Elephant ears are one of those plants whose foliage receives double takes and oohs and aahs.
Elephant ear is the name given to plants with large foliage shaped like a pachyderm’s ear.
There are four types of plants called elephant ears: Colocasia, Caladium, Alocasia and Xanthosoma.
Alocasia – Alocasia produces calla lily like blooms on 6-foot tall plants with arrow-shaped foliage.
If you live in a warm region, you can start your elephant ears right into a prepared garden bed. Spread thick mulch around the root zone to protect the bulbs and in spring they will redevelop. If there are no mandevilla flowers on your plant, the cause could be cultural, improper site conditions or temperatures that are too cool. If you followed correct cultural care and siting, there is little reason a mandevilla plant does not bloom. Weeping silver birch (Betula pendula) is a European species that is well suited to North American locations with mild summers and cold winters. An important part of the care of weeping silver birch trees is keeping the soil evenly moist. The tree is susceptible to fungal diseases for which there is no cure, but you may be able to keep them at bay by pruning out diseased twigs and branches. If the long shoots make landscaping tasks, such as mowing, difficult, you can cut them back to the desired length. Plant a weeping silver birch in an area where it is in scale with the rest of the landscape and where it has room to spread to its mature size. Growing painted daisies in the garden adds spring and summer color from a compact 1 ?- to 2 ?- foot plant. Painted daisy perennials, Tanacetum coccineum or Pyrethrum roseum, repel many bad bugs and browsing animals that are prone to munching on your valuable plants. Growing painted daisies in select areas of the garden can deter pests from surrounding plants. Attractive, fine textured foliage and a range of colors make growing painted daisies an asset to any garden bed. When planting painted daisy perennials, plan the location where they can afford protection to more vulnerable plants. Painted daisy growing tips include planting in a well-drained soil in a full sun to part shade location. Start from seeds four to six weeks before your last frost date or by division of existing plants in early spring or fall. Painted daisy care includes pinching back in spring when stems are 6 to 8 inches tall, promoting bushiness and a fuller plant. As you become more confident with growing painted daisy perennials, you’ll find yourself growing painted daisies in new areas of the garden to protect other plants as well. Bromeliad plants provide an exotic touch to the home and bring a sense of the tropics and sun-kissed climates. The unusual appearance of the bromeliad would seem to indicate that the plant is high maintenance and requires special gardening skills. New gardeners learning how to grow bromeliads will find that the plant doesn’t need deep pots or thick potting soils.
Set the pot in a saucer of gravel filled partially with water to increase humidity and help provide a moist atmosphere. Some bromeliads grow well as “air plants” which are glued or nested onto logs, moss or other non-soil organic items.
Don’t label yourself a “black thumb” if your bromeliad plant begins to die within a year or two. Watch for pups at the base of the plant and nurture them until they are large enough to break away from the parent plant. Growing bromeliads is a rewarding hobby that can continue for years if you harvest the pups. Native to North America, the wild cucumber vine (Echinocystis lobata) is a rambunctious vine that can reach mature lengths of 25 feet in a hurry. Wild cucumber plants climb up vertical surfaces by wrapping their clingy tendrils around anything in their path. The best way to control wild cucumber vines is to hoe or pull the plants as soon as you notice them in spring. If the vines are climbing up trees, shrubs or the side of your house, pull them off as soon as possible and discard them safely – not in a compost pile. Some types of herbicides will kill the vine, but they will also kill trees and shrubs when the chemicals are absorbed into the soil and through the roots.
Foxtail asparagus ferns are unusual and attractive evergreen flowering plants and have many uses in the landscape and beyond. Foxtail ferns are not really ferns, as they’re multiplied from seeds and produce no spores. Plant the outdoor foxtail fern in a lightly shaded area, particularly avoiding hot afternoon sun in the hottest zones.
Prune back yellowing stems on the plant as needed for a tidy appearance and to encourage new growth.
The ripe red berries on foxtail ferns after flowering contain seeds to propagate for more of the lovely plants. Foxtail ferns have a moderate salt tolerance, so include them in your seaside plantings when a finely textured plant is desired in USDA Zones 9-11.
Foxtail plumes are also useful as greenery in cut flower arrangements, lasting for two to three weeks before the foliage yellows. Wilted or limp Christmas cactus is sometimes caused by a lack of water or too much direct sunlight. If your wilted or limp Christmas cactus has leaves that appear to be parched or scorched, move it to an area with more shade, particularly in the afternoon.
Even if the soil is not soggy, repotting may be the solution to reviving a limp Christmas cactus. A favorite for growing with kids, the lamb’s ear plant (Stachys byzantina) is sure to please in nearly any garden setting. In addition to enjoying its attractive, fuzzy foliage, the leaves can be used as a “band-aid” of sorts for healing wounds and in helping painful bee stings. As long as you provide suitable conditions, growing lamb’s ear in the garden is simple.


