This Week’s Specials

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These specials are good thru Sunday, April 2
  • 72 cell greenhouse kit, now $19.99 (regularly $26.00). Great for starting seeds inside.
  • 10% off any 1 bag of birdseed
Plus we are continuing the MULCH MADNESS specials, now good through Sunday, April 2

Buy 3 and get 1 free (of equal or lesser value.)

  • Warner’s Mulch, 1.5- and 3-cu ft sizes
  • Warner’s Topsoil, 1.5 cu ft
  • Warner’s Supreme Planting Mix, 1.5 cu

All specials while supplies lasts.

Seed Potatoes!

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It officially became spring this week and that can only mean one thing – it’s seed potato season!

Yes, you can easily grow your own tubers to enjoy baked, mashed, scalloped or fried.

Potatoes require little maintenance and don’t even require much space to grow, so whether you have a huge garden or are growing potatoes in an apartment, you’ll have lots of delicious starchy goodness to enjoy.

Because tubers will grow in the soil that lies between the surface and the original potato start, it’s important to mound additional soil on top of the emerging plant. You may have do this a couple of times in the early stages of growth, so plant your potatoes in an area that allows you to mound the dirt over them.

Here’s how you can grow potatoes in six easy steps.

Step 1: Choose where to plant.

It can be in the ground, a raised bed, or a planter box. Just remember that potatoes need a soil depth of about two feet to grow in, and they will rot if left to sit in wet soil; make sure your have good drainage wherever you plant.

Step 2: Choose your potato.

No, you shouldn’t use potatoes from the grocery store. Why? Because most store potatoes are treated with a “sprout retardant” which gives them a longer life in your pantry, but doesn’t work for planting. What you want is certified seed potatoes from a reputable garden center like Warner’s Nursery.

In terms of variety, you’ll want to choose a potato that best suits your taste and how you plan to cook them:

  • Fingerling – Low in Starch. Use: Roasted potatoes, steamed or broiled potatoes
  • Red Skinned – Low in Starch. Use: Potato Salads, Gratins, Fried potatoes
  • Yukon Gold – Medium Starch. Use: Baked Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Soups
  • Russet: High in Starch. Use: Baked Potatoes, French Fries, Potato Pancakes

Step 3: Plant the potato

Potatoes prefer slightly acidic soil but will perform well in almost any soil. If you are planting in a container, always choose a potting soil. If planting in the ground, garden compost works well.

Each eye of the potato will grow, therefore you can cut the potato into several pieces each with an eye. Allow the cuts to dry prior to planting.

Press the potato start about 6 inches into the soil with the eyes facing toward the sun. Cover the starts with soil. Remember to mound additional soil on top of the emerging plant, leaving some green foliage above the soil line so that the leaves can photosynthesize. (Another reason not to let the potatoes have direct exposure to the sun is that it will “green” the potato which can make them bitter – and potentially toxic!)

Step 4: Watering and fertilizer

Potatoes require minimal care. Keep the soil moist, but avoid over watering, which will cause the potatoes to rot. After the plant has grown a few inches tall, apply an organic fertilizer that is safe for edibles. This should be the only round of fertilizer you apply, as too much fertilizer will produce a large, lush plant; but few tubers.

Step 5: Let the foliage expire

If you are impatient (like me!), you can harvest the small baby potatoes as soon as the plant finishes flowering. Once the flowers are gone, the plant’s energy is completely invested in growing tubers. As the plant starts to turn yellow and die back, dig down and gently harvest a few potatoes to test their size. People willing to wait the full term for tuber maturity will know it’s time to harvest when the potato plant dies back completely.

Step 6: Harvest – and enjoy!

Depending on how you planted your potatoes, you will either need to dump out the container or dig them out of the earth. Once you’ve harvested all the potatoes, dispose of the soil and the expired plant. The nutrients in the soil are gone and it may harbor disease, so don’t reuse the soil or put in the compost pile.

Wash the potatoes, and allow them to air dry before storing. Harvested potatoes can be kept in a cool, dark location for several months.

Happy gardening!

