Ordering FAQs

Who is Great Garden Plants?

With over ten years of experience selling plants online, GreatGardenPlants.com is your complete resource for high quality garden plants, succulents, perennials, groundcovers, shrubs and more – all shipped directly to your door. Located in Grand Haven, Michigan, our plants are carefully selected, expertly packaged, and ready to find their new home in your garden. Our goal is to provide the plants, answers & inspiration you need to be successful, whether you’re buying your first plant or your five hundredth. You’ll find the newest varieties as well as tried and true garden classics, chosen and grown by plant lovers just like you.Please note, the only legitimate URLs associated with us are greatgardenplants.com, hydrangea.com, and butterflybushes.com. Our website has been spoofed before, so please check that the URL in the address bar matches one of ours exactly.

What products do you offer?
We specialize in a wide variety of sun perennials, shade perennials, long-blooming roses, colorful heucheras, durable coneflowers, & drought-proof sedum and sempervivum. We also have a wide selection of shrubs and hedge plants, and fast-growing ground covers for sun or shade. Browse all of our plants here.

What product sizes are available?
Our plants are sold in sizes ranging from 3″ for certain hardy succulents to true one-gallons for Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs. The complete guide to our plant sizes can be found here.

Does Great Garden Plants have a guarantee?
Spring & Summer Guarantee
Here at Great Garden Plants, we’ve got you covered with our 60-day guarantee. We guarantee that your plants will arrive healthy, free of pests and diseases, and true to name.
Have a problem with your plant? We make it easy to place a claim via email, automated claim process, or use the chat bubble. Eligible orders will receive a refund. All refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges, allow up to 2 weeks for processing.
After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for the plants in your care and will not cover problems with overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, improper planting, drought, flooding, poor drainage, etc. Our goal is that you are successful with our plants (and gardening in general), so our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may experience.
Any plant shipped dormant in spring is guaranteed to break dormancy, even if it takes longer than 60 days.
Please note: our guarantee does not cover plants grown outside of their recommended growing zones. Verify your USDA zone by clicking ‘Growing Zone’ in the site navigation and entering your zip code before purchasing.
Fall Guarantee
Did you receive an order after September 1? If so, it falls under our fall guarantee. We want to ensure the plants establish in your garden and return the following spring. Therefore, the warranty on your plants is extended to May 31 the next year. Ensure you contact us with images, your order number, and a description of the problem before May 31.

I placed an order and would like to add to or change it. How do I do that?
You can cancel your order by logging in to your account here, if your order is not in the fulfillment stage, you will see a link to cancel like in the example below (click here to view larger image): 

 

If you are unable to cancel the column will be blank.
If you selected a ship date within three business days of the date you placed your order, we are unable to accommodate any changes, including cancellations.
Otherwise, please email or call to request assistance with editing your order.

Can I cancel my order?
You can edit or cancel your order by logging in to your account here, if your order is not in the fulfillment stage, you will see a link to edit or cancel like in the example below (click here to view larger image): 

 

If you are unable to edit or cancel the column will be blank.
** If you selected a ship date within three business days of the date you placed your order, we are unable to accommodate any changes, including cancellations.

How to use a gift card
View a demonstration for desktop computers here:

 

 or view a mobile phone demonstration here:

 

1. Make sure all items are in your cart.
2. Select ship date and proceed to checkout.
3. Once you are in the checkout screen, you will see a box – see below

 

4. Put in the gift card number and click on the Apply button.
5. This will apply the gift card amount to your order.
6. If there are additional funds needed to complete order, you will need to put in a credit card for the remaining balance.

Gift Card Code Issue
Our format for selling gift cards has changed from 2021 to 2022. Therefore some gift card codes work in the cart and some work on the checkout page, so if you experience issues be sure to try your code in both places.

What should I do if something is wrong with my order when it arrives?
If boxes arrive damaged, please take photos of the damage and call (877-447-4769) or e-mail us at claims@greatgardenplants.com for further instructions. If you have any concerns about the condition of the plants, take photos and contact us as soon as possible.

Can I return my plants?
Unfortunately, we are not able to accept returns on any of our plants. If your plants arrive damaged or you’re dissatisfied with your order, please reach out to us (claims@greatgardenplants.com) within 60 days of receipt of purchase so we can find a solution that works for you. Be sure to include your order number and pictures of the plants in question.

Do you offer any kind of discount codes?
While we pride ourselves on quality and value, we do occasionally offer discount codes for even greater savings. The best way to find out about them is to sign up for our informative e-newsletter. You’ll not only get advance notice of sales and offers, you’ll also learn a lot about plants and gardening! We are not responsible for erroneous discount codes offered on third-party websites.
Discount codes cannot be combined.
BOGO 50% off
Please note, you must have at least two items in your cart and a BOGO 50% off discount will take 50% off the lowest priced items in your cart.
Promo End Times
Promotions and promo codes run until the end date listed in the email and on the website. Therefore if a promotion says it runs “until June 16” the promotion is no longer valid on June 16.

Do you print a catalog?
No. Instead, we pass the savings on to you here on our website.

Can I request you carry a certain item?
Yes! We’d be delighted to hear from you. You are welcome to contact us any time.

I’ve got plants in my cart and am trying to check out, but your site won’t let me. What’s going on?
Most likely, the issue is that certain plants in your cart cannot be shipped to your state due to agricultural restrictions. This will prevent you from checking out entirely until the restricted products are removed from your cart. To resolve this issue, look over your cart carefully for any message about restricted states. If you are still having trouble, please contact customer service at 877-447-4769.

I see that a plant I bought is on sale. Can I apply a discount code or sale price to a previous purchase?
Unfortunately, our sale prices and offers are not valid on previous purchases.

Trouble Checking Out
Here are some common reasons which might cause issues with checkout:

  • Restricted items: Some state’s Agriculture Departments restrict the import of certain plants. If a plant has a restriction you will see it on the product description page
  •  
  • You will also be prevented from checking out
     
  • An item in your cart is now out of stock or a previously applied coupon code has expired. The best solutions are to either clear your cache and try again, use an incognito/private window, or try a different browser (ie Chrome or Firefox instead of Edge).

  •  Zip code issues. When entering a zip code to find your zone or select a shipping date, use the 5 digit format (12345).

    If you enter a zip code to select a shipping date and you receive an error message or the calendar won’t load, we may have missed that zip code. Please email it to
    info@greatgardenplants.com and we will let you know when it’s added.

  • Internet connection issues. Try a different wifi network or ensure that your current network is working properly.

If you are still having issues please email info@greatgardenplants.com, be sure to include:

  1. What is the error? Is something not loading, is there a warning message?
  2. Are you on a mobile device or a desktop computer?

Zip Code Error
If you have an error with your zip code for selecting a ship date at checkout, please wait 5-10 minutes and then try a hard refresh/clear your cache and try again.

Forcing a page reload

Before clearing your cache, first try running the following commands to force a page reload. 

Windows

Ctrl + F5

Mac

Cmd+ R

  (Command key) – On some Apple keyboards, this key also has an Apple ( ) logo

Clearing your browser’s cache

Sometimes forcing a reload isn’t enough, so you may need to clear your browser’s supply of stored files. Select your browser and follow the instructions below to clear the cache.

Chrome

View the following link for instructions on clearing your cache in Chrome:

Empty Cache Hard Reload (Chrome only)

Chrome also allows you to perform a hard reload. This can be used if you find clearing your cache isn’t working as intended.

  1. Open up dev tools.
    • Windows: Ctrl + Shift + i
    • Mac: Option + CMD + i
  1. Right-click the refresh icon.
  2. In the dropdown, click Empty Cache and Hard Reload.

Firefox

View the following link for instructions on how to clear the cache in Firefox on all operating systems:

On the right side of the page is a section titled Customize this article. Below are two dropdown menus for you to select the version of Firefox and operating system you’re using.

Edge (Windows)

View the following link for instructions on clearing your cache in Microsoft Edge:

Safari (Mac)

View the following link for instructions on clearing your cache in Apple Safari.

Plant FAQs

What products do you offer?
We specialize in a wide variety of sun perennials, shade perennials, long-blooming roses, colorful heucheras, durable coneflowers, & drought-proof sedum and sempervivum. We also have a wide selection of shrubs and hedge plants, and fast-growing ground covers for sun or shade. Browse all of our plants here.

What product sizes are available?
Our plants are sold in sizes ranging from 3″ for certain hardy succulents to true one-gallons for Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs. The complete guide to our plant sizes can be found here.

How big are the plants themselves when you ship them?
Plant size varies widely depending on the variety that you purchase and the time of year. Only on our arborvitae for hedging do we promise a minimum plant height; see each variety’s page for more details. The important thing when it comes to purchasing plants, whether online or in a garden center, is that they have a full, robust root system, and that’s what we prioritize in our growing. The more roots a plant has, the more energy it can put into growing once it is planted in your garden.

How fast will the plants that I order grow?
It’s hard to say for certain, since so many factors – like weather, soil type, watering, fertilizing, and not least of all, the type of plant you purchased – all come into play. Perhaps you’re familiar with the old saying about plants: first year sleep, second year creep, third year leap. This applies to plants in the garden center as well as plants you purchase online. They generally spend their first year growing roots in their new home, the second year they have more energy to put into growth, and the third year, they are growing and flowering vigorously. With proper care, most perennials and shrubs should grow anywhere from several inches to several feet (in the case of arborvitae like Full Speed A Hedge and Green Giant) a year once they are established.

How many plants are in each pot you sell?
It depends on the type of plant. For shrubs and most clump-forming perennials (like grasses, coral bells, lavender), it will be one plant with multiple stems coming from it. For plants that spread, like ground covers, it will usually be one plant that fills the pot. Plants that create offsets, like hens and chicks, will vary depending on the exact variety and the time of the year, but generally contain one large center plant with several smaller plantlets.

How are your plants grown?
Our container-grown perennials and shrubs are grown in our climate-controlled greenhouses in Western Michigan. They have been in a cool greenhouse and can withstand some light frost (30-32°F). We try to keep our plants cool so they can better adjust to their new outdoor environment, especially early in the season.

Shipping FAQs


What are your shipping charges?
Our shipping team is committed to providing the service for our customers, keeping costs low while still providing the careful packaging and rapid shipping that plants require. Our 2023 shipping charges are as follows: 

US Order Total // Shipping Charges

  • $0.01 – $39.99 // $16.99
  • $40.00 – $59.99 // $9.99
  • $60.00 – $99.99 // $4.99
  • $100.00+           // FREE

Canada Order Total // Shipping Charges in CAD

  • $0.01 – $99.99 // $29.99
  • $100.00 – $149.99 // $19.99
  • $150.00+ // FREE

Orders shipping to Canada will have duties assessed at checkout.

How do you ship my order?
Orders to the 48 contiguous states are delivered by FedEx Home Delivery or UPS Ground. Orders to certain provinces in Canada ship with FedEx International Ground. We’ve had great results with FedEx and UPS think they do a great job in keeping your plants safe during transit.
Your shipping charges will automatically compute during checkout prior to the completion of your order. Orders shipping to Canada will have duties assessed at checkout.

Can I combine multiple orders to qualify for free shipping?
During periods where we are offering a free shipping promotion, it is possible to combine orders to qualify. However, please call us at 877-447-4769 to add items so that we can apply the discount.

Where do you ship to?
We ship to all 48 of the continental United States, and  Canada. If a species or variety has an agricultural ban in your state or province, you will not be able to check out until you remove it from your cart.

When will I receive my order?
For US orders, we will select, pack, and ship within 2-3 business days of the date you selected at checkout, once your growing zone is opened for the season. All orders ship directly from our dock in West Michigan; how long it takes for your order to arrive depends on your distance from our greenhouses.
Canadian orders placed by 4pm EST Tuesday will ship the following Monday, orders placed after that will ship in two Mondays.

I think part of my order is missing, what should I do?
Larger orders sometimes ship in two or more boxes. These boxes are sometimes delivered at different times. Double-check your tracking to confirm that all boxes in your order are marked as delivered. If all packages are marked as delivered or your order only shipped in one box, and you are still missing plants, let us know! Please call us at 877-447-4769 and let us know which plants are missing so we can issue a replacement order or refund.

Our Guarantee
Free, no risk, 60-day guarantee
Spring & Summer Guarantee
Here at Great Garden Plants, we’ve got you covered with our 60-day guarantee. We guarantee that your plants will arrive healthy, free of pests and diseases, and true to name.
Have a problem with your plant? We make it easy to place a claim via email, automated claim process, or use the chat bubble. Simply send us a photo of your plant, your order number, and a brief description of the problem within 60 days of receipt of your order. US and Canadian orders are eligible for refunds. All refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges. Allow up to 2 weeks for processing refunds.
After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for the plants in your care and will not cover problems with overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, improper planting, drought, flooding, poor drainage, etc. Our goal is that you are successful with our plants (and gardening in general), so our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may experience.
Any plant shipped dormant in spring is guaranteed to break dormancy, even if it takes longer than 60 days.
Living holiday trees are not covered by our guarantee unless damaged in shipping. All shipping damage claims must be filed within 1 week of delivery.
Please note: our guarantee does not cover plants grown outside of their recommended growing zones. Verify your USDA zone by clicking ‘Growing Zone’ in the site navigation and entering your zip code before purchasing.
Fall Guarantee|
Did you receive an order after September 1? If so, it falls under our fall guarantee. We want to ensure your plants establish in your garden and return the following spring. Therefore, the warranty on your plants is extended to May 31 the next year. Ensure you contact us with images, your order number, and a description of the problem before May 31.
We’ve got you covered
Great Garden Plants has successfully shipped high-quality plants for more than ten years! We take great pride in the quality of our product.
We take pride in our packaging. Please contact us immediately for any damaged boxes or shortages. Keep in mind multiple boxes shipped by FedEx might not always arrive the same day!
We ship plants with hefty root systems that outperform smaller plants obtained from other mail-order nurseries.

Plant Sizes
At Great Garden Plants, you’re off to a great start! When you order plants online, there’s more to the consider than just price. The size of the pot that you order has a significant impact on how well the plant grows once it reaches your garden. As experienced horticulturists, we understand the difference that plant size makes in your satisfaction and success. That’s why our goal is to provide exceptional quality and value in every plant we sell. Here’s a look at our pot sizes so you know what to expect.

Note: The size of the plant itself varies, depending on the variety and the time of year.

 

3″ INCH POTS
We find this little pot is perfect for shipping naturally shallow-rooted succulents like hens and chicks. Its petite size (and price!) make it ideal for ordering for party and shower favors, gifts, and terrariums.

 

1 QUART* PROVEN WINNERS SHRUBS
All of our Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs are shipped in this pot. They combine excellent branching for a full look in the garden with a vigorous root system in a size that’s easy to ship.

 

1 QUART* PROVEN WINNERS PERENNIALS
These heavy, quality pots are a true one-quart, taller than the average quart pot, which allows them to develop deep and healthy root systems – perfect for the vigorous growth of these superior perennial varieties.

 

1 QUART*
Most of our perennials and roses are grown in this extra-deep 1-quart pot, which ensures a good volume of vigorous roots. We chose this size with your success in mind. It will get your garden off to a great start the first season!

 

1 QUART* SHRUB
A bit smaller than the Proven Winners quart pot, this plain black pot allows is sturdy enough to hold up to our vigorous roses, burning bush, climbing hydrangea vine, and other non-branded woody plants.

 

1 GALLON PERENNIAL
At times, we are able to offer certain perennials in this 6.25”d x 6.5”h container. It helps you get all-time favorites like ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint off to a good start!

 

1 GALLON ARBORVITAE
Most of our trees, including ‘Green Giant’ and ‘Emerald’ aborvitae (Thuja) are shipped in 1 gallon pots. This generous size ensures large, well-established root systems that fuel rapid growth after planting.

 

1 GALLON PROVEN WINNERS SHRUB
Get a big, blooming shrub sooner with this generous-sized plant. Measuring in at 8” diameter and 7” tall, it holds an entire gallon’s worth of our premium blended soil and plant roots. Only Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs are available in this premium size.

 

32 LANDSCAPE PLUG FLAT
Ideal for creating a carpet of ground cover, these money-saving flats give you 32 well-rooted “plugs” that you can use to quickly beautify your yard, conserve soil, and outcompete weeds. Depending on spacing, one flat of 32 landscape plugs will cover anywhere from 6-16 square feet.
* Please note that all plant pots are measured by dry volume, not liquid volume. While it may seem more informative to sell solely by dimensions, several years ago, the government mandated that plants be sold by volume instead. This ensures you get a better plant with a bigger root system, rather than one that is just sold by the diameter of its top.

Slack Questions

Blue Muffin does she need a pollinator to get fruit?
Yep, unfortunately. Best bet would be to try to get them to buy All That Glitters/Glows combo (or one each of the individual plants, but I’d steer people toward the combo for convenience and because the individuals will not be available after this year – we dropped from PWCC). Glitters/Glows is the same species as Blue Muffin, so it gets really nice fruit, and has much more attractive, very glossy foliage, as well as a better habit and showier flower clusters. Glitters and Glows were specifically selected to pollinate each other, and when you buy the combo, you only need to plant that one plant and you’ll get fruit on both plants in the pot.

Autumn Clematis turning brown
Some clematis are susceptible to a bacterial wilt disease, but sweet autumn is not typically affected. I would suspect this has something to do with drainage – clematis have really strange, very fleshy roots, much different than almost any other plant, and are very susceptible to root rot. Is it possible that at some point, that ceramic pot the plastic container is in filled with water? If that happened even for a short time, it could cause fatal root rot. It’s also important to make sure its crown is not buried in soil. That said, all clematis roots are very sensitive to heat and light, so they should be mulched with shredded bark or even a layer of rocks – the old adage for success with all clematis is “Feet in the shade, head in the sun.”

Cardinal Candy
It was discontinued by Proven Winners for low sales. Cardinal Candy does not need a pollinator, it will set fruit without, however, any other Viburnum dilatatum should serve to pollinate. Unfortunately, we don’t carry any, however.

Black spots on oakleaf hydrangea leafs
Leaf Spot, very common in Oakleafs, weve been trying to keep them clean but they have been in overhead too long at this point. Remove the affected leaves, the plant will be just fine

Barberry Ban
Different states have different rules. Berberis vulgaris, also known as common barberry, is banned in most states but it is not ornamentally important so has never been widely available in the nursery trade. Berberis thunbergii, Japanese barberry, has traditionally been the one sold for garden and landscape use because it has several colorful selections. This has indeed become invasive in many places, and is specifically banned in most of them. It may often be called “common barberry” simply because it is so widespread, but it is a different species.
There are two sterile barberries in the Proven Winners ColorChoice line – Sunjoy Mini Maroon and Sunjoy Todo. Sunjoy Mini Maroon is a Berberis thunbergii so is technically banned – there is work being done to get exemptions for it and other barberries that claim to be sterile, but so far, none have been made. Sunjoy Todo is a hybrid so may eventually earn an exemption but that has not occurred yet in any state.
So after I wrote all of that: none of our barberries are B. vulgaris. They are either B. thunbergii, or in the case of Sunjoy Todo, a hybrid between B. thunbergii and something else (but definitely not B. vulgaris). Based on the link you sent above, we should, in theory, be able to send B. thunbergii to Ohio but I’m not sure if there aren’t other laws – many states are in the process of enacting bans.

Becky Shasta delivered bug bites
Yeah those are from the slugs… they wont die. We try to clean those leaves up but obviously we cant always get to every plant. It will be just fine! The damaged leaves can be removed if they want to.

Brown spots on leaves
Moisture/condensation from the packaging. It builds up, and if the water sits on the foliage for a period of time, it results in these brown spots. Not a huge cause for concern.
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/brown-spots-on-leaves/

Kintzley’s Ghost
The saucer leaves form around the flowers, so until it is established enough to bloom, you won’t really see them form. The ghostly blue-silver hue will develop with exposure to full sun.
Many gardeners are surprised to learn that only their terminal leaves (right before they produce a flower) are disk-shaped. Leaves lower on the stems never actually form full disks and are usually oblong. Kintzley’s Ghost isn’t the only honeysuckle that does this – but since all the amazing pictures of it online show the terminal leaves – many gardeners think the whole plant should appear that way.
Many of us on staff have this plant growing in our own gardens and can attest from experience that once it’s established and blooming, it will create the look you’re imagining. It just takes time to get there!
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/kintzleys-ghost/

Hardiness of plants in containers/pots
*The rule of thumb is that plants are winter hardy in containers if it is two zones hardier than the zone you live in*. https://www.greatgardenplants.com/Great Garden Plants> is located in zone 6, which means we can grow plants hardy to zones 4 and lower without problem in containers. We always recommend growing plants that are two zones hardier for success. But don’t let this rule stop you! If you’re determined to grow plants that are hardy to your zone (or just one zone hardier), there are some extra steps you should take to make sure they survive.

Plant is Dying – Cut Back Weed Barrier
Definitely some water stress here…always hard to tell on arbs if it’s over or underwatering, but it looks to me like there is some landscape fabric/weed barrier in middle right there? If so, that’s probably the culprit. They should cut it away from each plant for a good 18-24″.

Powdery Mildew
If a lot of plants have mildew, I would suggest just refunding the customer but telling them that fungal issues aren’t in the plant – they are on the plant, and so once the foliage drops, it no longer has the problem. Even better if they can discard all the fallen foliage. Furthermore, as ubiquitous as it is, powdery mildew strains are genus-specific, so just because a honeysuckle has it, doesn’t mean it will spread to neighboring plants (unless they are also honeysuckles).

Big Leaf Oakleaf Hydrangea (Ruby Slippers) shouldn’t be transplanted in the Fall
On the PWCC side, we generally recommend against planting/transplanting anything that’s susceptible to winter damage in fall. In colder climates (zone 4, 5, even parts of 6), bigleaf hydrangeas can definitely experience some serious winter damage. However, oakleaf hydrangea pretty much never gets severe winter damage even in zone 5, so I would think it would be okay. That said, if they are located in zone 7+, I’d say go for it, you’ll be fine. If they’re in 5 or 6, they’ll probably still be fine with an oakleaf but would want to do it sooner than later, and would definitely want to get a good layer of mulch down over the roots after moving.

General recommendation for treating mildew
If the mildew is confined to just a few leaves or parts of the plant, I usually recommend they just cut it off and discard. Once it’s on the plant, it’s on the plant for the rest of the season, however, you can reduce the spread by making sure the plant gets plenty of sunlight and good air circulation (don’t jam it closely between other plants). Once the foliage drops in fall, remove it all, discard it, and hopefully the mildew will not recur the following year.

Spot damage leaves
“Bought some fire light hydrangea last year that seem to have some sort of issue going on. Not sure if it is disease, fungus or insect related. I will upload photos, was hoping you could provide thoughts on what is going on and how to treat it. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated!”
This is damage from the four-lined plant bug. Lots of people mistake it for disease since it’s so spotty looking, but it is indeed an insect. Lots more info here: https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/four-lined-plant-bugs. I would recommend looking at the plants in the morning when the insects will be present but slow and hand-picking any that you see. Look for both the yellow adults and red nymphs…just saw the red guys on my mint yesterday, in fact.
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/slackgreatgardenplants/

Dogwood Leaf spot
Unfortunately, dogwoods in general are pretty susceptible to leaf spot. But as you know, leaf spots are on the plant, not in the plant. So this fall, when the foliage drops, they should clean it all up and discard it, which will reduce the potential for reinfection next spring when the foliage emerges and has not yet developed its protective cuticle. Also, if it is too closely spaced to its neighbors or nearby buildings, they should consider moving it – good air circulation goes a long way toward mitigating leaf spot. Fall or late winter/early spring would be a great time to do that. Finally, if they have a sprinkler system, I would suggest they adjust the heads to avoid wetting the foliage when it waters.
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/slackgreatgardenplants-2/

Bumps on a plant (lilac)
What are the bumps on the lilac?
Lenticels
https://www.hbgf.org/blog/garden-word-lenticel
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/slackgreatgardenplants-3/

Water Spots
These are water spots from the greenhouses water, they will go away in time. No worries. Here are a few examples of water spots on leaves. There is even one of an evergreen.
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/water-spots/

Too much Water – “Bathtub effect”
Customer – We put down topsoil, dug the hole and filled it with topsoil and peat moss, plus a handful of plant food. It’s in a very sunny spot in my yard. I’ve been watering it heavily each day, but there were a day or 2 when it rained and I didn’t water so maybe those days it got less than when I water it.
Response – This is one of the most vivid depictions of the bathtub effect I have ever seen! I’m almost tempted to ask if we can use her photos in a blog post about why we say not to amend the soil when you plant. Though it seems like adding topsoil and peat moss to the hole is doing a good thing for the plant, it very often causes what’s known as “the bathtub effect.” Basically, all those fluffy new materials have very large spaces between their particles so can hold a lot of water. However, the natural soil surrounding the hole has quite small spaces between its particles. When you water, you end up applying quite a bit, because the new materials can hold so much of it. However, as gravity begins to take its toll and the water starts to drain out of the hole, it slows to a halt. The effect is like trying to fit a huge crowd through a tiny door – while it will eventually drain out, a lot of time will have to pass for it to do so. And while the water waits to drain out, it sits around the roots of the plant, suffocating them. Panicle hydrangeas are particularly sensitive to these conditions, so respond very dramatically, as you can see here. The plant has been severely set back but it can be saved. It needs to be dug up and placed in a shaded, well-ventilated spot for a brief period to let the roots dry a bit and get them some oxygen. They root ball should be covered with a piece of burlap or an old sheet or something. While you are waiting, go back to the hole and thoroughly incorporate all the material you added with your native soil, mixing until they are all indistinguishable from one another. Then it can be replanted. Water carefully – enough to settle the soil but not enough to get back to soggy conditions. I also would not recommend building such a dramatic ring around the plant, as that is exacerbating the amount of water being applied. Instead, I would recommend planting it even with the ground and then putting down mulch around the plant – that will retain the water and prevent it from running off when you water.
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/too-much-water-bathtub-effect/

Leaf curl?
The leaves on Bloomerang are a bit curly naturally, but this could indicate water stress – either too much or too little.  Really depends on the temperatures.
Here is an Astilbe with leaf curl.
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/leaf-curl/

Rose Rosette Disease
I had ordered 4 roses from you guys. While the 3 appear to be doing ok, other than the limited number of flowers compared to our neighbors roses (our roses have lower number of flowers and petals shed faster giving less time to appreciate the flower). However, one rose plant is not doing well and has not turned into my spiky and thorny and smaller (please see picture). How do we remedy this? Anything supplemental we can add to soil?
Customer lives in Virginia planted 4 At Last Roses in April 2021. I was not able to find any information on the reason it is spiky and looks this way. Please advise?
They are likely to think it’s strange that only this one plant has it, but that’s not all that unusual for this particular disease. Whether it will spread to the other roses is hard to say – it is vectored through super tiny mites that just blow in on the wind, so it’s likely, though I don’t think they necessarily need to preemptively remove them if they appear healthy. Rather, they should just monitor them for signs. Here’s more info to share with them:
https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/48805/450-620_pdf.pdf
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/slackgreatgardenplants-4/

Indian Wax Scale

Round, white bumps a customer described as being like dried lumps of glue. In bad cases, plants should be cut back to the ground.
https://extension.umd.edu/resource/indian-wax-scale
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/indian-wax-scale/

Needle Blight
Make sure to tell customer needle blight needs to be diagnosed by a lab. They can contact their cooperative extension. Here’s some resources:
https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/arborvitae-needle-blight
https://www.purduelandscapereport.org/article/arborvitae-needle-blight/

https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/needle-blight/

Oso Easy Peasy Rose Bloom Size
Question: How big do oso easy peasy rose blooms get?
Answer: According to its patent, they are medium to large for the polyantha class at 30-45mm when open.

