flowers

Kopper King: The Hibiscus With Larger Than Life Flowers

Hibiscus x moscheutos 'Kopper King': The Kopper King Hibiscus

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Designs

 

            In New Jersey, the tropical hibiscus is one of the more sought after annuals seen quite frequently in entryway urns, patio planters and especially surrounding pools – but did you know that there are hibiscus plants that are actually hardy for our area? The Kopper King hibiscus is stopping people in their tracks wherever they are seen and for good reason! Becoming more popular in the New Jersey landscape, this perennial beauty is absolutely breathtaking with its massive blossoms, striking colors and stunning foliage. As opposed to the tropical hibiscus, this perennial is easier to grow and maintain and will be your landscape show stopper year after year.

            With a sturdy, compact and slightly rounded habit, this woody-based perennial grows to be about 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. The size of the flowers is comparable to that of a dinner plate measuring from 10 to 12 inches in diameter. The remarkable size of the blooms makes them one of the largest flowers produced by any perennial in this area. The flowers resemble that of its cousin the hollyhock; they are light pink with showy red veins leading to a bright red center. These massive blooms sit atop foliage that has a striking deep purple-red color, giving the plant its name ‘Kopper King’. One of the wonderful characteristics of this perennial is its extended bloom period, which goes from mid summer to early fall and sometimes even to the first frost.

            The kopper king will thrive in full sun but can tolerate some light shade. To produce sturdier stems and the best flowers, make sure to plant it in medium to wet soil with good air circulation – this will also help the plant to be stronger and better at resisting diseases. This perennial is susceptible to wind burn so be sure to plant it in a protected area to minimize its risk. Once established, the kopper king does not like to dry out, deep and consistent watering will help to ensure a happy healthy plant! When the flowering season is completed in late autumn, you can prune the stems back 3 to 4 inches to allow for new growth in the spring – this perennial will also benefit from organically rich soils and regular fertilizations during the growing period.

            The kopper king has many uses in the landscape; it can be used as a border, a specimen plant or, for a greater impact, you could use it as a massing plant. Since this plant prefers moist soils, it does very well along streams or ponds and in low or wet areas on your property. This unique plant is the perfect combination of a tropical vibe and a sophisticated appearance. With its beautiful foliage and massive blossoms, the kopper king is a no-brainer when searching for a landscape plant that is a definite head-turner while still being beautifully elegant at the same time. 

Your Hydrangea isn't Blooming? Here's Why!

Question and Answer: Why isn’t My Hydrangea Blooming?

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Designs

            Hydrangeas are one of the most popular flowering shrubs used in a typical New Jersey landscape due to their beautiful color variations, attractive foliage and of course their unique flower heads. However, one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to these plants is: “why isn’t my hydrangea blooming?” The reason behind whether or not your hydrangea is blooming depends on what variety you have as some of them will grow flowers on old growth, where others will grow their flowers on new growth. Let’s get to the bottom of this dilemma so you won’t have to ask: “why isn’t my hydrangea blooming?” anymore!

            There are six common types of hydrangeas commonly seen in North American gardens: Bigleaf, Panicle, Smooth, Climbing, Mountain and Oakleaf. It’s always important to know if the variety of hydrangea that you have blooms on new wood or on old wood – knowing this detail effects when to prune your hydrangea. Incorrect pruning habits are one of the main reasons behind hydrangeas not blooming. 

Bigleaf

Bigleaf

Panicle

Panicle

Smooth

Smooth

Climbing

Climbing

Mountain

Mountain

Oakleaf

Oakleaf

            The Bigleaf hydrangea seems to be not only the most commonly purchased hydrangea but also the one that seems to raise the most concerns when it comes to blooming.This species is a little confusing because it creates a lot of cultivars that can die back to the ground especially when there is a harsh winter – since they bloom on old wood, you can see how this might cause a problem. However, it is also possible that you’ve selected a variety that doesn’t do particularly well in your zone. You can help your hydrangea by protecting it in the winter, for example by mulching around the base of the plant to cover the root zone.

            Another reason as to why your hydrangea won’t bloom is the possibility that you pruned it too far back the year before. If hydrangeas are over pruned in the summer they will die back farther than they usually would leading to a skipped year of blooming. The safest way to avoid this issue is by only pruning your hydrangea in early spring – that way it is easy to differentiate between old wood and new wood. You should pay attention to what kind of hydrangea it is and how far back it died the previous year, that way you will know what and how much to prune back.

            Over fertilization can also cause hydrangeas not to bloom. You can take a soil sample for testing to find out when you fertilized last and what levels of nutrients are in the soil. The soil having too much nitrogen or not enough phosphorus could cause the hydrangeas not to bloom. Nitrogen is the nutrient responsible for lush green growth; too much nitrogen means a very thick green plant with little to no blooms.  Phosphorus aids in the fruiting and flowering of the plant, therefore the less phosphorus there is in the soil, the less blooms you will have. You can help correct this by adding a phosphorus-rich fertilizer or bone meal to the soil.

