Fertilize! The summer fertilizer blackout is over and our plants are ready for a good feeding. For options on what to use, see our page on Fertilizing.
Trees, shrubs, flowering perennials and most everything else will all benefit from the nutrients in fertilizers. The gorgeous and huge Dracaena pictured above has apparently been well-fed!
Gardenias and azaleas should be fed now - like today! They should be given their last fertilization of the year by October 1st. The fertilizer blackout ended September 30th so that doesn't give us much time but this feeding is important for the health of these plants.
Water twice a week if no rain - and temps are still high. October usually starts out very warm and cools sightly toward the middle to end of the month.
Do a hard pruning on anything that needs it by October 15th at the latest. Minor trimming and shaping you can do any time of year but if you cut things way back they need time to flush out a bit before any winter cold snaps.
Wait to plant winter annuals! You may see things like geraniums at the box stores but it's too early - and too hot - for them now.
Garden beds along a home's foundation are often planted with a single line of shrubs, But you can spice up the look of foundation plantings by using tiered groupings of plants.
One way to do this is to deepen the bed and add another "layer" (or several) in front of the existing foundation shrubs. This is a good solution for those of us who want more garden space but don't have room for it anywhere else.
Or you can create a new look by removing the basic shrubs and starting anew with a combo of colors and heights. And you don't have to stick to straight lines...add a "drift" of the same plant here and there for a more casual, nature-did-it look.
Of course how many layers or tiers you have room for is key. If you can't enlarge the bed and it's only 2 feet deep you may have to use more compact plants and stagger plantings - one up and the next one back - to get the effect of layers in the space you have.
A lot of people want to plant taller things between windows. This tends to break up the landscaping flow, so it's better to add plants with more height near the entry rather than having them pop up here and there.
Mecardonia Is a low-growing perennial with cheery little yellow flowers, blooming on and off most of the year.
It only grows to about 5 inches tall, doing best in Zone 10.
It can work as a non-invasive, carpet-like groundcover or as a cascading container plant.
Though sources say full sun is fine, I believe giving it some afternoon shade may work better. In full sun it will flower more but will need very frequent watering.
All the best info and ideas from past issues of our monthly newsletter - The Grow-zine!
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