Houseplant of the Week: Geogenanthus ciliatrius

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A relative newcomer to the houseplant scene, Geogenanthus ciliatrius (or “Geo” for short), is a stunner originally from the rainforests of Ecuador and Peru. Until recently, it was relatively hard to come by, but last year Geo became the “it” plant, getting a lot of press in articles with headlines like “The 12 Coolest New Houseplants of 2022.”

It’s easy to see what the buzz is about.

The plant has large, shiny oval-shaped leaves that are so dark they almost appear black (typically, they start out green with a purple stripe and as they age the purple takes over and grows deeper and deeper in color).

But they are a bit tricky to cultivate. They prefer low-light areas, so don’t stick them on a windowsill or in a bright room. As befits their rainforest beginnings, they like their soil moist and their air humid. Let the top inch of soil dry out and then completely drench the plant when you water. Geo will quickly decline if its soil gets too dry. Use an evaporation tray to provide the humid air it craves.

You can feed your plant during the spring and summer, but not when it isn’t actively growing. In fact, over-fertilizing can do more harm than good.

Finally, “listen” to your Geo, because it will let you know when it needs some tender care. Curling or limp leaves? Probably your plant’s soil is too dry. Brown leaf edges? Geo is telling you it needs more humidity. Brown spots are usually caused by your plant being hit with direct sunlight.

Lastly, those large lovely leaves can get dusty, and this not only diminishes the look of the plant, it can also interfere with its biological functions. Rinse the plant off or wipe the leaves with a clean cloth periodically to keep your Geo healthy and looking beautiful.

Houseplant of the Week: European Cypress

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Although you typically see European Cypress outside, with their tall columns of dense blue green conifer leaves, it is possible to grow this plant as a houseplant.

Despite names that link it with the European continent (it’s also commonly known as an Italian or Mediterranean Cypress), the tree’s roots are firmly in Persia – modern day Iran. You can, however, find this cypress growing wild in places like Greece, Turkey and Israel.

The dwarf version of the European Cypress does very well as a container plant, but you’ll need to replicate some of the conditions it would get if it was planted outside in your garden.

That means a picking a sunny location in your home with at least six hours of brightness and good air circulation.

European Cypress will tolerate almost any type of soil, but your pot should have good drainage to prevent root rot. You want to keep the soil moist, but not heavily saturated. Don’t let the soil dry out completely.

Your plant would also appreciate a misting about once a month.

Keep your European Cypress happy and you can have the joy of bringing the beauty of the outdoors right into your home.

Houseplant of the Week: Oxalis or ‘Shamrock’ Plant

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With St. Patrick’s Day arriving in a few weeks, we thought we’d turn our attention to what’s often called the Shamrock houseplant – but in truth is the woodsorrel known as Oxalis.

Boasting hundreds of varieties, you’ll usually see oxalis with green or purple clover-like leaves.

They are also a relatively easy houseplant to cultivate. There is one very important thing to keep in mind however: these plants tend to go into dormancy during the summer. Don’t throw them out! They’re resting, not dead.

Caring for Your Oxalis

Soil/Watering: Your Oxalis would like lightly moist soil and make sure to let it dry out between waterings.

Light/Temperature: Room temperature and good air circulation are perfect for the oxalis. It likes bright, but not direct light. (Except when it’s resting, as we’ll explain below.)

Food: Fertilize with a balanced houseplant food every few months.

I’m not dead, I’m resting: In late spring or early summer, the leaves will begin to die, but the plant is still okay. It’s just going into its period of dormancy to rest. Move the plant to a cooler, darker location, away from direct light and leave it alone – no water or fertilizer.  Just check on your plant every couple of weeks; dormancy can last from several weeks up to about three months, depending on the plant and external conditions.

When you see new shoots, your oxalis has woken up and would love it if you moved it back into the light and resumed regular care.

Houseplant of the Week: Cyclamen

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There’s something very romantic about cyclamen, one of our favorite winter houseplants.

Maybe it’s the petite blooms on long stems that stretch up above its green and silver foliage. Or the colors – cyclamen flowers come in shades of pink, violet, red and white and have a pleasing, sweet scent. Or those heart-shaped leaves.

All we know is that during Valentine’s Week, we can’t keep them in stock!

We mention that they are our favorite winter houseplant, because unlike most indoor plants, their dormancy period is in the summer. Cyclamen are “tuberous perennials,” meaning they die down to their thick roots (tubers) in the heat of summer, then re-emerge and bloom again as the temperatures cool in fall.

Here are some tips for cyclamen care:

Light: Bright and indirect light in winter when the plant is actively growing. When dormant, keep your cyclamen in a cool, dark area with good ventilation.

Soil: These pretty plants like organically rich soil that drains well. Potting soil does well, but you might want to add some peat in to increase the acidity slightly.

Water: When leaves are present, the plant is actively growing and you should water when the first inch of soil below the surface feels dry. Do not overwater! It’s a common way to kill these plants. Don’t get the leaves or crown of the plant wet, which can lead to rot.

When the plant is dormant during the summer, reduce watering. All you are trying to do during this time is prevent the soil from entirely drying out.

Temperature and Humidity – Cyclamen plants don’t like extreme heat or dry air. Keep them away from drafts too. During the winter, when our air is so dry, cyclamen really want high humidity. Our suggestion would be keeping your cyclamen on a tray with pebbles and water. Just make sure that it isn’t sitting in the water, as that can cause root rot.

Feeding Time – Your cyclamen would appreciate some diluted liquid low-nitrogen fertilizer every couple of weeks while in full leaf. You don’t need to feed your cyclamen while it’s dormant.

You Still Need to Water in Winter

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It’s a question I get asked all the time at the nursery: Do you need to water your garden in winter?

Yes, you do.

While your garden has gone dormant, your plants still need water to fuel basic metabolic functions.

And while it might seem silly to mention this after the massive snowfall we’ve seen recently in Flagstaff, it’s meant to be a reminder to keep caring for your trees and plants this winter after the snow melts. As a rule of thumb, about 10 inches of snow equals about 1 inch of water, so even this historic snowfall won’t provide all the water your trees and perennials need for the season.


Arizona’s past two monsoon seasons and this month’s snowfall were exceptional, and not the rule for northern Arizona.

In general, our area tends to be arid, a trend that has worsened over the years because of climate change. Add to that the cold and wind of winter in Arizona’s high country and you have a perfect storm of conditions leading to very dry soil and a lot of drought stress for plants even in years with snow and rain.


You should plan on watering once or twice a month during the winter when there isn’t snow cover and temperatures are above 40 degrees. Because that watering schedule is so infrequent, you might want to put it in your day planner. And, of course, you’ll be watering by hand since you should have winterized any drip irrigation system you have.

Another question we often get is how much water is enough during the winter. It depends on the size of the tree, shrub or perennial plant and whether it is new or well-established.

As a general rule, you’ll need about 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree. For example, a two-inch diameter tree needs 20 gallons per watering. The trick is to water slowly; you can’t just dump 10 or 20 gallons of water all at once, as it will run off instead of soaking down to the roots.

Newly planted shrubs require about twice as much water as an established shrub needs. You should be looking at 5 gallons each time you water a new shrub and 2.5 gallons for shrubs planted at least a year ago. Make sure they are surrounded by mulch to help them retain the water.

Perennials vary, but know that those planted late in fall did not have as much time to establish their roots as the ones you put into the ground this last spring. Winter watering is highly advisable for late-planted perennials and ones located in windy or southwest exposures.


It’s a good idea to make sure that temperatures are going to hit about 40 degrees on the days you are watering, and you’ll want to water by midday to make sure it’s been absorbed before any nighttime freezes.

You’ll also want to try to water when it isn’t windy out. A drying wind could wind up carrying off the moisture you are trying to get to the roots of your plants.

By watering your garden in winter – even a winter like this one with lots of snow – you are increasing the chances that your garden, trees, shrubs and perennials will be lovely and lush next spring.

Happy gardening (and watering!)

Houseplant of the Week: Hypoestes

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Are you seeing spots? You might very well be looking at Hypoestes, better known as the polka dot plant.

It’s freckly decorative leaves make this a popular outdoor ornamental plant, but it’s vivid oval variegated foliage, in either green and white or green and pink, can also be cultivated as a houseplant.

Even better, it’s easy to propagate your Hypoestes. They get small flowers that will produce seeds that you can germinate in warm moist soil, but the easiest method for propagation is from plant cuttings. Dip your cuttings in rooting hormone and place in peat moss.

