|I was fortunate enough about a year ago to be given a branch from a yellow /orange bougainvillea tree that neighbor was pruning. I have one plant that I grew from the cuttings large ceramic container and now wish to place it in the ground.
My questions are the following:
How deep should the hole be?Do I need to put pebbles in the bottom along with peat moss? How wide do the roots of this plant generally grow? If I mix potting soil, manure and the ground soil will it be alright for the plant?
Plant your new bougainvillea the same depth that it has been growing in the pot. You may want to work a couple inches of compost into the planting hole. If you have heavy clay, you can also add either peat moss or perlite. In regards to manure, make sure that it is completely “composted” before you use it. It can burn plants.
Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomatoria) – by Heidi Linnemann, Cameron County Master Gardener
One of the easiest to grow and most versatile of our native plants, you will enjoy adding the Yaupon Holly to your landscape. Unlike the Christmas cactus we featured last month, the Yaupon takes no coddling or special treatment. The Yaupon sends down a tap root, making it drought and heat tolerant. It will grow in any soil, in full sun or shade (though the berries are better when the tree gets at least half a day of sun) – you don’t need a green thumb to enjoy this tree!
The Yaupon is an evergreen, with glossy dark green leaves and a
pale grayish bark. It has small insignificant flowers in the spring, but is best known for the shiny red (or sometimes yellow) berries that cover the tree from late summer through fall. Note that it is only the female of the species that will bear fruit. Because this is one of the primary attractions of this tree, varieties sold in local garden centers are usually females.
There are cultivars of the Yaupon that come in any form you might desire. Dwarf cultivars (‘Nana’, ‘Stokes’s Dwarf’ and ‘Shilling’s Dwarf’) will grow to 5’ tall and spread 8’-10’. If left alone, they will form into a rounded tall shrub, but can be easily trimmed to be a hedge. A columnar cultivar (‘Will Fleming’) and a weeping cultivar (‘Pendula’) are also available. The Yaupon can be trimmed to be single or multi-trunked, and in the wild it develops as a dense thicket offering birds great protection from enemies and elements.
Mockingbirds love this tree, and will flock to its fruit. The Yaupon is also a caterpillar host plant for the Henrys Elfin butterfly.
The scientific name of the Yaupon refers to the fact that Indians used the caffeine rich leaves and twigs of this tree to make a strong tea called Asi or ‘black drink’. They would drink this in large quantities and then vomit it back up. (Rest assured that this was self induced. The plant itself is not toxic.)
My question is about crepe myrtles. Mine look awful, they do not always flower, the buds seem to just turn brown each and every year, some flower, but some do not. And yet I pass by some homes and business and theirs seem to flourish ! Could it be I should replant them and maybe feed them something special ? – Yvonne
Master Gardener Angela responds:
“Crape Myrtles for Central Texas Landscapes”
by Skip Richter, Travis County Extension Horticulturist / Texas Cooperative Extension
Crapes love sunlight, preferably at least 6 hours of direct sun. Although tolerant of a range of soil types, they perform best when provided good drainage. Work some compost into the soil throughout the planting area, rather than just in the planting hole. They will grow and bloom better with some extra nutrition. Select a fertilizer low in phosphorus (the middle number) for best results. A 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio product works fine. Apply a light application of fertilizer in late February or early March. If they lack vigor, they may benefit from another application in May. Keep them mulched to discourage weed competition and protect the soil surface.
Also, several articles suggest that many people over-prune their crape myrtles. Very little pruning is needed on a crape myrtle. Prune only to remove dead wood, broken branches, or suckers that appear at the base of the plant or along the trunk in the spring. When pruning a young crape myrtle, select 3-7 permanent trunks. Seed pods do not need to be removed, but can promote faster re-blooming in summer.
Information taken from the article “Stop the Crape Murder” by Greg Grant, Research Associate, Piney Woods Native Plant Center, Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, Texas