Your Monthly Grow-zine

December 2018

Things to do in the garden this month...


It's time to start planting winter annuals!  Geraniums, petunias, and other favorites for winter color are now available at your local nursery. Veggies and herbs, too!

Water once week if we've had no rain. And if a cold snap is forecast, water early in the day to help plants soak up warmth and make it through a cold night.

Inspect your plants for insect damage. If you see some, take bagged cuttngs to your local nursery for diagnosis and treatment options.

Ornamental Red Banana

Want an unusual and super tropical look for your landscape?

Try a Red Banana (Musca zebrina 'Rojo') - also known as Blood Banana for the deep red markings on its huge leaves.

This is an ornamental banana so you won't get fruit...but what you will get is a stunning plant.

Growing to about 8 feet, it takes sun or shade BUT prefers (and keeps its best color) in partial shade.

Red Banana does best in Zone 10, but if established in Zone 9B it may die back over winter and come back in spring.

It's also an excellent container plant, perfect for a pool cage or partly shaded patio. These plants don't get as large when grown in pots...about 4 feet tall.

Give the plant regular water - and don't keep it overly wet or let it go completely dry. Fertilize during warm weather.

Not usually available through nurseries, your nursery can order it for you, or look for it at rare plant sales.

Here's what happens...

,,,when you plant a tree beneath power lines - and the power company trims it!

Instead of trees that can reach power lines, plant standards - shrubs trained to tree form - like hibiscus, jatropha and powderpuff.

They don't reach the height of the lines, and can easily be trimmed nicely - by you!

A visitor asks...

"I need evergreen fast-growing non-poisonous shade trees for a horse pasture - what do you recommend?"

I didn't know the answer to your question but after some research it looks like pine trees are good fast growing shade trees for horses. Most sources say their horses love munching the fresh needles and that they're rich in nutrients.

Pines are fast growers, and though they don't spread wide like an oak, you could plant a grouping of them to create a wide shady spot.

Slash Pine is the most common pine for South Florida - see our Plant Page on it.

I'd recommend checking with your vet to see if she/he has any other suggestions or ideas.


Christmas cactus care

This excellent container plant can last for generations if well cared for.

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) is an epiphyte that comes from a high elevation jungle atmosphere. It needs bright indirect light and shelter from too much heat and too much cold. 

Four to six weeks before you want it to bloom, make sure  it gets total darkness at night.

Water regularly but let the plant go dry between waterings. Cut back after flowering, and repot every few years with fresh soil.

What's new at

My latest ebooks are here!
"Best of the Grow-zines"

All the best info and ideas from past issues of our monthly newsletter - The Grow-zine!

cover Garden Ideas & FAQs

Garden Ideas & FAQs

cover Landscaping Tips & Problem Solvers

Landscaping Tips & Problem Solvers

cover What's That Plant

Buy both "Best Of" ebooks & get this one FREE!

Learn more!

Are you a Snowbird?

Want to know more about growing a beautiful landscape with only part-time care?

Check out the new, updated edition of my paperback book, Snowbird Gardening.

I've added more plants, more photos and up-to-date info for South Florida Snowbirds.

This new edition features 146 plant varieties - palms, shrubs, trees and flowers - with photos and information about each one.

Now available as an ebook! Find out more...

Thanks for subscribing to the Grow-zine!

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about what you'd like to see included in the Grow-zine - or the website - please let me know!

Merry Christmas!

Chase Landre

NOTE: If you didn't receive your Grow-zine last month, it may have been because you have a Yahoo email account.

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Get instant curb appeal!

cover Landscape in a Hurry

An ebook by
Chase Landre

author of

Learn how to get instant curb appeal with fast growing plants and landscaping techniques!

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Planting tip


When buying a trellised vine or plant, don't bother to try to remove the trellis before you plant.

Plant the whole thing - trellis and all.

The trellis will give the plant vertical support while it's getting established and the plant will eventually grow over and cover the trellis. And the trellis will rot in the future and fall away, making it easy to remove it in pieces.

Take a break!

cover Lazy Gardener's Guide

The ultimate guide to low-maintenance plants
and landscaping!

An ebook by
Chase Landre

author of

Learn more!

Christmas gifts for gardeners

Here are a few gift-giving ideas for a friend or family member who loves working in the garden.

  • Colorful pot - we can never have too many!

  • Garden markers - help us remember the names of what we plant

  • Plant pot caddy - for when we change our minds on a heavy container's location

  • Gardening book - see some of the best for South Florida in our Bookstore

  • Gift certificate to a favorite nursery - always a welcome gift

  • Fairy door - wait! What?? See this unique garden addiiton here.

cover Gardener's Collection

Take a crash course!

Ebooks on South Florida gardening!

Learn more!

Take a break!

cover Lazy Gardener's Guide

The ultimate guide to low-maintenance plants
and landscaping!

An ebook by
Chase Landre

author of

Learn more!