Fall is a good time to choose and plant camellias while most of them are flowering. These beautiful evergreen shrubs bring flowers to our garden when there is little else blooming.
There are two types of camellias. Sasanqua camellia and Japonica Camellia. The difference is the time that they flower. Sasanqua Camellias have smaller flowers and flower in the late fall to early winter. They are less susceptible to frost damage. Japonica camellias have larger flowers and flower late winter to early spring. Often their flowers are damaged by winter freezes.
Most camellias are hardy in zones 7-10, meaning they will tolerate temperatures of 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit, however there are varieties that are being developed that can be grown in zones 6, which has low winter temperatures of -10 to -15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Camellias should be planted in part shade but sometimes will grow in full sun. They should be protected from the hot afternoon sun. They like a moist slightly acid soil with a ph of 5.5 to 6.5. When planting your camellia dig the hole twice was as the root ball and not deeper than the pot it was in. Be sure to mulch the area to retain moisture and block weeds.
Prepare for Frost
It’s that time of year again to check out your freeze cloth and make sure it is in good condition. If it needs replacing now would be the time to do it. It is a good idea to be ready for frosty weather.
We use this cloth to cover our citrus trees and any other frost tender plants. I use it in my vegetable garden to cover my lettuces. Citrus trees should be covered when the temperature is going to be 28 degrees or below. However if there is fruit on the tree it should be covered when temperatures reach 32 since the fruit will freeze at that temperature.
If this is the first year that your citrus trees are planted in the ground, make sure that you have a frame around them to support your winter cloth. Anywhere that the cloth touches the plant it will damage the leaves. Dr. Powell makes a frame from PVC pipe and rebar. You can too, just like at our nursery. The excess cloth should be weighted down with cinder blocks or rocks. It can also be rolled in landscape timbers or metal pipe. You don’t want it to blow off exposing your trees to the cold and wind. If you have an electrical source nearby you could also place a light inside the frame which would give off additional heat.
This fabric is breathable and can be left on the trees for several days during a cold spell. It should be removed when the temperatures are above freezing to give your tree a chance to get direct sun. This cloth can be purchased at the nursery. It comes in 15 and 30 foot widths. We have some 15 x 15 foot lengths already cut. The cost is $25.00. However, we will custom cut any length you need.
Plant bulbs now through December for spring bloom. Many of the daffodils bloom very early starting in February. When planting don’t forget the Bulb Booster. It gets them off to a good start. All our bulbs are here and ready for planting.
Paperwhites are lovely to have around during the holiday season. They need no chilling to bloom. They will grow in either soil or rocks and water. Be sure to give them lots of strong light or they will become leggy.
Plant amaryllis now too, for a good show during the holidays. I have planted amaryllis in soil and also rocks and water but I find the soil works the best.
Plant Wildflower Seeds
The 2023 wildflower seed is available. The seeds should be sown between October and January since many of the seeds require cold weather to germinate.
The ground should be prepared by lightly tilling or raking so that the seed will make contact with the soil. In order to disperse the seed evenly place your seed in a bucket of 4 parts builders sand to 1 part seed. The sand helps disperse the seed so there won’t be clumps of seedlings.
The seeds are sold by the teaspoon or tablespoon depending on the size of the seed.
Don’t burn all the fall leaves compost them! I till them straight into my vegetable garden and by spring they are compost. Start cleaning up your perennial border in preparation for winter. Cut back any dead or dying plants.
Fall is the time to plant Strawberries in the South
In the south strawberry plants a planted in the fall and harvested in the spring usually in April and May. Our strawberry plants are here now. The two strawberry varieties we offer have some disease resistance. Strawberry plants are susceptible to Verticullium Wilt so it is best not to plant them were nightshades have been planted or select varieties that are resistant to the disease.
We have two varieties this year Chandler and Camarosa. Both are short day or “June Bearing” varieties . The produce a single large crop per year during a 2-3 week period in the spring.
Chandler has large fruit with a bright red color. They should be planted in full sun but will tolerate moderate shade but produce much better in full daytime sun. They produce berries early to mid-season.
Camarosa produces large fruit up to 2 inches long. It is one of the earliest June bearing strawberries. Compact plants will grow to 8 inches in height and spread out to 12 inches. These strawberries taste best when allowed to turn dark red red after the glossy red fades.
Fall Vegetable Garden
Fall vegetables can still be planted. Cabbage, Kale, Swiss Chard and many types of lettuce are available at the nursery. As the winter progresses I always cover my lettuces with the cover cloth and they are good for most of the winter.
Please join us on November 19 for our annual Christmas House. We will have many items on sale and lots of goodies for you to taste. JQ’s One Man Band will be to to provide music to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Debbie Boutelier will have her class on Herbs for the Holidays: Goodies and Gifts from1:00 to 3:00. If you would like to register for this program please go to our event page.