Garden Guide: Vaccinium to Zantedeschia

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Garden Guide: Vaccinium to Zantedeschia

Plant Care and Garden Guide: From Vaccinium to Zantedeschia

VACCINIUM species and cultivars - Blueberry

PLANTING: Set Blueberries 4 feet apart, with 8 to 10 feet between rows; for use as a hedge, space plants 2 to 3 feet apart. Choose a location in full sun and with an acid, humus-enriched soil. To obtain an acid reaction, add ammonium sulfate or powered sulphur to the soil, along with a liberal amount of leaf mold. (Or check with your County Extension agent for specifics.) Dig a generous hole and plant so that the upper roots are covered with only an inch of soil. Planting too deep will hinder growth. At planting time, some light pruning may be desirable to shape and balance branch structure for Blueberries.

MAINTENANCE: We recommend a thick, organic mulch year round, to keep down weeds and maintain even moisture. Once plants are established, apply an acid fertilizer (such as one suited for azaleas) each year. After the initial pruning at planting time for Blueberries, no pruning will be necessary for a few years; after that, the older branches may be pruned back from year to year as necessary. If birds are a problem, netting will keep them from the berries.

Winter care of Potted Plants: In zones 5, 6, and the colder parts of zones 7, potted plants must be either sunk into the ground or moved into a cold garage or basement that doesn’t freeze. Water pots well before moving them indoors and then check every 4 to 5 weeks to make sure the soil remains a bit damp. Zones various.

VERBASCUM chaixii - Mullein

PLANTING: Set plants 15 to 18 inches apart. Choose a location in full sun, where the soil is well-drained.

MAINTENANCE: Water plants from time to time during prolonged periods of drought. Established plants do not like to be moved. In zones 5, we recommend a winter mulch. Zones 5-9. 

VERBENA species and cultivars - Vervain

PLANTING: Choose a sunny location, where soil is well-drained. Space plants as listed. ‘Hot Lips’. 2 to 3 feet apart. Zones 7-10. ‘Pink Parfait’. 2 to 21/2 feet apart. Zones 7-10. ‘Sissinghurst’. 2 to 2.5 feet apart. Zones 5 (with protection)-9. ‘Tukana Scarlet’. 2 to 3 feet apart. Zones 6-9.

MAINTENANCE: Water plants during extended periods of drought. If necessary, plants may be divided in spring. In areas north of hardiness zones, dig up plants in the fall and winter over in a frost-free cold frame. Zones various.

VERONICA species and cultivars - Speedwell

PLANTING: Set 15 to 18 inches apart. Choose a location in full sun or light shade, where the soil is moderately fertile and - this is essential - well-drained.

MAINTENANCE: Removing spent flower heads will prolong blooming period. An application of a balanced fertilizer in the spring, as growth commences, is a good idea. Plants may need dividing every 3 or 4 years, for renewal; do this in the spring or fall. Zones 4-9.

Prune in early winter after the tree has gone dormant to encourage more fruit production next season.

VIBURNUM species and cultivars

PLANTING: Choose a sunny location (some may tolerate light shade - see catalog for specifics of your species), where the soil is well-drained but deep, rich, and moisture- retentive. The Viburnums we offer are tolerant of drought and sea-spray.

MAINTENANCE: Among the easiest of all shrubs to grow, the Viburnum needs little special attention; prune only as desired to shape. Please note, however, that they are highly intolerant of sulphur. Should a spray containing sulphur touch the foliage, severe defoliation may result. Zones 3-9 various.

VINCA species and cultivars - Periwinkle, Trailing Myrtle

PLANTING: V. minor rooted cuttings should be spaced 4 to 6 inches apart; potted plants can be spaced 12 to 15 inches apart. Choose a site in partial shade, though the Vincas will tolerate deeper shade as well; average garden soil will do.

MAINTENANCE: Keep plants well watered during periods of drought. A balanced fertilizer applied in the spring will encourage optimum growth. Zones 4-9.

VIOLA species and cultivars

PLANTING: Set plants 6-12 inches apart in a sheltered location in sun or part shade (the later especially in areas with hot summers) where the soil is rich and has a ample moisture content. Avoid planting violas too deeply.

MAINTENANCE: Picking spent flowers will prolong the blooming season. If slugs are a problem, initate control methods early in the spring. Zones various.

