Dr. Flower: How to Perform a Successful Plant Transplant

Dr. Flower: How to Perform a Successful Plant Transplant

Many gardeners, both new and experienced, have fears about transplanting flora. Relocating plants is tricky if you don't take proper care to know your plant's specific needs - be sure to do a little research before beginning the process. For all plants, there are a few key steps that will minimize any shock caused by initial moves. The steps below are not exact rules- all plants have specific needs- but they should help you win most of your battles.

Transplanting Time

It is best to transplant during the dormancy phase. To know when your plant is dormant, be sure that buds have not yet formed, the plant has finished blooming and the green foliage has turned yellow or fallen off. For example, Iris' greenery will turn yellow and wilt. If you have a bouquet of roses that has grown roots in a vase, transplant these in early spring for best results. 

Trying to transplant during the middle of summer is often not a good choice. When a plant is spending its energy producing blooms or sprouting new branches, it won't have the strength to adapt its roots to a new location and new soil composition. 

Dig the hole for your new plant during the cooler hours, and be sure to place it in the ground before the area is exposed to the heat of the day. You want healthy soil to welcome your plant, and sun exposure can kill off some necessary soil nutrients. This goes doubly for the plant's roots. When exposed to the air or sun it can take only a few minutes for a root system to deteriorate, dry out or completely collapse.

Fertilize

For those annuals and perennials, a little fertilizer never does harm. These plants will love a little boost that mother nature may not provide, so send them a little growth spurt of manure or fish emulsions. If you happen to be transplanting shrubs or trees, hold off on the fertilizer. Trees and shrubs require root growth after a transplant before they can put their energy into their branches, so wait until the following season.

Water

Pay close attention to any new additions to your garden when watering. Their roots are often stressed, trying to acclimatize to their new environment, so don't give any added stress by over or underwatering. Check the soil (1 inch down) near the base of the plant for moisture. If it is dry, go ahead and get the watering can out. Always water the fauna after initial planting, this is a must.

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Are You Sure that Plant Needs Water? 5 Signs of Overwatering

Are You Sure that Plant Needs Water? 5 Signs of Overwatering

Having a green thumb is not innate, it is a talent that must be earned through hard work, patience and dedicated learning. An easy rule of proper gardening and plant care is to water your plants. But, as with all gardening, even hydrating your garden can lead to complications and poor plant health. To know if your plants happen to be struggling from overwatering, take a look at these five signs below. Don't stress, if you have overwatered, you are only guilty of giving too much love. Learn to take it back a few notches with these clues.

Wet and Wilting

1. It looks wilted, but the soil is wet. If your plant is green, well-watered and still struggling, you may have overwatered. This is the easiest sign that your plant has had a little too much agua. To prevent yourself from making this mistake again, only water your plants when the soil is dry to the touch. This little tip will keep you aware of plants that are in need of a good bath, and away from those who are full.

Brown Leaves

2. If the leaves turn brown and wilt, there is the possibility that you have been overwatering. At this point it may be difficult to tell whether a plant is wilting because of poor health, or improper water levels. Often, gardeners react quickly and throw on an extra pour or two of water in the hopes that the leaves will perk up. Before doing this, be sure to check your soil to see if it is wet. This doesn't mean eyeing the top layer to see if it looks dry. Take and finger and place it into the soil at a point somewhere near the plant's base. If the soil still feels dry, it may need water. Be sure to not let the fear of watering send you over the edge.

Edema

3. The third sign that your plant has been overwatered is edema. If a plant has absorbed more water than it needs, it can cause the plant's cells to expand and stress. Often, these cells are filled to the point of rupturing. You can check for signs of burst cells by noticing any blisters or lesions on the plant. Eventually, these lesions will turn to dark or even white scar tissue. Another sign of edema is indentations on the top of leaves.

Yellow Falling Leaves

4. If you happen to have both yellowing leaves and new growth falling from your plant, there is a good chance you are overwatering. Try and remember if you have only watered your plant when the soil was dry.

Root Rot

5. Not only does the plant show signs of overwatering in its leaves and flowers, but the roots can also be an indication. When the soil is dense with water, it can limit the ability of the roots to breathe, they will then drown and begin to rot. Plant root rot is a fungal disease that will cause the roots to turn grey, brown or slimy and will eventually cause the plant to wilt. If a plant has root rot it is best to remove it from any garden bed so it cannot spread the disease.

If overwatering is an issue that may cause you stress, choose plants that will help you alleviate that stress. One great option is to choose plants that need a lot of water. If you are heavy-handed with the watering can, choose from these wonderful plants - astilbe, sedge, rose mallow, hibiscus, swamp azaleas and viburnum. To eliminate any issues that overwatering can cause, pick plants that don't require much water at all. Save yourself the time by buying deer grass, salvia, dusty miller, tickweed, aloes or succulents. 

