How to Grow Oenothera

Pale Evening Primrose Oenothera Seeds FL3821

Pale Evening Primrose is an important BC wildflower that provides food for our native pollinators. Learn how to grow Oenothera in your garden to feed the bees and bring back this beautiful flower from endangered status. This flower is also known as Suncups and Sundrops.

Latin
Oenothera pallida

Difficulty
Easy

Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: 4-9

Timing
O. pallida is a short lived perennial plant that self sows, but is in no way invasive. In the right setting it may naturalize. Sow indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost in peat pots to prevent root disturbance. That’s the third week in January to the first week in February on the coast. Otherwise direct sow the seeds in early spring, or autumn in mild winter areas. Seeds should germinate in 5-30 days.

Starting
Just cover the small seeds, and germinate at 18°-21°C (65°-70°F). Seeds require darkness to break dormancy.

Growing
Space plants 13-23cm (5-9″) apart. Plant in light, well drained soil with a pH of around 5.5-7.0. Sandy soil works well for this plant. Oenothera is tolerant of dry and is a good candidate for xeriscaping. In really fertile soil the foliage can be robust, but fewer flowers form. Top dress with fully composted manure in the spring. Provide irrigation during long hot spells, and cut the plants back by a third after flowering to keep them looking neat. Hot summer weather may cause the plants to briefly stop flowering. Powdery mildew sometimes appears in humid conditions.

How to Grow Aurinia

Basket of Gold Alyssum Aurinia saxatilis Seeds FL3820-2

An Evergreen perennial with the slightly misleading common name Basket of Gold Alyssum. Learn how to grow Aurinia from seed in these simple instructions. Remember that the common name Alyssum is a bit misleading. This Basket of Gold Alyssum is actually Aurinia saxatilis, and Snow Cloth Alyssum is actually Lobularia maritima. Alyssum describes the shape and size of the plants more than any true botanical details.

Latin
Aurinia saxatilis
Family: Brassicaceae

Difficulty
Easy

Exposure: Full sun
Zone: 4-10

Timing
Indoors, start Aurinia seeds 8-10 weeks before planting out. Or direct sow in early spring or early autumn – March or September.

Starting
Sow seeds on the surface of the soil. Light is required to help the seeds break their dormancy. At 10-12°C (50-55°F) Aurinia seeds will take 5 to 14 days to sprout.

Growing
If transplanting from indoor starts, do so in early spring when the soil is still cool, but the threat of frost has passed. Or transplant out in early Autumn. Space plants around 30cm (12″) apart in full sun, in well-drained soil. Aurinia plants will become leggy in rich soil, so do not feed. Water plants in periods of very dry weather. Cut plants back hard after flowering to prevent self sowing.

How to Grow Dahlias

All seasons Dahlia Tuber BU147

Follow this how to grow Dahlias guide  for summer bloom success! Plant your Dahlia tubers well after any threat of frost has passed. Preferably when the soil has warmed up to 14-15 ° C (58-60° F).

Choose a spot in your garden with full sun and dig a 30x03cm (12×12″) hole. Mix the dug soil with compost and a handful of bone meal. fill the hole until it is 15cm (6″) deep. Stake the taller varieties at the time of plating to avoid damaging the tuber.

Place the tuber with its “eye” pointing up. Cover the tuber with 5cm (2″) of the soil mix. Once the stem is 10cm (4″) above the surface, add more soil, and repeat until the dug soil is used up.

Water the plants thoroughly in hot weather.

Once the stem is 30cm (12″) tall, pinch its growing tip to encourage bushier growth.

Gently dig up tubers after the tops have been killed by the first frost.
Clean and dry the tubers.
Store then in labeled paper bags in a frost free place until next spring.

Note: Dahlia flower forms are variable, often with just one head per stem. These blooms can be as small as 2 in (5.1 cm) diameter or up to 1 ft (30 cm) called dinner plate varieties. This great variety results from dahlias being octoploids—that is, they have eight sets of homologouschromosomes, whereas most plants have only two.

Sometimes Dahlia stems are leafy, ranging in height from as low as 12 in (30 cm) to more than 6–8 ft (1.8–2.4 m). Most Dahlias do not produce scented flowers or cultivars. Like most plants that do not attract pollinating insects through scent, they are brightly coloured, displaying most hues, with the exception of blue.

