Archives for April 2015

Proper Pruning Tips

Most plants benefit from regular pruning and maintenance. The key to proper pruning is knowing when to prune and what to prune.

In general, the best time to prune most plants is during late winter or early spring before growth begins.

The least desirable time is immediately after new growth develops in the spring. A great amount of food stored in roots and stems is used in developing new growth. This food should be replaced by new foliage before it is removed; if not, considerable dwarfing of the plant may occur. This is a common problem encountered in pruning. Many flowering and fruiting plants prefer to be pruned while they are dormant, in late winter through early spring. Some, like spring blooming trees and shrubs, will start setting new buds as soon as the old buds have fallen. These will need to be pruned shortly after flowering, or you risk pruning off the new buds with the old. Other plants need to be continually pruned, to remain vigorous and in flower.

Although pruning can be confusing, it is rarely fatal. Pruning at the wrong time of year may result in less flowers and fruits, but it usually won’t harm the plant in the long run. There is one exception: If pruning occurs too late in the season, the tender, new growth will be killed with the onset of winter weather.


It also is advisable to limit the amount of pruning done late in summer as new growth may be encouraged on some plants. This growth may not have sufficient time to harden off before cold weather arrives resulting in cold damage or winter kill.

Prune plants damaged by storms or vandalism or ones with dead limbs as soon as possible to avoid additional insect and disease problems that may develop.

Have questions about when and what to prune? The experts at The Family Tree Garden Center located in Snellville, GA, can help! Give us a call at 770-972-2470 or stop by our greenhouse to discuss all of the do’s and don’ts of pruning.

The Best Perennials for Shade

Have you wanted to brighten up those sheltered spots in your landscape? Here are 4 great, easy-to-grow shade plants that will spice up those not-so-sunny areas. Plus, they will come back year after year.


Hostas are among the showiest and easy-to-grow perennial plants that grow in shade. Hostas offer the most variety of any of the multiple shade plants. Choose from miniatures that stay only a couple of inches wide or giants that sprawl 6 feet across or more. Look for leaves in shades of green, blue, white, chartreuse, and gold, with many cultivars being variegated. Some hosta flowers are very fragrant.

hosta plant

Bigroot Geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum)

One of the toughest plants that grow in the shade garden, bigroot geranium doesn’t mind heat or drought. Plus, deer and rabbits typically pass it by in search of tastier treats. This shade plant puts on a spring show with pink or white flowers and some varieties also offer outstanding fall coloration in their woodsy-scented foliage.


This topnotch groundcover is grown mainly for its foliage, but also has pretty flowers. Ajuga produces glossy, dark green leaves and springtime spikes of blue flowers. Varieties of this shade plant offer dark purple or variegated foliage, or pink or white flowers.

Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

It’s no wonder why old-fashioned bleeding heart is a favorite of plants that grow in shade. In late spring and early summer, it produces pink or white heart-shaped flowers that hang from elegant, arching stems.

Visit The Family Tree Garden Center and speak with our garden specialists to find out about more perennials that will thrive in those shady parts of your garden!

Sensational 6th Anniversary Weekend!

6th Anniversary Weekend

The Family Tree wants to thank you for six sensational spring seasons! To celebrate, we’re having a huge sale April 10-12 throughout the store. There are some great deals, including 50% off 1 gallon Hibiscus and annuals as low as 99¢! We’ll have sensational in store savings on plants and accessories throughout the store.  To  make your shopping experience even more exciting, we are offering free gifts when you buy certain items, such as this macramé basket hanger with the purchase of a hanging basket (a $6.99 value FREE) and a free Lampe Berger™ Fragrance Kit with any purchase of $100 or more worth of garden center merchandise (a $35 value).

Lampe Berger™ eliminates undesirable odors, creates a beautiful scent in the home, and decorates the home with exquisite lamp designs.

Our 2 gallon roses are only $12.99 all weekend (Reg. $18.99)! If you have any questions about roses, be sure to stop by The Family Tree on Saturday when experts from the Greater Gwinnett Rose Society will be with us and available to answer all your questions from 9am-3pm. To find out more about the rose society, visit their webpage:

Find more specials throughout the store this weekend at our 6th Anniversary Sale, April 10-12, 2015.

Tasty Tomatoes!

Last week’s post on container gardening mentioned that tomatoes are an excellent option for pots; they are quick growing and produce fruit all summer. You’re probably thinking “So what? They might grow quickly, but that doesn’t mean they’ll taste good!” Well, let us give you a few tips on how to grow delicious tomatoes in your container garden. Also, don’t forget to stop by The Family Tree today; 1 gallon tomatoes are only $1.89 while supplies last!

Types of Tomatoes

Before you plant your tomatoes, you first need to determine what kind to get.

Some varieties of heirloom tomatoes

Some varieties of heirloom tomatoes

– Heirloom tomatoes are varieties that have been handed down through the generations without any modifications; they have a better taste than hybrids.

– Hybrids have been genetically modified to resist certain diseases and can thus produce more prolifically than heirloom plants.

– Determinate varieties are bush-like in appearance and produce the majority of their tomatoes at one time. These plants are an excellent choice for anyone wanting a large quantity of ripe tomatoes at once.

– Indeterminate varieties are vines that continue to grow and produce tomatoes throughout the season.

Caring for Your Tomatoes

Once you have chosen your tomato plants, the next step is keeping them alive and well-loved as you wait for their bounty.

  • Only plant one tomato per a pot; this allows it to develop a strong root system and ultimately produce better fruit. If you


    discover that you cannot resist the urge to economize and have more than one plant in the pot, choose a small herb that won’t spread much, such as thyme.

  • Fertilize your plants when their first flowers appear so that they will have all the nutrients they need to produce delicious tomatoes. One excellent choice is our Dr. Earth Tomato Food, which is completely organic and resists blossom end rot.
  • When watering, your goal is to keep the soil at a constant moisture level, which keeps the plants from going through any periods of drought or extreme moisture. Pots dry out quickly, so it’s important to check them every day.
  • By pruning all the little growths and unproductive branches off your tomatoes, you allow the plant to direct its energy toward producing plump and tasty fruit.


Your tomatoes are ready to harvest when they are round and fully colored. To take them off the vine, carefully grasp the fruit and gently twist to disconnect the stem.

Celebrate your achievement (and your succulent tomatoes) by enjoying a fresh tomato sandwich, pasta with homemade tomato sauce, or a refreshing Caprese salad!