while and pink amaryllis blooming

Indoor Amaryllis Bulbs

Planting Amaryllis Bulbs Step-by-Step:

(Click through image gallery for all steps)

 

  1. Select firm bulbs – the biggest you can find. The larger the bulb, the more blooms it can have. Use any pot, with drainage, that is about 1 to 2 inches wider than the bulb.  Or, try a larger container with several amaryllis. Plant bulbs an inch apart, if planting more than one.
  2. Plant or restart your bulb 8-10 weeks in advance of when you want it to bloom. Plant different varieties, as well as plant in fall and early winter for blooms throughout the winter.
  3. Fill the pot 1/3 to 1/2 full with all-purpose potting soil, set the bulb on top of soil and then fill the pot with soil so the 1/3 to 1/2 of the bulb is exposed.  The soil can be topped with the moss, rocks, or a decorative item.
  4. Water well to settle the soil then water sparingly until active growth is visible. No more than 1/4 cup of water a week. Fertilize at half the recommended strength each time you water.
  5. Place the pot in a warm, sunny (indirect bright light is best) spot and you’ll start to see it growing its flower stalks. you’ll have blooms in about two months. Be patient! You can then move the pot wherever you’d like indoors to enjoy after they are in bloom.

 

apricot orange colored blooms on the Zonta Minnesota Mum

Perennial Mums that Survive MN Winter

Bright red, pink, yellow, white, purple, golden orange, copper, cream…you will find a large variety of perennial Mum flower colors! Thanks to the University of Minnesota’s Mum breeding program beginning in the 1920’s we now have perennial Mums that survive MN winters!

Here’s a bit of history for you! The cushion habitat mum was the first patent of the U of M in 1977.  “Plants are dome-shaped, with flowers almost completely covering the outside surfaces of each plant. Previous mums bloomed only at the top of long stems (upright habit). Within a decade, the cushion type became the dominant chrysanthemum plant habit worldwide.”- U of M Chrysanthemum breeding program.

There is continued development of a different growth habitat mum like the wave hardy mum since right now most are the cushion or upright habitat. Hopefully we see more of those soon!

These perennial mums survive MN winters but they are known to be finicky. Here are some steps to take care of your perennial Mum so it comes up year-after-year.

Before Winter Care:

  1. Plant your Mums in well-draining soil. If the soil doesn’t drain well and results in standing water that freezes, the ice around the root system can kill a plant.
  2. Find a sheltered location protected from high winds.
  3. “Tests show that Mums survive the winter better when the above-ground dead plant stems are not removed in the fall. This is also a beneficial technique to use with other herbaceous perennials.” -U of M 
  4. Cover your Mums with 4″ of leaves or mulch to give them good insulation AFTER THE GROUND HAS FROZEN and there isn’t extreme fluctuations of temperature.

Spring Time Care:

  1. Take off the mulch over your Mum as soon as the ground starts to thaw.
  2. Snap off or trim off the dead growth. Be careful not to pull out or cut new growth.
  3. This is the time also that you can divide your mum, if you need. The outer new growth is the most vigorous and you may see little stray growths that are perfect for splitting. Dig down and snip off the new growth, leaving as much of new roots on as you can on the cutting and then pot them up in a clean pot and soil in a warm sunny windowsill for a few weeks and be sure to water but not too much. Do the finger test of sticking you finger down into the dirt on the side at least two inches to see if the soil is dry. Then you can plant them into the ground after a few weeks.

Sources:

https://mnhardy.umn.edu/varieties/flowers/chrysanthemums
http://www.hortmag.com/headline/dividing-hardy-mums

Mature blue false indigo in the display gardens at Drummers.

Top 10 Perennials 2019

Back in January of this year, the full-time staff went to the Northern Green Conference up in the Twin Cities for continuing education and to see what is new for this year in landscaping and gardening. One of the more popular sit downs was the Top 10 lists of perennials, shrubs, and trees. Since June is Perennial Gardening Month we thought we’d share the Top 10 Perennials of 2019 decided by Mike Heger. Mike has been in the horticultural industry for over 40 yrs and has even written a book on growing perennials in cold climates.  He of course prefaced the list with saying this was a very difficult list to make and was focusing more on natives and pollinators this year. Check out the quick list of his Top Ten Perennials!

Top Ten Perennials 2019

  1. Baptisia Lactea ‘ White False Indigo ‘. Tough, long-lived plant, and tolerates many different soils and light conditions. Great nectar plant. The Blue False Indigo, Baptista ‘ American Goldfinch ‘, and Baptisia Decadence Series are other Baptisia he mentioned.
  2. Calamintha nepeta ‘ Montrose White ‘ (Catmint). Clump forming mint with long bloom time. Great for bees and hummingbirds love it. Considered a zone 5 but could possibly survive our winters in the right spot.
  3. Clematis ‘ Arabella ‘. A rambling ground cover that can have flowers all summer long. Mike said his bloomed 14 weeks! Bees and Hummingbirds enjoy!
  4. Helianthus ‘ Lemon Queen ‘ (Hybrid Sunflower). Blooms late summer and fall and great for all kinds of pollinators. It’s a great tall, background plant. Blooms 2-2.5 months!
  5. Native Liatris ligulistylis ( Meadow Blazing Star ). It blooms from the top down and monarchs and butterflies love it. Tolerant of many soils and high light. Another good native option is Liatris Pycnostachya.
  6. Nepetax faasenii ‘ Purrsian Blue ‘ Catmint. A low maintenance clumping mint with 4-6 mths of color. The ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ is the shorter version with similar qualities. Will see butterflies, moths, bees, and hummingbirds around it!
  7. Origanum ‘ Rosenkuppel ‘ (Ornamental Oregano). Burgundy blooms June-September and even past September at times. It prefers full sun and no wet feet. It is a zone 5 plant so may not survive winters in southern MN.
  8. Salvia nemorosa ‘ Blue Marvel ‘. This perennial sage has violet-blue blooms and the butterflies and bees flock to it. Other forms of Salvia have white, pinks, and purple blooms and there are plenty of varieties to choose from.
  9. Stachys monieri ‘ Hummelo ‘ Boteny. This is the 2019 Perennial of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. This perennial tolerates many different soil and full sun to light shade.
  10. Vernonia fasiculata ‘ Common Ironweed’. This native perennial can get up to 6′ tall and is a wonderful nectar plant. Painted lady butterflies love them and are a great plant in the back of the garden due to their height. Their blooms are a bright purple and bloom July, August, and September.