Archive for December, 2011

Grow And Re-bloom Christmas Cactus

Holiday cacti, aka Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) and Christmas cactus (S. x buckleyi ), are popular houseplants which grow (and re-bloom)for many years with good care. Christmas cactus has rounded (scalloped) stem segments while Thanksgiving cactus has 2-4 pointed teeth paired along each segment edge. The latter blooms 3-4 weeks earlier than Christmas cactus and […]

Foster Holly Has It All

Bountiful Fruit Crop on Foster Holly Foster holly (Ilex x attenuata) is an old holly favorite which has not lost its sizzle. While many new holly cultivars have entered the landscape scene, do not assume that Foster holly is now passé. It is utilized in a number of landscape options in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and […]

New Poinsettia Varieties Make Your Holidays Bright

                          Poinsettia is a gift which keeps on giving. Many gardeners save and nurture their plant to  re-bloom again over the next winter holiday season. By early February the plant has likely dropped most of its bottom leaves and flower bracts. Cut back the bare stems by two-thirds […]

Prickly Pear Is Easy Care

There are over 200 species of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.) worldwide. Several make great container plants in the garden or inside the home. Prickly pear cacti may grow to heights of 10 feet or more in the arid regions of the Southwestern U.S. Eastern prickly pear (Opuntia compressa var. ‘humifusa’) grows 12- 18 inches tall and 30-36 inches wide. […]

Trifoliate Orange –The Barbed Wire of the Plant World

Trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata) is a hardy citrus native to China. T-orange is hardy to -15° F. This strong growing large shrub or small tree can reach 15 to 20 feet in height. Its foliage is deciduous and compound, compared to citrus trees with single simple evergreen leaves. T-orange prefers full day or partial (minimum of 6 hours) […]

Key Points About Growing Peaches

 People think peaches grow only in Georgia. A decade long period of mild winters in the Southern Appalachian  region (USDA zones 6 and 7) have increased gardener confidence in growing peaches. Peaches (Prunus persica) tend to flower in early spring, when the threat of spring frost is high across the region. In many years spring frost […]

Disease Free Apple Varieties

Over the past 30 years, the goal has been to develop good eating and storing apples which are not susceptible to four major diseases. The first 3 cultivars released were ‘Prima’, ‘Priscilla’, and ‘Sir Prize’, but they lacked great flavor and storage quality. Apples are susceptible to four serious diseases: apple scab, cedar-apple rust, fireblight, and powdery mildew.  Scab, rust and mildew […]

Everbearer Raspberries Harvest from July To Frost

Raspberry Production at Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC   Everbearer raspberries are easier to grow compared to the June-bearer types. Everbearer types are often called “fall bearers” because they produce berries from very late July to late September. Pruning becomes a simple chore – in late winter simply cut down all canes (shoots) to the ground. […]

European vs Asian Pears

  Growing pears in the Southeastern U.S. is both challenging and rewarding. Both the European (Pyrus communis) and Asian (P. pyrifera) pears are susceptible to fireblight (Erwinia amylovora), a bacterial disease with no satisfactory cure. Two popular European pear varieties, ‘Bartlett’ and ‘Bosc’, are highly susceptible to fireblight. Varieties found to be fire blight resistant are: ‘Warren’, […]

Dwarfing Rootstocks for Apple Trees

  No more climbing ladders to pick apples. Less waiting for first harvest for newly planted tree.  These are some of the reasons for planting dwarf apple trees. Over the past 100 years numerous dwarf rootstocks have been introduced.  In addition to the degree of dwarfing, some rootstocks are more disease and insect resistant.  The original East […]