Sunday, June 30, 2013

Growing Tips for Morning Glory Vine

Grandpa Ott morning glory grown form seed by sgolis
Grandpa Ott morning glory
Add some vertical interest to your garden by growing a morning glory vine.   

Morning glory is an annual vine with heart shaped leaves that are easy to train to grow up a trellis or they will cover a chain link fence with green leaves and a flower that is similar to a petunia.

There are a variety of flower colors; white purple, blue, pink or red and all trumpet shaped flowers bloom in the early morning from early summer to frost. 
You can start this vine from seed and then plant outdoors after the threat of spring frost has past or you can grow from a nursery grown plant.  
I am new to growing the morning glory vine.  I was given “Grandpa Ott” heirloom seeds a few years ago and started them indoors and then transplanted outdoors.  I used them to hide a six foot chain link fence.  

You do not need to be an expert gardener to grow morning glory vine.  It is very easy to grow.  Plant next to a trellis or next to your fence and wrap the vine around the link of the fence and it will quickly attach itself.

Planting tips:
You can start seeds indoors or you can sow the seeds directly into an outdoor garden.  Before you plant the seed it is best to soak them in a shallow pan of tepid water overnight.  The water soaking will help in germination.  

If you intend on sowing the seeds outdoors then plant them in full sun in an area with well drained soil the back garden border is good as they make a nice background vine if they grow up a trellis or fence.  Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep.

Another way to grow morning glory is to plant in a container that has a supportive trellis.  Then set close to your outdoor living place so you can admire this pretty flower. 

For a container I like to plant with miracle grow.  When planting directly in the soil I will get the garden site ready by removing the grass and then work the topsoil with my shovel by turning over the soil.  I then will break up the clumps so that the soil is loose.  Work compost or manure into the soil as this nutritious soil will be good for the overall health of the plant. 

When planting at the base of trellis or fence dig a trench that is the same depth as the nursery grown container and plant the vines eight inches apart. 

Caring for Morning Glory
Mix a weak strength of water soluble fertilizer for flowers and water the newly planted morning glories well.  

Water daily to keep the soil evenly moist but not wet.

Apply organic mulch around the morning glory vines; pine needles, leaf much or tree bark.

Feed with water soluble fertilizer that is formulated for flowers twice a month throughout the growing season.

Morning Glory plants like it hot and humid.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tips for Growing Hydrangea

Hydrangea is an old fashioned flowering shrub that is eye appealing when grown as a single accent plant or as a border hedge.  

The flowers are large and are made up of tiny cluster flowers.  These flowers have no fragrance but the scent does not matter because the entire hydrangea plant is beautiful.   

There are many types of Hydrangea shrubs as well as flower colors; white, blue, pink and a lavender color that is gorgeous.  Choose the hydrangea flower that will compliment your yard and garden color scheme and you will enjoy a long lived flower from mid summer through fall.

View Hydrangeas in the garden: 

Growing Tips

When it comes to determining the soil for a hydrangea you will need to test the PH.  The Nikko blue flower needs acidic soil and the pink flowering hydrangea needs alkaline soil.  Since it is imperative to provide these flowers with the right soil I think it is best to choose one variety of hydrangeas. 

The best time to plant a hydrangea is in the spring after the threat of frost has past, but that is not to say that you cannot plant one during the growing season.  If you intend on planting in the summer then provide the hydrangea with tender loving care; keep the soil evenly moist and plant on the north side of your home or under a shade tree. Hydrangeas are sensitive to heat and drought and will show stress with wilted leaves and flowers. 

Plant the hydrangea in well drained soil that is amended with organic matter.  Choose a growing site that has morning sun and afternoon shade followed by late in the day part sun. 
Water well after the hydrangea is planted; keep the soil around the hydrangea evenly moist but not wet from spring to fall frost.  

I water my hydrangeas twice a day with a weeper hose.  I set it up on a timer for 7am to 9am.  Deep watering will benefit the hydrangea.  

Caring for Hydrangea

Apply an organic mulch; wood chips shredded bark or pine needles around the hydrangea to help keep the roots cool and to retain moisture. 

Fertilize annually in June for beautiful blooms.


The hydrangea flowers are long lived and they can be cut for a bouquet or to be used in dried floral arrangement. 

Leave the dried hydrangea flowers throughout the winter months and they will add interest to your garden.  Here is one of my photographs:
Dried Hydrangea flowers in November

Hydrangeas are not drought tolerant the plant will become stressed if the soil is dry. Both leaves and flowers will wilt.

It is a good idea to insert a plant marker into the soil at the base of your Hydrangia plant.  

Here are some other hydrangea garden products that you may like.  The garden bag  is a good size for small garden tools, gloves, fertilizer and seeds.  I use this canvas bag when I go out on group plantings.  It holds a lot of gear.

Then for working in the garden I prefer to wear t-shirts that are cotton knit.  I find that they are more cool and comfortable.  Plus if I have to meet a customer or run to the garden store, I find that these zazzle garden tees look presentable. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Signs of Iron Deficiency in Plants

Today while out in the garden I noticed that many of my plants leaves were yellow.  When I looked closer I saw that the yellow leaves had dark green veins.  I suspect that my plants have an iron deficiency, also called chlorosis.  I suspected that the fertilizer that I used in early spring had washed away due to the heavy rains we had in May.

I picked up some miracle grow liquaFeed that was ready to use at the garden store and attached it to my garden hose and sprayed the flower garden beds.  The liquid fertilizer contained iron and zinc and if my diagnosis of the plants is correct then the leaves should turn green after the fertilizer treatment. 

For best results fertilize your plant, flowers and vegetables every two weeks with the liquid feed.
Note: When leaves turn yellow and have dark veins is also an indication that the plant is suffering from stress and or a virus.  

Learn more about  chlorosis or iron deficiency in plants by viewing this video.