Look for unusual plants to add to your garden - such as the stunning Mussaenda pictured above. This tropical shrub - which comes in several bright colors - probably won't be a stock item at most nurseries, but some places specialize in the unusual. And others can order plants for you. (Learn more about Mussaenda in my ebook What's That Plant?)
Run your irrigation two times a week if we haven't had rain. Rainy season hasn't been very consistently wet this year so don't miss this important garden chore.
Keep up with weeds before they take over your garden areas. Catch 'em while they're small if you can, so they don't go to seed.
Check your plants for pest damage. Take bagged cuttings to your local nursery for diagnosis and treatment options.
A web visitor wrote to ask which flowering shrubs would work along her patio to give some privacy.
She didn't specify height, but I would imagine most of us want privacy in that area of about 4 to 5 feet...not too tall to obstruct the view beyond and yet enough to give the feeling of not being "watched" by neighbors or passersby, especially while we're seated.
Some great shrubs for this purpose - assuming a sunny area - include:
With proper trimming, these plants will stay thick and bushy and not attract so many bees to scare you back indoors. Some are also butterfly attracters.
Mid-size shrubs like these give you color and enough privacy without hemming in the patio...rather than too tall shrubs that can let back door burglars do their thing with no one noticing.
I've added a new photo of white Oleander flowers to the Oleander Plant Page.
These big shrubs are at their best this time of year and come in vibrant colors besides white.
All the best info and ideas from past issues of our monthly newsletter - The Grow-zine!
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Hypoestes (Hypoestes phyllosta) AKA Polka-dot Plant is a pretty little thing, with mottled leaves in white or pink.
This perennial is a gem in the shade garden, happiest in full to dappled shade.
It only grows about 12" to 18" tall - perfect for front of the border. The sprawling habit means it can also be used as a groundcover, or draping from a hanging basket or windowbox.
Polka-dot Plant does flower in summer months, but the colorful leaves are its main attraction.
It's a fast grower, so you'll want to trim leggy shots to keep it full and lush.
Best in Zone 10, this can be a good container plant in Zone 9B...or plant it in-ground in a sheltered location.
Give it regular water and feed 3 times a year with controlled release fertilizer. In containers, you can use liquid fertilizer fairly often.
Finding Polka-dot Plant at nurseries is often hit-or-miss, but you can ask your nursery to order it. It's usually available in 4-1/2" pots.
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