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Last Minute Tips to Protect Your Plants from Hail

Last Minute Tips to Protect Your Plants from Hail

Hail doesn't seem to strike very often, but when it does, gardeners cringe. The thought of looking at their gardens the following day can be daunting, knowing that some plants must have suffered a bit of damage. Before a hail storm has the chance to strike in your back yard, take a few minor precautions to limit the damage. Being prepared is key, not all weather reports will know when hail is likely to strike, so be ready for impromptu work. 

Remember, even the smallest hail has the ability to tear holes through plant leaves and knock new growth down. 

Hail protection basics

Start by putting some new soil around the base of your plant. This will reinforce the strength of the plant's stem, allowing it to stay upright in strong winds. The extra soil will also make it less susceptible to damage from heavy rains.  

Next, try and collect any large pots, buckets or pans that you are not using currently. Right before a hail storm, place these over your most delicate plants, or those you prize. Place a stone on top of the buckets so they won't fall over in the wind. Be sure that your buckets are tall enough to properly encapsulate the plant without stressing or bending any limbs. This is also a great option for any of your potted plants that you don't have time to collect and bring inside, like the Golden Glow arrangement on your doorstep. 

For plants that are growing up alongside a fence, like a clematis or any other climbing flower, buckets will not suffice. Protect these delicate blooms by leaning tall sheets of wood or cardboard against the fence. This should offer all the protection you need. If these plants are not growing on a wall but on a trellis, make a tepee shape instead with two pieces of wood. 

For a large and lush garden bed that is not compatible with buckets, take for instance a large bed of daisies, you will want to place stakes in the bed that are higher than the tallest blooms. Keep these stakes in the garden bed all summer long to make hail preparations all the swifter. Atop these stakes you should drape a tarp or any other large sheet. Secure the tarp with large stones atop each corner. This will protect against most hail, but if the sheet is thin, it may not be strong enough to combat larger stones.

After the storm has safely passed, remove all the protection from your plants so that they can enjoy the good weather. 

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This article is brought to you and published by Teleflora.

Forget the Apple, Give Your Teacher Flowers!

Forget the Apple, Give Your Teacher Flowers!

The school year is just about to begin, and what better way to start off the year than by getting on your teacher's good side? You can go ahead and bring your teacher a shiny red apple, but chances are, most of the other students will as well. Set yourself apart from the rest of the class by giving your teacher something he or she  can cherish ‚Äčlong after snack time is over. Flowers can be the ideal addition to a teacher's desk or window, so make his or her year by giving this creative gift.

What Flowers to Give your Teacher

If you are in school, it is more than likely that a large bouquet of calla lilies is a little bit out of a student's price range. Start off your decision making by finding a flower that will be sturdy enough to last a long while.

Flowers that are in season tend to be healthier and more robust, so picking one from a seasonal group will improve its chances of long-term survival. Flowers that tend to survive for the longest amount of time in water include roses, orchids, carnations, chrysanthemums, lilies, gladiolas and alstromerias. Most of these are available year round, so choose a bouquet that you think your teacher will adore, like this My Little Chickadee collection. When choosing a bouquet, you want to be sure that the colors are bright and cheery, and avoid a bunch that seems fit for Valentine's Day. 

Shop for Teacher Gifts!
Teacher Bouquet
Teleflora's My Chickadee Bouquet $34.95

For flowers that will last even longer, choose to gift a potted plant. Offer to do watering duties for your teacher to show how much you appreciate him or her. Some great potted plants that are sure to please include the Teleflora Sugar Maples bunch. This collection is perfectly suitable gesture to welcome fall. Try to choose a pot that is small enough to fit on your teacher's desk without taking up to much space. For example, bamboo requires little care and always looks great. Send the Teleflora Good Luck Bamboo to make a strong impression with your new teacher.

Trick Out Your Pot

Take your potted plant gift one step further by adding a few DIY touches before the first day of school. Make a little popsicle stick sign to place in the pot. To do so, just color a piece of cardstock like a matching flower and write a note that shows your appreciation. A cute little phrase could be, "Thank you for helping me bloom!" .You can also take a paint brush to the pot itself and let your creative hands fly. If your teacher happens to teach math, paint a few equation problems on the side. If your teacher's subject is science, paint a test tube and microscope onto the side.

Pick one of these ideas and you will be set for a great start to the upcoming school year. Flowers are no guarantee of getting straight A's, but they couldn't hurt. 

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This article is brought to you and published by Teleflora.

Wedding Tip: Picking Flowers for a September Wedding

Wedding Tip: Picking Flowers for a September Wedding

September may be the first month of fall, but that doesn't mean that summer's bright colors have gone. September's blooms are full, hardy and gorgeous additions for any wedding, and each flower comes in such a variety of colors that a seasonal floral bouquet can match any color-scheme. For brides purchasing flowers for their September wedding, keep in mind that you will want to make selections that are both locally and seasonally in bloom. The reason being that the florist will likely have an abundance of this genus, whose local blooms should be brighter and last long through the wedding night.

What Blooms Where:

East Coast

During September, the East Coast will be profuse with amaryllis, bittersweet, crab apple, hydrangea, ornamental berries, rose, sugar maple and sunflower. 