Arborvitae Leaf Miner
From customer:  If you can see the enclosed image the trees in the middle are draping an turning a different color, it appears to be spreading little by little to the accompanying trees, I checked the soil around them and it appears to be ok, I insert miracle grow sticks in the soil twice a year near each tree. They get plenty of water & sunshine and as you can see well matured. They kind of feel both “crispy” and “soft”, mostly “soft” though.
Tell customer to reach out to their local cooperative extension office and get in touch with a home and garden agent, who will be able to confirm this diagnosis – or provide a more accurate one, as they are the real local experts – and provide a treatment recommendation.
Information on Arborvitae Leaf Miner here: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/gotpests/bugs/arborvitae-leafminers.htm
https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/arborvitae-leaf-miner/


Macros

Pesticides are a last resort for our greenhouse, and measures are taken with beneficial insect introductions and diligent trimming and cleaning to reduce the need for insecticides and fungicides. We are committed to keeping our plants healthy, but are mindful of our environmental impact.

Thanks for reaching out. How can I help you today?

You can sign up to be notified when they become available on the plant page. Simply click the Notify me when available button, below the SOLD OUT button. Add your email address and we will let you know when they are ready!

Let me look into that for you. One moment please.

Pick up hours are Fridays between 9 AM – 3PM. Pick ups will be from our Shipping Dock the address is 12415 120th Grand Haven.

Let us know if we can do anything else for you – we’re here to help.

Here are some suggestions I think you might like –

I will let our marketing team know you would like to be removed from our newsletters.

For future reference, if you select “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email, it will automatically do it for you (this works with most other companies as well!).

Please send clear pictures of all plants in question to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com making sure to put the order number and your name in the subject line AND name and quantity of plants in question within 7 days of receipt of this email. Once we receive the pictures, we will be able to process your warranty.

I am sorry you are having issues placing your order. Check out this link: https://help.greatgardenplants.com/en-US/zip-code-error-253611 for ways to address this issue.

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us!

Hello 

I went ahead and added the plants you requested to your order and sent an invoice for the additional charges to you. Please pay the invoice at your earliest convenience. Your order is scheduled to ship out the week of . The order will not ship until it is paid in full.

We know that our order confirmation might not be clear, rest assure you only paid for the additional plants today.

Once your order ships, you will receive an email with tracking information and estimated date of delivery.

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us! I’ve updated your shipping address so you should be all set. You will receive a confirmation email when your package ships on .

Let us know if there’s anything else we can help with!

Hi, ,

Thank you for contacting us. Before I can do that, I need to know the specific discount code? As soon as I have the discount code and verify that it is an active code, I will be happy to apply the code to your order. 

Hi, ,

Thank you for your order! Because of the duties paid at the time order was placed, we are unable to make any changes to your order. Please accept this gift card in the amount of as our way applying the discount code.
Gift Card :

Customer Name:

Expiration: NONE

Thank you for understanding! 

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us!. The ship date for this order has been changed per your request. The new ship date is  . Once the order ships, you will receive an email with tracking information.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Hi, !

Thank you for reaching out to us. I reviewed your order and it has already shipped from our greenhouse with tracking # .

Unfortunately, I am unable to cancel or make any changes to your order at this time.

I apologize for any inconvenience.

Hi 

Thank you for reaching out to us! We always want to ensure our customers get the best deals, but our policy only allows one discount per order, no stacking of discounts. You will have to place a new order if you want to use a second discount.

Hello ,

We have adjusted your order and replaced our out of stock plants with your desired substitution, It has a new ship date of !

You will receive tracking information when it ships.

We thank you for your patience and hope you enjoy your plants!

Hi, !

I’ve issued you that refund, which will be sent to your original payment method. Please allow up to 10 business days for the refund to be processed.

Hi, !

I’ve refunded your order, which will be sent to your original payment method. Please allow up to 10 business days for the refund to be processed. After a certain amount of time, some payment methods will not allow the refund to be processed back on the credit card. IF that is the case, we will issue a refund check and mail it to the billing address on your order. Please allow up to 15 business days to receive the refund check.

For future reference, if your order is not in the fulfillment stage, you can cancel your order by logging into your account here: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/account. If you are unable to cancel, the column will be blank. If you selected a ship date within three business days of the date you placed your order, we are unable to accommodate any changes, including cancellations.

Hello 

I went ahead and removed the plants you requested and a refund has been processed. Please allow up to 10 business days for the refund to be processed. Reimbursement of funds will be allocated back to the original form of payment used for purchase.

Your order is scheduled to ship  , once it ships you will receive an email with tracking information.

You should be all set!

Hi, !

Thank you for responding to our out of stock notice. I made that adjustment and resent your order confirmation for your records.

You should be all set! Let us know if you need anything else.

Hi, 

Below you will find the special coupon code to apply at checkout for 50% off a replacement plant. When placing your replacement order, be sure to use the email address listed below to ensure the coupon is correctly applied!

Coupon Code:

Product:

Email:

Expiration date:

Hello

I apologize you received plants that were not up to our standards. Some factors like shipping and handling are out of our control. A replacement order has been scheduled to ship out as soon as possible. Once it ships, you will receive an email with tracking information and estimated date of delivery.

Thank you for understanding!

Hi, !

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Thank you for contacting us. We apologize you received plants not up to our standards. As we try our best to provide exceptional service, some factors like shipping and handling are outside of our control, causing issues like this to sometimes occur. Please email pictures of any plant in question to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com, with name of plant in question, making sure to put your order number and name in the subject line so that we may provide the best assistance possible.

Please see below our warranty information:

Spring & Summer Guarantee

We’ve got you covered with our 60-day guarantee. We guarantee that you will be satisfied with your purchase and that your plants will arrive healthy, free of pests and diseases, and true to name.

Have a problem with your plant? Simply send us a photo of your plant, your order number, and a brief description of the problem within 60 days of receipt of your order. Orders from US are eligible for refund.

All refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges. Allow up to 2 weeks for processing refunds.

After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for the plants in your care and will not cover problems with overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, improper planting, drought, flooding, poor drainage, etc. Our goal is that you are successful with our plants (and gardening in general), so our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may experience.

Any plant shipped dormant in spring is guaranteed to break dormancy, even if it takes longer than 60 days.

Please note: our guarantee does not cover plants grown outside of their recommended growing zones. Verify your USDA zone by clicking ‘Growing Zone’ in the site navigation and entering your zip code before purchasing.

Fall Guarantee

Did you receive an order after September 1? If so, it falls under our fall guarantee. We want to ensure your plants establish in your garden and return the following spring. Therefore, the warranty on your plants is extended to May 31 the next year. Please contact us with images, your order number, and a description of the problem before May 31.

Hello 

I apologize the plants were not up to our standards, some factors like shipping and handling are out of our control. I have issued a refund for those plants that arrived damaged. Please allow up to 10 business days for refund to appear on your credit card.

Hello, !

Thank you for contacting us. We understand your concerns and have noted them in your order. Rest assured your plants are covered under our Fall warranty, which covers the plants until May 31 of the following year, please go ahead and plant them now in your garden, making sure to add a layer of mulch for added warmth. IF they do not come back next spring, please send clear pictures of all plants in question to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com making sure to put the order number and your name in the subject line AND name and quantity of plants in question. Once we receive the pictures, we will be able to process your warranty.

Fall Warranty: Plants received AFTER September 1 thru the end of our Fall shipping season will be covered under warranty until May 31 of the following year. Our fall guarantee does not cover plants that are not hardy (i.e., able to survive winter) in your area.

Hello 

I am sorry to hear that the FREE Lavender died. Here is a coupon for the cost of the Lavender you can apply to your next order.

Code: FMP3WSWXY22A

Amount: $15.99

Expires: September 30, 2023

Hello 

We have refunded your order. The refund went back on your gift card. Please see below your current balance.

Updated balance:

Gift card code:

Expiration date:

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! We have a great video on How to Unbox your order from Great Garden Plants.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gucAOaQviWc It explains why we use the plastic around each pot and how to remove it.

I hope this helps!

Hello 

Thank you for sending the pictures. It is natural for Lavender to begin to get woody at the base of the plant this time of year. Please go ahead and plant it in a well drained area. You can give it a slight trim of less than 1/4 of the size if you like but it is not necessary.

Rest assure you are covered from the date of delivery by our 60 day warranty.

Rest assure you are covered by our Fall warranty which expires on May 31, 2024.

Checkout our blogs on growing lavender.

Lavender: Secrets to Success

https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/questions-answered-series-lavender-lavandula/

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us. If your order ships in more than one box, they could arrive separately. Please check to see the number of boxes shipped. It is also possible that our shipping department packed two 1 quart plants in the same sleeve. Please make sure you have opened all sleeves and you have received all boxes.

If you are still missing plants after doing the above, please let us know.

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused! I went ahead and set up replacements for the missing plants to ship out as soon as possible. Once the order ship, FedEx will send you a tracking number.

Hi ,

,

Thank you for sending the pictures of the plants. You stated in your first email that you had dead plants. However, the pictures are only showing . In order to process the warranty, I need pictures of ALL dead plants. You don’t need to take individual pictures of each plant, the picture can be taken so as to include more than one plant at a time. Once we receive the pictures of all the plants, I will be happy to process your warranty.

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! Unfortunately, we are out of , we would be happy to send a substitution of or any other perennial / shrub of your choosing. OR we can certainly refund you for the plant.

Please let us know what you would like us do to.

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately, the plants are no longer under warranty. We have a 60-day guarantee on all orders delivered in spring or summer. We would be happy to issue you a 50% discount on the purchase of replacement plant(s). Simply send pictures of any dead plant to our claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com. Please let us know within 7 days if you would like the discount code.

Please see our Spring Guarantee for 2023 below:

Spring & Summer Guarantee 2023

Here at Great Garden Plants, we’ve got you covered with our 60-day guarantee. We guarantee that you will be satisfied with your purchase and that your plants will arrive healthy, free of pests and diseases, and true to name.

Have a problem with your plant? We make it easy to place a claim via email: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com, automated claim process: https://help.greatgardenplants.com/en-US/ssp/login, or use the chat bubble. Simply send us a photo of your plant, your order number, and a brief description of the problem within 60 days of receipt of your order. While we do not accept returns, we are happy to issue refunds. Refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges. Allow up to 2 weeks for processing refunds.

After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for the plants in your care and will not cover problems with overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, improper planting, drought, flooding, poor drainage, etc. Our goal is that you are successful with our plants (and gardening in general), so our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may experience.

Any plant shipped dormant in spring is guaranteed to break dormancy, even if it takes longer than 60 days.

Please note: our guarantee does not cover plants grown outside of their recommended growing zones. Verify your USDA zone by clicking ‘Growing Zone’ in the site navigation and entering your zip code before purchasing.

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately, your plants are not covered under our warranty because they are not hardy for your growing zone.

Please view our warranty policy below.

We’ve got you covered with our 60-day guarantee. We guarantee that your plants will arrive healthy, free of pests and diseases, and true to name.

Have a problem with your plant? We make it easy to place a claim via email: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com, automated claim process: https://help.greatgardenplants.com/en-US/ssp/login, or use the chat bubble. Simply send us a photo of your plant, your order number, and a brief description of the problem within 60 days of receipt of your order. Eligible orders will receive a refund. All refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges, allow up to 2 weeks for processing.

After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for the plants in your care and will not cover problems with overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, improper planting, drought, flooding, poor drainage, etc. Our goal is that you are successful with our plants (and gardening in general), so our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may experience.

Any plant shipped dormant in spring is guaranteed to break dormancy, even if it takes longer than 60 days.

What Are the USDA Hardiness Zones?

Please note: our guarantee does not cover plants grown outside of their recommended growing zones. Verify your USDA zone by clicking ‘Growing Zone’ in the site navigation and entering your zip code before purchasing.

Hi ,

Thank you for sending the pictures. Unfortunately, I am unable to open the pictures. Can you please try to resend using a different format?

Once I am able to review the pictures, I will be able to assist you with your issue.

Hello ,

Order#{{ticket.customer.integrations.shopify.orders[0].name}}

We apologize the plants you received did not meet our standards. As we try our best to provide exceptional service, some factors like shipping and handling are outside of our control and issues like this can sometimes happen. Please give them a drink of water and put them in a shady area, go ahead and plant them. They should bounce back within a few weeks.

IF they do not, please send pictures to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com, making sure to name the plant in question, along with your order number and name order was placed under and we will gladly process your warranty.

Planting Guide

Rest assured your plants are covered under our warranty for 60 days.

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! It is that time of year up here in Michigan, where plants are starting to go dormant. The root system is still the most important part of a young plant. Please go ahead and plant your plants, keeping them watered until the ground freezes totally. Rest assure your plants are covered under our Fall warranty, which is until May 31, 2024. IF they anything happens before that date, please take pictures, even if it is just of where the plant used to be. Send them to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com making sure to put your order # and name the order was placed under in the subject line. We will process your warranty and respond to that email.

Hello 

Thank you for sending the pictures. We have some plants growing in PW Eco+ containers. They can be brittle and sometimes break apart, but that is fine. We recommend still removing the pot before planting, we had to add our plant identification sticker, which is not biodegradable. You

can check out this from Proven Winners — Proven Winners Eco+ Containers FAQ: https://www.provenwinners.com/Eco_Grande for more information.

Hi 

Thank you for contacting us. I have reviewed your pictures and it appears they are showing signs of shipping stress which can be normal after traveling across the country. I would advise you to go ahead and plant, water and give them 2-3 weeks to acclimate, and they should perk back up as their root system is strong.

Sometimes during particularly warm weather, plants foliage can turn darker from the moisture. Those leaves will not change back to green, however any new foliage will be green. Please plant and give it a few weeks to start putting out new leaves.

Planting Guide

You are under warranty for 60 days from the date of delivery so please let us know if your plants do not recover and we will be happy to process your warranty.

Hello ,

Thank you for contacting us. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. It is our policy to only send replacements once, after that we will issue a refund. Please send pictures of the dead plants to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com and will can process that refund as soon as possible.

Thank you for understanding.

Hi 

Thank you for reaching out to us. I understand your concern about the Shipping Delay. Please send pictures of any plants that are damaged by the delay to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com making sure to put your name and order number in the subject line. Rest assure you have 60 day warranty from the day you receive your plants.

Hello ,

I’m sorry you are not satisfied with your plants!

We do note that all of our plants are young on each product page and on our plant sizes page (found here: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/sizes). The size and maturity of the plants varies widely depending on the time of the year you purchased and if they were recently trimmed. The important thing when it comes to purchasing plants, whether online or in a garden center, is that they have a full, robust root system, and that’s what we prioritize in our greenhouses.

The more roots a plant has, the more energy it can put into growing once it is planted in your garden. We do keep our plants trimmed to encourage strong root development!

Rest assure you have 60 day warranty on all of your plants.

Hello

I apologize for any inconvenience, it is our store policy to refund instead of replace. That way you can purchase another plant and have a completely new warranty coverage! All refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges, allow up to 2 weeks for processing.

Spring & Summer Guarantee

We make it easy to place a claim via email: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com, automated claim process: https://help.greatgardenplants.com/en-US/ssp/login, or use the chat bubble. Simply send us a photo of your plant, your order number, and a brief description of the problem within 60 days of receipt of your order. Eligible orders will receive a refund. All refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges, allow up to 2 weeks for processing.

After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for the plants in your care and will not cover problems with overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, improper planting, drought, flooding, poor drainage, etc. Our goal is that you are successful with our plants (and gardening in general), so our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may experience.

Hello ,

Thank you for sending the pictures. The plants look fresh and robust exactly what we ship out.

To maintain the health of our plants, we cannot accept returns of any kind. The important thing when it comes to purchasing plants, whether online or in a garden center, is that they have a full, robust root system, and that’s what we prioritize in our growing. The more roots a plant has, the more energy it can put into growing once it is planted in your garden.

We have applied a 50% refund of the plants in question.

Thank you for your understanding.

Hello ,

Thank you for reaching out to us! We have reviewed your pictures, and have processed your warranty for the dead plants. Please allow up to 10 business days for refund to appear on your account.

Hello 

I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. A replacement order has been scheduled to ship out as soon as possible (you will receive a confirmation email). Once the order ships, you will receive another email with tracking information.

Please let me know if there are any other issues I can help resolve!

Hi 

Thank you for contacting us. I apologize for the inconvenience! I went ahead and set up a replacement order for the correct plants to be shipped out to you as soon as possible.

Please keep the plants sent in error as our gift to you.

Once the replacement order ships, you will receive an email with tracking information.

Thank you for your understanding!

Hi, !

Thank you for reaching out to us. I am sorry to hear that you have not received your order yet! I checked your order status , which shows it has been delivered. There are times that tracking shows delivered, but it doesn’t get dropped off until the next day or so. I suggest checking with your neighbors to see if it was delivered to them by mistake. If you still haven’t received your package(s) in 3 business days, please let us know so we can further assist you.

Hi ,

Thank you for your order! You chose pick up for this order, I see that you are in and we are located in Grand Haven, Michigan. Are you planning on being in Michigan?

If this was done in error, we will have to cancel this order and you will need to place another one. Pick up orders have Michigan sales tax and we need to record the correct state.

Please let us know as soon as possible, so as not to delay the shipping of your plants.

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. We are unable to find any orders that correspond to either this email address or your name.

Can you please send us your order number, as well as the last name on the order, so we can better assist you?

Hello 

Thank you for contacting us! According to our records, this order was cancelled by you while on your account. That can be done when you log into your account and pull up the order.

I hope this explains why the order was cancelled.

Hello !

I verified your email address and resent your order confirmation as requested. Please be sure to check your spam or junk folder if you do not see it in your inbox.

You should be all set!

Hi, !

Thanks for reaching out! Your order has shipped and I’ve included the information below so you can track it right to your door. Amount of time for you to receive your order after it ships depends on your distance from Grand Haven, Michigan.

Tracking Number:

Let us know if there’s anything else I can help with!

Hello, ,

Thank you for contacting us. We reached out to you via email on letting you know we had a crop delay. Your order has a new anticipated ship date of  .

We apologize for the delay! If you would like to substitute or cancel at this time, we understand.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. Your order has been received and we are working on getting it shipped. Your order is scheduled to ship . Please allow your order to ship within 3 business days of your selected ship date. We will email you a notification once it ships which will include tracking information as well.

If your order ships in more than one box, they could arrive separately. Please see your tracking # to see the number of boxes shipped.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Hi 

I applied that discount code to your order, you should see the refund on your credit card in 5-7 business days.

You should be all set, but if you have any other questions please reach out!

Hello ,

Thank you for contacting us! Our discount codes are always changing. The best way to get a discount is to sign up for our newsletter, click here: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/newsletter-subscribe. You will get a discount for signing up for either email or text AND you will be one of the first to know about our sales throughout the season!

Happy Gardening!

Hi !

Thanks for reaching out to us! We don’t have an actual catalog that you can order from, however, we do have a printed landscape guide called Gardening Simplified. It features some of the plants we carry on our website, as well as some inspiration and tips to enhance your garden.

You can either order online, or over the phone with a customer support specialist.

Just reply with your address, and I would be happy to send you a copy!

Hi !

Thanks for reaching out to us. Your growing zone is based on your zip code. Just click on the link growing zone: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/shopping-by-zone, fill in your zip code and make sure the plants you purchase are hardy in your zone!

What Are the USDA Hardiness Zones?

Let me know if there is anything I can help you with.

Hello ,

Thank you for contacting us. Our website was updated on a new platform January 2021. If you had an account on our previous website, you will need to create a new one here, Account Login: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/account/login?return_url=%2Faccount. You may use the same credentials as the old one.

You can use the same link above if you need to change your password on your current account.

Hello 

Here are instructions on how to send pictures using an Android phone:

1. Select pictures to send by checking each one.

2. Click Share button

3 Select your mail provider icon.

4. Fill in to: claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com, order # and name of plant

5. Click on the button to send the email.

Once we receive your email, we will respond as quickly as possible.

Hello 

Here are instructions on how to text pictures to our claims department with your android phone.

1. Select pictures of plants.

2. Click on the text icon.

3. Type in claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com where you usually put a phone number

4. Add text – your order #, customer name and name of plant

5. Hit the send button.

Your text message should be sent. If you get an error message not sent, try again it maybe your internet is lost or disrupted.

You must put that information since it will come into our email as your phone number NOT your name.

Once we receive the pictures we will respond as quickly as possible.

Hi 

Thank you for reaching out to us! We do not actually have specific deals on shipping cost. We try to keep shipping rates as low as possible to offer you the best value. Unlike other companies, with us, when you buy more, you save more on shipping! Sometimes just adding another plant, will greatly lower the shipping costs.

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! We are unable to apply any discount code to an order that was placed either previously OR after promotion offered. Please see below:

Thank you for understanding!

Hello

I’m so sorry you are not satisfied with your plants! I can assure you, the plants you received are actually Boston ivy (even if it doesn’t look like it). Boston ivy (Parthenoicissus tricuspidata) takes on many different leaf forms, which means they can often be misidentified. Mature plants tend to have a single leaf with three lobes on it, while juvenile plants have leaves that are compound with three leaflets! I’ll attach a photo for your reference. As your plant grows and matures, the leaf form will show more of a mature lobed shape. To learn more about it, you can check out https://www.bostonivy.net/

Here is Our Blog on All About Growing & Caring for Boston Ivy

All About Growing & Caring For Boston Ivy

We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused and hope you still enjoy your plants!

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! I apologize for any inconvenience but our sale prices cannot be applied to orders placed BEFORE the sale. Please see below.

Thank you for understanding.

Hello 

We are excited to begin shipping to Canada in 2023.

Orders placed by 4pm ET on Tuesdays will ship the following Monday; time to delivery will depend on your location. All orders ship from our location in West Michigan via FedEx International Ground. Orders shipping to Canada will have duties assessed at checkout.

If you have any other questions, please give us a call during our office hours.

Monday – Friday 9 – 3 Eastern OFF season

Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30 Eastern — Spring & Fall Season
877-447-4769

Hello 

Thank you for verifying your shipping address. Your order is now scheduled to ship out . Once it ships you will receive an email with tracking information and estimated date of delivery.

Hi ,

Thank you for contacting us! Unfortunately I am unable to apply an expired discount code to any order. However, we will be having more sales throughout this season!

Please make sure you are signed up for our newsletter, so that you will know of any upcoming sales.

Happy Gardening!

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! I am sorry to hear the code did not work. There are a few reasons as to why that might happen; (1) Code has expired, (2) Code is for specific plants and plants in your cart are not included, (3) code is NOT automatic, you must put code in proper place.

If it is a BOGO you do need to put at least 2 plants, that fall under the discount category, in your cart for the BOGO discount to be applied.

If you have checked that the plants are included in the special, and it still does not work, give us a call and we would be happy to place the order for you.

Please call 877-447-4769

Shipping season hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30 Eastern

Summer/winter hours are Monday – Friday 9 – 3 Eastern

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! We just implemented a wishlist on our website! You will see the heart and ” Add to wishlist” on each product page. You will have to be signed into your account, : https://www.greatgardenplants.com/account/login?return_url=%2Faccountto be able to save indefinitely, and to be able to name and save multiple lists.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Hello 

Thank you for contacting us! Our greenhouses are located in beautiful west Michigan. At GreatGardenPlants.com, we grow hundreds of sun perennials, shade perennials, shrubs, groundcovers, roses, hedge plants and so much more. All the plants are grown in containers. Check out sizes: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/sizes.

We do not sell seeds or bare root stock.

I hope this answers your question.

Hi ,

Thank you for contacting us! We sell and ship to the lower 48 states and Canada. Our pricing is set up to accommodate the home gardener and any small business, as the price of the plant goes down as the quantity goes up. See the price grid on each plant page.

I hope this answers your question on selling wholesale.

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! Currently, we are authorized to ship to the continental US( lower 48 states) and Canada.

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us!

Our plants are treated with pesticides on a case-by-case basis – only when disease or insect pressures are too intense to resolve by other means. Pesticides are a last resort for our greenhouse, and measures are taken with beneficial insect introductions and diligent trimming and cleaning to reduce the need for insecticides and fungicides. We are committed to keeping our plants healthy, but are mindful of our environmental impact.

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! Fall is a great time for planting! The rule of thumb for fall planting is to get the plants in the ground 6 weeks before the first HARD frost in your area. If you are not sure when that is, you can ask a local nursery. Here is a great blog – Our Guide for Fall Planting: https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/our-guide-for-fall-planting/

I hope this answers your question.

Hi 

Thanks for reaching out to us! Some plants are slower in waking up each spring. Please give it another week or two of warmer temperatures, if you still cannot see any signs of life let us know. Send pictures to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com and we can process your warranty.

We ended the discount earlier than expected, I apologize for the inconvenience. Here is a discount code for $15.99 off your order. You can use it for any plant!

Code: RW39XGQ23ZDA

Expires August 15, 2023

Thank you for understanding!

Hello 

I am sorry to hear you are having issues with your gift card. Here are a few common reasons why they might not be working:

1. Gift card not activated. Read the instructions on the back of your gift card or any insert that comes with the gift card to see if activation is required.

2. Billing address does not match – Our fraud screening process requires the billing address match. You will need to register your card with the issuing bank making sure that name and address linked to the account are current. If you are not sure how to do that, check the back of the gift card for a website address or telephone number.

3. Balance remaining on gift card is less than what is trying to be purchased. Remove items in your cart to bring the total down to be equal or less than the balance on gift card.

If you are still having issues, please give us a call during our office hours att 877-447-4769.

Shipping season hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30 Eastern

Summer/winter hours are Monday – Friday 9 – 3 Eastern

Hello 

It is always nice to hear from satisfied customers! If you want to also leave a review – click on the link Write a store review: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/all-reviews Or you can go to the individual plant page and leave a review there.

Thank you again!

Hi ,

Thank you for reaching out to us! Our 32 well-rooted plugs are each 4 inch deep. Depending on spacing, one flat of 32 landscape plugs can cover anywhere from 6 – 16 square feet.

Click here for all of our plant sizes: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/sizes.

Hi 

Thank you for reaching out to us!

We have a plant calculator on our website, with a link on each product page. Here is a link to calculator, click here: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/plant-calculator. You need to measure the area you want to fill with plants, also know the suggested spacing of the plant. (That can be found under “How To Grow” on the plant page) Plant spacing is based on the ultimate width of the plants. Using the larger number is recommended when calculating distance from a building or structure. There’s really no such thing as “maximum spacing”: if you don’t want your plants to touch, you can space them as far apart as you’d like. All plant spacing is calculated on center, or in other words, the centers of the plants are spaced one half of their eventual width apart.

Fill in the length and width along with the spacing recommendation, click on button to find out the amount of plants needed.

I hope this helps you figure how many plants you need.

Hi 

Thank you for reaching out to us! To remove plants from your cart before you order, just click on the garbage can by the number of the plant. See photo below.

Hi 

Thank you for reaching out to us! There are so many different hues that hydrangeas can bloom! It depends on your soil. Here is a great blog on how to amend your soil and many other questions you might have on Hydrangeas. : https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/questions-answered-series-hydrangeas/

I hope this answers your question. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any other question.

Checkout our blog How to Plant, Grow & Care For Hydrangeas.

https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/questions-answered-series-hydrangeas/

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us. I am sorry to hear you are having trouble applying our gift card to your order. Here are some simple instructions on how to use our gift card:

1. Make sure all items are in your cart.

2. Select ship date and proceed to checkout.

3. Once you are in the checkout screen, you will see a box – see below

4. Put in the gift card number and click on the Apply button.

5. This will apply the gift card amount to your order.

6. If there are additional funds needed to complete order, you will need to put in a credit card for the remaining balance.

