Plant Care




Take care of your nursery stock immediately. Thaw out gradually in its packing if it arrives frozen. If dried out in transit, soak the entire plant in water for a few hours or bury it in wet soil. If possible, plant at once when shipment is received. If the weather is too cold for planting, put the box or bundle in a cool but frostproof place. It is best to unpack the material, sprinkle the tops and all with water, cover the roots with damp packing and cover with sacks or canvas. If the weather is warm and you are not ready to plant, heel the stock in.  


The ground should be spaded or plowed quite a bit deeper than the nursery stock you are going to plant. Be sure that the hole is large enough so that bare roots will not be crowded. Balled or container material should have 6 to 8" of space around it. When holes are dug in sod for trees or shrubs, space 2 or 3' around the plant and keep this cultivated or mulched for good plant growth. The soil at the bottom of the hole should be loose to 7 or 8". Always use good soil and humus such as peat moss, rotted cow manure or leaf-mold to fill the hole after planting. DO NOT FERTILIZE NEWLY SET MATERIAL.  


Plant in rich, well limed garden soil. Plant rhubarb divisions 3 feet apart so crown is 1 to 3" below the surface of the soil. Give plenty of moisture, clean cultivation, and feed generously yearly. No stalks should be pulled until the second year.  


If you cannot plant nursery stock soon after it arrives it is best to "heel" it in someplace where it will have protection from the sun and wind. This temporary planting will help retard development. Remove all packing material and grass that might harbor mice or insects. Spread out the roots as you would in a permanent planting and fill in with pulverized earth, set firmly. Be sure to keep the earth moist until you are ready to plant permanently.  


Spade planting area thoroughly and deeply. Plant carefully, spreading roots well apart. Set plants 1' apart for fast coverage. Water regularly until plants are well established. Sedum prefers sun or partial shade. Periwinkle like the shade but will grow in partial shade.
CREEPING PHLOX AND ORANGE GLORY - Prepare soil in sunny, well-drained area. Plant the divisions 6-12" apart for a thick tidy mat.
CROWNVETCH - Prepare soil in area of full sun or semi-shade. Use one crown for each 4 sq. ft. Water well for three to four weeks till plants become established.
SPREADING EVERGREEN AND COTONEASTER - Use one plant to cover 3-4' of well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Follow suggestions for evergreen planting.  




Remove paper and moss (if plant is in a plastic bag remove this), prune any broken or damaged roots. Dig generous sized holes with perpendicular sides, put the good surface dirt to one side so that it can be used around the roots. Loosen up the soil in the bottom of the hole. Set trees one or two inches deeper than they stood in the nursery; set shrubs at about the same depth they stood in the nursery or slightly deeper. Spread roots out naturally and work soil over and around them. Keep putting in good dirt until the hole is nearly full, tramping the dirt firmly about the roots. Fill the hole with water. Finally fill up the hole with loose dirt leaving a saucer-like depression to retain water. A 2" mulch of peat or straw material on top is beneficial. Do not fertilize until second year when feeding roots are established. Water stock two or three times a week throughout the first year except in winter when watering should be done when the ground is thawed.  


Always prune to keep the normal shape of the tree. Cut just above a bud or close to a twig, branch or trunk. Look for ways to cut away small branches that are crowding the others. Try to shape branches into a well-developed head with a strong leader and branches at wide angles. Be sure to keep the central leader. Prune away the broken roots. Set tree slightly deeper than it formerly stood. Pack soil firmly about the roots in a hole large enough for the roots to spread out. Trees that are over 8 ft. tall should be staked to brace them from the wind. A wire that is run through a rubber hose will prevent cutting the bark. Protect the tree trunks of smooth barked trees from sun scald by using a commercial tree wrap. Collars of hardware cloth will protect trunks from rabbit damage in winter.  


Plant fruit trees where they will have plenty of sunshine and air. Pruning at planting time consists only of cutting back a few of the branches to balance roots and top of trees. Light annual pruning is preferable to heavy cutting every few years. Try not to cut sharp angle crotches where branches join trunk as these might split with load of fruit. Pruning should open up trees so sunlight can color the fruit and give free circulation of air. Bush fruits should be planted 4' to 5' apart and tops of plants cut off about half. Plant apple and cherry trees 30' to 40' apart, apricot, pears, plums and peaches 20' apart.  


