Archives for May 2017

The Confederate Rose Story

If I told you there was a super cool plant in the South with legends of a Rebel soldier’s dying breath laced in its white, pink & red flowers, would that perk your ears?

The Confederate Rose or hibiscus mutablis is actually not a rose but a hardy hibiscus brought to the south as a Chinese import.  First appearing in English gardens in the 1600’s, it is said to have gained favor in the South due to its ease of cultivation during the hard financial times after the Civil War.  The Confederate Rose enjoys a lovely legend and should be considered a staple in every southern yard. 

The Legend Of The Confederate Rose
Before the Civil War the Confederate Rose was pure white. During the Civil War, a young soldier defending the South’s honor was fatally wounded in battle. He fell upon the rose and lay dying. During the course of the two days he took to die, he bled more and more on the flower, till at last the flowers were covered with his blood. When he died, the flowers died with him. Thereafter, the Confederate Rose opens white, and over the course of the two days the bloom lasts, they turn gradually from white to pink to almost red, when the flower finally falls from the bush.  The rose grew on the lawn of the house in Abbeville, SC where the first decision to secede from the Union was formulated prior to the shots at Ft. Sumter, and where Jefferson Davis signed the final paperwork officially ending the war while on his escape from fallen Richmond, VA.  It is also said that a woman in Alabama gave returning Civil War soldiers a Confederate Rose to show her appreciation.

The Confederate Rose, Hibiscus mutablis, is a member of the hibiscus family which includes both the tropical hibiscus and the hardier Rose of Sharon. It is a fast growing perennial considered to be a large bush or a small multi-stemmed tree. The plant roots easily from cuttings, has few pests and grows vigorously during the summer. Once established it is drought resistant. The blooms appear in late summer into the fall and it seems as though these remarkable flowers change color almost overnight.

The Confederate Rose likes full sun, well-drained , slightly acid soil. It grows as a multi-branched shrub or a small deciduous tree with low branches which can get up to 12 feet tall and wide so allow room for expansion.  It is hardy in zone 8-10 and will die back with the first hard freeze but return in spring getting larger each year.

Water Confederate rose generously, thoroughly soaking the plant’s root zone, and then wait a few days before watering again. The plant requires plenty of water, especially during warm summer weather, and dry soil may cause the leaves to turn yellow. However, consistently soggy soil may cause diseases such as mildew and rot.
Feed the plant every other week, using a high-potassium, water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio such as 12-4-18. Apply the fertilizer according to the label’s specifications. Always water deeply immediately after applying fertilizer.
Remove spent blooms as soon as they fade to prevent the Confederate rose from going to seed too early.
• Mulch the shrub in autumn to moderate soil temperature and moisture during the winter months. Use 2 to 4 inches of a mulch such as pine needles, dry leaves or bark. Rake the mulch away from the trunk, as the mulch may attract pests that damage the wood.
• Prune in November or December. Prune weak growth and damaged or diseased wood. Remove branches that are crossing, crowding or rubbing on other branches.
• Protect the plant from whiteflies, which often infests Confederate rose, causing the leaves to turn yellow and drop off. Treat blackflies, along with the sooty molds that often accompanies the pests, with a horticultural oil spray. Water the plants before applying the oil spray so the oil evaporates quickly. Avoid applying the oil spray on hot, sunny days.

Cultivating Is Easy
Confederate Rose roots easily from cuttings, especially in the spring. Plant pencil-sized cuttings in a mixture of 1 part peat moss and 3 parts sand. Keep the container warm and moist. Roots usually appear in four to five weeks. Wait a few more weeks for the roots to mature and then move the new plant into a larger container or plant it in its permanent outdoor home.

 

Perennials All Season Long

Perennial flowers bloom year after year making them a gardener’s dream. But unlike annuals, which bloom all season long, perennials tend to bloom a short amount of time, anywhere from 4-8 weeks. With their short bloom time, they can make a dramatic entrance every year. Planting one or two varieties might make you long for the long blooming annuals, but if we can figure out how to make dramatic entrances over and over, perennial gardens can be very rewarding. By this we mean using a number of different varieties that have alternating bloom times during the spring summer and fall.  Take a look at the following perennials.  You can see the seasons in which they bloom and a few of their delightful attributes.