View a demonstration for desktop computers here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0472/6394/0775/files/desktop-gc-demo.gif?v=1701107792 or view a mobile phone demonstration here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0472/6394/0775/files/mobile-gc-demo.gif?v=1701107793.

I hope these instructions help.

Hello 

Instructions to send pictures using iphone.

1. Locate picture, select picture and select forward icon.

2. Select email icon

3. In New Message Type in email address, subject with order number.

claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com

Type message and details

4. Select send icon to email picture

Once we receive your email, we will respond as quickly as possible.

Hello

Here are instructions on how to send pictures via text with your iphone.

1. Open Text App

2. Click on text icon for New MMS

3.Type email address :info@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:info@greatgardenplants.com or claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com for filing a claim.

4. Click on picture icon to take picture(s) of the plant or add picture of plant(s) from your photo app.

—add photo and type message, Order 123456, Daylily.

5. Send text message with picture by clicking on the green bubble with arrow.

Your text message should be sent. If you get an error message not sent, try again it maybe your internet is lost or disrupted.

You must put that information since it will come into our email as your phone number NOT your name.

Once we receive the pictures we will respond as quickly as possible.

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. Our general rule of thumb is that planting should be done before the temperatures reach 85 degrees or higher consecutively. If temperatures are already this high in your area, planting is not a good idea. Fall planting, at least 6 weeks before the first frost in your area, is also a wonderful idea! Below is an article written by our horticulturist that has a great explanation.

https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/can-i-plant-a-garden-in-summer/

Hi 

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I’m sorry to hear you aren’t satisfied with your plants. Our horticulture specialist looked over your claim and confirmed it is, indeed, Kintzley’s Ghost honeysuckle. Many gardeners are surprised to learn that only their terminal leaves (right before they produce a flower) are disk-shaped. Leaves lower on the stems never actually form full disks and are usually oblong. Kintzley’s Ghost isn’t the only honeysuckle that does this – but since all the amazing pictures of it online show the terminal leaves – many gardeners think the whole plant should appear that way. Many of us on staff have this plant growing in our own gardens and can attest from experience that once it’s established and blooming, it will create the look you’re imagining. It just takes time to get there!

Here is a picture showing the terminal leaves (saucers) and other leaves.

Hello 

Thank you for sending the pictures! We need a bit more information in order to assist you. See list below:

Are you using any landscape fabric under the mulch?

When was the last time you fertilized, and what type of fertilizer did you use?

How often are you watering?

How much light is the area getting?

Once we know the answers, we will be able to review your pictures and give you assistance.

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. Here is an updated code . This expires on:

Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us. Our greenhouses are not open to the public, however we do have local pick ups on Fridays.

When you are placing your order, simply check the Pick up box in the delivery method. We only have local pick ups on Fridays.

Pick ups will be from our Shipping Dock the address is 12415 120th Grand Haven. Pick up hours are Fridays between 9 AM – 3PM.

Happy Gardening!

Hello 

Thank you for contacting us. We will be happy to place your order by phone. Please give us a call at 877-447-4769 during business hours:

Shipping season hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30 Eastern

Summer/winter hours are Monday – Friday 9 – 3 Eastern

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! We do accept checks for orders. Do not send a check until we give you the exact amount of what the check should be written. You can either give us a call at 877-447-4769 or send an email. We will need the following information:

Name

Shipping Address ( we cannot ship to a PO Box)

email address

Name & Quantity of plants requested

Date you would like plants shipped. ( we ship within 3 days of selected date)

Once we have this information, we will let you know the amount to write the check for AND where to send it. After we receive and process your check, we will ship your plants.

Hello ,

We carry a variety of sizes. Most of our perennials are grown in a 1 quart container, which is a 4″ x 4″ pot. Some of our evergreen trees and shrubs are grown in a one gallon container, which is 6″ round pot. The sizes are listed on the individual plant pages. As we are strictly an online nursery and ship the plants to all the lower 48 states, we have found that the gallon size is the largest to ship.

The size of the plant itself varies, depending on the variety and the time of year.

Included below is our plant size page:

https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/sizes

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! Check out this link . You are sure to find some ideas in the blog.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Here are some plants that fit your criteria:

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! I am glad to hear you received your plants! Now, to get them planted in your garden! Our blog on our Planting Guide will answer any question you might have.

Please click on Plant Guide: https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/planting-guide/.

If you still have questions, give us a call at 877-447-4769 OR email question to info@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:info@greatgardenplants.com

Hi ,

Thank you for reaching out to us! I understand your concerns.

Our greenhouses have a plastic covering that defuses natural sunlight. So many times blooms are set under this poly and the bloom may be a slightly different color. But once the plant gets into natural sunlight, the future buds will be true to color. Please give it time, wait until a new bud gets set in natural sunlight. Your concerns have been noted in your order, and your warranty will still cover if you received the wrong plant.

IF it still is not the correct color bloom, please send pictures of the bloom to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com making sure to put your order # and name in the subject line. We will gladly send replacement or issue refund for the incorrect plant.

Our greenhouses have a plastic covering that defuses natural sunlight. Some plants that have colorful foliage can be affected by this covering and will have a slightly different color foliage. Some with dark foliage can even be green and not start to change colors until it gets into natural sunlight. Once you plant it in your garden, and the plant gets acclimated to the natural sunlight, it’s color will adjust also. Your concerns have been noted in your order, and your warranty will still cover if you received the wrong plant.

IF you do not start to see a change in foliage color in 4-6 weeks, please send pictures to claims@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com making sure to put your order # and name in the subject line. We will gladly send replacement or issue refund for the incorrect plant.

Our Blog – Why is my rose the wrong color? Can roses change color?

https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/questions-answered-series-roses-rosa/

Hi 

Your order #

Thank you for reaching out to us. Please send pictures of the plants in question. We would be happy to review with our horticulturist and let you know what they advise.

Hello ,

Thank you so much for letting us know! If you made a purchase from the fraudulent website, you can file a report at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/assistant, select “Online Shopping” and “A problem with an online purchase or sale” to start the report. Your report makes a difference and can help law enforcers.Thank you for being an observant and loyal customer!

Hello ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! Great Garden Plants can only see if the initial payment or complete refund has been processed. If you have any other questions on your Shop Pay Installment plan you can call Affirm at 855-914-3141 or email help@shop.affirm.com: mailto:help@shop.affirm.com

Hi ,

Thank you for reaching out to us! We are only showing one current order in your name and email address. Rest assure you were only charged once, if you are seeing more pending charges, they should drop off your statement in a few days. The length of time in pending is up to your credit card company. If after 10 days it is still showing duplicate charges, send a screenshot of the charges and our accounting office will review further.

Please let me know if I can assist you in any other matter.

Hello 

Thank you for your interest in our nursery! We are still working on all of the logistics of shipping to Canada. If you sign up on our website, you will be notified when we begin shipping to Canada. If you missed that pop-up check out this link Canada Notification: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/newsletter-subscribe#canada.

We look forward to spreading our joy of gardening to our Canadian friends!

Hello 

Thank you for send the pictures. Most plant do most of their growing underground their first year in the ground. See below:

Sleep, Creep, and leap.

There is a handy saying about shrubs & perennials. Sleep, creep, leap refers to the growth habit for the first 3 years.

In sleep mode, the first year, plants concentrate on putting down roots, ignoring growing more leaves & stems. Don’t be disappointed that your plants are not putting on new growth, because the important action is happening underground.

In creep mode, you’ll notice more outward and upward growth action in the second year.

The third-year is a leap year. The root systems are stable, and most perennials and shrubs are now at their fullest potential.

Check out our blogs: https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/ for more gardening information.

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. Our plants are growing more each day! Once they are ready to be planted in your garden, we add them to our website.

You can sign up to be notified when they become available on the plant page. Simply click the Notify me when available button, below the SOLD OUT button. Add your email address and we will let you know when they are ready!

Thanks for your patience!

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! The correct information is on our website, there was a misprint on the tag. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Thank you for understanding.

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us. We need to process your Sales Tax Exemption Certificate for your entity before we can remove the sales tax. Please send the certificate to info@greatgrdenplants.com. Once we receive the certificate, our accounting department will set up an account in your name. Once that is done, any of your purchases will not include sales tax. If you have already placed an order, we can refund you for the sales tax.

Orders must be placed under the tax exempt company name and email address that was provided with the Sales Tax Exemption Certificate.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. I apologize that you are having difficulties checking out. If you are still having troubles, give us a call at (877) 447-4769 during regular office hours.

Shipping season hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30 Eastern

Summer/winter hours are Monday – Friday 9 – 3 Eastern

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. If you have an error with your zip code for selecting a ship date at checkout, please wait 5-10 minutes and then try a hard refresh/clear your cache and try again. Please check this: https://help.greatgardenplants.com/en-US/zip-code-error-253611 out for further instructions.

If you are still having issues, please give us a call at 877-447-4769.

Shipping season hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30 Eastern

Summer/winter hours are Monday – Friday 9 – 3 Eastern

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! I am sorry you were having troubles placing your order. I see that you are in a state that has agriculture restrictions on certain plants. It is possible that you were trying to place an order that we are restricted to ship to your state. The restrictions are shown on each plant page, see below.

If that is not the case, please give us a call so we can assist you further, our office hours are as follows:

Shipping season hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30 Eastern

Summer/winter hours are Monday – Friday 9 – 3 Eastern

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. I forwarded your email to our marketing team who will remove you from the list. For future reference, if you select “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email, it will automatically do it for you (this works with most other companies as well!).

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. Below is both our spring and fall warranty policy! The warranty begins on the day you receive your plants NOT on the date of order.

SPRING: We’ve got you covered with our 60-day guarantee. We guarantee that you will be satisfied with your purchase and that your plants will arrive healthy, free of pests and diseases, and true to name. Have a problem with your plant? We make it easy to place a claim via email: mailto:claims@greatgardenplants.com, automated claim process: https://help.greatgardenplants.com/en-US/ssp/login, or use the chat bubble. Simply send us a photo of your plant, your order number, and a brief description of the problem within 60 days of receipt of your order. While we do not accept returns, we are happy to issue refunds. Refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges. Allow up to 2 weeks for processing refunds. After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for the plants in your care and will not cover problems with overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, improper planting, drought, flooding, poor drainage, etc. Our goal is that you are successful with our plants (and gardening in general), so our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may experience. Any plant shipped dormant in spring is guaranteed to break dormancy, even if it takes longer than 60 days.

Please note: our guarantee does not cover plants grown outside of their recommended growing zones. Verify your USDA zone by clicking ‘Growing Zone’ in the site navigation and entering your zip code before purchasing.

FALL: Was your order delivered after September 1? If so, it falls under our fall guarantee. We want to ensure your plants establish in your garden and return the following spring. Therefore, the warranty on your plants is extended to May 31 the next year. Ensure you contact us with images, your order number, and a description of the problem before May 31.

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! Here is our shipping policy. I hope this answers your questions.

SHIPPING METHODS

Orders within the 48 contiguous states are shipped via FedEx Home Delivery and UPS Ground, which delivers 7 days a week. All orders require a street address; we are unable to ship to APO/FPO military address or PO boxes.

Orders to Canada placed by 4pm ET on Tuesdays will ship the following Monday; time to delivery will depend on your location. All orders ship from our location in West Michigan via FedEx International Ground.

SHIPPING COSTS

We try to keep shipping rates as low as possible to offer you the best value. Unlike other companies, with us, when you buy more, you save more on shipping!

Hello 

Thank you for reaching out to us! Check out this blog on tolerant plants near Black Walnut Trees: https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/juglone-tolerant-plants-for-gardening-near-black-walnut-trees/ I hope this will answer any questions you have on the subject.

Hello !

Thank you for contacting us! The rule of thumb when planting in the spring is to make sure the threat of frost is gone in your area. If you are not sure when that date is, you can check with your local nursery. It is always good to put a layer of mulch after planting, it keeps the ground warmer if you get a late frost, while also keeping the weeds at bay.

Great Garden Tips!: https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/great-garden-tips-april-2023-checklist-guide/

I hope this answers your question.

Hi ,

Thanks for reaching out to us! Our greenhouses are located in beautiful west Michigan. At GreatGardenPlants.com: http://greatgardenplants.com/, we grow hundreds of sun perennials, shade perennials, shrubs, groundcovers, roses, hedge plants and so much more. You’ll find exciting new varieties as well as tried and true garden classics.

It takes great people to grow, ship, and sell great plants. That’s why our in-house customer service team of experienced gardeners are available by phone, 877-447-4769 or email, info@greatgardenplants.com: mailto:info@greatgardenplants.com to help you with your questions.

https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/our-story

Our office hours are as follows:

Shipping Season 8:30 – 4:30 Eastern

Summer/Winter Season 9 – 3 Eastern

Our greenhouse and fulfillment staff do such a tremendous job making it all happen during slow and peak seasons.

Thank you for shopping with us and taking time to share your experience with us via email or reviews. Let us know how we can help you.

Hi ,

Thank you for contacting us! Your refund was processed on . Please allow up to 10 business days for refund to appear on your acount. IF you have not received it by that date, please let us know and we will have our accounting department look into the issue.

Hello 

You can purchase our gift cards on our website. Check out this link – gift cards: https://www.greatgardenplants.com/pages/gift-card . OR Look for the Gift Cards tab on the top navigation, right after Garden Goods, or you can search “gift cards” and you will find the page.

Please give us a call at 877-447-4769 if you are still having trouble purchasing a gift card.

Hi ,

Thank you for reaching out to us! We reached out to you via email on , letting you know we had a crop failure. The email requested we hear from you within 1 week, if you wanted a substitution. Since we did not hear from you in that timeframe, we refunded you the cost of the plant. If you had any additional plants on your order, they are still scheduled to ship out on the date you requested.

I hope this explains why we refunded you.

Hello ,

Thank you for reaching out to us and sending pictures of your trees. We have reviewed them with our horticulturist and she has given the following advise. The black areas are abiotic which means “not a living thing” It is not a fungus, bacteria, or insect. Abiotic factors are things like water stress, mechanical injury, heat stress, sun burn, etc. Please check out this link: https://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=15 on the subject.

I have noted this issue in your order.

Checkout our blogs on growing Arborvitaes.

Questions Answered Series: Arborvitae (Thuja)

https://blog.greatgardenplants.com/7-things-you-didnt-know-about-arborvitae-thuja/

Hi, !

Thank you for contacting us. I apologize for the condition of your plants! Per our warranty, we would be happy to replace them or refund you. As the temperatures continue to rise, we suggest having your replacements set up to ship in the fall when it is cooler. Would you like fall replacements, or a refund?

Please let us know!

I apologize for any misunderstanding, the Cyber Monday special was for each $100 gift card purchased, you get a free $25 gift card. OR for every $50 gift card purchased, you get a free

$10 gift card. We became aware of a doubling of free gift cards when purchased. The additional $10 gift card that was sent in addition to the $25 free gift card has been voided.

Thank you for understanding,

Hello 

Thank you for contacting us! We would like to offer you a 10% discount code off any products that are not available now for you to take advantage of the 2022 pricing. The discount code is SeeYouInSpring. This can be applied to your entire order placed once the price changes have been made.

If there are items available now that you want, I would suggest you take advantage before the price increase on January 3, and then use the above discount later on an order of plants that were not available now.

At the end of 2023, the United States Department of Agriculture updated the plant hardiness zone for the first time in 10 years. Close to half the United States saw a shift in growing zones but many gardeners saw only a change in the letter of their zone. We have updated the Zone Finder tool on our website to reflect the new guidelines set by the USDA. You can find more information on this change at our blog here and hear our horticulturist explain the change and what it might mean for you here.

Agriculture Restrictions 

Plant Name Banned State

Aegopodium Variegata CT, MA, ME, VT, WI

Allium-all varieties ID, IN, OR, WA

Berberis-all varieties CT, DE, IN, MA, MD, ME, MN, NH, NY, PA, VT, WI, WV, Canada

Bleeding Heart Canada

Buddleia OR, WA (can ship Blue Chip and Miss series except Ruby Chip          

and Miss Pearl)

Buxus – all varieties PA, TN

Chicago Fig Canada

Crocosmia Canada

Cytisus CA, ID, MA, MD, MT, OR, UT, WA, WI

Euonymus DE, IN, MA, MD, ME, MN, NH, NY, VT, WI

Euonymus-Winter Creeper IN, MD, ME, NY

Hedera-Ivy DE, IN, OR, WA

Ligustrum-Golden Ticket ME, NH

Lily of the Valley Canada

Lysimachia DE, IN, MA, NH, OR, WA, WI

Prunus OR, Canada

Chaenomeles (quince) Canada

Rhamnus Fine Line CT, IL, MA, ME, MN, MY, NH, MY, VT, WI, Canada

Sweet Autumn Clematis IN

Salix (dappled willow) Canada

Strawberry-all varieties Canada

Vaccinum (blueberry) OR, WA, Canada

Vinca Minor-Periwinkle IN

Blogs

4 Simple Ways to Protect Pollinators in Fall
Give The Pollinators A Home!
Put a pause on your fall cleanup!

Whether you’ve carefully selected plants for your garden for pollinators to enjoy or you just happen to see them float and flutter by your garden throughout the summer, it’s no doubt that having pollinators around brings your garden to life. But what happens to our pollinators once the weather cools? More often than not, many of our pollinators remain in our gardens long after you stop seeing them appear each day. By preparing your garden a certain way each fall, you’ll help them survive the cooler months and return to your landscape once again.
Help Pollinators Survive Winter And Return Next Year With These 4 Easy Tips

 

1. Only Mulch Where Needed
Save the bees!
While mulching is often encouraged to protect plant roots, we urge you to leave some areas of your garden bare this season to help bees who find their winter homes underground. You don’t need to forgo mulching entirely, only spread mulch in areas where it’s an absolute necessity. Bees often burrow in the ground as the weather starts to cool to make shelter and stay warm. Mulch often prevents this process.
2. Avoid Cutting Back Native Plant Stems
Many bees make their nests in the hollow stems of native plants. By saving that step for spring you help keep possible bees’ nests intact. Plus the stems in your garden add additional texture and interest to your fall and winter landscape!

3. Leave The Leaves In Your Flower Beds Alone
Protect butterflies and caterpillars!
Many butterflies overwinter in your garden. Adult butterflies hide and make a home in the leaf litter, some butterflies form chrysalises from spent plant material like leaves and stalks for hibernation and caterpillars typically roll themselves inside leaves and seed pods. Beyond butterflies, many other beneficial insects overwinter in the spent plant material in your garden whether it be as adults or eggs. Instead of cleaning up leaf litter, consider leaving it through spring to allow our butterflies and beetles to carry out their full lifecycle within your garden.
4. Avoid Cutting Back Seedheads And Foliage
The birds need your plants!
The seedheads on many of your favorite plants offer food to migrating birds and those that call your garden home. Some birds eat insects, and by leaving foliage and leaf matter alone, you allow birds to search for bugs living amongst the leaves, providing them with an essential food source to get through winter. Plus, the standing plant material offers screening and shelter for birds as they forage for food around your garden.
Save Your Clean Up Until Spring!
So when is the best time to clean up your garden?Just before new growth begins is the perfect time to pick up your garden cleanup. Just be careful! While some insects will emerge before your spring cleanup has begun, there may be a few stragglers. To give them the best opportunity, lay the debris aside (along a fence is a great place!) so the bugs have a chance to emerge at their own pace.Do you have plants with a disease or pest problem?Go ahead and clean these up after the first frost in fall. In this case, it’s better to remove the afflicted material from your garden to prevent it from reoccurring next spring!The best thing to do in the fall is to sit back and relax! There is no need to clean up seedheads or cut back stems; leave the leaf matter in flower beds alone too. The birds, butterflies, and more will thank you for saving your garden cleanup until spring.

4 Tips For Winterizing Your Shrubs
Preparing Your Shrubs For Winter May Be Easier Than You Think
It’s that time of the year again. It’s the time where you have to think about how to care for your shrubs for winter. But fret not, as it is not as complicated as you may think; the answer may be a simple as doing nothing!
Doing nothing may be the best thing for your shrubs this winter, that is, if you planted the best shrubs for your climate in the first place. If you selected a suitable plant for your USDA growing zone (don’t know your zone, find out here), then your plant should be plenty hardy enough to survive winter on its own. Still, if you’re looking for your shrubs to thrive and not just survive winter, we have curated four easy tips to help you winterize your shrubs.
Our Tips For Preparing Your Shrubs For Winter
1. Ensuring Your Shrubs Get Enough Water
There’s nothing worse than waking up thirsty. Protect your plants from that fate by ensuring they get adequate water before they go to bed for winter. Many climates get an ample amount of rain in fall, so watering your shrub may not be necessary. But if it has been dry, watering before the ground freezes is recommended.
2. Provide Your Shrubs With A Layer Of Mulch
Like a blanket for your plants, apply a 2-3″ layer of shredded bark mulch around the roots of your plant. This helps your plant stay warm by providing insulation, and it also helps maintain adequate moisture levels.
3. Shield Your Plants From Pests
Deer and rabbits love using your plants as an easy snack. Protect your shrubs from damage by creating a physical barrier such as deer netting, wire mesh (chicken wire), or burlap. Another trick to try is applying liquid repellent to your plants. But note that liquid repellents likely need to be applied multiple times throughout the season to keep it effective.
4. Put A Pause On Pruning Until Spring
If you’re in a cold climate, shrub pruning is best left for spring. Protect the lowest buds on your plant by keeping your plant intact this season. Also, waiting till spring to prune allows you to understand better where your plant needs trimming, based on where the new buds have emerged.
With fall in full swing and winter on its way, there is already plenty to do in the garden (my yard is already full of leaves begging to be raked), but prepping your shrubs for winter may be something you don’t have to add to your list! If you choose the right plants for your area, you won’t have much to worry about at the end of the day. But it never hurts to follow these steps to ensure your shrubs stay extra cozy this winter.

Pantone 2021 Color of the Year for Your Garden
Bring The Color Pairing Of The Year Into Your Garden With These 6 Plants
Illuminating & Ultimate Gray

Two colors come together to elicit feelings of thoughtfulness and strength. Paired together, they represent hopefulness and enduring optimism. Why not capture the feeling of an everlasting warm sunshiny day in your own landscape? Below we’ve compiled a few of our favorite plants that allow you to bring the Pantone Color of the Year right into your own garden.

 

OSO Easy Lemon Zest® Rose
Illuminate your garden with this non-fading yellow rose. Sun-loving and easy to care for, this rose will make you fall in love with the flower all over again. This long-blooming beauty is disease resistant, so you never have to fear; plant in a sunny spot and bring bright color and joyful blooms to your garden each year.
‘Silver Mound’ Wormwood
This sun perennial has glistening silver gray-green foliage and a delicate texture that works well with any color or on its own as a focal point in the garden. Try pairing it with a summery yellow hue for stunning contrast.

 

 

Sister Golden Hair® Scotch BroomSister Golden Hair Scotch broom is smothered in big, bright, pure yellow flowers in spring. It boasts the largest flowers of any Scotch broom. Scotch broom is a tough plant with outstanding deer resistance and drought tolerance; you can rely on this blooming beauty year after year.
‘Queen Of Hearts’ Brunnera
Strong silvery gray color gives Queen of Hearts’ enduring impact in your landscape. This brunnera from Proven Winners Perennials is an updated version of the classic ‘Jack Frost’ that boasts bigger, bolder leaves, with a more pronounced heart shape and stronger silver color.

 

 

Show Off® Forsythia
A forsythia blooming in spring is just the thing to elicit joy after a long, cold winter. Show Off forsythia from Proven Winners is an extraordinary variety that was selected for its uncanny ability to create dense flower clusters along the entire length of the stem, so it looks like fluffy plumes of gold in the landscape.
‘Powis Castle’ Wormwood
‘Powis Castle’ has lacy silvery-gray leaves that emit a fragrance when you brush up against it. Its silvery gray-green hue is a sign of its enduring nature. Drought tolerant, this leafy wonder will make itself at home in your dry garden.

 

We hope these plants and gardening, in general, give you feelings of hope and happiness in 2021 and beyond.

5 Berry Covered Plants for Fall and Winter Interest
The Perfect Way To Add Color To Your Garden Beyond Summer

When picking plants for our gardens, we often think of how they will appear in spring and summer. We seek out bright blooms and interesting foliage to add excitement and beauty in the warmer months, but what happens once the temperatures start to cool, the blooms fade, and the foliage falls? When planning your garden, consider adding plants that extend your garden’s life beyond flower season-our favorite way to do this? Berries.
While the juicy and edible berries we pick up each trip from the farmer’s market may be in season during the summer months, these types of ornamental berry bushes start their show typically by the end of summer to early fall. While humans may not decide to feast on the bright bounty of berries, birds adore them- a bonus of adding berry-bearing plants to your landscape. Berries come in various colors, from classic reds to golden yellows and even purples. They’re a simple and often low-maintenance way of adding color to a typically quiet time in our gardens while also supporting the local ecosystem; in our book, that’s a win-win.
Here we’ll list some of our favorite fall and winter plants that bear the most delightful berries!
So What Are Our Favorite Berry-Bearing Plants?
While it was hard to choose, we’ve curated a collection below of five berry covered plants that covers a variety of plants that behold a bounty of berries each year.

 

1.) Berry Heavy® Winterberry Holly
A classic red for a timeless appeal!
Berry Heavy® truly knows how to put on a show like no other. Berry Heavy® is a deciduous shrub because it loses its leaves in winter; this only adds to this plant’s appeal, unlike others, which tend to look barren when this occurs. Once its leaves drop, they reveal branches laden with bright red berries. It’s a spectacular display, especially when paired with a blanket of fresh snow. Winterberry holly is known for being remarkably easy to care for, so there will be little work on your end to enjoy this shrub with berries year after year.
A note about Berry Heavy® Winterberry Holly Pollination:

Winterberry holly plants are either female or male, and both a male and female plant are needed in order for fruit (berries) to form on the female. This variety, Berry Heavy, is female, so you will need to purchase the male variety, Mr. Poppins winterberry holly, as well. While only the female plants will develop berries, one male can pollinate up to five females, berries galore!
2.) Pearl Glam® Beautyberry
Purple-pink berries for a unique pop of color!
Looking to go beyond the classic appeal of red berries? Try purple! Aptly named, this beautybush truly is a sight to see when its unique purple foliage gets paired with orchid-pink berries in autumn. While these berries may not endure winter like other berry covered bushes, we think its show in autumn gives it enough merit to add it to our list. Plus, when the reds and oranges of fall get tiring, this purple plant can jazz up your landscape with its unique hue.

 

 

3.) Proud Berry® Coralberry
Bubblegum like berries add a sweet and unique twist!
Looking for some truly unique interest in fall? This coralberry is covered in a bounty of pink bubble-shaped berries in autumn, adding a whole new color to enjoy amongst fall’s traditional earthy palette. You’ll almost question what season you’re in and wonder if summer is really over because these bright berries are the last thing you’d expect to see in autumn. These berries won’t last into winter, but they will leave a lasting impression on your landscape.
4.) Tandoori Orange® Viburnum
Bright orange clusters of fruit, beloved by birds!
Not only is the shrub rugged, durable, and easy to care for, but it’s incredibly easy to look at. While its foamy white flowers look pretty in bloom, we love Tandoori Orange® because of its bountiful orange berry clusters in fall. Perfectly paired with fall’s color scheme, these berries fit right in. These berries persist through winter, providing interest when you need it most. Plus, the birds appreciate having something to snack on during these colder months.