If you can't plant your evergreens as soon as you get them, wet the packing and cover with sacks or straw to keep them from drying out. Trim off any injured roots. Dig the hole deep and wide enough so that the roots aren't crowded. Plant the evergreens about 1" deeper than they had been planted at the nursery. Evergreens are not hard to grow but there are some factors to be considered to help prevent evergreen failure:

WATER - First-year evergreens should never be allowed to dry out. Water 2-3 times a week with long soakings that thoroughly saturate the soil around the roots.

SOIL CONDITIONS - Most soil around the house comes from basement diggings which will not support plant life. Use a well-balanced fertilizer as directed on the package.

SUN - Most evergreens are grown in open fields for their first few years. When they are transplanted near a house where they are in shade for several hours each day the resulting change may be harmful. It may be necessary to use a good, balanced fertilizer to supplement the changed environment.

PETS - Perhaps the most common cause of evergreen failure is the injury caused by pets. Damage from pets can kill evergreens in a matter of days.  


Follow planting instruction for planting bare root trees. Set shrubs at about the same depth they stood in the nursery or slightly deeper. Most shrubs should be thinned out at the top to remove old wood. Cut tops back about 1/3 to 1/2. Be sure to keep roots well watered throughout the first year.  


In the Orient Tree Peonies are called "King of the Flowers". Unlike ordinary Peonies they do not die back to the ground each year but form a woody deciduous shrub that will grow three to four feet tall. CARE: Although Tree Peonies prefer a well-drained location, they should be watered well all season. They should be mulched well the first winter after planting.  


For single row, dig trench 18" to 2' deep or more, depending on size of plant. For larger shrubs such as the Russian Olive it is often more practical to dig individual holes than to set by the trench method. Break up soil and add fertilizer. Allow plenty of room between each plant for future development. Space smaller plants 10" to 12" apart. Larger plants 2' to 3'. First pruning is highly important. Be sure to taper sides toward top leaving widest part at bottom. Thus, adequate light is assured on lower branches to make good uniform foliage possible.  




SOIL: Perennials require a deep, well-drained garden soil that retains moisture. Work soil well, 2' to 2 1/2' deep.

PLANTING: An ample sized hole in a sunny location is best. Roots should be spread well apart and the soil brought in contact with the roots and pressed firmly. After planting, the plants should be thoroughly watered and lightly mulched. The average planting distance for perennials is 1' apart. Vigorous growers such as peonies require as much as 3'.

CARE AFTER PLANTING: Water and fertilize plants regularly throughout the growing season. Begin cultivation early and continue all season. Mulch with hay, straw or leaves after the ground is frozen to help prevent winter injury to plant.

(1) IRIS and similar plants should be planted with the roots below the surface of the ground and the rhizome just on the surface.

(2) PEONIES and similar plants should be planted with the tips of the buds just below the surface of the ground, about 1". Peonies do not bloom well if planted too deeply.

(3) Plants on which the leaves spring from a crown, such as the SHASTA DAISY, should be planted with the crown just at the dirt line. These plants should be protected with a mulch which does not pack and cause leaves to rot. CHRYSANTHEMUMS and similar plants may be mulched with sand.

(4) HOLLYHOCKS and other plants with fleshy roots should be planted with the tap root straight down and the bud just below the surface of the dirt. Sprinkle soil around the roots. Press firmly and water well.  

DIVIDING PERENNIALS: When plants make a rapid growth they should be divided every few years. If they are not the clumps become too large and the inside roots will be starved and crowded. This will produce small blooms. Divide perennials in either fall or spring or reset.   

SHADE-LOVING PLANTS: Most plants prefer full sun or partial shade. These plants prefer the shade: Trinity Plant, Pacific Hybrid Giant Primrose, Hypericum Hidcote, Periwinkle, Bleeding Heart, Begonias, Hosta-Funkia, and Hydrangea.  