VITIS - Grape

PLANTING: Set plants out in well drained, deeply cultivated, sandy or gravely loam soil. The planting site should have enough elevation for air drainage to prevent injury by late spring freezes. Plant in full sun 8 feet apart, rows 8-10 feet apart. In northern zones, plant in a southern exposure and provide protection on cold nights. At planting prune roots to healthy, undamaged tissue and prune top to single stem with 3-5 buds.

MAINTENANCE: Water deeply at base of plants. Drip irrigation would work well. Apply mulch for moisture retention and weed control. Any nitrogen fertilization should be done in spring or early summer before setting of fruit. Use nitrate of soda or well rotted manure. Provide winter protection for young plants and against any unusually harsh, cold and wind. Pruning should be done January through March. Zone 5-9.

WEIGELA florida cultivars

PLANTING: Set plants about 10 feet apart to allow for ultimate spread. (Dwarf varieties may be planted closer together.) Weigelas are widely tolerant of growing conditions, but will prosper if given full sun and a well-drained but moisture retentive soils.

MAINTENANCE: We recommend an organic year-round mulch to preserve moisture. Prune heavily after flowering to control unruly growth by removing approximately 1/3 of the old growth to ground level. Thinning of younger wood to open up the bush is also beneficial from time to time. Zones various.

Prune in early winter after the tree has gone dormant to encourage more fruit production next season.

WISTERIA species and cultivars

PLANTING: Set out plants at least 6 feet apart, in a well-drained, humusy soil. Full sun assures optimum bloom; Wisteria also prefers locations with southern or western exposures.

MAINTENANCE: Avoid nitrogenous fertilizers, which will produce excessive vegetation at the expense of flowering. Instead, yearly applications of super phosphate should be made in the fall. Zones various. TO PRUNE: Allow one leader shoot to grow from the end of each main framework branch. Cut these back - best if done in winter - by half. In the summer, pinch side shoots to 6 or 7 leaves, and pinch back side shoot branchlets to first or second leaf. Follow this procedure for several years, until the plant has filled its desired space; thereafter, only the side shoots will need pruning. In winter, cut these back to spurs 1 to 3 inches from the base and eliminate dead wood and suckers.

TO PRUNE TO A STANDARD: Prune to one strong main stem and attach to a sturdy stake. Continue to cut off all shoots except the main stem, allowing top growth to remain. When trunk reaches desired height, pinch out top growth, then allow branches to grow from upper portion, while pinching side shoots in summer and pruning in winter as described above.


YUCCA species - Adam’s Needle

PLANTING: Plant 3 feet or more apart, in full sun and a well-drained soil, preferably a dryish sandy loam.

MAINTENANCE: A deep rooter, Yucca, once established, should not be moved. For cosmetic purposes, trim any dried leaves that do not fall off by themselves. Otherwise, little maintenance is required. Zones 4-10.

ZANTEDESCHIA species - Calla Lily

FOR INDOOR CULTIVATION: Plant one bulb to a 6-inch pot filled with a loose potting mixture which barely covers the bulb. Water and place in a location where it will receive gentle bottom heat and low light intensity. Once growth is observed, move it into defused light for several days so the new tender growth is not scorched. Then place in an area with 3 to 4 hours of sun light to grow on and flower. Water sparingly until growth starts, then keep well watered and fertilized in a warm room through period of active growth. Feed with a general -purpose, liquid houseplant fertilizer. They like being moved outside for the summer grow on. As the plant completes its growth cycle and begins to go dormant, gradually withhold water. Most Zantedeschias need a 3 month dormancy, but Z. aethiopica can be grown continuously without rest. Above Zone 8, bring indoors for winter.

FOR OUTDOOR CULTIVATION: In warmer areas, they may be grown as a garden bulb and left in the ground over winter. A site with good drainage should be selected and the soil well enriched with organic matter. They like full sun further north and half shade in Zones 9 and 10. Plant bulbs with about 3 to 4 inches of soil over the top of the bulb, setting bulbs 12 or more inches apart. A winter mulch is recommended in Zone 7.

MAINTENANCE: After first blooms fade, cut the blossom stalks off at the base to encourage reblooming. Keep well fertilized and watered during growth. Where it isn’t hardy, dig bulbs in fall, dry for several days, and store in a box or paper bag in dry peat moss or dry potting soil at 40-50°F for the winter. Zones 7 (with protection)-10.