Lamb’s ear has many uses in the garden, though it is grown primarily for its foliage.
In addition to self-seeding, the plant can be propagated through division in spring or fall. Actually, a bitter squash taste is a common problem found in zucchini as well as in cucumber. The most likely cause for a bitter taste in squash is due to an environmental stress of some sort, most likely a wide temperature flux or irregular irrigation. One other possible reason that your squash is bitter involves genetics and is especially true with regards to summer squash.
If you can accurately identify the stress and correct it, you may be able to salvage the harvest. As to the edibility of bitter squash, eating them won’t likely kill you, although if the levels of cucurbitacin are really high, you may wish you were. They do very well in a half day of full sun but can thrive in a full day with a little protection, such as dappling from an above tree. Bring the smaller forms, such as most Alocasia, indoors in winter to grow until temperatures warm. In cold regions, dig up the bulbs, allow them to dry for a day or two and then save them in mesh bags in a cool, dry area.
It is a good idea to use rainwater when possible or at least allow your tap water to sit for a day before applying to the plant.
Watch for mealybugs, slugs, snails, caterpillars and grasshoppers, whose feeding activities can damage the beautiful foliage.
Getting a mandevilla plant to bloom in tropical to sub-tropical regions relies upon plenty of water and adequate sunshine. You can even prune them to the ground in late winter or early spring, and the plant will grow back quickly and reward you with the astounding blooms on the new vines.
Established plants that are mature will provide the best color display, so don’t give up on young plants. Temperatures cannot be too warm, but situate the plants where there is protection from the searing heat during the hottest part of the day. However, in the rare cases where your vine just simply won’t produce, you can force it to flower. Bright white bark and long, downward growing shoots at the ends of the branches create an effect unmatched by other landscape trees. Always mow so that any sticks or debris caught by the mower blades will be thrown away from the tree instead of toward it to prevent trunk injuries. Painted daisy perennials are the perfect height for those hard to fill middle spots in the garden when early spring blooms are dying back. Repellant properties are so beneficial that petals of the white variety are dried and used in the organic insecticide Pyrethrum. Pests and the painted daisy plant don’t normally exist in the same area, although young plants may occasionally be bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
Painted daisy perennials come in shades of red, yellow, pink, violet and white, with yellow centers.
For instance, you can include this multi-tasking flower in the vegetable garden, along with nasturtiums and marigolds, to diminish insect damage. As summer blooms fade, cut the plant back for more blooms in autumn to help protect fall garden crops. Growing a bromeliad as a houseplant is easy and brings interesting texture and color to the interior garden. They are not parasitic but simply use the structures as perches from which to gather sun and moisture. They do even better in shallow pots and may grow in low soil mediums such as orchid mix, a blend of bark, sphagnum moss and other organic amendments.
The water that collects in the pot should be emptied out weekly to remove debris and the dead insects the stagnant water tends to lure into the cup.
To remove them, cut them away from the parent and then plant them in sphagnum moss mix or any well-draining medium. As soon as the pup forms a cup, it is important to keep it filled with water so the new plant receives adequate moisture. Wild cucumber vine likes moist areas and is often found near ponds, streams, or in moist meadows or bottomland. If you don’t notice them early in the season, you can mow the vines repeatedly to keep them in check.
If you decide to use herbicides, read the product label carefully and use the product only as recommended. Although wild cucumbers are related to the familiar, domestic vegetable, the prickly “cucumbers” consist not of fleshy fruit, but of two seed chambers containing lacy netting. These fern-like plants have arching plumes of tightly packed, needle-like leaves that look soft and delicate. The potted specimen outside can take gentle morning sun with light shade for the rest of the day. These plants demonstrate their need for fertilization when the needle-like leaves turn pale or yellow. The foxtail, also called ponytail fern or emerald fern, benefits from immersion for thorough watering. You can also divide foxtail fern plants in spring, making sure the tuberous root system is entirely covered with a well draining soil. Bottlebrush-like plumes of foxtail fern plants are versatile; useful in the perennial border alongside other flowering plants, in outdoor containers and as houseplants for winter months.
In colder zones, grow the plant as an annual or in a container to bring inside for the winter. If you’ve neglected to water the limp Christmas cactus, begin by giving the plant a limited drink.
As an epiphyte in its native home on the tropical forest floor, the Christmas cactus absorbs water and nutrients from the air, and as such can’t handle soggy roots. While the plant likes to be tight in the pot, moving it to a slightly larger container with fresh soil every few years helps avoid Christmas cactus problems. The stress the plant has experienced may cause this year’s blooms to drop prematurely.
This easy-care perennial has velvety soft, wooly evergreen leaves that are silver to gray-green in color. Although lamb’s ear can tolerate the poorest of soils, it should always be well-draining as the plant dislikes overly moist soil.


