus elastica is one of the easiest varieties to cultivate. It doesn’t drop leaves all the time like the Weeping Fig and doesn’t demand as much maintenance as your average Fiddleleaf Fig.

It also grows fast. In nature, rubber tree plants can grow to up to 80 feet, so if you keep re-potting this houseplant into bigger and bigger pots it will get wider and taller. However, If you limit it to a 10-inch diameter pot, you should get a nice 3- to 4-foot tall plant.

Rubber plants love light but keep it from direct sunlight that might burn its leaves. Do not attempt to grow this in a spot with low light; you’ll be disappointed.

Water your rubber tree about once a week during the spring and summer and every two weeks in fall and winter. Good potting soil will make your rubber tree happy. Use fertilizer sparingly – maybe once in the spring and once during the summer.

Also, do not be alarmed by some root structure that you might see at the based of the plant. Your plant is not trying to climb out of its pot; these are “aerial” roots and perfectly normal.

Warner’s Blood Drive July 3

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Join us for the Warner’s Annual Blood Drive and donate blood on Wednesday, July 3 at Warner’s Nursery. We’ll have the cool and comfortable bloodmobile bus from Vitalant in our parking lot at 1101 E. Butler Ave. from 10 am to 3 pm.

Every summer, blood donations drop by about 25% as typical donors are away on vacation or busy with projects.  You can help by donating your blood on July 3.

In addition to being a hero for giving a pint of blood at Warner’s Nursery, you’ll also be eligible for some great prizes:

  • 15 percent off your entire purchase of regularly-priced items on Wednesday, July 3.
  • Entry into a drawing for a $25 Warner’s gift card.
  • Free one-day admission into the Coconino County Fair.

For more information, you can contact us at 928-744-1983 or schedule your appointment at www.BloodHero.com. Use sponsor code “warners” to find our July 3 blood drive.

We hope to see you there!

Houseplant of the Week: African Violets

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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. 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.