September brides hosting a slightly informal affair would do well to choose sunflowers as their floral focal point. These bright blooms make a statement with a sharp contrast from dark centers to bold petals. These flowers don't only come in the traditional yellow, but they can also be found in lemon, deep gold, orange, russet and brown. If you are a bride expecting to see these large stalks throughout your tent, then look no further, but for the other brides who may be hesitant, be aware that this flower comes in a variety of sizes. Sunflowers are also an ideal wedding bloom because they symbolize adoration and loyalty, perfect for this special day.

Midwest

At the beginning of fall, the dahlia, rose, scabiosa, rose hip, ornamental berries, crab apple and autumn foliage are at their peak.

The dahlia is immediately recognizable for its bright and plentiful blooms. These flowers are striking if nothing else, and you can make a statement with them in white, yellow, orange, pink, red or purple. The history of the Dahlia is mired in thievery and intrigue, so it is no wonder that the flower carries the meaning, forever mine.  

West Coast

The flowers you will find in bloom on the West Coast at this time include the chrysanthemum, cosmos, coreopsis, Gerber daisy, hydrangea, lisianthius, pomegranate, rose and rose hip.

The cosmos is ideal for a romantic wedding. It is much like a daisy, but with a delicate touch. Not only are the blooms gentle in appearance, the foliage also has an airy effect. Even the modern wedding bride would do well to choose a minimalist arrangement with these flowers. You can find cosmos in varying colors from white, pale pink, dark pink to chocolate.

South

In this part of America in September you can find blooms of bittersweet, galax, hydrangea, ornamental berries, rose, salvia, sassafras and sumac.

Hydrangeas are a very common flower, and can be found in almost any color imaginable, including rare colors like green, burgundy and blue. Even when dried, these blooms can be dyed to match any wedding color-scheme. The reason this flower is great for weddings in particular is that it represents devotion. What better way to decorate your wedding than with the symbolic touch of a hydrangea?

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Tomato Vines Going Crazy? Pruning Tips for Tomato Newbies

Tomato Vines Going Crazy? Pruning Tips for Tomato Newbies

For new and old tomato growers alike, picking the abundant fruits in the backyard is a pleasure, until thwarted by the tangle of vegetable branches that seem to never stop growing. This New World native has multiple cooking uses, so it's no wonder the vine happens to be America's favorite garden vegetable. Letting the plant take over your garden bed can feel inevitable, but your tomatoes do not have to shade out your flowering annuals. Keep a cohesive and gorgeously maintained garden with these pruning know-hows:

Why it is Important to Prune

Pruning can start as early as the day you plant your tomatoes. Managing your plant's growth both vertically and laterally can seriously impact its future health and fruit abundance. Tomatoes are a hardy crop with excitingly rapid growth. For the first month of the plant's life it sends all of its energy to creating new leaves, causing it to double in size almost every 12 to 15 days. Because of this rapid growth it is wise to stake or cage your plants very early on in the year. It is possible that plants will grow too large to cage, or their weight can make staking difficult and dangerous for the stem. Choose to stake early to prevent these latter problems. For those of you who have not had the chance to stake your plants, do not worry, some clever pruning can eliminate a few of these problems.

The tomato will continue to produce energy through photosynthesis during the sunniest months, and once these production levels exceed what is needed for leaf growth, this excess energy will be sent off to stems for flower and fruit production. If the main stem, or even fruit bearing stems, are unsupported at the time fruit begins to grow, they can fall to the ground. Not only will the fruit fall, but if a gardener is not watchful, his or her plant can grow to exceed a four foot by four foot area. It is at this moment that the gardener realizes the nearby flowers are in danger of losing necessary sunlight, forcing them to transplant. Once again, pruning can help to ward of these timely tasks.

How to Prune

Gardeners may be used to pruning their bushes or deadheading their daffodils, but when it comes to vegetable and fruit plants, pruning can feel daunting. The excitement from seeing the exponential growth can be a deterrent for pruning, but calculated snips will benefit both the plant and its yield. Just remember that leaves of a properly pruned plant will dry and fall off more quickly, leaving less opportunity for disease to spread, and more opportunity for photosynthesis to occur.

As your plant grows, it will develop side shoots (suckers) in the axils (crotches) between the leaves and stems. These suckers can draw a significant amount of sugar from the stem, leaving less for fruit production. Any suckers that are below the first flower cluster can also cause your main stem to weaken. Trim off all suckers that grow beneath the first flower cluster. Do so by taking the base of the sucker between your thumb and forefinger and bending it back and forth. This should cause this new growth to fall off. If the side shoot has hardened or is leathery, you may have to use scissors. Keep the cut small to prevent a large sore from forming which can be susceptible to disease. For suckers that grow above the first flower cluster, you will want to use the Missouri pruning technique. Do this by clipping off just the end of the shoot, leaving at least one or two leaves that can provide some sun protection to lower fruit.

Pruning tomato plant
Photo credit: aces.edu

Try and keep each plant's main branch count to about four or five. When it is younger, allow one main branch to grow on each side of the plant to improve both balance and sun exposure.

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This article is brought to you and published by Teleflora.