 

A note about Tandoori Orange® Pollination:
For best berry production, pair with Cardinal Candy viburnum, or another Viburnum dilatatum type for abundant fruit on both plants.

 

5.) Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry Holly
A gold rush that persists through winter!
What’s better than a bounty of gold (berries)? We don’t think there’s much. Setting itself apart from other winterberry holly varieties, this golden berry-topped shrub is the perfect winter plant for your quiet fall/winter landscape. We can’t think of a more beautiful sight than this winterberry holly in winter with its luminous gold berries covered in a fresh blanket of snow. Easy to care for and deer resistant, this joyful shrub is the perfect way to add some sunshine and cheer to your garden when it could most use it.
A note about Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry Holly Pollination:
Winterberry holly plants are either female or male, and both a male and female plant are needed in order for fruit (berries) to form on the female. This variety, Berry Heavy® Gold, is female much like previously mentioned Berry Heavy, so you will need to purchase the male variety, Mr.  Poppins winterberry holly, as well. We like to think the more the merrier when it comes to berries.
How do you prepare your berry covered shrubs for the winter?
While these berry-bearing plants strut their stuff with their showy autumn and winter displays, you may be wondering how to prepare your plants best to last through the winter, especially those who live in harsher climates filled with frigid air and snow. It’s really more simple than you think to prepare these shrubs for winter and learn how to winterize your shrubs. To learn more about preparing your berry-covered shrubs and shrubs of all kinds for winter, explore our blog here.
Berries are an easy way of transforming your fall and winter landscapes.
Berry-covered bushes and shrubs are the perfect addition to any landscape. Adding up to two extra seasons of interest to your garden, these plants bring life to a typically dull time in the landscape because of their color and added texture. On top of their outward beauty, the fruit on these plants like Tandoori Orange® are beloved by birds and provide an essential food source for our local ecosystem. Whether you’re adding a bush that bears fruit in fall or one that continues its show into winter, you’ll be grateful you added one (or more) of these showy plants to your landscape.

Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry Holly – January 2021
All The Reasons Why You Should Grow Winterberry Holly
A good winterberry holly is a sight to behold, whether it’s in your garden, floral arrangements, or winter decorations. That’s why we’ve chosen Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry Holly as our January 2021 Plant of the Month! Lots of people want to bring this beauty to their own backyards, but there’s a lot of confusion about how exactly to be successful. We’ll highlight why Berry Heavy® Gold is one of our favorite plants and spell out the knowledge you need to grow this durable, easy-going shrub.
It’s Deciduous
The berries shine without any leaves!
Unlike the evergreen hollies most people are familiar with, Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry actually loses its leaves in winter. While that may sound like a liability at first, it actually makes those fabulous berries pop even more. Plus, the foliage of winterberry holly is soft – no unpleasant spikes to contend with.

 Before Leaves fall

 After leaves fall

It’s One Tough Shrub
Don’t waste your time worrying!
Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry is exceptionally durable. It’s very tolerant of shade – though fruiting is best with at least some sun – and can grow in poorly drained soils, even standing water. More good news: it is very deer resistant, so you don’t need to worry about bambi munching the berries.

 

Plants Are Either Male or Female
It takes (at least) two to tango!
Here’s where people start to get confused: Winterberry hollies are naturally either male (pollen-bearing) or female (fruit-bearing). This means the males won’t develop any fruit, but you must plant both a male and a female to get fruit on the female. Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry is a female, so we suggest planting with male Mr. Poppins or Little Goblin Guy

 

 

Here’s the good news: one male plant can pollinate up to five female varieties, so you can get away with fewer of the less showy member of the pair. Just make sure the male selection is compatible with the female(s), and plant them all within about 50’/15.24m of one another and you’re good to go!
Slow And Steady
Patience, please!
There’s no beating around the bush: winterberry holly is pretty slow-growing. So you’re going to need to give plants a few years until you get a display like this, especially from the small size available on our site. They’re more than worth the wait, though, so a small investment now pays big dividends for many years.
Shop now, ship in spring! If you want to add Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry to your landscape in 2021, you can order now and the plants will ship this coming spring at the proper time for planting outdoors.
Stay tuned for more on Berry Heavy® Gold Winterberry this month!

This Month in the Garden: December 2021
The year is coming to a close, and with that, so has another year of gardening. While for many of us, digging in our garden ended some time ago, the appreciation for it never stopped.

 

All Zones:
Take the time to plan your spring garden.
Now is a great time to look over your landscape and your flower beds and really think about what plants you loved this year, which ones you didn’t, and which areas need some love. Maybe you want to add more greenery or take charge of a shady spot in your garden? Or maybe you have a difficult area that remains empty or want to add more of your favorite plants to other parts of your landscape? No matter what you want to add or subtract, take time now to mentally plan your garden for spring.
Beyond thinking ahead, here are some things gardeners in all zones can do now in their garden:

  • If you have berry-bearing plants like winterberry holly, now is a great time to harvest a few branches for festive decor.
  • Look after birds! If you’ve cleaned up your garden for winter, be sure to leave some food for our feathered friends for winter. Be on the lookout for migratory birds making your garden home for the season. For more details on preparing your garden for winter with birds and other pollinators in mind, check out our blog post: 4 Simple Ways to Protect Pollinators in Fall.

Zones 3-5:
It may be cold, but there are still things to do.
While snow may be on the ground for most of those gardening in zones 3-5, there are still a few things you can do to do keep your garden in tip-top shape:

  • Protect your perennials! Roses and other perennials often need some extra protection to thrive in winter. Consider adding extra mulch or if your garden is filled with snow, use what you have! Scoop up fallen snow and place it on top of your plants for extra insulation as it offers similar protection.
  • Consider protecting your shrubs and trees from deer and other wildlife. While deer can be a year-round problem, their foraging in your garden can become more apparent in the winter months. Add a layer of burlap, chicken wire, or use a liquid repellent to create a barrier to prevent deer from feasting on your evergreen foliage.

Zones 6-8:
The weather is cooling, but the tasks haven’t cooled down yet.
Boiling hot summer days may be behind most of those in zones 6-8, but just because peak season is over doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done!
Here are a few things you can do in your garden right now:

  • Consider adding mulch to some of your shrubs and perennials that will need added insulation to thrive once the weather starts to cool.
  • If you have a shrub or tree that needs to be planted, it’s not necessarily too late to plant! Add these big plants to your landscape early in the month, while the ground is cool, not frozen. Just be sure to add an extra layer of insulation and water your newly planted plants.

Zones 9-11:
Winter looks a little different for you so there’s still plenty to do.
3 things those in zones 9-11 can do in their gardens right now:

  • Be on the lookout for frost! While you may get fewer frosty days than other gardeners, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for it. Watch out for frost advisories and add an extra layer of insulation to your plants to protect them in cold snaps.
  • Stop fertilizing your plants. If you’re still fertilizing your plants, now would be a great time to put that task on pause as new growth may become damaged during a sudden cold front.
  • If you’re experiencing a dry December, be sure to water your plants adequately to help them get through dry spells.

What size pots should I use for container plantings?
Don’t let the fear of space keep you from buying more plants. That’s how the saying goes, right? Even when garden beds fill up quickly, it’s easy to find extra room for plants using containers in your yard or on decks, patios, and porches. Containers are great for mixing and matching, growing fussy plants, and showcasing your favorites in prominent places.
Choosing the right size pot is important for a few reasons. When the pot is too small, roots become pot-bound, growth is stunted, and it dries out quickly. On the other hand, if it’s too large, the soil stays wet and the roots are susceptible to rot. So what size is the best?
We suggest pairing the pot size to the size of the plant you purchased, then repotting as it matures. So here are our guidelines for matching the diameter of the decorative container to the size of the plants for sale:

  • 3-inch: 3-4″ pot
  • Quart: 8-9″ pot
  • 2-Quart: 9-10″ pot
  • 1 gallon: 10-12″ pot

If your plant has outgrown its current container, try upsizing the pot by 2-4 inches. Remember to select pots that are proportionally wide to tall. Avoid shallow containers, unless you are growing succulents!
What about planting multiple plants in one pot? It really depends on what plants you choose! In this case, you’ll need a larger pot than what we recommend above. When planting, make sure the plants aren’t crammed together. If it’s difficult to squeeze all the plants in, your pot is too small.

A Look at our Greenhouse
Welcome to Our Greenhouse
We’re Happy You’re Here
Here at Great Garden Plants, we strive to give you the best gardening experience, and it all starts right in our greenhouses. We’re located in scenic west Michigan, where we grow hundreds of perennials, shrubs, ground covers, roses, hedge plants, and so much more. You’ll find exciting new varieties as well as tried and true garden classics.
Don’t worry; your plants are in good hands. As experienced horticulturists, we understand how important it is to start with happy, healthy plants. All of our products are raised by professional growers who love plants as much as you do! We pay close attention to the water, light, and nutrients each plant needs. Plus, we keep our plants nicely trimmed, which encourages more branching, a strong root system, and rapid establishment in your garden.
Take a quick look inside to see what your plants are like before they reach your door!

Digging Deeper: Soil Types
What’s Happening Below Ground In Your Garden?
Sand, Silt, & Clay, Oh My!

When we think about gardens, we usually envision the leaves, stems, and flowers of plants, but what about growth below ground? The roots are considered to be the “hidden half” of the plant. They’re essential to the plant’s success, providing anchorage and absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. The type of soil heavily influences plant growth, which is why it’s important to know what’s happening below ground in your own garden!
This blog will walk you through the three main soil categories (clay, silt, and sand) and give insight into what that means for your plants. Not sure what kind of soil you have? Don’t worry; we’ll teach you how to find out.
Clay particles are small and flat, packing tightly together. However, its small size means it has a larger specific surface area (surface area for a given mass). There are a few reasons why this is important:

  • The greater the surface area, the greater capacity it has to hold onto nutrients.
  • Small soil particles are more likely to stick together in masses. It feels think and sticky when wet, then dries into hard clods.
  • Small particles have less pore space, which means water has less room to percolate through the soil.

 What does this mean for your garden? First of all, it’s easier to overwater plants in clay soils. Since the water doesn’t drain quickly, the soil is prone to waterlogging, which can be fatal. Limiting the air in the soil literally drowns the roots! Another issue clay can cause in your garden is compaction. The small, flat soil particles easily push together, reducing pore space even further. This can lead to reduced aeration, an inability to cycle nutrients, and poor root penetration. However, clay soils aren’t all bad. They tend to be nutrient-rich, as the negatively charged particle surfaces hold onto positively charged particles of essential micronutrients.
Watering is the biggest challenge gardeners face with heavy clay soils. The best approach is to water less frequently with more water to prevent waterlogging and encourage deep root growth. Plus, it’s way easier to recover from underwatering than overwatering. It’s beneficial to plant slightly above the soil line in poor-draining soil to improve aeration at the crown. Raising the plant just a little bit should do the trick.
Avoid further compaction by not over tilling, walking on garden beds, or using heavy machinery when planting. Also, avoid working with the soil when it is wet. Is the clay sticking to your shovel? If so, take a break and let the soil dry out. Overworking wet clay soil will ruin the structure and lead to further compaction.
Since clay already holds onto nutrients well, you can use a light hand when fertilizing. Keep in mind that holding onto minerals may not always be helpful since it can hold onto bad minerals (like salt) as well. Clay soils may not be ideal, but you can still make magic happen!
Silt shares similar properties as clay – smaller particle size, small pore spaces, and larger specific surface area. However, the silt particles are slightly larger and irregular in shape, which solves a lot of the problems we see in clay. Here are some notable properties of silt:

  • Small particles with a large surface area hold onto nutrients well. The size leads to rapid weathering, which releases a significant amount of plant nutrients.
  • Particles are irregularly shaped and aren’t as likely to stick together.
  • There is less pore space, which means there is high water retention.

Silt soil is great in your garden because it is generally very fertile. The particle surface holds onto an abundance of nutrients, plus it releases even more nutrients as it quickly weathers. Moisture-loving plants tend to love growing in silt soils. While it has high water retention with small pore spaces, it does have better drainage than clay. This is thanks to the irregular particle shapes, which won’t stick together. Because they don’t stick together, there is less compaction, more pores, and better aeration for roots. However, this does lead to one major problem. Silt is highly susceptible to water erosion, as particles that don’t stick together are easily washed away.
If silt soils become compacted, they take on many of the problems we see in clay soils. Be careful when walking on garden beds, using any machinery, and over tilling when planting to avoid this. To prevent water from pooling on the surface of the ground or washing away, give the soil time to dry between waterings. If you’re careful with your silt soils, your plants will be thankful.
Sand particles (or grains) are likely the most familiar, mainly because they are visible to the naked eye and have a coarse texture. They are primarily composed of quartz or other silicates. These particles are the largest of the three, which makes a big difference in your soil for a few reasons:

  • Large particle size means a smaller specific surface area, so they have little capacity to hold onto water and nutrients.
  • There are larger pore spaces, which means water drains quickly through the soil.
  • The sand particles are resilient to compaction.

Let’s start with what we love about having sandy soil in the garden. One of the first things you’ll notice is that sand particles won’t stick together, making it easy to dig. It also makes them resilient to compaction. This is great news for roots, because non-compacted soils are well aerated and easier to grow through. Plants that prefer dry soils grow well in sand. There is great drainage in sandy soils, so you won’t need to worry about overwatering. The large pore spaces allow water to move through the soil profile quickly. While this solves the problem of waterlogging, it causes new problems. Sharp drainage means the soil is prone to drought and is infertile.
Water that moves quickly through the soil also carries away essential water-soluble nutrients, like nitrogen. This is a problem considering sandy soils aren’t known to be very fertile in the first place. Sand particles weather slowly and don’t release many nutrients for plants in the process. Plus, the small specific surface area means it can’t hold onto many nutrient ions.
There are a few strategies to remember while gardening in sandy soils. Encourage deep root growth by watering deeply with less frequency. Roots will “chase” the water and penetrate deeper in the soil profile, helping the plant access deep water and nutrients reserves.
Choose slow-release fertilizers over liquid fertilizers to lower the risk of nutrient leaching. Sandy soils may have some weaknesses, but they’ll still support a wonderful garden if you handle it wisely!
Not Sure What Type Of Soil You Have?

 

The quick and dirty way of finding out is by using your hands. Make a little hole in your garden, approximately 6 inches deep, and grab a chunk of soil. Mix it with a small amount of water in your hand and try to form a ball, then add more water and rub it tight between your fingers.

  • If you can form a ball easily, it’s likely clayey soil. It will feel sticky when wet, especially when you rub it between your fingers.
  • If you can almost form a ball, but not quite, it’s likely silty soil. When wet, it will feel silky and smooth between your fingers.
  • If there is no hope of forming a ball, it’s likely sandy soil. When you rub it between your fingers, it feels coarse and grainy.

Stay tuned as we dig even deeper into your garden soil! We’ll be releasing more posts about pH, nutrient dynamics, fertilizing, watering, and how to amend the soil. There’s so much to learn, and Great Garden Plants is here to help.

Black Cat® Pussywillow – February 2021
Fuzzy Black Pussywillow Brings Springtime Magic!
Black Cat® Pussywillow (Salix chaenomeloides) has earned recognition as our February 2021 Plant of the Month for its fuzzy catkins and late winter interest! This shrub kicks off the gardening season as early as possible. Starting in late winter, you’ll see long, straight stems peppered with silvery-pink and black buds. As the days get longer and warmer (even if only by a tiny bit), the buds lengthen into prominent, textured catkins.
What Is A Catkin?
Technically, It’s A Flower Spike.
When you think of a flower, you probably don’t imagine the fuzzy catkins we see on Black Cat® Pussywillow. However, botanically speaking, these catkins are unisexual flowers! They take all the reproductive parts of the flower and packs them into slim, cylindrical flower clusters we call catkins. They don’t need petals to attract any pollinators. Instead, male catkins simply release their pollen into the wind, where it will eventually find another female catkin.

 

 Why Does It Flower So Early?
Though it is uncommon to flower in late winter (especially in colder climates), there are some advantages to reproducing at this time of year! Wind pollinated plants heavily rely on a lot of pollen and a little bit of luck for reproduction. No one can control where the wind blows, so male pollen reaching a female flower all happens by chance. To increase their odds, they release pollen in late winter/early spring, when other plants lack leaves and flowers. This means fewer obstacles in the path between flowers. Plus, they don’t have to wait until insects return in warmer weather for this all to happen!
To protect the catkins from freezing, they are covered in the fuzzy protective layer we have come to know and love. It provides insulation for all those precious reproductive parts.
Bring The Magic Indoors!
The branches of pussywillow are a favorite in cut flower arrangements since it serves as a reminder that spring is near. Cut them at their peak-fuzziness before they fully flower. You can use them fresh, but the willow buds will last much longer and won’t open if dried. Arrange pussywillow branches alone to let the fuzzy catkins shine, or use them as an accent with other foliage and flowers.

 

Our 5 Favorite Easy to Care for Plants
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, every gardener can appreciate a plant that is easy to care for. Low maintenance plants are perfect for those just dabbling in the world of gardening and those who just want to spend more time relaxing in and enjoying their garden and less time trying to care for and maintain it. We’ve gathered a list of 5 of our favorite easy to care for outdoor plants that are perfect for gardeners of any skill level; we hope you love them just as much as we do.
1. Sedum

 

Pictured above: Sunsparkler Wildfire Stonecrop
Sedum or stonecrop, as many gardeners have come to know it by is an easy-care ground cover perfect for gardeners of any skill level, but it’s especially forgiving for beginner gardeners. Sedum thrives in heat, humidity and does well with very little water. Perfect for those with dry soils, those who experience periods of drought, or those who just forget to water their plants often. It is one of those “plant it and forget it” plants, meaning you won’t have much to worry about once it gets settled into your garden or your container. It’s quick growing and perfect for transforming neglected or hard to grow in spaces in your landscape, or if you’re short on space, it’s the perfect perennial for transforming containers. While sedum may be remarkably easy to care for, it certainly doesn’t lack good looks and garden appeal. Depending on the sedum you choose, you can enjoy bright yellow foliage, pops of pink, or lush green leaves. Did we mention sedum gets topped with delicate flowers in summer? Year after year we’re reminded why gardeners everywhere love this low-maintenance succulent; its ease of care and good looks keep us adding it to our collection time and time again. Sedum is nearly impossible to kill!
What Are Our Favorite Sedums?
Sunsparkler® ‘ Dream Dazzler’ sedum (Sedum sp.) is a fan favorite over here at Great Garden Plants, and for a good reason. Its durable foliage is a rich purple hue, with its scalloped edges lined with the perfect pink shade. We find this sedum adds just the right amount of color to the garden.
We’re also big fans of ‘Lidakense’ (Sedum sp.). Its leaves are a unique blue and form to create a fountain-like habit. Pair ‘Lidakense’ with other sedums, or try adding it to mixed containers with sempervivum or ice plants to make a lush blanket of unique foliage, texture, and color!
2. Hosta

 

Pictured above: Shadowland Etched Glass Hosta
When it comes to low-maintenance outdoor plants, hosta is a garden staple for gardeners everywhere, especially those whose gardens and yards are filled with shade. Sometimes called plantain lily, hostas are perfect for adding color to shaded and woodland gardens; hosta provides interest with little effort. Hosta comes in all shapes and sizes, from ‘Waterslide’ hosta (Hosta hybrid) with its rich blue-green wavy leaves to ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ miniature hosta (Hosta x), a small hosta that adds the perfect amount of charm to small spaces. Hostas foliage steals the show all season long, but come summer, each hosta plant will be graced with icy-purple flowers (sometimes near white), giving this plant an encore performance in the garden. Plus, hummingbirds adore these cheery blooms. If you’ve had slug issues in the past with hosta, be sure to look for varieties with thick foliage as this provides added slug resistance, ensuring your plant stays attractive and pest-free all season long.
Hostas With Improved Slug-Resistance Include:

Hosta looks more beautiful as it grows and fills back in each year, so you have a lot to look forward to with this easy-care perennial.
3. Panicle Hydrangea

 

Hydrangeas are up on the list of “favorite flowering shrubs” for many gardeners, us included. While there are six different hydrangea types, Panicle Hydrangea, sometimes known as peegee hydrangea or Limelight hydrangea, is by far one of the easiest hydrangeas to care for. While this hydrangea may look daunting to care for, it’s remarkably easy to grow! Add its hardiness into the mix, and you’ve got a shrub that will produce a bounty of blooms, even after harsh winters.
Our favorite panicle hydrangeas include: ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) and Quick Fire Fab (Hydrangea paniculata), amongst others. While both plants boast panicle hydrangeas football-shaped and sized blooms, ‘Limelight’ features creamy green flowers that age to a rich red, and Zinfin Doll® white blooms quickly take on pink tones, creating an ombré effect.
And don’t worry, pruning your panicle hydrangea is easier than you think! Simply cut back by about one-third of its total height in spring.
4. Ornamental Grasses

 

Ornamental grasses are versatile perennials and perfect for gardeners seeking plants that add drama and interest to their landscape without much work. Low effort, big impact! Ornamental grasses are perfect for adding multi-season color, texture, and appeal to your garden; they can also add some privacy- an added bonus.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for plant that also looks great all year round, ornamental grasses are your best bet; check out our favorite grasses for winter interest. Some of these grasses, like ‘Karley Rose’ fountain grass are deer resistant!

Our Favorite Ornamental Grasses:
5. Roses

 

Pictured above: Oso Easy Mango Salsa Rose

Suprise, you read that right; roses made our list of easy to care for plants! Not all roses are created equally, though, and in our opinion, one series of roses reigns supreme, at least when it comes to ease of care. That series would come from Proven Winners® Color Choice® and their Oso Easy® roses. While roses are often thought of as hard to care for, Oso Easy roses break that mold while maintaining the classic beauty you’ve come to know and expect from roses. Coming in a range of colors, from classic reds and pinks to a yellow rose that doesn’t fade, there is a rose in this series for every gardener.
So What Makes These Roses So Easy To Care For?
First, there is no spraying required. It’s typically recommended for gardeners to spray roses to protect against pests, such as aphids. Lucky for you, Oso Easy roses maintain their good looks all season long, spray-free. Next up, Oso Easy roses don’t require deadheading. Rose lovers everywhere no longer need to spend time plucking off spent blooms; Oso Easy roses are self cleaners. They clear off their old flowers to make room for new ones all on their own. To make this series of roses even better, they are highly disease resistant, making them practically worry-free.
Prepare to enjoy their bright blooms all season long as these reblooming roses produce an abundance of flowers. Oso Easy roses are a great low maintenance option for just about any gardener!
Plants For Gardeners Of Every Skill Level

This selection of plants is perfect for gardeners of any skill level. Whether you’re just starting your gardening journey, have been gardening for years, or somewhere in between, every gardener can benefit from adding a few easy-care plants to their landscape. They add interest without adding extra work, and it’s a win-win. In our opinion, the best type of garden is the one that you have time to enjoy, and adding a few of these low-maintenance plants may just give you the extra time to enjoy your garden without the worry of how you’ll care for it. For every gardener out there, even those who forget about watering their plants on occasion, we encourage adding a few of these plants to your landscape. If you do, we’d love to hear what you think!
Are you a beginner gardener or just looking for even easier to care for plants? You’re in luck; we’ve curated an entire collection of plants that are great for those just starting their gardens or those just looking for something simple to grow.
Explore The Collection Below:

Grasses for Winter Interest
Tired Of A Dull Winter Landscape?
Endless flat lawns or cut back gardens can make for boring winter views. Adding ornamental grass is one surefire way to bring beauty to the bleakness! Many grasses bring height, color, movement, or structure to the landscape. Below are a few options that each have a unique pop to add to that garden you’re gazing out at during those especially chilly, ho-hum days.
‘Blue Zinger’ Sedge
(Carex flacca)
Holds its frosty blue color over winter! When covered with a dusting of snow, it displays a really neat contrast. The thin, arching foliage adds textural interest and rustles in the winter winds.

 

 

‘Karl Foerster’ Feather Reed Grass
(Calamagrostis x acutiflora)

A favorite go-to-grass that blooms long and stands up to harsh winters. Five feet tall and upright. Bends with the wind so it is able to remain pillar-like through most harsh weather!
Purple Eulalia
(Miscanthus purpurescens)
Its fountain-like habit brings a unique shape to the landscape – especially when snow-covered. Dried plumes last for months, adding winter interest to your garden or home. Cut the plumes for dried floral arrangements!

 

 

‘Hameln’ Fountain Grass
(Pennisetum alopecuroides)
Its foliage transitions to a rich gold hue in fall and continues to add lovely texture well into winter, making this grass a multi-season stunner. Seed heads hold snow and frost beautifully. You may even see birds perched on the stems pecking away at the seed.
Beyond the beauty, there are other benefits to planting ornamental grasses or sedges! It will warm your heart to know that you are helping wildlife, as many animals use tall grass for habitat and their seed heads for food. If you observe closely you’ll see creatures scurrying about, carrying on with life in the safety of the cover you provided. You might then notice the sound of grass gently shifting in the wind – one of the most calming noises nature makes. Finally, your winter landscape will be more interesting.
Once you’ve gotten really cozy enjoying the sights and sounds in your garden, it’ll be time to get active! Many of us enjoy getting into the garden as early as possible. You’ll get an excuse to get busy from grasses that need to be chopped in early spring, to make way for new growth. But until then, you can do a little planning!
Check Out Our Collection Of Grasses

Sedum & Delosperma
The Drought-Tolerant Duo: Sedum & Delosperma
Need Color? We’ve Got You Covered!
Transform any sunny, dry spot from ho-hum to holy cow with the super colorful combination of Hot Cakes® ‘Banana Blast’ Ice Plant and Sunsparkler® ‘Firecracker’ Stonecrop. The bright yellow blooms of the ice plant will weave along with the purple-red foliage of the sedum for eye-catching color from spring through frost.
This ground cover combination is only for full sun – at least 6 hours of bright sun each day. But that’s about all these durable perennials need to thrive. They’re drought tolerant, deer resistant, and need no fertilizer, making them practically maintenance-free.

