We have some beautiful plants arriving in store this week, Peony, Senetti, Saxifrage, Hosta and Cosmos. We have compiled some information and care tips to ensure you get the most out your plants this Spring.
1- The Peony
Peony flowers are perennials that come back every spring to take your breath away. The plants may live longer than you do—some have been known to thrive for 100 years. Peony plants require little maintenance as long as they are planted properly and establish themselves; they do not respond well to transplanting. Peonies make fine sentinels lining walkways and a lovely low hedge. After its stunning bloom, the peony’s bushy clump of handsome glossy green leaves lasts all summer, and then turns purplish or gold in the fall, as stately and dignified as any shrub.
Grow peonies in deep, fertile, humus-rich, moist soil that drains well. Soil pH should be neutral. Peonies are not fussy but choose your location wisely as they resent disturbance. Provide shelter from strong winds. Plant away from trees or shrubs as peonies don’t like to compete for food and moisture. Space them three to four feet apart for good air circulation. Peonies thrive on benign neglect. Unlike most perennials, they don’t need to be dug and divided. Deadhead peony blossoms as soon as they begin to fade, cutting to a strong leaf so that the stem doesn’t stick out of the foliage. Cut the foliage to the ground in the fall to avoid any overwintering disease.
2- Senecio Senetti
Senetti are the perfect plant to add some long lasting colour to your pots and planters in the summer.
Senetti like to be planted in full sun or partial shade and need to be sheltered from that cold easterly wind. Unlike us, senetti love the cool wet weather of an Irish Spring – however, they will need some protection from late frosts as they can really only handle temperatures as low as 0C degrees. Soil with a pH of 5.6 using a peat based compost is the best home for a healthy senetti. Senetti are thirsty and can dry out quickly in planters or containers, so it is important to keep an eye on them. You should aim to water your senetti around midday, and make sure the water isn’t too cold to avoid shocking the plants. Senetti will bloom from spring to early summer but you can prolong the flowering period with a little maintenance. Deadheading as you go will lengthen the life of your senetti and it will continue to flower throughout the summer. Cut down faded flowers to approximately 6 inches & give a liquid feed of a potash based food. Senetti are hungry plants – feed them every two weeks with a tomato or all-purpose feed. When you feel your Senetti has finished its first bloom cut it back to about half its size and it should trigger a rebloom within 3 – 4 weeks
Saxifraga is a genus of plants found almost everywhere on earth. Typically, the plants form mounds or creeping mats and produce tiny flowers. There are approximately 480 species of the plant, and plant enthusiasts and breeders are introducing more each year. A very common and easy-to-grow variety is rockfoil.
The perennial plant needs moist shade and is hardy in temperate regions. Growing rockfoil requires cool sites which mimic its alpine native ranges. Mulch around the plants to conserve moisture and help prevent weeds from growing up into the center of the plant as it spreads. Water twice per week in summer. In colder zones, mulch over the plant lightly to protect the roots from freezes, but pull away the mulch in early spring. This allows the new growth to burst out without having to push through the layer of mulch.
Hosta plants are a perennial favorite among gardeners. Their lush foliage and easy care make them ideal for a low maintenance garden. Originating in the Orient and brought to the Europe in the 1700s, today there are over 2,500 cultivars with such variety in leaf shape, size and texture, that an entire garden could be devoted to growing hostas alone.
Although hosta plants are touted as shade lovers, their sunlight requirements vary widely. Successfully growing hostas in the shade depends on color. Hosta leaves come in a variety of greens, ranging from a color so deep it’s called blue to a light chartreuse to a soft creamy white. A good rule of thumb for the placement and care of hostas is the lighter the foliage, the brighter the sun. The deeper darker foliage retains it color best in moderate shade. The variegated varieties need more sunlight to keep their white and gold stripes. All hostas need some shade and few, if any, will do well in strong direct sunlight. They will fully mature in four to eight years. For the best care of hostas, plant them in rich organic soil with a slightly acidic pH. You’ll only have to do it once. Dig the planting hole about a foot deep, and wide enough to accommodate the spread of a full sized plant. This will make it easier for the roots to establish a foothold and begin their horizontal spread. In spite of their almost tropical look, hostas are rugged and once established, they tolerate almost any soil and will grow for years.
Cosmos are annuals, grown for their showy flowers. The flowerheads may be bowl– or open cup–shaped and are atop of long stems. Cosmos are easy to grow and make good border or container plants. They make for good decorations in flower arrangements and also attract birds, bees, and butterflies to your garden. Cosmos produce 3- to 5-inch daisylike flowers in various colors, including pink, orange, red and yellow, white, and maroon. These beautiful plants can reach 6 feet tall.
In order to prolong flowering, you should deadhead the plants (remove the dead/faded flowers). This speeds up flower development and aids branching. Because some of these plants can grow really tall, staking may be necessary.
Offer them protection from strong winds, encourage balanced branching by pinching out central shoots or stem tips, or stake them. Growing them against a fence can also provide the necessary support. Water regularly, but make sure you don’t over-water the plants. Over-watering and over-fertilization can lead to plants with fewer flowers. Cosmos can tolerate dry soil, even in a hot, arid, sunbaked spot. Cosmos beds may become weedy due to the fact that they self-seed, so remember to check them.
These plants will be in store @ Pure Flowers of Distinction, Boyle from the 18/04/17.