How to Grow Rudbeckia

grow Rudbeckia Cappuccino Seeds FL2050 1

This annual Rudbeckia is commonly known as Black Eyed Susan, but also answers to such folksy names as Brown Betty, Brown Daisy, Brown Eyed Susan, Golden Jerusalem, Poor-land Daisy, Yellow Daisy, and Yellow Ox-Eye Daisy. This wonderful, fun flower comes in so many shapes, sizes and colours. It is so easy to plant and grow Rudbeckia seeds. Follow these simple instructions.

Latin
Rudbeckia hirta
Family: Asteraceae

Difficulty
Easy

Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: 2-10

Timing
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost (early to mid-February on the coast), or direct sow about 2 weeks before last frost (middle of March on the Coast). If starting indoors, provide bright light and maintain a soil temperature of 21-25°C (70-75°F). Expect germination in 5-21 days.

Starting
Sow seeds on the surface of the soil. Thin or transplant to stand 30cm (12″) apart. In hot summers, some afternoon shade is appreciated.

Growing
Top dress with a thin layer of well rotted manure once a year. Keep watered in hot weather, and deadhead regularly. Plants may self-sow, which should be encouraged.

How to Grow Hollyhocks

how to grow Hollyhock Flower seeds F

This short lived perennial flower (often treated as an annual) originated in China, but was imported to English gardens around the 15th century.

Latin
Alcea rosea
Family: Malvaceae

Difficulty
Easy

Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Zone: 2-9

Timing
Start hollyhocks 6-8 weeks before planting out after the last frost date. On the coast, you would start seeds indoors in late February to early March, and transplant out in April or May. An early start may result in flowering the first year. Seeds germinate in 10-14 days. Ideal soil temperature for germination: 15-21°C (60-70°F).

Starting
Sow seeds on the surface of the soil, and provide bright light. Use peat or coir pots in an effort to minimize root disturbance. Transplant at 45-60cm (18-36″) apart.

Growing
Grow in rich, moist soil with good drainage and a neutral pH range of 6.0-7.5. The most important factor is good air circulation, so do not crowd plants or plant too close to structures, hedges, etc… Keep well watered and feed a few times during the growing season. If the flower stalk is cut back immediately after finishing, plants may bloom again. Stake tall plants.

Rust is a leaf disease to which hollyhocks are especially prone. It is worse on older plants and can be kept in check by replacing plants every couple of years.

How to Grow Gypsophila “Baby’s Breath”

FL2041-5

Dainty Baby’s Breath is actually quite a tough plant. Ordinary soil will do. Be sure it is not too rich, and avoid feeding plants. Cut back after flowering to encourage a second bloom. This species is well suited to xeriscaping. Follow these handy How to Grow Gypsophila Baby’s Breath instructions and grow these delicate blooms.

Latin
Gypsophila elegans
Family: Caryophyllaceae

Difficulty
Easy, Annual

Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Zone: 2-10

Timing
Plants bloom quickly from seed, so start outdoors, direct sowing in early spring in cool soil, when a light frost is still possible… Around March 15th on the coast. In mild winter areas, it can also be direct sown in late autumn. Germination takes 10-20 days. Sow every 3-4 weeks until July for continuous blooms.

Starting
Just cover the small seeds, and thin or space to 15-20cm (6-8″). Crowded plants bloom better.

Note that the Baby’s Breath one associates with bridal bouquets is grown in very controlled settings, and harvested with precision just as the flower buds begin to open. This is the same flowering plant, but it is difficult to predict exactly when the plants will be bouquet-ready. To grow for summer weddings, direct sow large amounts at regular three week intervals starting in early spring when there is still a risk of frost. That would be mid-March here on the coast. Keep plants relatively crowded. This is the only way to ensure that at least some of your Baby’s Breath will be at its peak for your special event.

How to Grow Goji Berries

How to Grow Goji Berries Seeds-1

It’s a slow process to grow Goji berries from seed, but once plants are established, they are highly productive. Plants will produce some fruit in the second year of growth, but from year three on, each plant will provide for healthful harvests of Goji berries.