7 Different Types of Hydrangeas
We Know Hydrangeas Can Be Confusing, But They Don’t Have To Be.
You only need to know two things to be successful when growing hydrangeas: which type of hydrangea you have and whether it blooms on old wood or new wood. And we’ll spell it all out for you right here, so you can immediately put your new knowledge into action. From bigleaf hydrangeas to climbing hydrangeas, here we’ll list different types of hydrangea shrubs that you can plant in hedges, containers, and more.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Bigleaf Hydrangeas
Also known as florist’s hydrangea or hortensia, this is the kind with the big, glossy, leathery leaves and pink, blue, or purple (and sometimes white) blooms. Bigleaf hydrangeas bloom on old wood – that means they created their flower buds for 2021 back in 2020, and those flower buds are sitting on the plant right now, just waiting for summer. If you were to prune a bigleaf hydrangea now, you’d remove all this year’s blooms.
How to prune: Don’t! It’s best to avoid pruning bigleaf hydrangeas altogether, as there’s no time of the year they can be pruned without removing flowering potential. When the new growth begins to emerge on your plant, you can take off any dead wood or old blooms, but that’s it.
2 Mountain Hydrangeas
A bit of a newcomer to the market, mountain hydrangeas like the Tuff Stuff series from Proven Winners ColorChoice are closely related to the bigleaf hydrangeas described above, but are native to chilly mountainous areas. As a result, this species has naturally developed better performance in colder climates. Mountain hydrangeas look a lot like bigleaf hydrangeas, with big pink, purple, or blue blooms, and act like them, too, blooming on old wood.
How to prune: Same as the bigleaf hydrangeas – don’t! Even though the Tuff Stuff series is reblooming and flowers on new wood as well as old wood, you’ll get the best and longest-lasting display if you avoid pruning except to remove any dead wood and old blooms.
3. Oakleaf Hydrangeas
Oakleaf hydrangeas are distinguished by their big, oak-shaped leaves and fragrant white flowers. The foliage on this handsome North American native turns an unforgettable red-burgundy in autumn, and the leaves fall to reveal a dramatic structure with cinnamon-colored peeling bark. Oakleaf hydrangeas also bloom on old wood and are currently covered with flower buds just waiting for warmer weather so they can open.
How to prune: Yet again, don’t. Pruning will remove the flower buds the plant has already developed for this season. If you’d like to remove a branch or two to shape the plant selectively, you may, but avoid any trimming or cutting back.
4. Climbing Hydrangeas
A bit of an anomaly among hydrangeas, climbing hydrangeas are vines that climb with the help of little rootlets that grab on to structures. They’re very popularly planted on chimneys and brick or rock walls and are covered with delicate white lacecap flowers in early summer.
How to prune: Climbing hydrangeas bloom on old wood, too, so flower best when you don’t prune them. They rarely need pruning, but if yours is particularly ambitious, you can selectively remove branches as needed.
(Note: this information also applies to the closely related false hydrangea vine, Schizophragma).
5. Smooth Hydrangeas
Widely known as ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea, even though several new, vastly improved varieties have been introduced in recent years. This hydrangea is super hardy (down to USDA zone 3) and loved for its huge blooms and rock-solid reliability. This North American native blooms on new wood, which means that it will create its 2019 flower buds only after it starts growing this spring; there are no flower buds present on this type in winter.
How to prune: Cut back by about one-third of its total height in early spring. This helps build up a sturdy, woody base while also encouraging lots of new growth for tons of flowers. If you have a smooth hydrangea and you already pruned it to the ground, that’s okay – we prefer the one-third approach as it helps to minimize this plant’s tendency to flop (especially if you have ‘Annabelle’ and not one of the newer selections).
6. Panicle Hydrangeas
This extremely popular type goes by two alternate names – peegee hydrangea or Limelight hydrangea. Whatever you call it, it’s one of the most beautiful, reliable, and long-blooming shrubs (never mind hydrangeas!) ever. The football-shaped (and sized) flowers on this type start out white and then change to pink or red in late summer. Like smooth hydrangea above, it is hardy to USDA zone 3 and blooms on new wood. Panicle hydrangeas also create their flower buds for the season in spring.
How to prune: Cut back by about one-third of its total height in spring. This ensures the growth for the year comes from bigger buds further down on the stems, which means stronger, more vigorous stems. This type often attains tree-like proportions, so you can also selectively remove branches to create the desired shape.
7. Cascade Hydrangea
Never heard of a cascade hydrangea (Hydrangea x)? That’s because FairyTrail Bride™ cascade hydrangea is the first of its type in North America. Cascade hydrangeas have a horizontal habit with white flowers blooming all along trailing stems. The result is a cascading display of unrivaled flower power!
How to prune: Blooms on old wood AND new wood – which means you do not need to prune it. You’ll get the best and longest-lasting display if you avoid pruning except to remove any dead wood and old blooms.
Want to add some hydrangeas to your garden this year?
We’ve got you covered! Great Garden Plants offers a huge selection and all seven of the types you see here. Now that you know how easy they are to care for, the hardest part will be picking your favorites.

Different Levels of Sun Exposure
The Difference Between Sun, Part Sun, & Shade
Sunlight is the source of energy for all major functions in plants. It’s the key ingredient in the recipe for photosynthesis, which plants use to make fuel (sugars) for plant growth. When plants don’t receive enough light, they can’t produce enough energy to sustain growth. However, receiving too much light can do even more damage, causing leaf burning and death. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how much light a plant needs and how much your garden has to offer.
The key to a successful garden is the right plant in the right place, so let’s talk about how sunlight influences your decision!
Determining Light Levels In Your Garden
The simplest way to figure out how much light your garden gets is by observing it throughout the day. Check on your garden every so often and record the times of day you receive direct vs. filtered sunlight. The time of day you receive sun is almost as important as how many hours! Intense afternoon sun is much hotter than morning sun, especially in warmer climates.
It’s best to measure the light over multiple days and find the average light levels. Try to avoid observing on rainy and cloudy days, as those won’t provide representative data. If you don’t have the time to make observations, there are always garden gadgets that will do the work for you. Once you’ve studied your light, try filtering through our selection of plants by light level!
Sun
When we say a plant requires “sun,” we mean full sun, which is at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. It doesn’t mean it must be in direct sun during all hours of the day. Areas that provide sun in the garden are usually void of trees or large buildings that cast shade. Be careful to balance light and moisture in your sunny spots, as areas with sun tend to dry out much quicker than others!
Here are some plants that thrive in the sun: Coneflower, Butterfly Bush, Roses, & Stonecrop

 

Part Sun
Plants that require “part sun” are looking for 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day. It requires some bright light to set flower buds or fruit, but appreciates relief from light during the hottest times of the day.
These plants grow best in part sun: Panicle Hydrangeas, Bellflower, & Azaleas

 

Shade
When we say “shade,” we don’t mean no sun. Shade plants require less than 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, with the rest as filtered sunlight. Direct morning sun is better than afternoon sun, as shade plants prefer the cooler light. Shade can be found under trees or near buildings or other structures that block light.Check out these shade-dwelling plants: Ostrich Fern, Hosta, & Coral Bells

 

Think your plant is getting the wrong amount of light? Thin, elongated stems or flowers indicate your plant may not be receiving enough light. If leaves are looking burned or brown, it may be exposed to too much sun. Don’t worry; you can always move your plant to a better spot. Plus, we’re always here to help if you have questions along the way!

Meet Our Grower, Mitchell
Five Questions With Our New Grower, Mitchell
Your plants are in good hands with our new grower, Mitchell. As an avid plant lover and experienced horticulturist, he’s equipped with the passion and knowledge to
keep plants thriving. Our goal is to provide happy, healthy plants that will succeed in your garden, and it all starts with Mitchell!

1. When did your love for plants begin?
I started loving plants when I was about 5 years old learning how to garden with my grandparents. I went on to college at Purdue where I fell in love with controlled environment horticulture research.
2. What brought you to work at Great Garden Plants?
I was attracted to Great Garden Plants from the incredibly diverse assortment of plants that are cultivated here! I love having the challenge of learning how so many different plants grow versus having acres of only one kind of plant.
3. Do you think you were born with a green thumb, or is it something you learned along the way?
I definitely was not born with a green thumb. I have learned tremendous amounts about gardening all throughout my life and I still learn new things every day. Anybody can become an expert gardener because all it takes is passion and experience.
4. What is your best piece of advice for gardeners?
Be patient and enjoy the growing process! I know gardening can be frustrating at times but you’ll always learn a tremendous amount each season from what worked and what didn’t. As long as you stay observant, you’ll find out what the weak links were and adapt to have a better season next year!
5. We know it’s hard to choose, but do you have a favorite plant?
If I had to pick a current favorite plant it will have to be Dianthus. It just looks like a beautiful plant that has the most adorable flowers on them. Whenever I walk into the greenhouse they always seem as happy as can be and I want some for my own personal garden!

 

Stay tuned for more updates from Mitchell and the rest of our team at Great Garden Plants. Have more questions for him? Let us know and we’ll include them in our next interview!

How Much Water Should I Give My Plants?
Gauging how much water your garden needs can be difficult, as there really isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. Weather, soil type, light, and type of plants influence how much you should water, and they’re all different in every garden! However, there are a few tips that can help determine a watering schedule for your own garden.
How Often Do I Water?
Keep a close eye on newly planted perennials and shrubs, especially throughout the first growing year. Most early plant loss is due to too much or too little water! The goal is to keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet for the two weeks after planting. The best way to learn how to do this is by getting your hands a little dirty and feeling the soil. For the first couple of weeks, water when soil 2 inches below the surface is dry to the touch. After that, check the soil once a week, and water if it is dry 3 or 4 inches deep.
There is a strategy for how often to water! Encourage deep root growth by watering deeply with less frequency. Roots will “chase” the water and penetrate deeper into the soil profile, helping the plant access deep water and nutrients reserves. Watering shallow and often will lead to an overall weaker root system. A good rule of thumb is many perennials grow well with 1 to 2 inches of water per week from natural rainfall, or from irrigation.
Tip: If you want to get more specific, check out our blog on how your soil type influences how you water!
There are many different ways to water your plants, including the old reliable watering can. One of the best ways to water perennials in dry summer regions is with water-conserving soaker hoses. Water drips slowly from the hose directly onto the soil right around plant roots for several hours. The water then moves down through the soil to plant roots without any waste, and the tops of plants stay dry, thus reducing the chance of disease problems that occur when plant foliage stays wet.
Prone To Overwatering? Check Out Our Plants That Love Wet Soils.

Is Your Garden Extra Dry? These Plants Don’t Mind.

Climbing Hydrangea vs. False Hydrangea Vine
Unlike other hydrangeas you may know, these vines use little rootlets to climb trees, walls, fireplaces, and other structures. In late spring/early summer, they’re covered in fragrant lacy blooms. At first glance, the differences between Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) and False Hydrangea Vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides) may be too subtle to notice. But it’s their little differences that make them each oh so special. We’ll point out what makes them unique, then leave it to you to pick which is your favorite!

 Climbing Hydrangea

 False Hydrangea Vine
Making showy flowers can be costly, so both plants strategize with flower heads consisting of both showy and non-showy flowers. The fertile flowers are the non-showy reproductive structures in the middle of the flower head, with showy sterile (infertile) flowers surrounding it to attract pollinators. The sterile flowers of Climbing Hydrangea resemble small white hydrangea flowers. False Hydrangea Vine has single, sail-like bracts instead. The results are two different lacy flowers with appealing textures and prominent fragrances!
The other main difference is that False Hydrangea Vine comes in various colored flowers and foliage. We offer it in white with Flirty Girl™ and in pink with Rose Sensation™. Climbing Hydrangea always keeps it classic with white flowers and lush green foliage. Climbing hydrangea doesn’t always require a trellis but will thrive with the added support or alongside a fence or wall. 

What We Love About Them Both
Shade Tolerant, Totally Beautiful
Shade Tolerant
You can count on both Climbing Hydrangea and False Hydrangea Vine to bloom well, even in shaded conditions. We love them on the numerous cottonwood trees around our West Michigan headquarters. Because they don’t get heavy and woody like ivy, they don’t harm the tree. When not in bloom, they cloak whatever structure you train them on with lush glossy green foliage.

 

 

Worth The Wait
Both climbers take about two years to get established, but once they’ve developed a good root system, they easily cover a structure without overwhelming it. Train them to climb on trees, walls, fireplaces, or anything you want to hide in the garden. Their slow growth makes them very low maintenance!

Colorful Alternatives to Barberry
What To Do When Barberry Is Restricted In Your State
Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is a popular choice for landscapes and gardens thanks to its bright color, deer resistance, and easy care. However, it can be invasive in some areas, which is why shipment is restricted to some states. If you live in a state where barberry is restricted, here are some alternatives you’ll love just as much (or more).
Ginger Wine® Ninebark
(Physocarpus opulifolius)
This shrub shines in the landscape all season with orange foliage in spring and burgundy foliage in summer and fall. Clusters of small white flowers cover the entire plant in the spring and give way to bright red seed-heads. Plus, it’s native and deer resistant!

 

 

Summer Wine® Black Ninebark
(Physocarpus opulifolium)
Summer Wine® Black Ninebark deserves a spot in your garden with dramatic foliage and a handsome upright habit. Soft pink spring flowers contrast nicely with the dark foliage.
Kodiak® Black Diervilla
(Diervilla rivularis)
Kodiak® Black Diervilla is a super durable native shrub with effortless good looks! Foliage emerges dark purple-black in spring and all summer. It’s more shade tolerant than barberry.

 

 Kodiak® Orange Diervilla
(Diervilla x)

Kodiak® Orange Diervilla is a low maintenance native shrub that is packed with color! It boasts vivid orange foliage from spring through fall. Bright yellow flowers attract pollinators in summer.
Midnight Wine Shine™ Weigela
(Weigela florida)
Midnight Wine Shine™ Weigela offers the darkest foliage of any weigela. It’s almost black! Leaves emerge with a distinctive wavy edge that also provides great texture. Plant this unique weigela from Proven Winners as a ground cover, edging, or container plant.

 

 

Wine & Roses Weigela
Wine & Roses Weigela doesn’t only have colorful foliage, but vibrant flowers as well! This sun-loving, deer resistant, flowering shrub is showier than barberry and nearly as easy to grow.
Tiny Wine® Gold Ninebark
(Physocarpus opulifolius)
Everything about Tiny Wine® Gold Ninebark is tiny, from a dwarf, landscape-friendly habit to small golden leaves and little flowers. It’s deer resistant, easy to grow, and best of all… native!

 

 

Glow Girl® Birchleaf Spirea
(Spiraea betulifolia)

Glow Girl® Birchleaf Spireahas a dense, petite habit making it perfect for a variety of landscape applications. It may not be as deer-resistant as barberry, but it makes up for that with showy flowers. Pretty red buds open to bright white flower clusters!
Double Play Big Bang®
Spirea
(Spiraea x)
Vibrant gold new foliage and the largest pink flowers of any Japanese spirea make this one to add to your must-have list. Add durability, deer resistance, and its low care needs into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a perfect shrub!

 

Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea
(Spiraea japonica)
Double Play® Candy Corn® Spirea offers an ever-changing medley of foliage color, from reds to orange and yellow; this deciduous shrub is a welcome color in the landscape, which is often dominated by green. It’s low maintenance, deer & rabbit resistant, and adaptable to most soils.
And it doesn’t stop there! We have a huge selection of shrubs & trees that are all ready to shine in your landscape. 

8 Plants to Swoon Over This Valentine’s Day
Love is in the air…and soon to be in your garden with these swoon-worthy plants. From heart-shaped flowers and leaves to classic roses and even flowers featuring cupid’s favorite color palette or an irresistible scent, this selection of 8 plants will have you believing in love at first sight. Instead of chocolate and store-bought flowers that only last a few days, consider gifting yourself and your garden a plant that will make you fall in love with your garden over and over again.
Happy Face Hearts® Potentilla
Apple blossom-like blooms give this shrub the perfect amount of color and charm. Hundreds of pink flushed flowers cover the plant year-after-year. One of the longest-blooming shrubs, you’ll never be without flowers to enjoy. Happy Face Hearts® is extremely hardy and unbothered by deer, making it easy to grow and a great choice for gardeners of any skill level. Consider adding this potentilla to your landscape this year; it’s hard not to fall in love with this pretty shrub.

 

 Sweet Romance® Lavender
Sweet Romance® lavender has a fragrance that will sweep you off your feet! This prolific bloomer from Proven Winners boasts large purple blooms from summer into fall that look fabulous whether enjoyed fresh in the garden or dried in bouquets or sachets. This lavender is loved by gardeners and pollinators alike, thanks to its sweet-scented flowers. Thriving in difficult conditions, Sweet Romance®is a stress-free garden addition; consider adding it to your perennial garden or even your herb garden. Its frosty green foliage stands out in your garden and can be used as an herb in various recipes!
‘Queen Of Hearts’ Siberian Bugloss
Big, heart-shaped leaves with frosted silver accents make this foliage plant a stunner! It’s hard not to love ‘Queen of Hearts’ as it adds beauty and interest to shade gardens. While deer may be able to resist ‘Queen of Hearts’, we find ourselves wanting to add more of it to our garden each year. Come spring, its foliage is topped with sweet blue flowers that float above the plant, adding additional interest and appeal. Perfect for shade gardens.

 

 ‘Amore Rose’ Bleeding Heart
Charming heart-shaped flowers dangle above fern-like foliage, leaving us enamored each spring when the blooms start to appear. Its blue-green foliage looks lovely all season long, possessing good looks even before the first pink bloom appears. ‘Amore Rose’ is incredibly reliable, making it easy to fall in love with this easy-care plant, if you’re a beginner, this perennial would be the perfect addition to your garden or container.
‘Aphrodite’ Sweetshrub
If the goddess Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty, then ‘Aphrodite’ sweetshrub is aptly named thanks to its irresistibly unique and beautiful blooms. One look and you will fall in love! Reminiscent of a dark red magnolia, these large cupped flowers last from weeks to even months, depending on your climate. Its lush foliage not only looks appealing, but it adds the perfect amount of privacy and screening to landscapes all season long.

 

 Fruit Punch® ‘Raspberry Ruffles’ Dianthus
Upgrade your opinion on carnations! ‘Raspberry Ruffles’ boasts intriguing colored two-toned blooms that light up the landscape year after year. This prolific perennial produces dozens of blooms at a time; you’ll have plenty of these ruffled flowers to enjoy and dote over. Its blue-green foliage provides the perfect backdrop for its summertime blooms to shine, but thanks to its evergreen nature, it continues to look stunning year-round.
Sweet Talker® Fragrant Viburnum
This viburnum won’t need to do much to sweet talk its way into your heart…or garden. Deep pink tubular flowers appear in early spring and its spicy-sweet scented blooms make this shrub nearly irresistible! Its waxy semi-evergreen leaves take on a flush of burgundy tones in spring and autumn, adding extra interest to this already beautiful plant. Sweet Talker® is perfect for fragrant hedges or make it the star of the show; this shrub looks stunning no matter the application.

 

 OSO Easy Double Red® Rose
We couldn’t do a Valentine’s Day round-up without including a timeless classic, a red rose! But, Oso Easy Double Red® isn’t just any red rose; this rose is remarkably easy to care for; no spraying or deadheading is required. Fill your garden with roses that not only last but keep you coming back for more. This reblooming beauty allows you to enjoy fresh flowers all season long; you can’t ask for much better than that! Ditch the supermarket rose bouquet and opt for a shrub of your own; we promise you won’t regret it. Explore our entire collection of Oso Easy® roses.
Get plants that you’ll love year after year, not just on one holiday! Whether you find yourself swooning over heart-shaped foliage or enamored with a classic red rose, these 8 plants are perfect for adding a romantic and beautiful touch to your garden that lasts well beyond February 14th.

What Are the USDA Hardiness Zones?
At Great Garden Plants, we want to set you up with the best gardening experience, and it starts with selecting the right plants for you. A few factors determine whether a plant will feel at home in your garden, including temperature, rainfall, soil type, drainage, and light. Temperature is arguably the most important climatic factor when growing perennials because plants need to survive the highs and lows of every season to return the following year. Knowing your USDA hardiness zone, and what it means, is the first step in your perennial garden journey!
USDA Hardiness Zone
The USDA plant hardiness zone map uses average annual minimum temperature to assign plant hardiness zone ratings to various regions of the country. It divides the United States into 11 zones, with zone 1 being the coldest and 11 being the warmest. Plants are assigned to hardiness zones based on the lowest temperature they will survive.
It’s essential to know your hardiness zone when picking out perennials and shrubs, which is why we ask you to enter your zip code when you enter our site. All of the plant descriptions on our site include a USDA hardiness zone rating that you can use as a guide when deciding which plants to purchase. Plus, on our plant pages, we give alerts if a plant is outside your growing zone!

 

Hardiness In Warm Zones
“If My Zone Is Warm, Shouldn’t All Plants Survive The Minimum Tempurature?”
Plant hardiness zones are often used to determine if a plant can survive cold winter temperatures, but they also determine if your zone is too warm. Some plants rely on those cold winters as a “reset” button. Some won’t set buds as well as expected, making it unlikely to flower and set fruit. Other plants may become less vigorous and slowly fade due to high temperatures.
What If I Want To Buy Plants Outside My Zone?
Though this isn’t recommended, we certainly won’t stop you! The USDA hardiness zone is far from foolproof, and we encourage informed experimentation. Our customer service team is always happy to answer any questions you have, as well as make recommendations for you. Your plant may grow well when temperatures are warm, but once your area starts experiencing colder weather, your plant might be quite unhappy. Often, doing so will turn perennials into annuals, dying at the end of the season.
What Is My Growing Zone?
Still not sure what your growing zone is? No worries. Just click “Growing Zone” in the top right corner of your screen and enter your zip code. We’ll let you know exactly what zone you’re in.

Meet Calamint, the 2021 Perennial Plant of the Year
Introducing Calamint
Find Out Why It’s The 2021 Perennial Of The Year
The prestigious Perennial Plant of the Year award typically goes to a relatively familiar face – favorites like Rozanne geranium, ‘Millenium’ allium, and Asclepias tuberosa have all been past winners. But the 2021 winner is one that’s not quite so well known: Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta, commonly known as calamint. If you’ve never seen or grown this sun-loving, drought-tolerant perennial, now’s the perfect time to get to know it better, and see for yourself why it has earned its place in the proverbial pantheon of perennials.
Its Super Power? Flowers.
One of the longest blooming perennials around.
Calamint blooms in summer for weeks – and those weeks turn into months, providing a practically unmatched display. Though each individual floret is relatively tiny, their combined effect is considerable, creating a dreamy drift of white flowers. Your neighborhood pollinator population will love it almost as much as you do, as it brings them in like a magnet, providing a long-lasting, sustained nectar source. Calamint’s long-blooming habit has made it a popular choice for garden designer Piet Oudolf, who used it extensively in Chicago’s Lurie Garden. That’s where the photo above was taken, and despite that it was mid-August, you can see it’s still looking fresh and fabulous. If it can do this well in the middle of the city after the hottest part of summer, imagine what it will do in your backyard!

 

High Performance, Low Maintenance

 

Perfect for beginners and experts alike!
Calamint is adaptable and easy to grow, thriving in a wide range of climates and conditions. It requires virtually no fussing to stay looking healthy and blooming well, so it’s the perfect plant for gardeners of any skill level. Just plant it in full sun (6+hours/day) and well-drained (never wet) soil, and enjoy the show! It will go dormant in autumn, but no worries- that’s totally normal. Come spring, just cut back any dry, brown stems that persisted over winter, and get ready for another flower-filled season.
Thanks to its Mediterranean origins, it thrives in dry, rocky, or difficult soils. However, that does come slightly at the expense of hardiness, as it has poor survival in areas colder than USDA zone 5.
Are Calamint And Catmint The Same Thing?

 Calamint

 ‘Cat’s Meow’ Catmint
Though their names sound similar and both are members of Lamiaceae, the mint family, they are two totally different species with distinctly different characteristics. Calamint is known botanically as Calamintha nepeta subspecies nepeta, and blooms all summer with small white flowers. Catmint is known botanically as Nepeta, and it has intense purple-blue flowers, with blooming concentrated primarily in the first half of summer. Though there are several species of catmint that are grown in gardens, Nepeta x faassenii is the most popular, earning its fame through popular varieties like ‘Walker’s Low’, ‘Cat’s Pajamas’, and ‘Cat’s Meow’. Newer types of catmint are being introduced, as seen by the spectacular ‘Blue Prelude’, which is just starting to get the attention it deserves.
Wondering how the herb catnip fits in here? Botanically speaking, it’s also a NepetaNepeta cataria, to be exact. We don’t offer it here on Great Garden Plants, as it doesn’t quite have the ornamental value of its relatives, and it can get a bit rangy and rowdy in the garden. Now, we guess you’re wondering if catmints attract cats the way that catnip does: some people do report cats being mildly interested in ornamental catmints like ‘Walker’s Low’, though they don’t have anywhere near the same content of nepatalactone – the chemical responsible for cats’ euphoric behavior – as true catnip, so they tend to leave them alone.
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Ground Covers For Suppressing Weeds
Fight Plants With Plants
The Best Ground Covers For Suppressing Weeds
Ground covers are powerhouses when it comes to the garden. They effortlessly fill those tough-to-grow sites that are usually ignored, like tight spaces, gaps between stepping stones, slopes, or shady understories. We think of them as “problem-solvers” for their ability to control erosion, insulate the soil, survive neglect, and provide a habitat for wildlife. While it’s reasonable to assume more plants means more maintenance, ground covers prove that isn’t always the case!
Ground covers stretch across the soil like a living mulch, providing many of the same benefits as regular mulch. Once established, they help deter the germination of new weed seeds and prevent old weeds from returning by crowding them out. If you’re looking for an easy, organic way to control your weeds, it’s time to look into ground covers and flowering plants. Fight plants with plants and transform your garden into a lush oasis in the process with these ground covers that choke out weeds.
Your garden is unique, and plants are not one-size fits all. Read on as we break down our top picks for ground covers with flowers, ground covers for shade, ground cover plants for full sun, and more.
Here are some of our favorite weed-suppressing ground covers that will continue to reward you year after year.
Thyme
Fragrant, Eye-Catching, and Hard-Working
Whether it’s Wooly, Red, or Lemon, thyme (Thymus) is an amazing ground cover for suppressing weeds. It grows densely, like a thick mat, crowding out unwanted weeds as it spreads. It’s beautiful, too! The foliage comes in a variety of textures and colors, plus, it’s fragrant to the touch. This deer-resistant, hardy ground cover only requires a sunny spot with good drainage. Try planting a red creeping thyme lawn along pathways or as a lawn substitute for small spaces, and watch your yard become blanketed with colorful flowers. The best part? Red creeping thyme and other perennial ground covers will return year after year.
Cranesbill
Powerful, Yet Easy To Control
Nothing can stop Cranesbill (Geranium) in the garden! They boast exceptional heat and drought tolerance, are not subject to insects or diseases, and are deer resistant. Plus, they bloom prolifically from spring to fall. Pollinators will appreciate them as much as you do. Some ground covers can be difficult to control, but not this one. It spreads slow and steady, making it easy to contain in smaller areas if needed.
Bugleweed
Durable, Reliable, and Bold
If your garden is lacking color or texture, Bugleweed (Ajuga) is your solution. Spikes of bright-blue blooms in late spring and early summer accompany the bold evergreen foliage to give your garden an eclectic vibe. It’s durable enough to handle foot traffic, so consider planting it between stepping stones or along pathways. This foolproof perennial groundcover will make gardening a breeze. It’s so low maintenance; nearly all you have to do is plant and enjoy!
Creeping Phlox
Hundreds of Flowers Instead of Hundreds of Weeds
Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) forms a lush carpet that spreads vigorously and adds color year-round. It’s a stunning addition to landscapes in need of a low-growing groundcover that can grow in difficult soils. Gravelly soil, we’re talking about you. Plant ground covers with flowers in a sunny spot with well-draining soil, and you’ll be delighted when its star-shaped blooms attract butterflies each spring.
Stonecrop
Withstands Heat, Humidity, Drought, and Weeds
Stonecrop (Sedum) is one tough plant. Aside from tolerating foot traffic, it also tolerates drought, heat, humidity, full-sun, and poor soil, making it highly adaptable and virtually maintenance-free! Small succulent leaves form a colorful moss-like mat as it spreads in the garden. Plus, when the flowers bloom in summer, you’ll have a sea of colorful blooms to enjoy.
Mazus
Small Flowers, Big Impact
Some plants are useful, while others are beautiful. Thankfully, Mazus is both. It gets into the garden and covers ground quickly, forming a dense, weed-suppressing mat that grows 2″ tall and spreads 6″-12″ each season once established. It is ideal for planting between pavers or in areas that get a bit of foot traffic, as it can handle the disturbance with grace. Orchid-like blooms smother the foliage in spring, creating a whimsical display.
Creeping Speedwell
Grows Vigorously, Blooms Vibrantly

