Plumeria Flowers In Chicago

Monday, July 23, 2012

Helpful Watering Tips During Periods Of Drought

With most parts of the country suffering under high temperatures and/or drought conditions I want to share with you a newsletter that I recently received from Jung Seeds....

The drought and heat that we are experiencing this summer has not been seen for many years and can do a lot of damage to your trees, shrubs, and perennials if they are not managed properly. The yellowing and curled leaves, fruit drop and other symptoms are effects seen on plants right now, but there can be intermediate and long-term damage if watering is not done. 

Secondary damage may be increased by wild life and insects feeding on garden plants and fruits. Long term damage may be root damage, diminished winter hardiness, twig die back and eventual death. So here are a few things that can be done to lessen the damage done by drought.

Prioritize the watering of plants
so the most susceptible are taken care of first.

The first class of plants that should have high priority are your trees and shrubs

This is most important with any new plantings. New plantings would include any trees and shrubs that have been planted in the last two years. When watering these plants it is necessary to let the water trickle on the ground for a longer period of time. This will insure that water gets down to the roots that take up the water. If you go out and water for a short period of time, the water will not reach the roots where it needs to go.

The next class of plants that should have medium to high priority is your perennials, fruits and nut trees, and newly planted grass or sod. These plants have most of their roots in the top 6 inches of soil and if the drought gets severe, damage or complete death will occur if watering is not done.

Lower priority plants in extreme drought would be established lawns, herb plants and annuals. The reason for annuals and herb plants is they require the most watering to keep alive and can be replaced inexpensively or can be replanted next year when adequate moisture is available.


Lawns are composed of bluegrass and fescues that are adapted to drought conditions. They will go dormant in seasons of drought and will recover when the rains and cool weather appear in the fall. 

If you lightly water your grass during times of drought, the roots of the plants will stay shallow. 

When you stop watering, the roots will dry up and the plants will be more susceptible to drying out and death than plants that have not been watered. 

If you do mow the lawn the height should be increased by at least an inch to help shade and shield the crowns from drying out. 

Keep foot and equipment traffic to a minimum as the crowns of the grass plants become brittle and can be easily damaged by walking on them. This is especially true when the grass is brown and brittle.

Perennials, Vegetable Plants and Annuals

These plants tend to have shallow roots systems. Frequent watering is necessary to keep them alive. 

Mulching these plants to shade the soil and keep the weeding down is an excellent use of mulch. 

The mulch should be organic such as ground bark, cocoa bean hulls, ground corn cobs, shredded leaves or grass clippings make excellent mulch. The mulch will allow you to water less frequently and will decompose which builds up your soil. When mulching use a little extra fertilizer to help break down the mulch.


It is very important to keep your gardens, perennial beds and annual beds free of weeds. 

Weeds are the plants that are best adapted to an area and will tend to be more aggressive when water is limited. 

These plants will then grow well and take up most of the moisture. This will make it even harder for the plants you want to grow and succeed.

Watering Tips

Preferred Method of application....It is important to apply enough water to thoroughly wet the root zone when water is applied. 

Larger plants such as trees may require a drip for a couple hours to properly water. To use this soaking application it would be best to invest in a soaking hose or drip irrigation for vegetables, annuals and small fruit. Water is applied at lower pressure so it just trickles out of the hose to allow the whole root zone to be well watered.

When to Water....Water should be applied when the soil is completely dried out. Wilting or scorching of leaves is a sure sign of the need for water. 

Early morning is the best time of the day to water so the the leaves dry out by mid morning. 

Watering in the evening will sometimes lead to more plant diseases as the water on the leaves will not dry out and spores of the diseases will have all night to germinate and infect your plants.

How much....A good rule of thumb is to apply one inch of water per week over the surface of the soil. This will vary depending on the type of soil. If you have a heavy clay soil, less water is needed, but if you have a sandy soil the amount needed may be an inch twice a week instead of once a week.

Others Who Need Water

When thinking about the need for water, don't forget the wildlife that also is experiencing these hot, dry conditions. 

Put out a bird bath for the fine feathered creatures and maybe even a pan of water in a protected area for other wildlife. They also can suffer from the lack of water.

Happy Growing,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Plumeria obtusa 'Singapore' and Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Singapore Pink'

Plants of the species Plumeria obtusa can grow to small shrubs or large trees depending on the variety one chooses.

Plants of this species are considered evergreens as they don't shed all of their leaves during the shorter days of the year compared to other plumeria species.

The leaves, formed near the tip of the branches, have characteristically oblong shape with the tips being blunt, obtuse, which gives the species its name. The color of the leaves is dark green with a glossy shine.

Flowers develop on the inflorescences, flower stalks, at the tip of the branches.

In the early 1930s Mr. Harold Lyon brought the first cutting of Plumeria obtusa from Singapore to Hawaii and it was thus given the name, 'Singapore'.

Plumeria obtusa 'Singapore' produces white flowers with a bright yellow center and a strong citrus fragrance. The flowers range in size from 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Flower petals are defined as wide, rounded and separated.

The keeping quality of these flowers is considered "poor" by some because they turn brown rather in a short period of time.

Plumeria obtusa 'Singapore'
Plumeria obtusa 'Singapore'

Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Singapore Pink' is a true dwarf, well branched plumeria plant.

