Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Grow Crocus

crocus in the snow Poster print
Creative Commons

I grow crocus in my rock garden mixed with early blooming daffodils. I also grow them in my upper garden next to the river rock wall. I planted yellow and white crocus in this section mixed with Vinca Minor ground cover.

The crocus is one of the first flowers to bloom in early spring. The foliage resembles green blades of grass. Look for signs of crocus in February, as this plant will grow even if there is snow on the ground. 

When the snow melts, you will view the green foliage or flowers. Crocus come in an assortment of colors; yellow, purple, orange, red, pink, white. Grow spring blooming crocus along your walkway, scattered in a rock garden, in containers, on a sunny slope or plant an informal naturalize garden in your lawn. The crocus flower will add color and interest to your landscape..

Crocus Flower Print print
For big beautiful blooms I would suggest that you  purchase high quality Dutch bulbs.  In my experience I find these bulbs are large and the flowers are healthy.  Determine if the bulb is health by holding it in your hand.  Note if the bulb is firm to the touch then this is an indication that the bulb is healthy. 

Crocus bulbs are easy to grow provided the garden site has full sun to part shade with well-drained soil that has a sandy loam.  Choose your garden site wisely as it is not advisable to cut back the crocus plants that grow in your lawn until the leaves die back naturally.  Thus if tall grass in late spring bothers you then refrain from planting crocus in your lawn and plant in gardens instead.

Plant the crocus bulbs by digging holes to the depth of five inches and one and half inches wide.  Loosen the soil by removing the clumps.  Amend the soil with compost.  Fertilize the crocus by adding bone meal and blend with the soil at the bottom of the hole. Space holes for crocus four inches apart. Place the crocus bulb, root end down in the center of the hole. Fill the hole with soil and water well.

Care for your crocuses by watering them daily until there is a hard frost. In spring if there are no spring showers and your ground is dry, water the crocuses. Fertilize crocuses in spring when the plants start to emerge.  Deadhead to remove spent blooms.

Warnings:
Squirrels dig up and eat crocus bulbs.  Prevent them from devouring your spring blooming bulbs by planting the bulbs under chicken wire.


Introduction image credit: Wikipedia commons

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grow Tradescantia Subaspera Spiderwort



Tradescantia subaspera common name is the spiderwort. This native wildflower grows in shade to part shade in woodland areas. The foliage of the tradescantia is dark green with arching leaves that are long and slender. When fully grown this plant is 20 to 26 inches in height with a spread of two feet. The stems grow out of the center of the plant and bud cluster forms in April followed by flowers in May. This plant will produce blooms through July.
I discovered the spiderwort growing in the woods by my home.  The area was rocky and growing amongst the rocks was a pretty pink spidorwort.  I picked the flower and a milky substance emerged and the flower became weak and died.  Spiderwort is a woodland wildflowers that are meant to be admired. 



The spiderwort produces a small three-petal flower that comes in the colors of white, rose, purple and dark blue. This flower has a long bloom life.  Grow the tradescantia along a border, in a shady rock garden or in a container.   I grow my spiderwort in the shady section of my rock garden and I also grow it with my Hosta plants.

I cut back my spiderwort after the blooms are spent.  Spiderwort's go into a hibernation during the heat of summer and I will apply  leaf matter, pine needles or wood chip mulch around the plants to aid in moisture and to protect it from excess weed growth during the summer months.  The first week of September I will remove the mulch and fertilize the spiderwort.  It will then re-bloom in fall.

The long lived  spiderwort wildflower will add color and interest to your yard and garden.  

View this video about the native wildflower spiderwort: