April 2018 Newsletter

Earth Day & Trees

Spend some time at SmartyPlants on Earth Day's 48th anniversary this weekend on Sunday the 22nd. You may consider adding bird or butterfly-friendly plants to your garden, or creating a little shade by planting trees for the hot summer days ahead. Trees are a fabulous addition to any garden or as a potted specimen. We have a nice selection of multi-stem Desert Cassias with their bright yellow flowers that delight us in the spring and fall. Additionally, this small tree/large shrub is a host plant for the Sulphur butterfly. Crape Myrtles are also coming into bloom. Choose from several sizes and colors available in multi-stemmed varieties. One new addition to our tree stock is the Caesalpinia Mexicana, also known as a Mexican Poinciana. This dwarf variety, which is coming into bloom as well with its clusters of bright yellow flowers, grows only to about twelve feet and blooms spring through summer. 

Ask us how to attract birds and butterflies to your yard and how to create some wonderful shade to cool you and your house. 

Those Amazing Crotons

Crotons are the most cultivated foliage plants around the world with their various leaf shapes, color combinations, and growth habits. There is a variety of croton to fit any need. Originating in Indonesia, crotons made their European debut in England in 1804, where they were used as house plants in early Victorian homes. They were offered in America for the first time in 1871, and their Florida start was in 1886 as a landscape plant. The 1920's and 30's saw a wave of new hybrids especially around the Miami area. Being able to incorporate them in landscapes in South Florida has kept the crotons' popularity alive.

With their beauty of course, can come a pest situation. A new soft scale was found in nurseries in the Keys in 2008, and by 2013, this new scale had spread to Broward, Palm Beach, Lee, and Collier counties. It is now known as Phalacrococcus howertoni or by common name, croton scale. Adult females of this scale look like small green pea halves, and they are found along the stems of new growth. Males are smaller and have a whitish, transparent appearance and normally inhabit the underside of the leaves. When noticed on your crotons, trimming off affected areas is recommended, but a systemic drench, with the ingredient imidacloprid, can also be applied.   

Add some color and texture to your garden and take advantage the rest of the month of our 20%-off sale on 7-gallon crotons grown in the sun

April Cleaning & Refreshing

April is the ideal month traditionally for spring cleaning. This applies to your yard and gardens as well. Freshening up old planting beds or implementing new landscape designs are a great way to get started. 

April and May are usually the driest months of the year, and with the hot summer heat approaching quickly, it would be wise to check your irrigation system. Clean out sprinkler heads and trim back plantings that have grown and maybe reduced the sprinkler coverage. Trim dead wood and branches from trees and shrubs, and if you didn't fertilize in March, do so now. Fluff up mulches or pine needles with a soft rake and add new mulch. This will aid in holding moisture for the coming heat. Replace the winter annuals with tough summer survivors like vinca, purslane, bulbine, society garlic, or coreopsis to give fresh bursts of color.

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