Flower buds are light pink with the flowers being pale pink which is accentuated in a darker shade of pink at the borders of each petal. The center of the flowers is orange with some red.  

Flowers are up to 3 inches in diameter and have a citrus fragrance.

The leaves of Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Singapore Pink", about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide, are shiny dark green.

Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Singapore Pink'
Plumeria obtusa 'Dwarf Singapore Pink'

For information on growing plumeria cuttings, plants and seeds or to receive your FREE Tropical Plant Guide, Grow Your Own Tropical Garden, visit Plumeria Plant Care.

Copyright © Bob Walsh

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Favorite Annual Plants - Amaranthus tricolor 'Perfecta', 'Illumination' And 'Aurora'

One of my favorite annual plants are Amaranthus tricolor 'Perfecta', 'Illumination' and 'Aurora'. All three are commonly called Summer Poinsettias due to their brightly colored  tops that demand a lot of eye-catching attention in any garden..

The genus Amaranthus, commonly known as Amaranth, is comprised of about 60 species known for either their colorful inflorescences, flower stalks, leaves or both.

Different species of Amaranthus are used as either leafy vegetables, grains or ornamental plants.

Amaranthus tricolor, also known as Joseph's Coat, is widely used as an ornamental in the United States. The leaves and stems can serve as colorful additions to salads or be steamed and served as a side dish as they do in China and Japan.

These plants are easily raised from seeds and grow equally well in containers or planted in the ground.

Amaranthus tricolor prefers a partial sun to sunny location, regular watering and fertilizing with a fertilizer high in Nitrogen. It also benefits from a monthly application of fish emulsion.

Colorful Amaranthus tricolor 'Perfecta'
Amaranthus tricolor 'Perfecta'

Red and yellow Amaranthus tricolor 'Illumination'
Amararanthus tricolor 'Illumination'

Yellow Amaranthus tricolor 'Aurora'
Amaranthus tricolor 'Aurora'

Copyright © Bob Walsh 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How To Grow Canna Lily Plants

Canna lily plants are wonderful flowering plants to grow, either in the ground or in pots, and provide the gardener with great aesthetic appeal and appearance in the garden or on the patio from early summer until fall frost.

To view the slideshow CLICK >>> How To Grow Canna Lily Plants.

Slideshow of how to grow canna lily plants
How To Grow Canna Lily Plants

Copyright © Bob Walsh

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gardening Tips For These Hot Summer Days

Welcome All Gardeners Worldwide,
It has been a hot summer so far in Chicago
with temperatures forecast to be in the mid
to upper 90s for the entire week.

South and west of Chicago temperatures
are soaring into the 100s.

This hot weather is not only stressful for
humans, but also stressful for your plants.

Your gardening began in spring when you
started planting them from seeds or bought
them as seedlings or plants.

You have nurtured them along with proper
care and have watched them grow.

Then, from one day to the next, your plants
are lost either to heat stress or improper
growing conditions such as letting the soil
dry out during hot weather.

For gardeners, it's extremely frustrating to
helplessly watch the demise of his or her

Just like humans plants get sunburn, or
worse, they just wilt and are lost due to
these extreme hot temperatures.

Epsom Salt, which has been used in
agriculture for many years, is one helpful


Magnesium Sulfate, the ingredient in
Epsom Salt is used to treat Magnesium
deficiency in plants.

Magnesium deficiency is a serious plant
disorder that manifests itself in yellowing
of the leaves, called Chlorosis.

This would be the the first sign for the gardener
to take action to attempt to save his or her plants.
Necrosis, the death of plant tissue, and dropping
of the older leaves occurs if the Magnesium
deficiency is left untreated.

Plants, including tomato plants, will produce
smaller fruits when suffering from Magnesium

It may also help to prevent sunburn and aid in
the development of feeder roots.

To treat your plants with Magnesium
Sulfate dissolve 2 - 3 tbsp. of Epsom
Salt in 16 to 24 ounces of hot water in
a separate container per one gallon
watering can, and let it sit until the
Epsom Salt is completely dissolved.

Add this solution to your watering
can until the water reaches a lukewarm
temperature, and water your plants

It can also be applied as a foliar feeding.
This process will act faster than the root

In this case, add 2 cups of the dissolved
Epsom Salt solution to your spray bottle
and fill the rest until you reach a lukewarm
water temperature.

Adding one or two drops of liquid dish
soap acts as a surfactant which helps the
solution to stick to the leaves.

Make sure to spray BOTH sides of the
leaves until the solution runs off the leaves.

Foliar feeding with Magnesium Sulfate is
best done at sunset when the stomata,
microscopic pores on the leaves, are
opening up allowing for better absorption
of the Magnesium Sulfate.

Important: Never spray the foliage
with anything, including water, while
the sun is shining directly on the plant
as this may cause extensive leaf burn
to the plant.

Finally, I have an announcement to

I added excerpts of my plumeria book,
How To Grow Plumeria - Frangipani
Anytime Anywhere!, to my website at

Instructional Plumeria Book

These excerpts give you a sneak preview
into this step-by-step, instructional and
illustrated plumeria book.

'Til next time.................Happy Growing,

Bob Walsh

PS: Remember that plants in pots dry
out faster than plants in the ground
during these hot summer temperatures.

Stressed plants, including plumerias,
are more prone to insect and disease
problems in their weakened states.

helps to reduce stress situations for
your plants and avoid these types
of problems.