Garden Guide: Dahlia to Dryopteris

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Garden Guide: Dahlia to Dryopteris

Plant Care and Garden Guide: From Dahlia to Dryopteris

DAYLILY – See Hemerocallis

DAPHNE species and cultivars

PLANTING: Site plants to allow for ultimate growth, choosing a soil with good drainage; often a sandy or gravelly soil will work best, with humus well worked in. Light shade in southern areas and a location where plants can establish a cool, moist root run, with protection from the strong winds of winter are ideal. Daphne odora needs shade and is essentially a woodland or shady garden plant. Other species prefer full sun in the North, light shade in the South.

MAINTENANCE: Do not move plants once they are established. During periods of drought, water well (but do not fertilize); a summer mulch will help plants to conserve water and keep root zone cool. In colder regions, we recommend a coarse winter mulch of evergreen boughs. Daphnes rarely need any pruning. An annual top dressing of leaf mold or well decomposed organic matter is beneficial. Zones various.

DELOSPERMA cooperi – Iceplant

PLANTING: Plant in a sunny location in a light, very well-drained soil, 12 to 15 inches apart. Very drought tolerant.

MAINTENANCE: Once established, cut back the untidy growth each spring to encourage new growth. Easily propagated from cuttings. Zones 6-9.

DELOSPERMA floribundum – Hardy Ice Plant

PLANTING: Space plants 12 inches apart in full sun in a light, very well drained soil. Drought tolerant and easy to grow.

MAINTENANCE: Cut back untidy plants each spring to encourage new growth. Easily propagated from cuttings. Zones 4-9.


PLANTING: Set plants 18 to 24 inches apart. Cool conditions will encourage spikes to attain their maximum size; and choose a location in full sun, with a humus-rich, well-drained but moisture-retentive soil (ideally of neutral to slight alkaline reaction). Good drainage is essential; lighten soil with sand and compost, if necessary. Crowns should be placed 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the soil; deeper planting might lead to crown rot.

MAINTENANCE: Delphiniums should be fed liberally with manure or a recommended fertilizer. After initial blooming, cut back blooming stalks to 6 inches above ground to promote a second bloom. Leaves must not be removed. Taller varieties, especially if exposed to wind, may require staking. We recommend a winter mulch. To promote larger flowers and greater numbers, remove all but 5 young shoots, early in the season when they are 4 to 6 inches high. It is important to stake tall growing varieties and this is best done early in the season. Zones 3-7 (but can be treated as a hardy spring annual in Zones 8-10).

DEUTZIA gracilis

PLANTING: Deutzias are widely tolerant of soil types as long as good drainage is provide. Space plants 3 to 4 feet apart in full sun although they will tolerate part shade.

MAINTENANCE: Apply a complete fertilizer lightly in early spring and again after flowering. Flowers appear on last year’s growth so prune after flowering by removing older canes and by cutting back by one half some of the other old canes. Zones 5-7.

DICENTRA species and cultivars – Bleeding Heart

PLANTING: Set plants 12 to 24 inches apart, depending on species. Choose a shady or partly shaded location, where the soil is rich, humusy and well-drained. D. x ‘Luxuriant’ can be grown in full sun also.

MAINTENANCE: Plants should be watered during periods of drought. We recommend a summer mulch to help conserve moisture, as well as a protective mulch in winter. D. spectabilis tends to go dormant in midsummer, so plant a companion plant (i.e. Anemone vitifolia) and avoid accidentally digging up the plants. It is unlikely that division will become necessary, but if it does, divide in spring. Zones 3-9.

DIGITALIS – Foxglove

PLANTING: Plant 12 to 15 inches apart in a moist, well-drained soil in partial shade in the South, sun or light shade in the North. Foliage is toxic.

MAINTENANCE: Water during periods of drought – a summer mulch will help maintain the desired moist conditions. A winter mulch of straw or similar material, applied after the ground freezes, is also beneficial. Digitalis purpurea is a biennial that reseeds freely. Zones 4-9.