 Few other ground covers are as adaptable and easy to grow as ‘Tidal Pool’ Creeping Speedwell (Veronica). It’s a fast-spreading evergreen that grows up to 30″ wide in a single season. You won’t believe how quickly it takes off to make itself at home in your garden. Plus, it’s very tolerant of adversity from rain and cold to heat, humidity, and drought. Enjoy hundreds of vivid blue blooms that give this short ground cover a big presence.
Need To Cover A Lot Of Ground?
Check Out Our Collection of Perennial Ground Covers

A Guide to Privacy Hedge Plants
A Privacy Hedge can be a great alternative to a traditional fence. There are a number of different trees and shrubs that can be planted to create privacy in your yard and turn your property into a secluded space. While it can be intimidating to plant a large number of trees or shrubs, the selections below are chosen not only for the privacy they create, but also for their hardiness.
Thuja ‘Green Giant’

 A best-seller and award winner, this Arborvitae is frequently chosen for privacy for two big reasons, its growth rate, and its tremendous size. Thuja Green Giant can eventually reach 50-60ft tall, and 10ft wide. It does so at a rate of 3-4ft per year, leading to a full privacy hedge in just a few years.
Green Giant is also incredibly hardy, meaning that once planted, Green Giant can handle periods of drought, heat, humidity, and more. It is hardy in USDA zones 5-8, so make sure to check your zone before deciding which privacy hedge is right for your property.
Full Speed A Hedge – Thuja ‘American Piller’

 An incredibly fast grower, American Pillar grows incredibly fast and maintains a narrow habit, helping you create privacy without taking up a significant portion of your (or your neighbors) lawn. Reaching a height of 20ft while maintaining a narrower habit, 8 plants provides 20ft of privacy in just a few years.
Hardy from zones 3-8, Thuja occidentalis ‘American Pillar’, has two main advantages over traditional privacy hedge plants, it’s hardy down to zone 3, and it maintains its narrow habit, even at a height of 20 feet. These features, along with its rapid growth rate, give it the very apt name of Full Speed a Hedge.
‘Emerald Green’ Arborvitae – Thuja Emerald

 A rapid grower in its own right Thuja Emerald is capable of growing 18in a year in the right conditions. It also avoids the staggering height of other arborvitae, capping out around 8ft tall. A great choice for those in need of a more compact privacy hedge, Thuja Emerald creates privacy without dominating the landscape.
Emerald Green Arborvitae is hardy from zone 4-8, tolerates both intense heat and humidity, and is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions. It also spots incredibly fragrant foliage, making its branches an excellent addition to holiday arrangements.
Thuja Wintergreen

 
Thuja Wintergreen is an extremely shade tolerant arborvitae that can thrive in conditions where others can’t. While it does grow over 2ft per year in the right conditions, it does require more water and fertilizer through the growing season that some of its competitors. At its absolute tallest it can reach 25ft tall.
More of a cold climate arborvitae, Thuja Wintergreen is hardy from zones 3-7 and can handle a wide array of growing conditions. Much like Thuja Emerald, Thuja Wintergreen is also incredibly fragrant, and great for cutting branches throughout the winter. 
Thuja North Pole®

 Selected for its resistance to the winter burn that harms so many other Evergreens, Thuja North Pole is narrower than Emerald Arborvitae, yet still tall enough (15ft at full size) for privacy, with the added benefit of not sprawling across your property.
Selected by Proven Winners ColorChoice, this best-selling selection is native to the United States, and is tolerant of a wide variety of growing conditions. Hardy from zones 3-7, North Pole is a great choice for a privacy hedge that wants to be mindful of space.
Hibiscus Purple Pillar®

 While Purple Pillar is not an arborvitae like many of the other plants on this list, it is still an outstanding privacy provider. Growing up to 15ft tall and 2-3ft wide, it maintains the size of a narrow arborvitae while adding some delightful mid-summer color to the landscape.
Purple pillar can function as a hedge for privacy, and also stands out as an ideal shrub for concealing other unsightly parts of the landscape, such as utility boxes. While not as dense as many of the other plants on this list, Purple Pillar can still provide privacy in the landscape, especially in warmer climates, as Purple Pillar is hardy from zones 5-9.
Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’

 If you’re looking for more of a border than a towering privacy screen, this striking ornamental grass creates a dense 5’ x 4’ hedge that provides a sense of border and privacy to your property without being overwhelming. Well suited to sunny areas, Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’ grows well from zones 5-9.
While ‘Variegatus’ does need some care throughout the year, it is by no means a difficult plant, and will succeed with a small amount of fertilization in the spring, and some light pruning in the late fall or early spring while the plant is still dormant. Outside of these requirements, your Miscanthus will be tolerant of drought and heat once it’s established on your property.

Top 10 Long Blooming Perennials
Long Blooming Perennials With Serious Flower Power
Looking for perennials that bloom for a long time but require minimal care? You’ve come to the right spot! These long-bloomers extend the gardening season from vibrant pollinator favorites to unique beauties. Here are ten best-selling long-blooming perennial flowers that will make you look like a garden Rockstar and add beauty to your landscape year after year.

 
1.) ‘Moonbeam’ Tickseed
(Coreopsis verticillata)

With blooms that form in early summer and last all the way until the end of fall, ‘Moonbeam’ is the definition of a long blooming perennial. Winner of the 1992 Perennial Plant of the Year award, ‘Moonbeam’ is a tried and tested groundcover that will provide multiple seasons of bloom in your perennial garden.
Besides being a great bloomer, ‘Moonbeam’ tickseed is also incredibly easy to grow. It tolerates drought as well as deer and grows well in a wide variety of soils and conditions anywhere from Zone 3 to Zone 9.
A sterile cultivar of the Coreopsis genus, you don’t have to worry about ‘Moonbeam’ taking over the garden, despite its adaptability to difficult growing conditions. Just find a sunny spot for planting, and enjoy blooms from the beginning of June until the end of August.
2.) Rozanne® Cranesbill
(Geranium)
Known as the Geranium of the Millennium, Rozanne® cranesbill can bloom for over 3 months, filling your garden with flowers all season long. The 2008 perennial of the year, Rozanne has long been proven to keep your garden flowering for as long as possible.
Another sterile cultivar, Rozanne perennial geranium will grow tremendously in your garden, but only where you want it to. This makes it a great groundcover for both covering your landscape in blooms, as well as suppressing weeds.
Rozanne® cranesbill is hardy from zones 5-8, and while it does prefer some afternoon shade in hotter climates, it does boast a good amount of both heat and drought tolerance compared to other geraniums. It will fit well in your garden as a groundcover, specimen plant, or front-of-border plant in your perennial garden.
Rozanne® grows into a nice rounded habit, with each plant reaching around 2 feet both high and wide. And while the plant itself may be small, its flowers are not. With flowers that reach almost 3 inches, the beautiful blooms on this geranium will be noticeable all season long.

 

 
3.) Russian Sage
(Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Another Perennial of the Year winner, Russian sage has been a popular long bloomer since the ‘90s. With long spires of sky blue flowers, the blooms start in mid-summer and can last for over 10 weeks. In addition to their garden interest, they also provide long-lasting cut flowers, allowing you to share the beauty amongst your yard and home.
Hardy in zones 5-9, Russian sage is perfect for areas that don’t have easy access to water, as it thrives regardless of the heat and drought of the summer months. Reaching a height of nearly 4 feet at maturity, its height and drought tolerance make it perfect for the back border of your garden.
Native to southwest and central Asia, it has since been transported and planted successfully across North America and Europe. Despite this, it is not considered invasive, and can safely be planted in gardens across the United States without worries of it overtaking the native environment.
4.) ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint
(Nepeta x faassenii)
A very easy to grow perennial, ‘Walker’s Low’ provides your garden with up to five months of its delightful trumpet-shaped, lavender-blue flowers. Also an award winner, ‘Walker’s Low’ won Perennial Plant of the Year in 2007. The species from which it was developed, Nepeta × faassenii, has also won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Growing up to three feet tall and wide, ‘Walker’s Low’ looks great in any part of the garden. Hardy enough to handle periods of both drought and cold, it can be grown anywhere from zones 3-8. With no pruning or shearing required, all ‘Walker’s Low’ needs are some well-drained soil and your garden will be full of blooms for up to five months.
Its permanently sterile seeds mean that it isn’t invasive, despite not being developed in the United States. First cultivated by Faassen Nurseries in the Netherlands, ‘Walker’s Low’ has been a staple perennial for over a decade thanks to its blooms, hardiness, and deer resistance.

 

 
5.) Coneflowers
(Echinacea)
A great way to add vibrant color to your garden, coneflowers add a variety of vibrant colors to your garden all season long. Hardy in zones 4-8, its bright flowers are pleasant to look at, and are great at attracting pollinators to the garden, inviting butterflies to the garden throughout the blooming season.
While they do require a little more care to get established, once they’ve spent a year in the garden, coneflowers are very durable, tolerant to drought and heat. The flower all season long, with no need to deadhead old blooms throughout the season.
A plant of many uses, coneflowers were used by Native Americans for a number of medicinal purposes before and during colonial times. While general research has shown that there is little to no medical benefit to be gained from the flower. Fortunately, it looks amazing in the garden, providing plenty of use as a colorful and fragrant flowering perennial throughout the year.
6.) ‘Goldsturm’ Black-Eyed Susan
(Rudbeckia)
Another plant that also attracts butterflies, Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ bloom from mid-summer to early fall, providing over three months of bright yellow blooms during their long blooming period. With flowers that reach over three inches in size on this two-foot-tall plant, its flowers dominate the landscape throughout the summer.
Outside of their wonderful flowers, black-eyed Susan also functions as a food source for caterpillars, and is resistant to deer and rabbits, which means you should get to keep your flowers, even in the face of these common garden pests.
A reasonably hardy, sun-loving perennial, they handle summer heat well, especially planted in well-drained soil. While they do take about a year to get established, they are incredibly drought tolerant and heat tolerant after that first year, making them a very easy to maintain perennial.

 

 
7.) ‘Autumn Joy’ Stonecrop
(Sedum)
‘Autumn Joy’ is a perennial flower that blooms all year and that can be grown in zones 3-9 across the variety of climates that can be found in these zones. This sturdy sedum provides the landscape with reddish-pink flowers in late summer. Growing between 18-24 inches tall, ‘Autumn Joy’ provides a great deal of interest without dominating the landscape.
Like most sedum, ‘Autumn Joy’ does well in times of drought, and can handle a wide variety of weather, from the cold summers of zone 3 to the hot and dry summers that can be found in zone 9.
While ‘Autumn Joy’ is technically of the sedum variety, it is a cross between a sedum and an ice plant, and as such is more upright than most sedums, and doesn’t always visually resemble other members of the sedum family. Since it is so easy to grow it can occasionally spread from the area it was originally planted. Not to worry, however, since ‘Autumn Joy’ is native to North America, Asia, and Europe.
8.) ‘Happy Returns’ Daylily
(Hemerocallis)
A re-blooming daylily that lives up to its name, ‘Happy Returns’ provides nonstop blooms for months, from zone 3 through zone 9. Its compact 18-inch height means that it fits almost anywhere in the garden, allowing you to bring its bright yellow blooms to any part of the garden that needs some color.
Like most daylilies, it performs well in any well-draining soil and is tolerant to drought in heat. For the most attractive plant some watering in drier environments is appreciated, but ‘Happy Returns’ will still provide terrific blooms for the gardener
with limited free time.
With blooms from June-October, ‘Happy Returns’ provides flowers for 4+ months without the worry of pests or diseases. Generally avoided by rabbits and adaptable to a very wide range of planting and growing conditions, ‘Happy Returns’ is the ideal low maintenance perennial for the busy gardener.

 

 
9.) ‘May Night’ Salvia
(Salvia x sylvestris)
Thanks to its deep violet-blue blooms that grace the garden through most of spring, ‘May Night’ takes the phrase “April showers bring May flowers” very literally. The unique flowering spikes provide an eye-catching display wherever they are found in the garden, and are also splendid when brought indoors as part of a cut flower arrangement.
Hardy from zones 4-9, ‘May Night’ is easy to grow even in some difficult conditions, remaining sturdy in the rain, and tolerating heat with ease. By pruning spent blooms, you can continue to enjoy flowers on your plant all summer long.
As with a number of flowering perennials, ‘May Night’ is attractive to all types of pollinators. Bother butterflies and hummingbirds have been known to enjoy the pollen from this plant, which makes this long-blooming perennial a great inclusion for a butterfly or pollinator garden. 1997 perennial of the year, ‘May Night’ is a wonderful addition to any garden.
10.) ‘Karl Foerster’ Feather Reed Grass
(Calamagrostis x acutiflora)
While an ornamental grass might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a long-blooming perennial, ‘Karl Foerster’ blooms from early summer to fall. Winner of the 2001 Perennial Plant of the Year award, this lovely ornamental grass provides interest along borders and hedges with its colorful blooms and upright habit.
Brought to the US in 1964, ‘Karl Foerster’ grass has been a favorite of landscapers and gardeners alike for over 50 years. It is a deceptively sturdy grass, while it will sway with even the slightest breeze, it remains upright in even the harshest of conditions. Unlike other grasses that struggle after storms or in windy weather, ‘Karl Foerster’ remains vertical in all but the harshest weather.
While it does require yearly maintenance in the spring when it needs to be cut back, it is otherwise low maintenance and can handle difficult soil, heat, and moisture conditions anywhere it is hardy (zones 5-8).

 
The Best Perennial Flowers and Plants for Any Garden
While we wrap up highlighting our top 10 long-blooming perennials, we wanted to encourage gardeners to explore several varieties of perennials that add beauty to your landscape year after year. There’s almost nothing more exciting than seeing your perennial garden pop up and bloom time and time again, without fail; they’re the plants that keep on giving. From perennials that bloom all summer long, to soft blooms to vibrant foliage, perennials have a lot to offer every type of landscape. Explore our collection of perennials today; maybe you’ll find just the plant you’ve been searching for. 

Planting Guide
Wondering how to properly take care of your plants now that they’ve arrived? While we include a copy of our planting guide in every order, we’re also adding the information online for easy reference. These are general planting and care
instructions, so if you have questions about something specific we’d be happy to help. All of us at Great Garden Plants are committed to ensuring that your plants successfully acclimate, and get a good start in your garden. If you have questions that are not addressed here, reach out to us at info@greatgardenplants.com.

 

Pictured above: Green Giant Arborvitae, Coral Bells Collection
When Your Plants Arrive
Now that your plants have arrived…The plants in your box have just spent a lot of time being jostled around in the dark and must be unboxed right away. Unpack the entire box, removing packaging material and plants. Remove any plastic covering the pot and/or soil surface and check if the soil is dry. Water anything that is dry or looks wilted. Any plants that have come unpotted during shipping can be replaced in their pots and their roots covered with soil. You may want to unpack on a garage floor or outside in a shaded spot as unboxing can get a little messy.
Place plants in a cool, shaded spot out of direct sunlight for 24-48 hours after unpacking them. This allows them a recovery and acclimation period before planting. If you must hold them longer, place them out of direct sunlight, wind, heat, and cold. Check daily for watering.
Right Plant – Right Place
Select a location based on the plant’s soil type, sunlight needs, and moisture requirements. Newly placed plants (even drought-tolerant ones) need consistent moisture and nutrients the first year in the ground.
Soil Preparation
Good soil grows good plants, and that means good drainage, adequate nutrients, and regular watering. If you’ve chosen the right plants for the conditions in your yard, you shouldn’t need to do anything to the soil to get it ready. If you wish to add organic matter such as peat moss, compost, or aged manure, be sure to thoroughly incorporate it with your natural soil.
If you must delay planting, keep pot grown plants in a shaded location, check daily, and water as needed. In hot, windy weather, you might need to water plants twice a day. Gradually move sun-loving plants to a sunnier spot if you are holding them for more than a week.
Planting and Spacing

 Pictured above: Proud Berry Coralberry
How Do I plant?
Once you’ve found a spot with your plant’s preferred light exposure and soil conditions as described on our website, dig a hole as deep as the pot and about twice as wide. You can use the handle of your trowel or shovel as a measuring stick to compare the pot size to the hole size. Remove the plant from its pot, gently untangling any roots to encourage them to grow into their new home, and place in the hole. If you wish, incorporate some Bio-Tone fertilizer into the hole (one 5oz packet treats 4 one-quart plants). Position the plant so that its soil surface is about even or slightly higher than the surrounding ground; backfill using the soil you removed and tamp down around the plant.
Planting in Containers
Use a good fresh potting mix designed for container growing.
Watering
Water thoroughly after planting. Even if rain is in the forecast, even if your sprinkler system is due to run, it is crucial that you completely water in new plants immediately after they are planted. It’s a good idea to always have 2-3” of mulch around the plant to keep roots cool and growing vigorously. However, do not heap mulch around the base of the plant; mulch should become thinner as it approaches the main stem(s) of the plant.
Monitor your new plants’ water needs closely. If the plant becomes stressed from too little, or too much, water, it can severely limit root growth. Soil should be nicely moist but never wet or soggy nor powdery and dry. All newly planted shrubs, trees, and perennials need regular watering for their first season. Pay particular attention during hot, dry weather.
How to Space Your Plants
As a general rule, plants should be spaced generously so air can freely circulate around them.
SHRUBS
With shrubs, take the width of the mature shrub and space accordingly. In other words, if Knock Out® roses grow 36 inches wide, plant it so that it is 36 inches away from the next rose. Each rose will spread 18 inches on each side. Space further apart to have an area to walk between plants.
PERENNIALS
Again, take into account the mature width of the plant. This might seem too generous, but perennials will fill in quickly. Proper spacing will minimize mildew & fungus problems while allowing you room to walk through your beds.
GROUNDCOVERS
Low growing groundcovers (under 12″) can be spaced closer (8-12″) for a quicker fill. If you are on a budget and are patient, you can space them further apart.
HEDGE PLANTS & THUJA
Plant thuja Green Giant 4-5 feet apart in a straight line or zig-zag fashion in full sun or partial shade. Keep adequately moist during their first 1-2 years of establishment. Fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer in spring.
If you are creating a hedge and the width of boxwood is 3 feet wide, you may want to plant 2 feet apart to create a continuous look and barrier.
Plant Care
Fertilizing
1-2 weeks after planting, sprinkle a slow-release fertilizer (we like Espoma Rose Tone for flowering shrubs and evergreens and Espoma Plant Tone or Garden Tone for perennials) according to label instructions. Roses will particularly benefit from this.
Mulching
Mulching helps retain moisture and reduce weeding. Apply 2-4 inches of mulch around plants. Mulch should taper down to ground level beside each plant. Be extra careful not to mulch directly over the top of the plant crowns. Certain plants such as Lavender and Delosperma are sensitive to mulch, so for moisture-sensitive plants, or if you live in an area where the growing season is humid, you can mulch with a thin layer of pea gravel which provides rapid drainage of surface water.
Low growing groundcovers such as ajuga or sedum Angelina provide an alternative to mulch, by shading the soil, and helping to retain even moisture.
Summer Planting
Try to select a cloudy day for planting. Plants require more frequent watering to establish themselves in their new environment.
Fall Planting
Plants begin to slow down their top growth in the fall so they may have little growth when they arrive. Fall is an ideal time to plant since soil temperature and moisture levels are usually at a level that promotes root growth. With roots already established in the fall, plants are bigger the following spring.
Plant at least 6 weeks before the first hard frost so roots can establish themselves before winter.
Wait until spring to fertilize.
Basic Perennial Care
Perennials can benefit from “deadheading” which is the removal of dead flower heads. This is done to encourage the production of new flowers. Often not a requirement, this process can lengthen and intensify a perennials’ bloom season. Reblooming daylilies benefit from removing spent blooms & seed pods.
“Shearing” is cutting back of a plant. Shearing stimulates new growth. Shearing back 1/3 at midseason keeps plants dense and encourages strong late-season bloom.
Basic Shrub Care
Shrubs such as buddleia & caryopteris need to be pruned back in the spring.
The pruning of Hydrangeas depends on which type of Hydrangea you have. Those that bloom on new wood can be pruned at any time (Endless Summer) and those that bloom on old wood (macrophylla, paniculata), are pruned after flowering. Look on our plant’s specific pages to see the planting and care instructions for that particular plant.
Basic Ornamental Grass Care
Grasses can be cut down in fall, or early spring. Cut back foliage to about 6-8 inches.
For more detailed care about your individual plants, head to their product page and click “How to Care” for specific care instructions for your new plant.
Sleep, Creep, Leap
There is a handy saying about shrubs & perennials. Sleep, creep, leap refers to the growth habit for the first 3 years.
In sleep mode, the first year, plants concentrate on putting down roots, ignoring growing more leaves & stems. Don’t be disappointed that your plants are not putting on new growth, because the important action is happening underground.
In creep mode, you’ll notice more outward and upward growth action in the second year.
The third-year is a leap year. The root systems are stable, and most perennials and shrubs are now at their fullest potential.
Commonly Asked Questions
Why Were My Plants Trimmed?
How Do I Change My Hydrangea’s Color?
Where Can I Find Specific Care Details for My Plants

All About: Creeping Phlox
Here we’ll tell you need to know about growing and caring for creeping phlox.
If you’re looking for a groundcover to brighten up your landscape in spring, Creeping phlox might be the plant for you. This herbaceous perennial grows vigorously, transforming your landscape with its tidy green foliage and bright blooms quickly. There is a color for every landscape or garden coming in a range of colors from pink to purple to even blue.
Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), often called moss phlox, mountain phlox or moss pink, loves sun, tolerates drought, attracts butterflies, and even resists deer. This superstar groundcover is great for gardeners of any skill level; if you’re looking to add easy-care color and interest to your landscape, consider making creeping phlox your next garden addition.
Our Recommendations:
A Sea of Pink (or Purple, or Blue)
While creeping phlox has many good qualities (we’ll talk more about them later), its flowers are probably what makes most gardeners fall in love with this perennial. Blooming each spring, its green foliage is topped with dozens of beautiful, bright blooms. Each bloom has five flat petals that are individually notched, adding a perfect touch of charm to these tiny blooms. While the blooms may be small, they pack quite the punch, not only just in color. The blooms of creeping phlox create a low-growing carpet of color, producing quite an impact in the garden.

 

More Than Just Flowers…

 

 

Even when not in bloom, this mat-forming groundcover still looks pleasing in the landscape, maintaining a fresh green hue that remains attractive until it dies back in winter. Its awl-shaped (a tool commonly used for working with leather) leaves form a cushion and often resembles moss; hence, its common name: moss phlox. Another wonderful quality of creeping phlox is it can tolerate light foot traffic. Consider adding creeping phlox to pathways or between patio pavers.

 

A Magnet To Pollinators
If you’re looking to attract more pollinators to your garden and support your local ecosystem, adding creeping phlox is a great way to do it! Its fragrant flowers tend to attract butterflies and other pollinators each year. If you want to bring swallowtail butterflies to your garden, creeping phlox provides a great nectar source early in the season for swallowtails and hummingbirds.
Native To North America
Did you know creeping phlox is native? Creeping phlox is that this vigorous perennial is native to the Eastern United States. It’s indigenous to rocky and sandy areas, ledges, clearings, and slopes from Michigan and New York to the Appalachian Mountain area from Pensivannia to Georgia. Its mountain heritage gives it the common name mountain phlox. This perennial is hardy in much of the United States, thriving in USDA zone 3-9.

 

 

Low Maintenance, Weed Smotherer
Creeping phlox is not only durable, but it’s also remarkably easy to care for. Not only does it tolerate a wide range of climates and tricky soils, but it doesn’t seem to be plagued by powdery mildew as harshly as many other phlox does. On top of its ease of care, it can also take away an often dull and time-consuming garden task: weeding. Creeping phlox’s dense mat-like habit makes it great for suppressingweeds, giving you more time to enjoy your garden.

Pictured above: Emerald Blue Creeping Phlox, Firefly Sunshine Yarrow
How To Grow
If you came here wondering how to grow creeping phlox, you’re in luck! Phlox subulata is best grown in well-drained soils in full sun. Though it can do well in areas with dappled light like a sunny area in a woodland garden or in especially hot, humid climates, the best flowering is typically found in full sun. With a little care, creeping phlox will thrive in your landscape.
Soil:
Creeping phlox likes well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. Plants prefer soil with a slightly acid to neutral pH.
Light:
Creeping phlox grows best in full sun (or partial shade in the South). For best flower production, avoid too much shade.
Water:
Low to Average. Mature, established creeping phlox can tolerate some drought. Generally needs watering weekly, especially during hot summers or periods without rain.
Fertilizing:
A general-purpose slow-acting granular fertilizer worked into the soil around the plants in the spring is sufficient for phlox for the season.
Winterizing:
No special care is needed to protect creeping phlox in the winter. Leave its standing in winter, and clean up spent foliage in spring before bloom.
Maintenance & Pruning:
While pruning is optional for creeping phlox, it can help encourage rebloom. To do so, cut back stems after flowering has finished by half. This will promote dense growth and attractive habit for the summer months, making it a more attractive groundcover. This will also encourage some fall rebloom, though deadheading is not required.
What To Watch Out For When Growing Creeping Phlox
While we mentioned that Phlox subulata might not be bothered by powdery mildew as fervently as other phlox, there are still a few pests/diseases you’ll want to look out for. If you are experiencing hot and dry conditions, look out for spider mites. Oppositely, if you experience wet, humid weather creeping phlox can sometimes be susceptible to foliar nematodes. These are harder to control, and it’s best to remove and destroy diseased plants and be sure to keep the ground clear and clean of debris. While deer typically resist creeping phlox, you may have to watch out for rabbit damage.
How To Use Creeping Phlox:
Phlox subulata is an incredibly versatile groundcover. Perfect for rock gardens, pathways, pollinator gardens, and more-this colorful perennial will add appeal wherever you include it. If your woodland garden has a sunny area, consider planting creeping phlox to add some color or add it to slopes for erosion control, the options are virtually endless!

 

Pictured above: Snowflake Creeping Phlox,  Mountainside Phlox
What’s In A Name?
Are you wondering where the botanical name Phlox subulata came from? Let’s break it down: the common and genus name Phlox is derived from the Greek word phlox meaning flame, this is in reference to the bright flower colors Phlox subulata is often known for. Subluata from Latin, means awl-shaped referencing to the foliage that is shaped like the leatherworking tool.
Creeping Phlox Pairs Well With:
Not only is creeping phlox versatile in the landscape, but it also looks great with a variety of plants. Creeping phlox makes a great companion to ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint, echinacea, or ‘Tahoe’ candytuft. Or pair creeping phlox, with more creeping phlox! Mix and match different varieties to create a stunning display that cascades over walls or creeps along garden beds. You can’t go wrong when it comes to picking a companion for creeping phlox.

 

Often Confused With:
Due to their similar looks, Phlox Subulata is often confused with Phlox stolonifera. They’re so similar in both appearance and biology that their common names are often used interchangeably. Both are semi-evergreen groundcovers that boast a bounty of bright spring blooms, but there are a few notable differences between the two phlox species. Phlox subulata grows shorter, forming a lower, more dense habit than its counterpart. The foliage also differs amongst the species, with Phlox subulata featuring awl-shaped foliage that appears more needle-like than the oval-shaped foliage of Phlox stolonifera. Lastly, Phlox stolonifera can tolerate a touch more shade compared to sun-loving Phlox subulata. Overall, Phlox subulata makes a better groundcover thanks to its lower-growing habit that has a propensity to bloom quite densely, creating a stunning carpet of blooms in spring.
Discover Our Entire Selection Of Creeping Phlox
Whether you know it as creeping phlox, moss phlox, moss pink, or mountain phlox, Phlox subulata makes a great garden addition to just about any landscape. Thriving in USDA zones 3-9 and native to the Eastern United States, this low-maintenance ground cover will not only be loved by you but pollinators too!