The plant’s low-growing, mat-forming foliage makes it ideal for use as a ground cover.
Both of these veggies are members of the Cucurbit family along with gourds, melons, pumpkins and other types of squash. Squash, as well as cucumber relatives, are basically weeds and easily cross pollinate with our garden domestic varieties.
Many insects find the bitter flavor as repellent as we do and are, thus, less likely to snack on the plant. However, if the squash tastes bad and is extremely bitter already, you may want to pull it out and discard it, starting over the following year. Very bitter squash with a high level of this compound will cause severe stomach cramps and diarrhea which can last for several days.
It helps to know that the bitter compound is more concentrated in the stem rather than in the blossom end of the squash. These natives of tropical regions are only reliably hardy in United States Department of Agriculture zones 10 and 11 but can be grown as houseplants and summer annuals anywhere. From giant plants reaching almost 10 feet tall to diminutive 2-foot tall species, elephant ear plant types are all excellent in partial shade to full sun in rich, moist soil.
This much smaller elephant ear species only reaches 2 feet in height with foliage measuring 8 to 12 inches in length. Each of the different elephant ear plants has a slightly different cultivation range regarding water. Larger plants, like Colocasia, can stay in the ground but the foliage may die back if the temperatures get cool.
In cooler climates, the plant is only suitable for summer outdoor growing and may need a bit more babying as the season is short and the vines need to mature before blooming.
Potted plants should be fertilized every two weeks with a high phosphorus plant food from spring through summer. Mandevilla bloom off of new growth so this may be just the trick to get new vines and enhance blooming. The canopy will spread 25 to 30 feet, and it should not be crowded by structures or other trees. Learn how to care for a bromeliad plant and you will have a long lasting unique houseplant that is low maintenance. Near the end of its life, a bromeliad plant may produce an inflorescence or flower whose form and color vary widely among each variety.
These plants collect all the food and moisture they need with their leaves but need a little help from you in the indoor setting. Although interior bromeliad plants will fail after a while and cease growth, they will produce offsets, or pups, that you can remove and start as new plants. Then sadly, it is off to the compost pile with the original bromeliad plant, but you will be left with a little carbon copy that you can tend to its full maturity, when the cycle starts all over again. However, the vine can pop up in typically dry areas when rainfall levels are higher than average. However, it makes an attractive plant growing over a pergola, fence or arbor, especially when the plant is covered with tiny white flowers, beginning in midsummer. Products containing glyphosate may be effective against young plants and the herbicide, which isn’t taken up by the bark and roots, is generally safe to use around trees and shrubs.
The netting holds four large seeds in place until the fruit ripens and the seeds drop to the ground to begin a new vine.
Feed this plant in spring with a time released food or monthly during the growing season with a balanced 10-10-10 plant food at half strength. Correct Christmas cactus problems, such as a limp Christmas cactus, with these simple tips.
When all your blooms drop at once, expect an outstanding show next year from what was once your limp Christmas cactus.
Watch the foliage carefully in wet sites (from high rainfall) or regions prone to humid conditions, as this can lead to rotting. Extreme cold, heat, drought or too much irrigation or even a lack of plant nutrients, excessive pest infestation or disease can all create these elevated levels of cucurbitacin in the squash resulting in a bitter flavor.
Saving seed can increase the likelihood of a potential cross pollination and resulting bitter flavor. To reduce the bitter flavor, peel the squash, beginning at the blossom end, and discard a couple of inches of it at the stem end. There are different elephant ear plants in four genera available for growing in your landscape.
Colocasia is a wetland plant that requires consistent moisture while the other species need less water and cannot stand to be soggy.
Weeping silver birch trees grow best in areas where summer temperatures rarely exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit (25 C.) and where the roots are covered with snow for most of the winter. The plants appear fragile and may cause gardeners to shy away from them, expecting difficult and extensive care of foxtail fern. Use a good quality potting soil at two parts potting soil to one part sand or vermiculite, assuring sharp drainage.
If left to bloom in summer, lamb’s ear will produce spikes of pink to purple colored flowers too.
I just planted six zucchini plants and I am well aware that I will be giving it away to strangers on the street, just to use it all.
It can also occur with purchased seed that may have been cross pollinated with wild cucurbits. It is fairly likely that you would not even entertain the notion of ingesting very bitter squash simply because of the nasty flavor.
Northern gardeners who wonder, “Why won’t my mandevilla bloom” may be in for some serious work to encourage this tropical wonder to brighten their landscape. Avoid high nitrogen plant foods, as they fuel leaf and vine growth but do not promote flowers. The cut will stimulate growth from the side shoots and nodes below it, so it’s best to cut just above a node or side shoot. Obviously, there would be no benefit to trying to solve a stressor to resolve the problem, as the bitterness is bred into the plant. That said, to err on the side of caution, it may be best to simply toss out any extremely bitter tasting fruits.



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