ASTER - should be planted 18" apart in full sun or partial shade.
CARNATIONS - Plant 20" apart in full sun and well-drained soil.
CLEMATIS - Plant Clematis 3-4' apart in light loamy, well-drained soil. (Add peat moss for best conditions.) Give vines lots of sunlight, but shade roots with small plantings. Each spring, prune back to about 2' to speed new growth.
CUSHION MUMS - Plant 18 to 24" apart and as close to the original depth as possible. To keep plants bushy and compact be sure to pinch out the tip of each shoot when it has 6 to 8 leaves. Pinching should be stopped after July 15.
DAISIES - Plant 20" apart in full sun or partial shade. Need good drainage.
DELPHINIUM (Hybrid) - should be planted about 2' apart and as deeply as formerly planted. Flower stalks should be staked.
HIBISCUS - Plant in full sun in well-fertilized loam with sand and peat added. Water generously, especially in month preceding flowering.
IRIS - Plant iris 8-18" apart in well-drained soil in full sun. Plant very shallow with the rhizomes just barely covered with soil. Divide every 3 to 5 years.
LYTHRUM - Plant 20" apart in moist locations in full sun or partial shade.
LUPINES - Should be planted 20" apart in partial shade. Prefer acid soil.
ORIENTAL POPPIES - Should be planted 15-18" apart. Set crowns approximately 2" below the level of the ground.
PEONIES - Plant Peonies in rich soil in full sun. Spade thoroughly, adding fertilizer deep below the surface. The eyes of the Peonies should be no more or less than 1 1/2 - 2" below the surface of the soil. This is necessary for proper growth. Water thoroughly.
PHLOX (Tall) - Plants should be spaced approximately 2' apart. Crown of plant should be covered by 1-2" of soil. Plants should be sprayed with sulphur every two weeks throughout the summer.
ROSES - Plant Roses immediately upon arrival. If not possible heel in until they can be planted. IMPORTANT: Keep roots covered until ready to be placed in soil. Broken, dried or decayed roots should be trimmed. Hole should be large enough so roots are not crowded - about 15" wide and 12" deep. Do not place plant so deep that any branches are covered. The roots should be spread out and the soil sifted around them. Add water when filling in soil. When completely covered, add more water. Mound up soil around plant 5" to 6" to prevent tops from drying out. Prune tops. Plant hybrid tea roses 18" to 21" apart. Hybrid perpetuals 21" to 24" apart. Plant climbers 6' to 8' apart.
TREE HYDRANGEA AND TREE ROSE OF SHARON - Strong growing plants such as Hydrangea (Hydrangea P.G.) and Rose of Sharon (Hybiscus Syriacus) may be grown in tree form. Generally, it is best to remove all canes except for the strongest. Then place a stake beside the plant and securely tie the branch to the stake. Keep all side branches cut off and continue to tie the trunk to the stake as it grows. When the trunk has reached the desired height allow several lateral branches to develop. Prune these as necessary to keep the tree from becoming top heavy. The stake may be removed after the trunk is strong enough to support the top.  


Protect Magnolia trees from the cold winter winds by planting them on the south or south-east side of the house, NEVER ON THE NORTH. It is extremely important to cover the roots with leaves or straw or burlap for extra protection.  


Summer flowering bulbs like the warm weather. To get an early start, you may plant Cannas, Tuberous Begonias and Dahlias in flats indoors. Set out after the danger of frost is past. Plant Glads at 10 day intervals throughout growing season. (Allow 70 to 90 days to mature).


These prefer a well drained loose sandy loam with a top dressing of manure. Plant base rooting types 4-6" deep, stem rooting types 5-8" deep. Tip bulbs slightly on their sides and add a few handfuls of sand to provide good drainage around the bulb. They may be left in ground year to year.

TORCH LILY - Plant 24" apart.
TIGER LILY - Plant 7-9" deep in most types of lime-free soils that have a lot of humus. Needs plenty of moisture in growing season.