Butterfly Bush & Smooth Hydrangea

Pugster Periwinkle® Butterfly Bush & Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea
Amazing Apart, But Better Together
Butterfly bushes and hydrangeas make a powerful duo with their big, bodacious blooms and care-free nature! Come summer, both shrubs are bursting with hundreds of blooms. The white flowers from Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea add a refreshing contrast to the jewel-tone purple blooms of Pugster Periwinkle® Butterfly Bush. But the show doesn’t stop there! Flowers of Incrediball® take on chartreuse-green tones they age, creating an even more colorful display come fall.
The best part? Growing both plants is nearly foolproof. They are both reliable and easy to grow, which means you can enjoy the display summer to frost, year after year, all without deadheading midseason. You can even keep the spent flowers for winter interest, too! Prune the hydrangeas and clean up the butterfly bushes in the spring, then you’ll be ready for another show. We think they look best together when planted as a hedge (seen here), but wherever you plant them, you can’t go wrong.

 

 

 

 

Pugster Periwinkle® Butterfly Bush
(Buddleia x)
You can finally get big flower drama without a bulky habit with Pugster Periwinkle® from Proven Winners, which only grows 2’ tall and 2-3’ wide and grows full-size flowers. Its thick, sturdy stems hold these pretty, pollinator-attracting blooms aloft with ease and are less brittle than other butterfly bush, which gives them better winter hardiness. So you’ll get to see these massive, pretty purple flowers year after year, from the beginning of summer ‘til frost, with no maintenance.

 

 Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea

(Hydrangea arborescens)
Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs developed Incrediball® Hydrangea as a stronger, non-flopping replacement to Annabelle hydrangea. This selection has sturdy, thick stems, so the flowers stay upright all summer long. The perfect 5′ tall habit of Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea makes it an ideal specimen or flowering hedge. You can’t go wrong with this new, improved version of the old-fashioned favorite.

Is It Spring Yet?
If only! It feels far from spring here at our headquarters in Michigan, where we still have banks of snow around our greenhouses. But some people – notably, meteorologists – consider March 1 the start of spring.

 

Meteorological Spring VS. Astronomical Spring
So what’s the difference? Meteorological spring describes the season in a very tidy way: by looking at it as just the months of March, April, and May. Compare this to astronomical spring – aka the vernal equinox, when the sun is directly above the equator – which traditionally indicates the first day of spring. This date can vary from March 20-22, depending on the year. This year, the vernal equinox will be on March 20!
Since the exact timing of the vernal equinox varies, the length of a season varies, too – by as much as five days. That makes it hard for folks who study weather to make year-to-year comparisons of seasonal conditions, so they created the concept of meteorological spring. Both are valid, so you celebrate one or the other or both. We love spring, so we do both!
Does It Feel Like Spring Where You Are?
Either way, now is a great time for plant shopping. It curbs the winter blues in cold climates and scratches the itch to plant in warm ones. We are stocked full of beautiful plants and it smells amazing in here!
Love Spring As Much As We Do?
Celebrating the season with ‘Drummond’s Pink’ Creeping Phlox!
This flowering ground cover boasts hundreds of pink, star-shaped flowers in spring. It’s durable, drought-tolerant, and grows well in tough sites, making it an easy choice for any gardener. Grow it and you will fall in love with this easy-going beauty.

Top 4 Arborvitae Trees
Picking An Arborvitae Tree Just Got Easier
If you’re looking for a colorful and fast-growing privacy hedge for your landscape, arborvitae is hard to beat. In just a few years, young plants quickly grow to create a lush, green wall that provides four seasons of privacy. They naturally grow in a tidy pyramidal or conical habit that doesn’t require any trimming. However, they’re more than just a perfect fence! They add structure to both formal and informal gardens when planted as a specimen, too. With enough room, they look stunning in any space.

At Great Garden Plants, we offer 4 different arborvitae trees that you can count on to provide years of ever-increasing beauty. Our trees are carefully grown and hand-selected for the highest quality before shipping. Compare and you’ll see, the size and quality we offer cannot be beaten at our prices. We’ll spell out the differences between our 4 trees, then you decide which is best for your garden! Spoiler alert: with this selection, you can’t go wrong.

 

 

 

 

 
1.) ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae
(Thuja plicata x standishii)
This award-winning introduction from the U.S. National Arboretum is regarded as the most distinguished landscaping tree in America, and it’s our #1 best-selling privacy tree! Growing up to three feet a year, ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae (Thuja plicata x standishii) will quickly transform your space into a private oasis. Left to grow for several years, your trees can eventually reach 50-60 feet tall x 15-20 feet wide. Don’t worry about getting a ladder. This tree is low maintenance, disease resistant, winter hardy, and requires no trimming! You can expect it to stay green all summer, then take on some bronze hues in winter.
When you order ‘Green Giant’ from Great Garden Plants, you’ll receive a 3 feet tall, floor-to-tip, plant in one-gallon containers. Only 4-5 plants are required to create 20 feet of hedge.
2.) ‘Emerald Green’ Arborvitae
(Thuja occidentalis)
‘Emerald Green’ Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) is a native arb that is ideal for privacy in smaller areas. With a compact habit, ‘Emerald Green’ only reaches 12-15 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. This quick-growing evergreen can grow up to 18″ a year! The foliage stays a lush green all summer long, even in heat and humidity. You may see some yellowing in winter in colder climates, but it’s nothing to worry about. A simple shearing in early spring is all it takes to keep this colorful and fragrant evergreen in bounds.
It’s low maintenance, adaptable to nearly any soil, and is easy to grow. All you need to do is plant, then enjoy your privacy! When you order ‘Emerald Green’ from us, you’ll receive a 34″ tall plant, floor-to-tip, in one-gallon containers. We recommend 8-9 plants for 20 feet of hedge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
3.) ‘Hetz Wintergreen’ Arborvitae
(Thuja occidentalis)
‘Hetz Wintergreen’ Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) creates a charming wall of fragrant, dark green foliage. The foliage keeps its attractive dark green color year-round without taking on winter bronzing we see in other Thujas. It’s intermediate in size, reaching 15-25 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide. ‘Hetz Wintergreen’ is another fast-growing arb, growing over 2 feet per year. In no time, the young, one-gallon plant you’ll receive from us will grow into a tall fence for privacy.
We ship ‘Hetz Wintergreen’ in one-gallon containers when they’re 3 feet tall, floor to tip. To make a 20 foot hedge, we recommend using 6-8 plants.
4.) Full Speed A Hedge® ‘American Pillar’ Arvorvitae
(Thuja occidentalis)
Selected for its super-fast growth and tall, narrow habit, Full Speed A Hedge® ‘American Pillar’ Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) sets the new standard for hedges. It combines the rapid growth rate of ‘Green Giant’ and the space-saving shape of ‘Emerald Green’ to create the perfect hedge, all in one! It grows up to 3 feet per year, reaching a total size of 15-20 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide. The main advantages for Full Speed A Hedge® is that it is hardy down to zone 3, maintains a narrow habit, and stays green all winter. What more could you ask for?
When you order Full Speed A Hedge® from Great Garden Plants, you’ll receive a 25 inch tall, floor-to-tip, plant in a two-quart container. Only 8 plants are required to create 20 feet of hedge.

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, arborvitaes make such excellent hedge plants because they are tall, lush, and low maintenance. Even in clay and sandy soils, these arborvitaes are determined to succeed. All you have to do now is buy one, plant it, and watch it take off.

Meet Our Customer Service Team

Great plants can’t come without great customer service. At Great Garden Plants, we take great pride in growing the best plants possible and supporting you every step of the way in your gardening journey. Whether you’re just beginning your garden or you’ve been shopping with us for years, our team of plant experts (and enthusiasts) is here to help answer any questions you may have. Our team is looking forward to meeting you, but until then, we’d like you to meet them!

 
PAM
How long have you worked at Great Garden Plants?
10 years!
What is your favorite thing about Great Garden Plants?
Helping customers pick out perfect plants AND watching all the plants grow in the greenhouse!
What is your own garden like?
I live in a fairly new subdivision, no mature trees, so not much shade, lots of sun. I have a rock garden with lots of sedum, and a butterfly garden with butterfly bushes, milkweed, several roses, and hydrangeas.
ABBY
What is your best piece of advice for gardeners?
Patience is key. Plants are extremely resilient, and sometimes time is the one thing they need! I think this thought comes from my experience of seeing plants spring back miraculously after even the snowiest of winters.
What is your favorite part about working with Great Garden Plants?
My favorite thing about Great Garden Plants is definitely the people I work with. I get to come to work every day and be surrounded by kind and helpful individuals. It’s not too often that you find a workplace like this!

 

 

MOLLY
When did your love for plants begin?
My love for gardening started early on! My Dad always loved to garden, so I was influenced greatly by him.
What is your best piece of advice for gardeners?
Know your garden before you buy. How much sunlight do you get in certain areas, what size of plant is needed for your space once it reaches maturity, what color scheme are you going for?
SARAH
When did your love for plants begin?
Since my high school greenhouse biology class.
What is your own garden like?
Small space garden at this time with lush, green shade plants in containers on the ground and hanging!
What is your best piece of advice for gardeners?
Plant, water, give the right amount of light, sit back, relax, and let mother nature do the rest.

 

Alternatives to Burning Bush
Our Favorite Alternatives With Coloful Foliage
Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) is widely used as a specimen plant or privacy hedge for its vigorous growth, easy-care nature, and brilliant red fall foliage. Unfortunately, it is considered to be invasive in certain areas, which is why shipment is restricted to some states. If you live in a state where Burning Bush is restricted, don’t worry! We offer plenty of alternatives that boast amazing fall colors for your landscape.
Low Scape® Aronia
(Aronia melanocarpa)
When you need the most durable plant for a hedge, look no further than Low Scape Hedger® Aronia! This Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrub naturally grows in a narrow, space-saving 3′-5′ habit. It brings multiple seasons of interest to the garden, from little white spring flowers to a fantastic fall display! Foliage takes on vibrant red and orange hues each fall, year after year.

 

 

Kodiak® Red Diervilla

(Diervilla sp.)

If you’re looking for brilliant red foliage, Kodiak® Red Diervilla is your best option! But what makes it so much better? It’s native, adored by pollinators, and has red foliage from spring through fall. New leaves emerge as a deep green with hints of red and slowly gain more vibrant coloration as the season progresses. Come fall, the leaves are a brilliant burgundy-red!
Kodiak® Orange Diervilla
(Diervilla sp.)
Burning Bush may be bright red in the fall, but Kodiak® Orange Diervilla is colorful all season long. Its vivid orange foliage looks especially great in spring and fall, brightening up the landscape wherever you plant it. This native shrub is deer resistant, drought tolerant, low maintenance, and beneficial for pollinators! It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Fall Color

 Spring Color

 Spring Color

Winecraft Black® Smokebush

(Cotinus coggygria)
Surprised we’re suggesting a dark purple foliage plant as a replacement for Burning Bush? Winecraft Black® Smokebush has dark foliage in spring and summer, but in the fall, it’s ignited in bright red hues! Between the dark foliage, textured blooms, and fall color, Winecraft Black® might turn out to be your new favorite shrub in every season. Plus, it’s deer resistant and low maintenance.
Scentlandia® Sweetspire
(Itea virginica)
Scentlandia® Sweetspire is a star in the summer with long spikes of fragrant white flowers. But did you know this shrub is just as stellar in the fall? You can expect to see bright red foliage to keep your garden lively as the seasons change. This versatile shrub is low maintenance, deer resistant, and handles more shade than Burning Bush.

Top 10 Spring Blooming Flowers
Goodbye Winter Blues, Hello Spring Blooms
Say goodbye to your winter blues! With sunny days and warm temperatures on the horizon, we can tell that spring is right around the corner. When you see these flowers, you know spring is in full swing. Here’s a list of our favorite tried-and-true spring blooming plants to help celebrate the seasonal transition.

 

 

1.) ‘Gold Heart’ Bleeding Heart
(Dicentra spectabilis)
‘Gold Heart’ Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) puts a twist on the classic look with radiant golden foliage. Arching sprays appear in late spring, decorated with pink and white heart-shaped flowers. The blooms look whimsical as they dangle above the fern-like foliage. Peach stems hold the foliage and flowers to form a lovely, bushy mound.
Bleeding Heart is aptly named for its heart-shaped flowers, but why does it bleed? At the bottom of the heart, the bright pink petals peel back to reveal droplet-shaped inner petals. It quite literally looks like the heart is dripping with more petals!
2.) ‘Spot On’ Lungwort
(Pulmonaria)
Your shade garden will never have a dull moment with ‘Spot On’ Lungwort (Pulmonaria)! It thrives in the shade and boasts a surprisingly colorful display of flowers in early spring. Salmon pink flower buds open to cobalt blue flowers, signaling the end of winter.
After flowering, slender foliage takes center stage with flashy silver spotting. This eclectic plant is always shining, even in the shade. It grows well in zones 3-8. Try planting it along shaded pathways or in masses as a showy ground cover.

 

 

 

 

3.) Flying Machine® Forsythia
(Forsythia koreana)
There’s no better way to celebrate spring than with giant forsythia blooms! Flying Machine® Forsythia boasts flowers that are absolutely gigantic – at least twice the size of a regular forsythia. When the flowers fall, they spiral to the ground and create a magical yellow carpet below the plant, freckling the ground (and any bulbs or perennials you have nearby!) with color.
Forsythia aren’t just beautiful harbingers of spring – they’re also super durable landscape plants, readily growing in difficult soils, even clay. Flying Machine® grows well in zones 6-8. Branches can be cut in late winter and forced to bloom indoors to help assuage your winter blues.
4.) Interstella® Lily-Of-The-Valley Shrub
(Pieris japonica)
Interstella® Lily-of-the-Valley Shrub brings out of this world beauty to your garden. It’s a sophisticated, shade-tolerant flowering evergreen that is one of the very first, and longest, shrubs to bloom each spring. Instead of the usual white flowers, Interstella® boasts chains of bell-shaped florets that are deep pink. The best part? It keeps its color year-round with evergreen foliage and pink new growth.
This shade-tolerant, deer resistant, and reliable shrub is a problem solver for gardens in zones 5-8. No pruning is required to keep it happy and tidy. It is rather slow to grow, but trust me, it is more than worth the wait.

 

 

 

 


5.) Double Take Orange™ Flowering Quince
(Chaenomeles speciosa)
Spring blooms aren’t always soft and delicate. Double Take Orange™ quince features double flowers that measure a whopping 3 1/2″! Its vibrant orange blooms flower all the way up the stems, even to the tip of the branches. Cut the branches as early as January and bring them indoors to help get you through the winter.
Double Take Orange™ is a non-fruiting deciduous quince that blooms on old wood, even before its leave unfold. It’s pleasantly compact, thorn-free, heat tolerant, and long-blooming! It grows well in sunny gardens in zones 5-8.
6.) ‘Jack Frost’ Siberian Bugloss
(Brunnera macrophylla)
‘Jack Frost’ Siberian Bugloss is not only loved for its instantly recognizable foliage, but for its flowers as well. In spring, delicate sprays of hundreds of bright blue forget-me-not-like flowers bloom above the foliage. They look extra sweet and delicate against the robust foliage.
This perennial is more durable than it looks, making it an excellent fit for beginner gardeners in zones 5-9. It is easily grown in the cool, shaded regions of your garden. While it is deer resistant, make sure to watch for slugs and snails!

 

 

 

 

7.) Scentara Pura® Lilac
(Syringa x hyacinthiflora)
Color, fragrance, and reliability are what make lilacs such an endearing garden plant, and Scentara Pura® lilac has all three in spades. Look for its big, pure purple flowers to bloom in spring with an irresistible fragrance. It’s the most fragrant lilac on the market!
This Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrub is incredibly hardy to cold climates and has a higher heat tolerance than conventional lilacs. Plus, it has better resistance to leaf spot and powdery mildew. Grow it in sunny spots in zones 2-8.
8.) Spice Baby™ Koreanspice Viburnum
(Viburnum carlesii)

 

 

Covered in hundreds of airy white blooms each spring, Spice Baby™ Koreanspice Viburnum puts on a lovely display, year after year. Coming in at just a fraction of the size of other viburnum, space-saving Koreanspice makes a great addition to smaller landscapes that have been longing for the plant but had not previously had space for one.
It may not produce berries, but just like other viburnums, Spice Baby™ boasts fall interests as well! The leaves and twigs turn bright red, creating a colorful seasonal display. This durable and deer resistant shrub grows best in zones 4-8.

 

 

9.) Mountainside™ ‘Crater Lake’ Phlox
(Phlox hybrid)
Mountainside™ ‘Crater Lake’ Phlox boasts springtime flowers in heaps and bounds. It blooms weeks earlier than other phloxes! Mountainside™ ‘Crater Lake’ is bursting with indigo blooms come spring. The star-shaped flowers are delightfully fragrant, welcoming pollinators back to the garden after a long winter.
You can count on this low-maintenance perennial to blanket your garden with indigo blooms year after year. In contrast to creeping phlox, this hybrid spreads slowly and is easily controlled in smaller spaces. Plant it in any well-draining soil in zones 4-8.
10.) ‘Winterglut’ Pigsqueak
(Bergenia cordifolia)
‘Winterglut’ Pigsqueak might be another plant known for its foliage, but it has spectacular springtime flowers as well! Bright pink blooms arise on tall spikes, ushering in spring with clusters of color. It looks especially lovely when planted with other spring bloomers, like Lungwort.
Why does such a pretty plant have an odd name? You can blame the foliage for this one. It earns the common name pigsqueak from the noise made when the leaves rub together!

 

Celebrate Cherry Blossom Season At Home
With the Spring Equinox’s arrival on March 20th, 2021, we welcome the official (or more specifically, the astronomical) start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, the first day of spring also coincides with the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Ornamental cherries are beloved worldwide for their blooms and beauty. Whether you celebrate it by attending a festival (physically or virtually) or you celebrate it in your very own garden, with spring upon us, it’s time to ring in cherry blossom season.

 

Pictured above: Zuzu Flowering Cherry Shrub
What Is The National Cherry Blossom Festival?

While there are many festivals and celebrations honoring cherry blossoms around the country and the world, one of the largest in the United States is the National Cherry Blossom Festival held in Washington D.C. This spring festival is a celebration to honor and commemorate the gift of 3,020 cherry trees gifted from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city in 1912 as a way to enhance relations and growing friendship between the U.S and Japan. Each spring, the trees around the tidal basin in West Potomac Park and the National Mall come to life with fragrant pink blooms drawing the attention of over a million visitors from around the world each year.
This year, the festival is set to start on March 20th and go through April 11th. While we may not be able to attend in person, there are many online activities available to participate in the celebration and witness the true beauty of the season and view the blooms from your own home. If you head to the official website for The National Cherry Blossom Festival, you’ll be able to watch the opening ceremony, access virtual tours of the Tidal Basin, and watch the blooms 24/7 with the bloom cam.
The Meaning and Significance of the Cherry Blossom
Not only are cherry blossoms beautiful, but they have deep meaning in Japanese Culture. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree blooms represent a time of renewal and the temporary nature of life. A cherry blossom’s life is short; with their blooms peaking after around two weeks, their blooms begin to fall. In Japan, cherry blossoms also signify a sign of good fortune and a symbol of love and affection. Cherry blossom or “sakura” season in Japan typically, starts around Mid-March; during this time people participate in the traditional custom of “hanami”. Hanami means “flower viewing,” but it commonly only refers to cherry blossom viewing. This tradition can be traced back at least a thousand years. Hanami during the night is called “yozakura.”

 
When Do Cherry Blossoms Bloom?
Depending on what part of the country or world you’re in, you can expect cherry blossoms to appear at different times. Overall, spring is when you can expect your first blooms to appear. Peak bloom dates are typically in March or April but can appear as early as February in some cities or as late as Mid-May in areas such as Michigan, depending on the weather.
Are you trying to predict Spring bloom times for cherry blossoms near you?
When it comes to predicting cherry blossom bloom time, the best way to predict is using a measure called growing degree days (GDD), which is the number of days above a certain temperature. This is not a fool-proof way of prediction though, as we are limited by how precisely and accurately we can predict the weather in advance.
If you’re ready to watch cherries bloom, be sure to keep an eye on the weather. We’re looking for a nice stretch of warm (above 60 degrees) weather for buds to start to open.
How Long Do Cherry Blossoms Last?
Good things can’t last forever, and unfortunately for cherry blossom lovers everywhere, the blooms have a short lifespan. Cherry blossoms will typically come into full bloom (mankai) within a week after the first blossoms flower (kaika); typically, you can experience the cherry blossoms at peak bloom (when at least 70% of the flowers are in open) for about one week. From the period leading up to peak bloom to the period when the flowers begin to fall, can last up to two weeks. If the weather is cooler after the first bloom, you can expect the flower display to extend longer than warm days during this period, as warm weather will cause the flowers to drop off quickly. While sakura season may be short-lived, it’s memorable enough to continue to look forward to year after year!

 

 

Types of Ornamental Cherry Trees

There are over 400 species of ornamental Cherry trees today. To identify them, they’re classified by the genus Prunus or Prunus subg. Cerasus. 12 of these 400 varieties were gifted to Washington D.C. back in 1812; two of these varieties are now the most common type in there and ones you may recognize most.
Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoenis) makes up approximately 70% of the trees in the park in D.C. and circles the Tidal Basin. These trees produce bright white blooms that create a cloud-like effect when in full bloom. This variety is known as Somei-yoshino in Japan and is one of the most popular cultivated flowering cherry trees.
Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus serrulata “Kwanzan”) makes up 13% of the cherry trees in the park. They boast stunning pink double blooms and grow in a lovely vase shape.
Are you looking to add your very own ornamental cherry to your garden?

 Zuzu®Flowering Cherry Shrub
Zuzu® Flowering Cherry Shrub (Prunus incisa) features all the beauty of a cherry tree in a compact flowering shrub! This springtime icon takes up only a fraction of the space compared to traditional cherry trees but still boasts all the large powderpuff flowers you love. Growing naturally in a columnar habit, any garden or landscape can find a spot for this springtime herald.
Create A Similar Look With:
Yuki Cherry Blossom® Deutzia
Perfect for mass plantings, Yuki Cherry Blossom® deutzia (Deutzia x) transforms landscapes with a pink cloud of blooms each spring. While it may appear delicate, this shrub is durable, a great problem solver, and low-maintenance. It’s the perfect low-growing shrub to use as a groundcover or to create a stunning pink display. The beauty doesn’t stop once bloom time is over; in fall, this deutzia’s foliage takes on rich purple hues, adding interest to your garden all season long.

 

How To Grow Ornamental Cherries:
When it comes to growing ornamental cherry plants like Zuzu®, they’re relatively easy and simple to care for gardeners of any skill level. Ornamental cherries can typically be grown in USDA zones 5-8 as it goes for any plant, be sure to consider a plant’s hardiness zone before selecting it for your garden.
How to care for Zuzu® Flowering Cherry Shrub:
Soil: Not fussy about soil type or pH; any well-drained spot will do.
Light: Best grown in full sun (> 6 hours sun) but will do well in part sun (4-6 hours sun).
Water: Average
Spacing: 2-3 feet
Fertilizing: Little needed; if desired, apply a granular rose fertilizer in early spring.
Winterizing: A 2-3″ layer of shredded bark mulch is recommended all year long, especially in winter. Branches can be cut for forcing starting in mid-February in most areas.
Maintenance & pruning: Thanks to its naturally dense, narrow habit, little pruning is needed. If desired, prune immediately after flowering since it blooms on old wood.
Where To View Cherry
Blossoms:
Haven’t planted Zuzu® Flowering Cherry Shrub in your garden quite yet and wanting to see some cherry blossoms? There are festivals celebrated the blooms nationwide
for you to attend physically and virtually. Here are a few of the festivals and locations listed below:

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden 
    • While their annual even Sakura Masuri may not be happening this year, you can still visit the garden to see their collection of 26 species and cultivars.
  • Macon Georgia’s International Cherry Blossom Festival 
    • Discover what 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees look like in bloom! While D.C. might be known as the home of cherry blossoms in the United States, Macon, Georgia holds the title of Cherry Blossom Capital of the World, having 90 times the trees D.C. has.
  • The Washington DC National Cherry Blossom Festival 
    • This festival is one of the most well-known cherry blossom festivals nationwide, welcoming millions of people each year.
  • Traverse City, Michigan 
    • If you’re looking for something a little different, head up to Traverse City during mid-may to catch fruit-bearing cherry trees in action. The best way to see these cherry blossoms is by driving along the Old Mission Peninsula via M-37.
  • Your own garden!
    • With space-saving and low-maintenance plants like Zuzu® Flowering Cherry Shrub, any gardener can view cherry blossoms right in their own backyard!

While we wish cherry blossom season could last forever, its fleeting beauty is a part of what makes this time of year so special. Celebrate via a festival or create your very own cherry blossom festival in your own garden; there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy the season! Ornamental cherries are a great plant to welcome in spring, but they’re not the only ones! If you’re looking for more spring bloomers to fill your garden with, read our Top 10 Spring Blooming Flowers blog to see what other blooms you can enjoy this time of year.

Colorful Foliage for Shade Gardens

Don’t Waste Another Season With A Dull Shade Garden
Shady spots are notorious among gardeners as tough-to-grow sites. It can be challenging to find the right plants that thrive in variable light conditions, compete with tree roots, and don’t mind the excess moisture we typically see in the shade. But that doesn’t mean you should leave these areas empty! With the right plants, you can spruce up the shade to be just as lively as the sun.
We’ve been busy adding tons of exciting new varieties to our online garden shop, including many beautiful foliage plants that thrive in shaded areas – spots that get fewer than four hours of sun a day. Whether they are the classic green or unique blues, purples, reds, and greys, these leaves will give at least three seasons of color in your garden, and return year after year. If they weren’t truly beautiful, useful plants, we wouldn’t be adding them to GreatGardenPlants.com.

 

Pictured above: Coral Bells

Flowers are fleeting, but foliage is forever (or at least for three seasons), which is why we’re highlighting our favorite colorful foliage plants for the shade.
Coral Bells
Problem-Solving Perennial With Bold Color

 It’s easy to add color to shade gardens when you have every color of the rainbow at your disposal. Coral Bells (Heuchera) boasts vibrant foliage in nearly every color, including jet black. They add long-lasting color to your landscape for months, even in poor weather! Incredibly tolerant of heat and humidity, these coral bells are tough and easy to care for. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert gardener, they would make a welcome and effortless addition to your shady garden.
Hosta
Large Leaves For Low Maintenance Color

Whether it’s a classic (like ‘June‘) or eccentric (like ‘Wiggles and Squiqqles‘), Hostas always command attention in shade gardens. Thick corrugated leaves form graceful mounds of foliage that keep their appeal from spring to fall. They are remarkably versatile, coming in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes for mixing and matching. Though we cherish them for their foliage, they also bloom midsummer with airy racemes of bell-shaped flowers. Hostas are easy to grow and maintain in containers and garden beds, even in city environments. Find a shady, moist corner of your garden and watch them thrive!
Siberian Bugloss
Foliage Brimming With Silver Detail
Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla) is a perennial that wears its heart on its leaves, quite literally! Massive heart-shaped leaves are brimming with detail – a network of dark green veins cuts through a heavy silver overlay. The foliage always seems to shimmer, even in the shade. In spring, delicate flowers resembling forget-me-nots join the show in clusters about a foot above the foliage. All in all, this charming plant has a very grand look that livens up the shade garden.
Foamy Bells
A Triple Threat In Shade Gardens
With colorful foliage, delicate blooms, and easy-going nature, Foamy Bells (Heucherella) is a triple threat in the garden. As a cross between Coral Bells (Heuchera) and Foamflower (Tiarella), this perennial boasts colorful foliage and a tidy habit. Maple leaf-shaped foliage brings playful color and texture to shade gardens, coming in shades of green, copper, and red. Plus, it’s a breeze to grow, making it all that much easier to enjoy.
Japanese Forest Grass
Slender Leaves always Glow, Even In Shade
Ornamental grasses aren’t known for performing well in the shade, which is why you might see Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) included in this list. As a native to the moist woodlands of central Japan, this grass handles shade with grace, especially in hotter climates. It will glow in your shade garden with bright, golden foliage. Slender leaves arch as they grow, forming a graceful cascading mound. With ample moisture and light, leaves will stay attractive from spring through fall.
Lungwort
Eclectic Foliage On A Compact Habit
After planting Lungwort (Pulmonaria), your shade garden will never have a dull moment again! This charming perennial boasts long, narrow leaves that are speckled with silver spots. The foliage glimmers as they catch the filtered light in understories or shaded corners. Don’t let the name dissuade you. It’s actually called Lungwort from herbalists who believed the leaves helped treat lung disorders. Its medicinal benefits may be disproven, but I still firmly believe it is one of the cures to spring fever. It blooms in early spring with cobalt blue flowers!
While these are some of our favorite foliage plants for the shade, there are so many more to choose from!

