Thursday, October 27, 2005

THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

A FRIEND IN NEED....IS A FRIEND TO DODGE

TOMORROW MAY COME.....IT USUALLY DOES

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OCTOBER PERENNIAL SALE OFFERING 50% OFF IS COMING TO A CLOSE. OCTOBER 31ST IS THE LAST DAY OF THE SALE. THIS SALE HAPPENS ONLY ONCE A YEAR AND WHEN ITS OVER, ITS OVER. WE STILL HAVE A GOOD SUPPLY OF PERENNIALS INCLUDING SOME OF ST. LOUIS' FAVORITES, INCLUDING STELLA DE ORA DAYLILLIES, SCABOSIA, COREOPSIS AND YARROW. **NO COUPON NECESSARY**

SPECIAL MUM SALE............BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE. SELECTED 2 GALLON GREENSCAPE GROWN MUMS ONLY. AVAILABLE IN RED, WHITE AND ROSE ONLY. THIS WEEKEND ONLY. PLANT THEM NOW FOR NEXT YEAR.

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WINTER PREPARATION OF TROPICALS

With the recent frost experienced in St. Louis, its time to put away the tropicals for the year. Some tropicals are not worth the effort to save from year to year, so you must make a decision yourself on which plants you want to save. The most frequently overwintered tropical plants include the banana, elephant ear, hibiscus and gardenia.

BANANA TREES

There are two different classifications of bananas in the St. Louis area. The hardy banana (musca baja) and the tropical banana (cavandish). The hardy banana tree can survive to temperatures of -17*. The best way to winterize them is to simply cut the main stalk down after a killing frost and mulch over the area. Simple and easy.

The tropical banana requires quite a bit of work. Several choices are available for winterization. Cut the plant down, dig up the root ball and store in cool temperatures (basement away from any heat sources). OR Don't cut down the plant, dig up the root ball and transplant into a large pot and continue growing the plant throughout the winter in a sunny, heated area. OR Once again, don't cut down the plant, dig up the root ball, remove all the soil and store in cool temperatures.

ELEPHANT EARS

Cut down the elephant ears at the base of the plant and dig up the root ball. Store in the basement away from any heat sources. Do not store the bulbs in plastic bags. We recommend storing them in old panty hoses and hang them from the rafters in the basement. Burlap bags will also work but don't put too many in one bag.

When temperatures raise in the spring the following year, replant the elephant ears in rich, well drained soil.

TROPICAL HIBISCUS

This is one plant, I recommend discarding at the end of the season. Treat the tropical hibiscus as if it was an annual flower. This particular plant is a haven for white fly and aphids and could therefore affect the health of all your indoor plants. BUT If you insist on saving the hibiscus, hose the foliage off and spray the plant with an all purpose insecticide application. Place the plant in an area which receives moderate to strong sunlight. Occasionally water the plant and inspect for insect activity weekly. The hibiscus will probably lose its foliage during the course of the winter inside your home and will become infected with insects. "We do not overwinter any hibiscus at the garden center".

GARDENIA

The gardenia is identical to the hibiscus. I do not recommend overwintering this plant because of the severe insect problems associated with it. But, if you insist do the same procedures as the tropical hibiscus.

Tips to remember or consider. Do not overwater during the winter, keep slightly moist. DO NOT FERTILIZE DURING THE WINTER. Store in an area that does not drop below 40*. Store your plants away from any direct heat sources (furnace, fireplace, heat ducts). Monitor the plants for insect activity at least weekly. If an insect problem occurs, spray immediately. Good luck, winter doesn't last forever.

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