TUBEROUS BEGONIA - Shelter from direct sun or strong wind or set them in hanging baskets in shady area. Start indoors thru March.
DAHLIA, CANNA - Like full sun, rich garden soil with plenty of humus. Water generously in growing season.
GLADIOLUS, EXOTICA, GLADENTHERA - Plant in full sun. Water sparingly - about 2 or 3 times a week. Plant corms 3" deep in spring after first frost.
OXALIS - Plant in pots or outdoors after danger of frost is past in any moist soil. Water generously. Likes full sun or half shade.
MADERIA VINE - A rapid-growing, branching, twining vine. Grows indoors in hanging baskets or outdoors in warm weather on fence or trellis.
MYSTERIA (Crocus Zonata) - Grows without sun, soil or water. Put on shelf or table and it will bloom in a few weeks after you receive it.  


After first frost, dig, clean, dry and store for winter in damp peat and sand.  


These are all plants that grow best in acid soil (ph factor 4.2 to 5.2). This can be obtained by adding partially decayed oak leaves and acid peat or Ferrous Sulfate. Plant in a moist, well-drained light soil with a high proportion of humus. These plants are shallow rooted and should never be cultivated. Plant them high and maintain at least a 3" mulch around them.  


Pruning the tips of the branches before new growth starts will help to keep shrubbery thick. If necessary, head back longer growth. The removal of fading flower clusters will prevent seeds from forming on Laurels, Rhododendrons and Andromedas. This is usually all the pruning that will be necessary.  


AIR PLANT LEAVES - Place leaves on a table or shelf and watch as tiny plants sprout from the notches, sending roots out into the air. These do not need soil or water and will soon be big enough to put into pots to grow.
DWARF FIGS - The root of this plant is hardy anywhere but the top will die back in weather below 5 degrees F. In colder areas, plant the Fig in a container so it can be moved to shelter to ripen fruit and protect the top. Fig plants fruit in 2 years when grown in containers and fruit the first year when grown outdoors.

RESURRECTION PLANT - Put in water for 24 hours when it arrives. It will grow to about 8" across in 24 hours! Transplant in soil.  


All fruit plants prefer a deep, well-drained soil. Full sun and room to grow will help your fruit produce in abundance.

CURRENTS AND GOOSEBERRIES - These plants do best in a cool, moist, partially-shaded location. Set in spring or fall. Plant in spring before buds begin to grow. Prune off damaged roots and cut tops back to 10". Set lower branches just a little below the soil level to encourage them to develop in bush form. Space 4 to 6' apart. Fertilize well when you plant, water when necessary and mulch.

ELDERBERRIES - Plant 2 for cross-pollination. Likes moist, well-drained soil. Prune to thin out old wood, to prevent crowding.

RED AND BLACK RASPBERRIES AND BLACKBERRIES - Keep roots wet until you are ready to plant them. Then trim off broken roots and the tops back to about 6". Dig hole and spread roots out fan-wise. Firm soil well about roots. Plant 3 to 5' apart in 6' rows. Set Red Raspberries 1 t 2" deeper than they were in the nursery and set Black Raspberries 1" deeper. Set Blackberries just about as deep as they grew at the nursery. Plant in soil that has lots of humus in it. Plant so there will be free air movement during the growing season in order to lower humidity. This helps discourage fungus diseases. Never let the ground dry out. Cultivate early in the season and after the plants are established. Toward midsummer, start mulching with materials such as grass clippings. This helps to keep weeds down and to conserve moisture. If left unpruned berries will become a mass of brambles. After fruiting each year, cut out the old canes and burn them. Leave a few vigorous new canes for the fruit to grow on the following year. These fruiting canes should be cut back to about 2 1/2' in early spring in order to encourage fruiting laterals.

BOYSENBERRIES AND DEWBERRIES - May be trained on 4' high stakes or on a 2 or 3-wire trellis. DEWBERRIES are planted much the same as Blackberries. Cut back to about 6" and space 6' apart. Place BOYSENBERRIES 8' apart. Keep young shoots of present year's growth on the ground and fastened with wire brackets to keep them out of the way. Loop fruiting canes over trellis and cut off after bearing. The second year, as the new canes develop, let them lie on the ground as the first year. After old canes have born fruit cut and burn. Select 14 or 15 canes for the next season's crop from the new canes. Tie new canes to trellis in mild climate and cover with hay in colder areas. Fertilize with well-rotted manure or compost in spring. Work into the soil around each plant.