Latin
Lycium barbarum
Family: Solanaceae

Difficulty
Moderately difficult

Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: 3-10 – Goji dislikes extreme cold or heat

Timing
Sow indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. That’s early to mid-February on the coast. It’s important to cultivate strong seedlings, so once the seeds sprout, use generous artificial light.

Starting
Sow 2 to 3 seeds in each pot, about 5mm (¼”) deep. Use a sterilized seed starting mix, and do not add fertilizer. Keep soil moist until seeds germinate, and then put under bright lights. After the third true leaf emerges, transplant each seedling on to its own individual pot. Gentle hardening off of seedlings is essential in order to avoid transplant shock.

Growing
Goji is a shrubby plant that can, in time, grow 1-3m (3-10′) tall. Growers space Goji plants 60cm (24″) apart in rows that are 2m (6′) apart. Spaced this way, 15 plants in a 30 foot row can produce up to 100 lbs of berries in a year. Goji is self pollinating, so even a single plant will produce fruit.

Goji is unusual in that it prefers relatively infertile, slightly alkaline soil with a pH range of 6.8 to 8.1. Goji reacts poorly to fertilizer and manure, so if you’re growing in a large container, use simple top soil with some perlite mixed in for drainage. Avoid peat-based soils.

If severe winter weather is expected, it is wise to mulch around the bases of your Goji plants, or move container plants into a cool but frost free area such as a garage.

How to Grow Gaura

Sparkle White blooms Grow Gaura seeds FL2048 1

Gaura is native to the southern United States, so it thrives in hot, dry environments, and is useful for xeriscaping.

Latin
Gaura lindheimeri

Difficulty
Easy

Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: 6-9

Timing
Start this perennial Gaura indoors 8-10 weeks transplanting outdoors. Transplant in early spring, when light frost is still possible – the last week in March in south coastal BC. Gaura can also be grown for transplanting in autumn, which insures flowers the following summer.

Or direct sow in early spring or early autumn. Seeds should germinate in 14-30 days.

Starting
Just cover the small seeds, and germinate at 18°-24°C (65°-75°F).

Growing
Space plants 60-90cm (24-36″) apart. Plant in full sun in ordinary, well-drained soil. Keep watered until plants are established, and then only in very dry weather. Gaura is drought resistant, and works really well planted alongside Echinacea and ornamental grasses in a xeriscaping scheme. Deadhead to prolong the flowering period. In the middle of their second season, cut plants back to 20cm (8″) to encourage bushy growth. If you live in Zone 7 or colder, provide winter mulch.

How to Grow Gaillardia

FL2040-1

General
Annual Gaillardia is known as Blanket Flower in its native North America.

Latin
Gaillardia pulchella
Family: Asteraceae

Difficulty
Easy

Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: 1-10

Timing
Direct sowing is easiest, and is done after last frost or in the autumn, in places where winter is mild. They can also be sown indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost — in late February on the coast. These would be transplanted out in early April. Seeds will germinate in 7-20 days. If starting indoors, provide bright light and a soil temperature of 21°C (70°F).

Starting
Sow on the surface of the soil. Transplant or thin to stand 15-30cm (6-12″) apart.

Growing
Feed once, just as flowering begins, and top-dress with well-rotted manure once in summer. Deadhead regularly. Water regularly during dry spells, keeping leaves as dry as possible – this can be done in the early morning, so leaves dry off by noon. Gaillardia will self sow.

How to Grow Foxgloves “Digitalis”

FL2604-3

Majestic yet unpretentious biennial plants for shady spots and cottage gardens.

Latin
Digitalis purpurea
Family: Plantaginaceae

Difficulty
Easy

Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun to shade
Zone: 3-9

Timing
Direct sow outdoors after last frost for flowers the following year. In mild winter areas, direct sow in autumn as well. For flowers the first year, sow indoors very early, in December or January for transplanting 2-3 weeks before last frost. Seeds take 14-21 days to germinate. If starting indoors, provide bright light and a soil temperature of 15-18°C (60-65°F).

Starting
Sow on the surface. Space or transplant 45-60cm (18-24″) apart.

Growing
Water plants deeply on a regular basis. Cut off finished flowering stems to prevent self-sowing. Otherwise, expect foxgloves to naturalize around your garden. Foxgloves will languish in periods of heat and drought, so provide extra moisture during those times.