            Hydrangea blossoms are incredibly showy and beautiful to say the least. So when your hydrangea isn’t blooming it is quite easy to notice. Even though this is a very common concern among hydrangea admirers, it is a solvable problem. By following the suggestions that we have mentioned in this article you can aid your hydrangea in staying happy and healthy and pushing out those absolutely stunning flowers.

 

https://www.provenwinners.com/Hydrangeas-Demystified

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/hydrangea/hydrangea-not-blooming.htm

Echinacea purpurea: The Purple Coneflower

Echinacea: The Magical Cure-All Coneflower

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Designs

purpurea.jpg

Echinacea purpurea is arguably one of the most common plants one will see in a typical New Jersey Landscape. They are very showy, and, because they are native to Eastern North America, they are easy to grow and require little maintenance. This beauty is also pollinator friendly by attracting bees and butterflies and is also deer resistant. Not as obvious as its outward beauty are the medicinal properties contained within the plant.

Echinacea, also known as the eastern purple coneflower, displays flowers with showy lavender petals surrounding a brown spikey looking center. The single flower sits atop a long green stem adorned with rough, almost spiny-feeling leaves that grow smaller as they move up the stem. The coneflower prefers full sun and can grow in a wide range of soil types including clay. It’s become a fan favorite because of its ability to bloom heaviest in late summer while withstanding the higher temperatures.

This wildflower makes a great addition to any landscape as a massing or border plant as well as in rain gardens and butterfly gardens (commonly in combination with Rudbeckia or the Black-Eyed Susan). The coneflower can shoot out a second round of blooms in the fall and the stems should be left up with the spent bloom intact during the winter. The center cones provide a food source for common backyard birds that will feast on the seeds—it is best to prune the stems back mid-spring.

Echinacea is among a group of ornamental plants that have been recognized as medicinal herbs. These ornamentals were traditionally used by the Native Americans and are now widely recognized by modern herbalists. Of all the species of Echinacea, the purple coneflower is probably the most studied for its medicinal properties. Native Americans used it as a cure-all herb but it has been used as a short term cold treatment as well has an immune system booster. Recently researchers have found that it shows chemopreventive potential by inhibiting tumor growth and pain chemicals. As the research progresses, it is said that the purple coneflower shows promise as an adjunct treatment for cancer!

 

https://vitanetonline.com/forums/1/Thread/1840

http://www.prairienursery.com/store/native-plants/purple-coneflower-echinacea-purpurea#.WWkeLhQ4nL8

Crocosmia: Bulb Planting & Care

Crocosmia: The Sword Lily

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Designs

The Crocosmia got its name from the Greek words krokos meaning “saffron” and osme meaning “odor”. Saffron is a spice typically derived from the Crocus when immersed in hot water. The Crocosmia gives off a fragrance that resembles that of saffron, so the name makes perfect sense. There are many varieties of Crocosmia out there but my personal favorite is known as ‘Lucifer’ (featured in the images accompanying this article). With its bright red flowers, its no wonder how this plant got its name!

A Member of the Iris family, the Crocosmia is Originally from South Africa however has proven to be hardy for zones 5 to 9. This phenomenal specimen forms sword shaped foliage surrounding tall stems adorned with amazingly bright blooms. Other varieties of Crocosmia (also known as Montbretia) come in a wide range of reds, oranges and yellows. The beautiful funnel shaped blooms also give off a delicate fragrance which is enhanced when the flower is cut and dried.

 
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When it comes to planting Crocosmia in your landscape, keep in mind that it prefers full sun and slightly acidic soil that is well drained. The corms (similar to bulbs) should be planted in the early spring (before April 15th) and should be typically planted 5 to 10 bulbs per square foot - 6 to 8 inches apart for a border or 15 to 20 centimeters when used as a massing plant. Crocosmia will bloom in May or June; newly planted bulbs do sometimes wait till the following season to show flowers (however planting them properly and in the right area will promote more vigorous blooming). When planted as a massing plant, Crocosmia is able to show off its true potential but also works well as a back border in a perennial garden.

Aside from its unique look this interesting plant will bloom all summer long and proves to be drought tolerant once established. Other advantages of this beauty are the fact that it is disease and deer resistant which is exactly what we need in New Jersey! This plant is also a pollinator favorite, by attracting humming birds, butterflies and other pollinators – the Crocosmia helps the environment by combating epidemics such as colony collapse disorder. This exotic looking plant makes a great addition in any landscape and adds a wonderful flare of color throughout the entire summer! For more information take a look at the links listed below.