BLUEBERRIES - These do best in a cool, moist climate that does not have hot dry winds. The soil should be moist, light textured, and contain a high proportion of organic matter, with acidity testing from ph 4.0 to 4.5. (We recommend mixing soil with liberal amount of peat moss and Ferrous Sulfate). Plant in spring or fall, using 2 varieties or more for good pollination. Mulch each year with 3 to 4" of sawdust or peat. Blueberries have a shallow root system so a shallow cultivation is required. Plant in sun for good yields. Prune annually after 4th year - cutting back damaged wood to healthy, strong growth.

GRAPES - Plant early in the spring, 6' apart, digging the hole broad and deep. Cut back the top to 2 or 3 strong buds. Plant deep enough to keep the roots from drying out. Fill hole with a rich soil or compost. Place dirt firmly about the roots and water well. Keep cultivated through the first season. After vines become established, mulch with straw, leaves or ground corn cobs. A well decomposed manure is the best fertilizer. But do not apply if vines are making excessive growth. A moderate growth of canes which mature early is preferred. Prune annually while dormant (before buds start to swell). The fruit clusters form from buds on 1-year old canes. Canes that have borne fruit will not bear again so prune those off leaving approximately four new canes on each plant. To prune properly 80 to 90% of the wood must be removed. PLANT JUST ABOVE SECOND BUD. HINT: Grow on a good sturdy trellis or fence giving grapes good air circulation to prevent rot and mildew.


Plant in fertile, well cultivated soil. Set the plant with the crown just at the surface of the soil. Be sure roots are spread out fan-shaped and hang down full length without crowding. For the garden set them at 2 foot intervals. Mulch them with 3 or 4" of straw in the fall. The mulch can be left on the next season to retain moisture and keep down weeds.  


Set roots 4" below surface. Cover crown of roots only 2" when planting and rake more soil in after new shoots are a few inches high. Fertilize with manure yearly. Don't cut stalks until the third year and then only lightly. When bed is mature (after third year) cut all stalks regularly until June 1st. Then stop cutting completely to allow bed to develop for next year.  


CULTIVATE - Control weeds with frequent, shallow cultivation. This will produce a dust mulch that conserves the much needed moisture in soil.

MULCH - A mulch of peat, grass clippings, manure with straw in it, marsh hay or compost may be used instead of a dust mulch for ornamental trees, shrubs and evergreens.

WATER - Give plants all the water the soil can absorb at one time. Evergreens, especially, need to be given ample water in late fall before freezing begins. It is important to give to plantings plenty of water during dry spells. This will be necessary for the first several years.

FERTILIZE - Trees should be fertilized regularly AFTER THE FIRST YEAR. Use one-quarter of a pound of commercial nitrate fertilizer per year of growth. This can be broadcast under the spread of the branches in the spring.


The principal purpose of pruning trees and shrubs is to improve the structure. Try to obtain a uniform spacing of the main stems and branches. Thin out the weak growth. Eliminate weak crotches. Raise the head of the tree gradually by removing lowest branches. Start about 2 years after you plant to carefully prune the lower branches. If pruned when shade trees are young, the scars will become almost invisible. The lower branches should be at least 7 feet above the ground so that you can walk under them. You can keep shrubs shapely and restricted by heading-in the young growth. Shrubs should be pruned by removing ONLY THE OLD WOOD to the ground.


These may be kept thick and shapely and their growth restricted to suit your purpose by pinching back a part of the tender, new growth. Cut back evergreen hedges whenever the growth is becoming irregular and out of shape.  


Daylilies are fibrous-rooted, hardy, herbaceous perennials. Their roots look like fingers, varying in size from tiny and threadlike to large, rounded and fleshy. There is a crown at the junction where the leaves and roots join. The leaves are long and grow more or less in the shape of a fan.

Plant your daylilies in full sun. They can tolerate partial shade, but they need at least 6 hours of direct sun per day.

The soil where you plant to plant your daylilies should be worked into a good loose condition about 1 foot deep. Mix well-rotted manure or compost, good garden soil, and peat moss. Make a mound in the center of the hole and set your daylily with the roots spread on each side of the mound. You should NOT plant the crown more than one inch below the surface of the soil. Firmly work the soil around and between the roots and water well. Make sure there are no air pockets.

