Hortus Coronado – September 2020 ...

The Coronado Floral Association was disappointed to have to cancel the 2020 Coronado Flower Show in April but we are still working behind the scenes to move forward with the show (hopefully!) in 2021. We have created a survey to gather input and gauge interest from the community. Your input matters and will help us plan a better show. Please take a minute and complete the survey. Go to our website – CoronadoFlowerShow.com. Thank you for your input.

Monthly garden reports brought to you by Coronado Floral Association

www.CoronadoFlowerShow.com

Coronado Floral Association was disappointed to have to cancel the 2020 Coronado Flower Show in April but we are still working behind the scenes to move forward with the show (hopefully!) in 2021.

We have created a survey to gather input and gauge interest from the community. Your input matters and will help us plan a better show.

Please take a minute and complete the survey. Go to our website – CoronadoFlowerShow.com. Thank you for your input. 

September can be a tricky month with quirky weather. Usually we have couple of dry Santa Ana weather conditions so pay extra attention to your yard when the weather gets hot and dry. By the end of the month, temperatures are starting to stabilize and we can be pretty sure that the weather won’t be so hot as we head into October. (Famous last words!) 

Garden Prep:

Mulching is the key to keeping plants happy during the hot months. Mulch to about 3-4 inches in-depth, keeping mulch away from the trunks of your plants. This will keep water evaporation down to a minimum, helps insulate to roots, regulate soil temperature, and discourage weeds.

Annual herbs prefer a composted mulch. Perennial herbs prefer a bark mulch.

Clean out garden debris, dead flowers and leaves to keep the insect populations in check.

A big job in September is preparing the soil for the upcoming fall planting. Once you’ve cleaned out your garden beds, it’s time to amend the soil. Start by turning over the soil, water deeply, and wait a few weeks for weeds to germinate. Weed out the bed, then add a 3 to 4 inch layer of organic material, some all-purpose fertilizer, and finish by digging it in and turning it over well. Lastly, let the bed rest for a couple of weeks before planting.

Pruning:

Camellias are starting to bud out now. Thin the buds on your camellia plants this month and next to promote a better bloom next winter. Thin out a combination of smaller and larger buds so your upcoming bloom will span a longer period.

There is conflicting information about when to trim back red fountain grass, i.e. now or in December. A compromise between the two times will yield good results. In September gather up the center of the plant with string and trim away everything hanging low on the sidewalk. The center of the plant still looks vibrant and lasts for a few more months. In December cut the grasses all the way down as far as you can (about 3 inches off the ground). Within days new growth is popping up and the plants start over again for the new year.

Force your summer crops by pinching off new blossoms on melon, squash, eggplant, and tomatoes. This will force plants to ripen fruit already on the plant.

Planting:

Bulbs are starting to appear at local nurseries so get your favorites while they are in stock. There are wonderful drought-resistant bulbs and comes from South Africa including freesia, babiana, crocosmia, sparaxis, tritonia, watsonia and ixia. Plant bearded iris rhizomes in areas that get at least a half-day sun. Plant other spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, later.

It’s time to get sweet pea seeds started for a winter bloom. Look for early blooming varieties in local nurseries. Soak the seeds over night to soften the outside layer before planting.

It’s also time for planting winter veggie seeds. Start small batches of seeds, starting a new batch every three weeks so you have a staggered harvest schedule down the road. We know the hot weather is not over so if you lose a batch from hot weather all will not be lost.

Spring and summer-blooming perennials can be dug up and divided now through early fall. Use the extras to fill in bare spots in your yard or share with your neighbors and gardening friends. Keep them watered regularly for the next few months while they are getting established.

Watering:

Don’t water your Christmas cactus for the next month and a half to help set buds on your plant. It’s not an exact science but hopefully this will have your plant in bloom for the holidays.

When the weather gets hot and dry, it is important to keep your citrus evenly watered or the result can be split fruit.

Watering should be done in the morning so plants are hydrated for the heat of the day and leaves are dry before nightfall.

Fertilizer:

Before fertilizing make sure to water your plants first, preferably the day before. This is especially important during hot weather, or you risk burning the roots of the plants.

This is the last time to fertilize citrus until the beginning of next year. Use a formula specifically for citrus to make sure your trees are getting the trace minerals they need, too.

Naturalized bulbs will start to peek through the dirt any day now, so spread bone meal on top of their soil to fortify them a bit.

Apply a half-dose of fertilizer to your bedding plants. We don’t want to encourage a huge flush of growth as we go into fall, but we do want to make sure the plants are getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy and fight off pests.

As the buds set on your azaleas and camellias, feed them with fertilizer tailored to their needs.

To get blue flowers on your hydrangeas keep the soil acidic at a pH @ 4.5 – 5.0. Fertilize with aluminum sulfate using 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height or 1/4 teaspoon per potted plant. Mix with water and apply it several times in the fall and spring beginning in September. This must be started before they start developing buds; otherwise, it’s too late for this season.

If you are ready to promote bloom spikes on your cymbidium orchids switch to a lower nitrogen fertilizer. Higher phosphorous and potassium fertilizers, such as 15-30-15 or 10-30-10, will encourage bloom spikes.  

Pest & Disease Control:

If you see little white moths flying around your cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli, watch for their caterpillars and spray with Bacillus thuringiensus.

If you have white fly in your garden, locate the source, then blast the plants with a jet spray to wipe out the little nasties. Natural predators are ladybugs or lacewings, but if white fly are out of control, natural predators won’t be able to keep up. Spray down citrus trees twice a week in the morning.

Miscellaneous:

Sunscreen, a hat and lots of hydration! 

Happy gardening!

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