Looking at perennials in person can be fun too! Stop by today and see the many gorgeous perennials we have! 

 

Homestead Verbena
 Bloom Time:
The longest blooming perennial – from spring to summer.
Light: Full Sun or Light Shade
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 4-8
Groundcover; looks great in containers

 

Armeria
Bloom Time:
Mid-Spring, Late Spring
Light: Full Sun or Part Shade
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 4-8
Groundcover; Tolerates Salt

   

Asiatic Lily (Lilium)
Bloom Time:
Midsummer
Light: Full Sun
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 4-8
Good Cut Flower

 
Aster
Bloom Time:
Late Summer, Fall
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 5-10
Attracts Butterflies, Good Cut Flower
  Astilbe
Bloom Time:
Late Spring, Summer
Light: Shade or Part shade
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 4-9
Good Cut Flower
   
Balloon Flower (Platycodon)
Bloom Time: Midsummer, Late Summer
Light: Full Sun
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 3-8
Easy to Grow; Blooms Profusely
   
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Bloom Time:
Late Summer, Early Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-7
Attracts Butterflies, Blooms Profusely
   

Blanketflower (Gaillardia)
Bloom Time:
Foliage: Late Spring, Summer, Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-9
Attracts Butterflies, Easy to Grow, Flowers Profusely

  Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
Bloom Time:
Spring
Light: Shade or Part Shade
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 3-8
Easy to Grow
  Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Bloom Time:
Summer, Autumn
Light: Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 5-10
Attracts Butterflies, Easy to Grow, Fragrant Flowers
Candytuft (Iberis)
Bloom Time:
Early Spring, Mid-Spring
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-8
Blooms Profusely
  Clematis
Bloom Time: Late Spring, Summer, Early Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-8
Vine
   
Coneflower (Echinacea)
Bloom Time: Summer, Early Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-8
Attracts Butterflies, Good Cut Flower
   
Coral bells (Heuchera)
Foliage Appeal:
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Light: Shade to Part Shade
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 4-8
Easy to Grow
   
Coreopsis
Bloom Time: Summer, Early Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-8
Attracts Butterflies, Tolerates Drought
   
Creeping Phlox
Bloom Time:
Spring
Light: Full Sun or Part Shade
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-9
Groundcover
   
Daisy (Leucanthemum)
Bloom Time:
Spring, Summer
Light: Sun to Part Shade
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 5-9
Good Cut Flower    
   

Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Bloom Time: Summer, Early Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-9
Easy to Grow

   
Ice plant (Delosperma)
Bloom Time: Late Spring, Summer, Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 5-8
Groundcover
   
   
Dianthus
Bloom Time: Mid-Spring, Late Spring, Summer, Early Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-8
Fragrant Flowers, Easy to Grow
   
Foxglove (Digitalis)
Bloom Time:
Late Spring, Early Summer
Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 4-8
Attracts Hummingbirds
   
Gaura
Bloom Time: Late Spring, Summer
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 5-8
Easy to Grow, Flowers Profusely
   

Iris
Bloom Time:
Late Spring
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-9
Easy to Grow, Fragrant Flowers

   
Irish Moss (Sagina)
Foliage Appeal:
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Light: Shade to Part Shade
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 6-8
Blooms Profusely
  Isotoma
Bloom Time:
Late Spring, Summer
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 6-9
Easy to Grow
   
   

Lavender (Lavandula)
Bloom Time: Midsummer, Late Summer, Early Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 5-8
Attracts Butterflies, Easy to Grow, Fragrant Flowers

  Lithodora
Bloom Time:
Late Spring, Early Summer
Light: Sun to Part Shade
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 6-10
Tolerates Drought
   
Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon)
Foliage Appeal:
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Light: Shade to Part Shade
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 7-10
Groundcover
   
Oriental Lily (Lilium)
Bloom Time:
Late Summer
Light: Full Sun
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 5-8
Fragrant Flowers, Good Cut Flower
   
Penstemon
Bloom Time:
Late Spring, Summer
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zone: 3-8
Attracts Butterflies, Attracts Hummingbirds, Easy to Grow