Plant your daylilies 18 to 24 inches apart to avoid over-crowding as your clumps mature.


DO..... Soak plants in water for 4-6 hours before planting.

DON'T.. Plant daylilies around broadleafed trees. They compete for moisture and nutrients.

DO..... Water daylilies during the heat of summer for more colorful and larger flowers.

DON'T.. Cut daylily foliage back until Spring when all danger of frost is over. The foliage shades the roots in the summer and protects the roots in the winter.

DO..... Use aged compost/manure or a 5-10-10 fertilizer for healthier plants.

DON'T.. Use high nitrogen fertilizers as they make for weak flower stems and dull bloom color.  


Irises prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil, although they will grow and normally flower in partial shade. Good soil preparation is important. Work well-rotted manure or compost one foot deep into the iris bed. Apply bonemeal or lime into the top of the soil along with a high phosphorus-type fertilizer.

Plant rhizomes flat with the roots spreading out and slightly downward just below the ground level. Cover the rhizome base halfway up leaving the top part of the rhizome exposed to the sun. Water irises gently but well.

Spacing should be six to eight inches apart pointing the growing tips away from others if a clump effect is desired. Irises spread to the side and behind the growing tip.

Each fall, prepare your irises for winter by adding a two to three inch layer of compost around them. Loosen and remove carefully this mulch in spring. Then fertilize in spring with a well-balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 or 6-6-6 or something similar). Fertilize each August with a high phosphorus fertilizer.

Once the flowers fade, remove the flower stems. After the first frost, cut the foliage off leaving four to six inches. This remaining foliage is commonly called the "fan".

Over-crowding of the iris bed occurs every three to five years depending on the fertility and initial spacing in your irises. Divide and replant irises during August. Using sharp scissors or pruning shears, trim the foliage back to four to six inches when replanting.


1. Under normal conditions we experience 80% of the irises blooming the first year. Proper cultural practices will usually promote 100% bloom beginning with the second season.

2. Not receiving at least six to eight hours of good sunlight each day. If necessary, change your planting location to a sunnier spot.

3. Over-crowding robs the irises of proper nutrients. To prevent this, replant and thin rhizomes.

4. Poor soil fertility may result in poor blooms. Be sure to fertilize properly twice a year.

5. Damage to the flower bud by extreme cold weather conditions, especially late-to-hard frosts. Winter mulching with compost helps prevent this type of damage.

6. Poorly drained soil, which can be corrected by adding compost, sand and/or by creating a raised bed.

7. Damage in fall to blooms set to flower next spring. This is sometimes caused by incorrect foliage removal in fall. To prevent this, carefully trim back foliage after the first frost with sharp scissors or pruning shears, leaving a fan four to six inches tall.  


Oriental poppies are extremely drought and heat tolerant. They grow from stout tap-roots that enable them to store water for dry periods.

Plant poppies where you want a bold accent. They are very dominant in the landscape when blooming, and we suggest planting them with summer-blooming perennials that will fill in the gap when the poppy foliage dies back after blooming. Oriental poppies prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil, although in the South, they will grow and bloom in partial shade. Good soil preparation is important. Work well-rotted manure or aged compost into the poppy bed. Apply bonemeal or lime into the top of the soil along with a high phosphorous-type fertilizer.

Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the poppy's taproot, keeping the crown 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface. Fill the hole with soil and tamp firmly but gently to make sure there are no air pockets. Water gently, but thoroughly. Mulch the first winter to prevent the soil from heaving.


BOTANICAL NAME: Papaver orientale

FLOWERING TIME: Early summer (June in most areas)

HEIGHT; SPREAD: 2-3 ft. tall; 2 ft. wide

SPACING: 15-20 inches apart. Best planted alone or in groups of 3 along with later blooming perennials.

POSITION: Full sun, well-drained soil. Established plants are tough and long-lived.

COMPANION PLANTS: Asters, Baby's Breath, Bellflowers, Phlox, Veronica

CUT FLOWERS: Make magnificent bouquets if you sear the bottom 2-3 inches of the stem with a match and then put into a pail of 100 degree water overnight.  



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