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
October and the first of November is a little early for frost here in the south but yet there it was. Many of us were scrambling around trying to get things ready. I burned my cover cloth last year because it had gotten so thin. I had to hurry up and get a replacement.
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
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 $35.00. 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 2024 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.
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.
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.
It is still pansy season. We have a very good selection to choose from. I always have such a hard time choosing. I just love them all but the violas are my very favorite. The just seem to bloom their little hearts out. Remember to fertilize them. Use Southern Root, Bloom & Start or any of the other fertilizers such as Miracle Grow. They will thank you for it.
Christmas Open House
Please join us on November 18 for our annual Christmas Open House. We will have many items on sale and lots of goodies for you to taste. JQ’s One Man Band will be there to provide music to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Debbie Boutelier will have her class on Herbs for the Holidays: Crafting Flavorful Libations for the Holiday Season from 1:00 to 3:00. If you would like to register for this program you may do so here.