By an Act of Congress, December 12 was set aside as National Poinsettia Day. The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States. The purpose of the day is to enjoy the beauty of this popular holiday plant. Here’s a brief history of the Ecke Ranch here in San Diego County where more than 75% of U.S. and 50% of worldwide poinsettia plants get their start.
A lot of your plants may be looking a little stressed right now. That’s okay, it’s just that time of year. Plants are resting, storing up energy for spring growth. The big jobs to focus on this month are keeping the garden tidied up, and mulching for root protection and to prevent soil compaction with the rains that are being predicted. And most importantly, as always, enjoy your garden!
I heard a weird popping sound the other night and couldn’t figure out what it was until I took my morning garden walk yesterday.
I’ve had this Elephant’s Foot AKA Pony Tail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) for about 34 years. The last time I repotted it was four years ago. How’s this for the power of nature?! This was the fourth pot that this plant has split over the last 12 years so I think this monster’s next destination will be in the ground.
Or Apples for you non-German speakers. Twenty five years ago Mi Esposo got orders to Stuttgart, Germany and we moved there with two small boys right before winter set in. I remember eating fresh, crisp apples at our twice-a-week outdoor market while the kids ate their hot, soft pretzels – good times! This time of year always takes me back to those great years and simpler times.
So, to get back to our Tuesday Trees, I am excited to say that I am harvesting apples now from my Fuji tree. I was in the garden yesterday morning and ate an apple right off the tree. The shine comes from a little buffing on my t-shirt. It was so juicy I was not a very neat eater!
You, too, can grow apples, even on the coast. Coastal areas have 100-300 chill hours so it’s very important to make sure to choose a variety that is low-chill or you’ll never get fruit. If I were to do it again, I would probably plant all Fujis. The taste and crispness are perfect for me. I don’t have a lot of room on my property so I planted my tree on the fence and am keeping it trimmed to espalier. At least that’s what I’m trying to do, but I’m not doing a very tidy job of it. Despite my learning curve, the tree is thriving and I’m getting apples so all is not lost.
The apple (Malus domestica) is a member of Rosaceae, the rose family. January through March is the ideal time to plant apples in their bare-root stage. Plant where they will get good good drainage and full sun. Nitrogen and zinc are two of the most important nutrients to supply apple trees. Fertilizing twice per year, once in the spring and again in the fall, will keep your apple tree vigorous. Glückliche Gartenarbeit!
I have a lot of succulents and I’m always happy to share, but I haven’t always been as successful as I would like when it comes to propagating new plants. Succulents are pretty easy to root but it helps to have a little info to work from.
I was discussing this with a friend who is very knowledgeable about succulents and she gave me a photo-copied sheet of different cutting points on a succulent stem. I wish I could give attribution to this great guideline to follow for cutting succulents for propagation but I was unsuccessful in finding the source. Anyway, I realize now that I have been cutting too long a stem and will change my propagation technique to get better results. Here’s a picture with information below it that I have created FYI.
A – Cutting this high on the stem is known as “pinching out.” The reason to pinch this high on the plant stem is to create growth for multiple cuttings or have the plants develop into a multi-headed plant. Cutting this high will force side stems to grow that will be viable cuttings themselves once they’ve grown out. The top part that is cut off is not a viable cutting and will not root so just throw it away.
B – Cutting here is optimal for creating a new plant from the top part and forcing new shoots to grow off the stem. This method works best if a few leaves are left on the stem, allowing it to recover more efficiently, producing the most new stems.
C – Cutting at this mark is officially called deadheading. A cut made here will result in a plant that will root easily. The stem most likely won’t develop any shoots and can slowly wither down.
D – Cutting lower on the stem creates a longer stem, but takes much longer to establish roots. The lower stem might produce a few shoots, but can also wither down.
E – Cutting further down the stem is not recommended because the head will have to work hard to get established and the lower stem is likely to die.
Do you know the difference between Sweet Potatoes and Yams? They are both edible tubers; otherwise, they have very little in common.
Just a little educational trivia to throw into the mix when that certain family member starts to steer the topic at the dinner table into those toxic zones of religion, politics or philosophy! Yams vs sweet potatoes and a little history.
I was confused about gardening zones, but after doing a little research, I have realized that there are two basic guidelines you need to pay attention to: the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder and Sunset’s Garden Climate Zones. The difference is that the U.S.D.A. maps tell you only where a plant may survive the winter; Sunset climate zones show where that plant will thrive year-round. Sunset also takes other factors into account: latitude, elevation, ocean influence, mountains, hills, and valleys.
So…. Coronado zones are 10 (USDA) and 24 (Sunset).