Caring for Your Hypoestes

Your freckle-faced plant gets its best color when it is in a low light situation, but you may have to deal with canes of the plant getting “leggy” as they search for light. Indirect bright sunlight is the best for this plant.

Hypoestes does not like the cold and needs temperatures of at least 60 degrees. They like well-drained but moist soil and should be fed once a month.

Houseplant of the Week: Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)

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Not only are aglaonema plants beautiful, there are also very easy to grow, even if you are a novice gardener.

This tropical foliage plant, also known as the Chinese evergreen,  is one of the most durable houseplants you can have. As long as they are warm enough, they will tolerate poor light, dry air and drought.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make your home hospitable to this lovely plant. If those leaves could talk, they’d tell you that they prefer bright, indirect light, some nice cozy temperatures and a bit of humidity (they are originally from the tropics of Asia, after all).

Caring for Your Aglaonema

  • Light: Your Chinese evergreen does well in anything from low to bright, indirect light. The pink-veined variety is one of the few pink plants that can tolerate low light.
  • Water: Let your plant dry out about 50% before watering again as too much liquid can lead to root rot. And keep this rule of thumb in mind: the less light your plant has, the less water it will need.
  • Temperature: They do not like the cold. Keep temperatures in the 70- to 85-degree level, and make sure wherever they are the temperatures don’t drop by more than 10 degrees at night.
  • Fertilizer: Feed older Chinese evergreens a couple of times a year with water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.
  • Pests: Chinese evergreens are susceptible to spider mites, scale, mealybugs and aphids. Check the leaves routinely for signs of pests.

Looking for a Happier, Healthier 2023? Try Houseplants.

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It’s almost the end of 2022 and time to make those New Year’s resolutions, and if you are like me, making sure I’m healthier in the coming year is at the top of that annual list.

One way to accomplish that? More houseplants!

Plants in your home or office have lots of terrific benefits for your physical and emotional health. Because houseplants breathe in the carbon dioxide we give off, it’s pretty obvious that we need them around. But houseplants also work to remove many airborne toxins, and there are studies that indicate that they help reduce dust in the air of your indoor spaces.

(If you are wondering how plants can remove dust, here’s two simple scientific explanations. First, plants raise the humidity level in your home through a process called evapotranspiration. When you water your plant, the water goes from the soil up through the roots, and then into the stems and leaves, where it’s evaporated into the air through pores on the leaves. This humidity mixes with dust particles and the weight of it drags the dust from the air to the floor. Plus plants produce negative ions which attract dust particles, pulling them out of the air and onto their leaves.)

Then there are the psychological benefits of plant ownership. According to an article published in Psychology Today, studies show that having potted plants around – particularly green, leafy ones – have a calming effect that can boost our mood, our creativity and even how well we interact with others.

There are a few reasons for this. As anyone who has spent a day gardening knows, tending plants is a sure way to help ease signs of stress. That’s why doctors often suggest horticulture as a tool in coping with depression or anxiety. You can get that same good feeling tending plants indoors as well, enjoying the sense of purpose and the fun of “playing in the dirt.”

And don’t underestimate how working with soil can benefit you. A 2007 study found that Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria found in both indoor and outdoor soil, triggers the release of serotonin, which improves both emotional and mental health.

Finally, there’s just the beauty of plants, which can be displayed in so many different ways in your home. Besides the almost endless variety of traditional plant containers, there are terrariums, hanging kokedama (Japanese-style plants in circular moss balls), even glass beakers, like the one I have on my desk with succulents in it.

If you are new to houseplants, there are some that are pretty fool-proof like succulents, pothos, or spider plants. Spiders and golden pothos are also among the plants recommended for their air-cleaning benefits. Others are:

  • Philodendron (many varieties)
  • Dracaena (many varieties)
  • English Ivy
  • Mother in law’s tongue
  • Peace Lily
  • Chinese Evergreen

To get the full benefits of houseplants you want to have enough around that you can see one or two from pretty much anywhere in your house, but not so many that it feels cramped.

If you’d like to learn more about houseplants and how they can make your 2023 healthier and happier, please give us a visit. We’ll be open until Christmas Eve and then taking a holiday break between Christmas and New Years. We’ll be back in the nursery bright and early on Monday, January 2.

Happy Holidays!