   

Peony (Paeonia)
Bloom Time: Late Spring
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-8
Easy to Grow, Good Cut Flower

   
Phlox
Bloom Time:
Midsummer, Late Summer, Early Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 3-8
Fragrant Flower, Good Cut Flower
   
Primrose (Primula)
Bloom Time:
Early Spring
Light: Part Shade
Water: Keep Soil Moist
Zones 5-8
Attracts Butterflies
   

Salvia
Bloom Time: Late Spring, Summer, Early Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 4-10
Attracts Butterflies, Blooms Profusely

   
Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa)
Bloom Time:
Mid-Spring, Late Spring, Summer, Early Autumn, Mid-Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 5-9
Attracts Butterflies, Blooms Profusely, Good Cut Flower
   
Sedum
Bloom Time:
Summer, Early Autumn, Mid-Autumn
Light: Full Sun
Water: Tolerates Drought
Zones 3-10
Groundcover
 

 

A Bit About Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are a beloved flowering shrub here in the south.  Here at The Family Tree we carry over 30 types of hydrangeas and get many questions about what to plant where, how to plant and how to maintain the plants from season to season. One of the top questions we get is “How do I properly prune my hydrangeas?”  It’s a great question to ask since the different varieties need pruning at different times of the year.

To know when to prune you will have to know what type your plant is. There are three main types of hydrangeas: Big leaf hydrangeas (lace-caps and mop-heads), Panicle Hydrangeas, and Oakleaf .

BIG LEAF HYDRANGEA Hydrangea macrophylla
This class includes mopheads such as Nikko Blue and Bloomstruck and lace-cap like Twist and Shout. Big Leaf Hydrangeas have large, thick, serrated leaves and typically upright growth habit.  They prefer filtered shade. They won’t flower well in all shade and may wilt in too much sun.  They don’t deal well with wet feet so give them good well drained soil.  Fertilize with a fertilizer specifically for roses and hydrangeas.  You can change the color of your flowers on Big Leafs by adding soil acidifiers to make them blue and lime to make them pink.  Prune immediately after flowering (if you feel it’s necessary).

PANICLE HYDRANGEAS
This plant produces gracefully arching branches and pyramidal clusters of white in June-August, then pink-tinged in the fall.
Grow in moist, but well-drained soil, in sun to partial shade. Noteworthy panicles are Limelight, Little Lime, Quick Fire, and Strawberry Vanilla.  H. paniculata blooms on the current season’s wood; it may be cut back to a few buds to form a framework in spring to produce larger flowers, or allowed to grow with minimal pruning.  These varieties look great in fall when the rest of the garden starts to get ready for winter.

OAKLEAF HYDRANGEA
The Oakleaf hydrangea is a dramatic, white-blooming shrub with four seasons of interest.  Large oak leaf shaped leaves turn a beautiful burgundy in fall with large white cone shaped flowers in summer turning pink in fall.  Flowers make wonderful dried cut flowers for arrangements.  It blooms best in areas where summers are somewhat hot.  Oakleaf hydrangeas thrive with very little attention. Bloom occurs on old wood. Prune if needed immediately after flowering (little pruning is usually needed).  

Hydrangeas don’t necessarily have to be pruned other than to cut out dead branches or to keep them the size that you want. So start by tiding up the plant by removing the old blooms. Snip off the faded blooms just below the flower head and remove any additional pieces at the soil line. Big Leaf form next year’s flower buds in late summer/early fall so to reduce the risk of removing these buds for next year’s flowers, prune just as the flowers begin to fade.
 

In a Nut Shell:

  1. Summer pruning after flowers fade
    • Oakleaf and Bigleaf or Florist Hydrangea-Bloom on old wood so prune immediately after blooming. If you wait, you may not get blooms the next year.
  2. Late winter early spring pruning
    • Hills-of-Snow or Sevenbark Hydrangea
    • Peegee Hydrangea
    • Tea of Heaven
  3. Prune as needed to control growth
    • Climbing Hydrangea

 

We welcome you to come visit our team at The Family Tree! If you need information, direction or help please contact our office by calling 770-972-2470. Make sure to follow-us on Facebook , TwitterGoogle+!