How Do I Protect My Plants From Cicadas?
You may have heard of Brood X, the group of periodical cicadas that emerges every 17 years, and is due to return in 2021. But what are cicadas, why are they emerging now, and what does that mean for your garden? We’ve been receiving a flurry of questions, and here are all your answers!

What Are Periodical Cicadas?

You may be thinking that you see or hear these cicadas every summer, but those are likely different species of annual cicadas. Periodical cicadas (Magicicada) hibernate underground and emerge only once every 13 or 17 years. They’re grouped together into “broods” based on the year they are expected to emerge. Recently hatched cicadas almost immediately burrow underground and spend these years hibernating before returning in swarms. Once the soil temperatures are above 64°, they will crawl out of their burrows, leaving holes behind. They’ll spend 4-6 weeks traveling, laying eggs, and feasting on plants.
Remember when you thought you wouldn’t use math again? Well here is a prime example of math in nature! Both 13 and 17 years are prime numbers, which you may think is a coincidence at first. But, it’s not! They are synchronized to come out in full force to ensure some of the population survives getting eaten by predators. This phenomenon is called “predator satiation”.
So why prime numbers? Predators and prey have population cycles depending on food availability and competition, and this cycle will shift so predators will have a high population when their prey does. By emerging every 13 or 17 years, predators can’t easily sync their population cycle with cicadas, because they are prime numbers!

What Does This Mean For Your Garden?
These periodical cicadas are sometimes mistakenly called “17-year locusts”. Don’t worry! They are not locusts and are not arriving as a Biblical plague to destroy your garden. After emerging, they like to crawl up mature trees to shed their skin, and then will travel to other trees and shrubs to eat and lay eggs. They don’t even have teeth, so how much damage can they do?
Cicadas are mostly beneficial! They prune mature trees, aerate the soil, feed wildlife, and once they die, their bodies serve as an important source of nitrogen for plants.
Mature plants don’t suffer much damage, even if they’re covered in swaths of cicadas. However, young shrubs and trees may benefit from a little protection. You can cover your plants with mosquito nets, light curtains, or other fabrics for protection. Do NOT spray pesticides on your plants! It won’t successfully wipe out cicadas from your garden, and will just poison birds, possums, and other predators that feed on the cicadas.
Check out this map from the US Forest Service to see if your garden will be impacted by cicadas:

 Are They Safe For Humans?
Yes, they’re completely safe! We’ve heard some rumors that people think they’ll lay their eggs under the skin of small children, but that is completely a myth. They lay their eggs on slender stems of trees and shrubs. You can rest easy hearing the songs of the cicadas without worrying about your safety.
Did you know that some people even eat these cicadas? You can even find recipes for cooked dishes online! Definitely not suggesting it, but maybe I shouldn’t knock till I try it. Perhaps after the next 17-year cycle.

This Month in the Garden: March

March is in full swing, and so is spring! For gardeners everywhere, tasks are starting to pop up around the garden, for some more than others. To make it simple, we’ve broken down some of the tasks to take care of in your garden this March, let’s get digging!
Protect From Deer And Rabbits
Spring’s awaking will not only bring new growth, but it can also bring furry friends (or foes) into your garden as well. Now would be a great time to protect your garden from deer and rabbits.
How To Protect your Plants Against Deer And Rabbits:

  1. Build fences and cages
    • Fencing is one of the most effective ways to manage damage from deer. Fences need to be 8-10ft tall to be effective at keeping deer at bay, as this will help prevent them from jumping into your garden. You can also opt to create cages around your plants with chicken wire to protect your plants during this crucial growing season.
  1. Spray deer repellent
    • An alternative option to fencing is to spray liquid deer or rabbit repellent. Be sure to apply periodically to help it remain effective as it often washes away during rainfall. Very few repellents are meant for use on edible plants like vegetables, so be sure to look at the label before spraying on plants you plan to consume.

 

 
Mulch And Fertilizer
March is the mulching time! Mulch before new growth emerges. Now is also a great time to add fertilizer if desired. Be sure your soil is starting to or has thawed, and you’ve checked the weather for any freezing temps, but now would be the perfect time to add some fertilizer to start spring strong to your shrubs and perennials.
Should I Cut Back Or
Prune My Plants?
With new growth emerging soon, March is a great time to cut back and prune many of your plants, including:
Coral Bells: Now is a great time to cut back old spent leaves from previous seasons before new growth emerges.
Ornamental Grasses: Feel free to shape up your ornamental grasses that may have gained a more shaggy look over winter
Herbaceous Perennials: Don’t feel the need to rush to cut back your herbaceous perennials. Leaving them be for the time being will give important insects time to emerge for the season.
Shrubs: As you clean out your garden for spring, you may be tempted to start pruning your shrubs, but for plants that bloom on old wood like Forsythia, Lilac, and Quince, you could be cutting back buds in the process. If you see diseased or damaged wood, feel free to cut it back, or if you have a smooth or panicle hydrangea that needs a good trim, now would also be an okay time. If in doubt, don’t cut.
Spring Bouquets
Plants like daffodils and tulips are starting to pop up in many gardens. Make the most of these springtime bloomers by creating your very own cut flower bouquets! Great Garden Tip: If you’re cutting daffodils, be sure to keep these bright beauties in their own vase so their sap doesn’t harm companion plants.

 After a long wait, gardening season is finally here, and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Stayed tuned next month for more gardening tips and tasks to accomplish during the month of April.

3 Tips for Texas Gardeners this Spring

If you lived in Texas this winter or a warm climate that experienced crazy freezes this past season, you’ve probably stepped out into your garden this spring, wondering what to do next. Are your plants alive, how do you ensure their survival, and how to best care for your garden during this time are probably all questions running through your head; I know they’d be running through mine! We’ve compiled 3 simple tips to help you best assess and care for your garden this season after an abnormally harsh winter.
1. Wait
Wait! We know, patience is easier for us to recommend than for someone to actually do in the garden, but patience is the best thing you can offer to cold-damaged plants right now. Most plants have auxiliary buds deep in their stem that can take over growth if their primary buds were damaged. However, the plant is usually going to wait until conditions have been stable for some time before it deploys them. Give your plants some time to show you how they are doing instead of you deciding for them.
2. Put Down The Pruners
It can be extremely tempting to cut things back – it helps you feel in control of everything that happened. But this is likely to cause more harm than good, and you could remove living portions of the plant that are crucial to its comeback. Once you see new growth starting to emerge, then you can prune back any portions that are clearly dead. It is worth mentioning that if you have plants that are mushy or black, those portions can be removed. However, don’t remove anything simply because it isn’t yet showing signs of life.
3. TLC
Because of the extremity and longevity of the cold temperatures, even plants that did survive are going to need a boost to come back. Keep a close eye on plants that you know or strongly suspect are alive, and give them an application of a granular fertilizer like Espoma RoseTone. If weather is hot or dry, provide supplemental water, even if they are normally tolerant of such conditions. Any extra attention you pay to them now will be a huge help in their recovery.

6 Fragrant Flowers for Spring
The Sweet Smell Of Spring Time
We love fragrant flowers, but then again, who doesn’t? While blooms will always reign supreme in the hierarchy of wonderful plant characteristics, their fragrance is easily our second favorite part. What makes fragrance so special? Maybe it’s that these scents are so often tied back to memories.

Just writing this, I find myself drifting back to warm spring afternoons in my parent’s living room with the sweet scent of my mom’s lilac trees getting wrapped up in my hair as it drifts in through the windows. So much comfort and happiness for me is tied back to these scents. Do you feel the same way? Are there any fragrant flowers that bring back memories for you? There is something pretty powerful about a plant that something as simple as fragrance can make you feel and remember so much!
Lots of the most beloved fragrant plants bloom in spring and early summer; they’re the perfect way to welcome back the growing season and the return of spending time outdoors. We’re sharing some of our all-time favorite fragrant plants in spring here. Plant them and create your own fragrant memories this season!
Scentara Pura® Lilac
(Syringa x hyacinthiflora)
Lilacs are one of the most popular springtime shrubs, and for a good reason, too! Color, fragrance, and reliability are what make lilacs such a lovable garden plant. Scentara Pura® lilac is the perfect choice for lilac lovers everywhere, thanks to its large, pure purple flowers that emir an irresistible fragrance each spring! Did we mention Scentara Pura® is the most fragrant lilac on the market! Start the season off strong with stunning, highly fragrant blooms. You’ll know spring has officially sprung once the smell of this lilac comes wafting by.

 

 Fruit Punch® ‘Raspberry Ruffles’ Dianthus

If you’re looking for fragrance and flower power, look no further than Fruit Punch ‘Raspberry Ruffles’ dianthus! Your springtime garden will not only be filled with boatloads of raspberry-pink blooms but with exceptional fragrance too. This late-spring to early summer bloomer will look fanatic in your garden or a bouquet as they’re a great choice for cut floral arrangements.
Spice Girl® Koreanspice Viburnum

(Viburnum carlesii)
Studded with hundreds of pink blooms in spring, this is one pretty shrub you’ll want to add to your landscape. This viburnum is a triple threat with fragrant flowers, berries, and stunning fall foliage- it makes a stunning hedge or the perfect specimen in your garden. Spice Girl® Koreanspice viburnum is one of our favorite fragrant plants thanks to its spicy-sweet fragrance!

 

 

Lily Of The Valley
(Convallaria majalis)
We couldn’t make a list of our favorite fragrant flowers for spring without including Lily of the Valley. Its dainty bell-shaped flowers were a childhood favorite for many, and for us, they’re still a favorite. Their fragrance can fill your entire yard on a warm spring afternoon, and they make delightful cut flowers. Create a patch of your own this spring, and enjoy them for many years to come!
Illuminati Tower®
Mockorange
(Philadelphus coronarius)
Enjoy hundreds of fragrant white flowers in spring! Illuminati Tower® mockorange is a stunning late-spring to early summer bloomer that emits a refreshing fragrance. Its upright stems are covered up and down with springtime blooms and are beloved by gardeners and pollinators! Illuminati Tower® is low maintenance and deer resistant, allowing you more time to enjoy its lovely fragrant blooms and less time caring for it.

 

 
‘Heaven Scent’ Jacob’s Ladder
(Polemonium x)
Last but definitely not least, ‘Heaven Scent’ Jacob’s ladder may be one of our favorite fragrant spring bloomers here at Great Garden Plants. Each spring, dozens
of bell-shaped blooms appear and fill the air with a sweet fragrance. Add its unique fern-like foliage into the mix, and this spring-blooming perennial is one plant you definitely don’t want to miss out on this season!
What is a spring garden without fragrant flowers? These six fragrant spring flowers will fill your garden with fragrance for years to come and hopefully help you create your own memories. If you have any memories that are evoked by the smell of spring flowers, let us know. We’d love to hear your garden stories. Until then, happy gardening!

This Month in the Garden: April

April is finally here! April is the start of the gardening season for most zones, and we don’t know about you, but after a long winter, we want nothing more than to get out into our gardens and get digging. To help you best prepare for the month, we’ve come up with a list of garden tasks that you can do this month to get your garden in tip-top shape; we’ve also included a few things that you should avoid doing this month. If you have any questions along the way, reach out to our team, we’re here to help!
Transplant And Divide
April is a great time to transplant and divide most perennials. Plants are best transplanted when dormant, but they’ll still be just fine to transplant if they’re just starting to grow.
Cut Flowering Shrub Stems
Now is a great time for those with spring-blooming shrubs like forsythia and flowering quince to cut some stems and bring them indoors. These stems make stunning arrangements and help your home feel like spring has truly arrived!
Great Garden Tip: Slit lengthwise up stems. This will allow your stems to absorb more water, leading them to look great longer.

 

 

Wait On Cutting Back Bulb Foliage
Now’s not the best time to cut back bulb foliage. The best time to cut back is after your spring bulbs completely finish blooming. Let the flowers fall before you pick up those pruning shears! Leaving the leaves remaining is essential if you want your flowering bulbs to come back another year. These bulbs use their leaves to photosynthesize and create food after flowering.
Great Garden Tip: Mix bulbs and perennials in your flowerbeds! By the time the foliage on your bulbs starts to fade, new perennial growth will be rolling in to cover it up, hiding it from view. The more your garden fills in, the less and less you’ll see the spent bulb foliage.
It’s Planting Time
April is a great time to get out in the garden and start digging! If you’re in need of some inspiration don’t be afraid to head on over to your local park or botanical garden to see wildflowers blooming and other flowering displays for some perspective and fresh ideas.
Flowers To Look Out For In
April…
Wondering what flowers to look out for or add to your garden this spring? Explore the collection below or discover our top spring-blooming flowers and our favorite fragrant flowers for the season!

What’s Your First Gardening Memory?
A Trip Down Memory Lane

Our favorite month of the year is here…National Gardening Month. In honor of the occasion, the team here at Great Garden Plants decided to take a trip down memory lane, and we thought we’d take you with us! We dug through old photos and started reminiscing about our first ever memories of the garden. These first memories were just the beginning of a lifelong love of plants and gardening, so much so that we all have found ourselves working in the industry now. Read on to go down memory lane with us; we’d love to hear your memories too!
Stacey
My first gardening memory is when my grandmother let me pick all the lilies of the valley that I wanted. She had a big bed of them next to her garage, and I remember feeling like I hit the jackpot to actually be allowed to pick flowers like they do in fairytales! When I started to pick them, I immediately fell in love with the way the flower stem slides so neatly out of the foliage sheath – it was so easy that even as a clumsy tot, I could do it neatly. Plus, the fragrance was so amazing, I could scarcely believe it was coming from a plant that was just growing in her backyard. While lily-of-the-valley is definitely not one of my favorite plants any more, I always cherish that day as the first time I realized how awesome plants are.


Joe
I remember gardening with my grandparents at a super young age, their backyard was and still is almost entirely a garden, so I was free to “help” by watering (playing with the hose), and weeding (making a mess). As they’ve gotten older and have been unable to do upkeep themselves, my uncles have kept their garden up as a great source of vegetables and beauty, and it always makes me happy to see it blooming when I visit in the summer and reminisce about those summer days.
Maddie
From as far back I can remember, I spent almost every Saturday morning in the spring and summer at that market with my mom and grandma. Each trip, my mom would fill our car with plants, so much so I used to think her trunk would look like a jungle. Within that jungle of plants, at least one of them would be handpicked by me. I’d watch with pride all season long as the plants I chose grew and grew; I don’t know if there was anything more magical. These trips are also where I learned that not every plant can grow in your garden. There was (and still is) nothing more heartbreaking than falling in love with a plant you can’t grow. While I don’t get to go to the market with my mom and grandma every Saturday morning anymore, I look forward to the trips to come and am grateful my first gardening memories start there.
Tori
About the age I am in the photo (6 or 7), I used to be fascinated by the succulents that grew around our birdbath. I remember thinking they weren’t real, that they must be wax, and I couldn’t believe it when my mom told me they were alive and growing. My other favorite part about the succulents was that ladybugs and other little beetles liked to hang out in them. I used to take one of the bugs and put it on a leaf for a ride in the birdbath. I’m sure my “friends” (as I called the bugs) were thrilled by this, but I always put them back in the succulents at the end.
Miranda
As a kid, I never seemed to notice how small the woods were in my backyard. It felt like it went on forever, even though you could always see houses on the other side. I spent all of my time out there, so it came as no surprise when I begged my parents to help me build a fort. However, they didn’t know I had big plans in mind! We found a clearing in the woods and made a little hut, planted small azalea shrubs, and rolled out soft grass to lay on. A simple fort turned into my own woodland garden sanctuary. This was the first time I saw how a simple garden could transform a space. I’ve been getting my hands dirty in gardens ever since!

Lavender: Secrets to Success

Unlock The Mystery Of Growing Great Lavender And End Disappointment Forever!

It is said that the scent of lavender relieves stress – but as many people will tell you, the idea of growing it does just the opposite. Many have been disappointed with their attempts to grow this popular, fragrant perennial, but that doesn’t need to be the case anymore. Incorporate these three simple tips in your plant selection, planting, and care, and you’ll finally achieve lavender bliss.

#1: Select The Right Lavender

There are over forty different species of lavender found world-wide, but only a very small number of those are suitable for gardens, and even fewer still suitable to cold climates. That’s why selecting the right lavender is so important! And we’ll let you in on a little secret – a lot of the beautiful lavender topiaries that are sold in stores are the tender Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) or French lavender (L. dentata) and while they’re wonderful to enjoy as a seasonal plant, they don’t stand a chance long-term in a garden colder than USDA zone 8. All of the lavender that we offer at Great Garden Plants are the two hardiest types: English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, and what’s known as lavandin, Lavandula x intermedia. Though both are hardy to USDA zone 5, those who have struggled with lavender in the past are advised to opt for lavandin over English lavender – its hybrid parentage imbues it with better tolerance to the cold, wet conditions that ring the death knell for most lavenders.

 

Pictured below: Phenomenal Lavender
#2: Plant Properly
Where and how you plant lavender are crucial to the plant’s success:

  • Timing: This is dependent on the climate zone. However, it is best practice to wait until the risk of frost has subsided.
  • Sun: The spot you choose must get at least 6 hours of bright sun each day – flowering will be weak and the plant will be more prone to disease in any less sun than that. Discover other sun-loving plants HERE.
  • Soil: Equally important to the amount of sun is that the soil is well-drained. In other words, it never stays wet for long periods of time. Wet, soggy conditions are the fastest way to kill a lavender! If you have clay soil that drains slowly, you can still be successful with lavender if you avoid amending the soil (i.e., don’t add any compost, potting mix, etc., at planting time) and plant your lavender “high,” which is to say slightly above, rather than even with, the soil level.
  • Water: Lavender is drought-tolerant and thrives in dry soil conditions, so be very careful not to overwater. If your plants are hit with an irrigation system, adjust your program or the individual sprinkler head(s) that hit them so that you can control how much supplemental water they receive.
  • Mulch: We normally enthusiastically recommend a good 2-3″ layer of mulch on most perennials and shrubs, but plants that prefer life on the drier side like lavender and butterfly bush benefit from little to no mulch, as it can hold excessive moisture around the roots. If you do use mulch in the area where your lavender is planted, thin it out to just a light sprinkling as it nears the plant’s root zone.
  • Winter: Lavender is most likely to be severely damaged in fall and late winter/early spring when the ground isn’t frozen and frequent cold rains and/or melting snow keep the soil wet. This is rarely an issue in sandy or rocky soils but merits serious consideration in clay soils. 

 #3: Prune Prudently
Yes, lavender can and should be pruned, but when you do it makes a huge difference in its health and survival. Prune lavender only in spring and only once new growth begins to appear on the stems. Be patient! It may take several weeks of warm spring weather before your plant shows signs of life, but it’s worth waiting for this cue, as it shows you exactly where the plant is alive, where any dieback occurred, and lets you make your pruning cuts based on observation instead of mere guesses. Cut off the stems just above where a large, vigorous bud is emerging – this may mean cutting your plant back by half or even more. That may seem extreme, but this practice helps keep your plant producing productive young growth and ensures it flowers abundantly all over instead of just a few scraggly blooms at the top.
Never cut lavender back in fall or winter, as this can increase the potential for winter damage, and never cut it back to the ground, as this will kill the plant entirely. These
are both lessons I personally learned the hard way, so let my experience save you the same heartbreak!

Hosta & Coral Bells
Playful Combination For Shade Gardens
When anyone asks what plants I recommend for shade, I almost always answer with hostas and coral bells (Heuchera). Both perennials are staples for shade gardens. Hostas boast broad, thick, corrugated foliage that forms a graceful habit, while coral bells add long-lasting color for months on end, even in poor weather. Their versatility is what makes them so special, apart or together! Coming in an array of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, you can get creative when mixing and matching them. With so many of them on the market, the possibilities are endless.

The best part? Since they’re both foliage plants, their display lasts from spring to frost, year after year, with virtually no maintenance. They are both reliable and easy to grow. Try growing them in containers or mixed beds! Even in city environments, these perennials won’t let you down.
Our Favorite Combinations
Let’s Mix And Match!
This combination is all about bright colors! The warm hues from the coral bells lend themselves well to the chartreuse and green accents on the hostas. It features: ‘Caramel’ coral bells, ‘Red Lightning’ coral bells, ‘Curly Fries’ hosta, and ‘June’ hosta.
Looking to keep your shade garden looking cool? Try combining the blue-green foliage of hosta with purple and black coral bells! Pictured here are Shadowland® ‘Diamond Lake’ hosta, Dolce® ‘Wildberry’ coral bells, and Primo® ‘Black Pearl’ coral bells.
Or, combine both cool and warm hues by using Primo® ‘Black Pearl’ coral bells, ‘Fire Alarm’ coral bells, and Shadowland® ‘Waterslide’ hosta. No matter what you choose, you can’t really go wrong with these plants. Have fun, get creative, and enjoy your garden!

Introducing Feathered Friends™ Bugleweed

The Newest Collection Of Colorful, Hardy Bugleweeds

Bugleweed (Ajuga) is a powerhouse in the garden. This foolproof perennial groundcover is durable and low maintenance, making gardening a breeze. Varieties like ‘Chocolate Chip’ and ‘Black Scallop’ have gained popularity among gardeners for their colorful and textured foliage, blue flower spikes, and easy-going nature. While we cherish these classics, there’s a new series of bugleweed that deserves a spot in your garden! Introducing Feathered Friends™ from Garden Solutions: a series of hardy bugleweeds selected for color, vigor, and year-round interest.

 ‘Cordial Canary’
Feathered Friends™ ‘Cordial Canary’ bugleweed takes everything you love about ‘Chocolate Chip’ and turns it gold. Never seen a golden Ajuga before? That’s because this one is the very first! Brilliant yellow foliage instantly brightens shaded areas as it spreads through the garden. Even when the rest of the garden is dull and brown in the winter, this bugleweed continues to shine in warmer climates.

 

 ‘Fancy Finch’
Can’t decide which color of bugleweed is your favorite? Then pick ‘Fancy Finch’, which boasts three colors on its foliage! This perennial ground cover boasts tri-colored foliage. The small leaves are an assortment of gold, orange, and burgundy, creating a colorful display that lasts year-round. ‘Fancy Finch’ is ideal for mixing and matching with other Feathered Friends™ as well!
‘Fierce Falcon’
If you love ‘Black Scallop’ bugleweed, then you’re going to adore ‘Fierce Falcon’! It boasts incredibly dark purple textured foliage all year long. The leaves are larger than other Ajugas with deep veins for lots of texture. The cobalt blue flowers absolutely shine against this foliage in late spring and early summer!

 

 ‘Noble Nightingale’
I will admit, ‘Noble Nightingale’ is the staff favorite among the Feathered Friends™! Their narrow, sleek foliage stays looking tidy, even when planted in large masses. Foliage emerges as a dark green and takes on darker purple hues as they mature. It’s the perfect way to add darker foliage to the understory for contrast. Waves of blue flowers add extra color when they bloom late spring and early summer!
‘Parrot Paradise’
The multi-colored foliage of ‘Parrot Paradise’ bugleweed will have you dreaming of a tropical sunset. Or at least the name will! Bright green foliage takes on hues of yellow, orange, and red, creating a colorful display to enjoy year-round. Even in winter, these colors are sure to warm up your garden! Plus, wavy leaf margins add extra texture to the understory.

 ‘Petite Parakeet’
‘Petite Parakeet’ earns its name for its smaller, slender foliage. But what its foliage lacks in size, it makes up for in color! Newly emerged leaves take on orange-colored central veins and leaf edges. The cobalt blue flowers pair nicely with the orange-hued foliage!
‘Tropical Toucan’
‘Tropical Toucan’ has the biggest leaves of all the Feathered Friends™! As the first gold big-leaved Ajuga, ‘Tropical Toucan’ shines in the landscape. The large leaves boast golden hues all year long, even in the winter. Red stems add even more color and contrast on this low-growing ground cover.

 Pick one of the Feathered Friends™ to completely blanket your garden with one color, or pick a few of them to mix and match in the landscape! Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Top 10 Long-Blooming Shrubs
Do you dream of a flower-filled landscape or garden with never-ending beauty? We do, too: that’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favorite long-blooming shrubs! Start your planting with these ten flowering shrubs that provide months instead of weeks of colorful blooms.
1.) Perfecto Mundo® Reblooming Azalea
(Rhododendron sp.)
Perfecto Mundo reblooming azaleas are sure to make a statement in your garden if you’re looking for vibrant shrubs with flowers! This truly innovative new series boasts a spring bloom that’s as outstanding as its fall bloom, as well as big, double flowers and glossy foliage that resists pests and diseases. These azaleas begin to bloom in early-mid spring, then after a brief rest, create a whole new set of buds that opens from mid/late summer through frost.
For the very best flowering, we recommend planting with high, filtered light (such as under a tall canopy of a deciduous tree) all day and in moist, rich soil. Like many strong-blooming plants, it will benefit from some fertilizer, which gives it extra energy to put into flower bud production. A monthly application of a rose fertilizer from early spring through late July should provide excellent results.
Perfecto Mundo azaleas are evergreen shrubs and very easy to grow: no deadheading or trimming to get a stunning display in spring and fall. The flowers fall off naturally when they age.

 
2.) Butterfly Bush
(Buddleia sp.)

 
Even if this list wasn’t in alphabetical order, butterfly bush would be at the top! It really is one of the most floriferous shrubs out there. It starts blooming in early summer and doesn’t quit until the snowflakes fly. Newer varieties like the ones we offer from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs don’t even need deadheading (i.e., removing old flowers when they fade) to keep blooming.
For the most abundant and colorful blooms on butterfly bush – as well as the potential to attract the most butterflies – plant only in spots with at least six hours of sun each day. Butterfly bush are hardy to USDA zone 5 and heat tolerant through USDA zone 9. If you live in an area that’s too cold to grow butterfly bush in the ground, consider using one as a container plant. These garden bushes have similar flower power to annuals and can flower abundantly even in their first season.
Many people consider butterfly bush a perennial. However, these true woody plants are best thought of, and cared for, as a shrub. We recommend only pruning them in spring, once the new growth has begun to emerge.
3.) Panicle Hydrangeas
(Hydrangea paniculata)

Most of the plants on this list create fresh flowers through the season, but panicle hydrangeas provide their super-long bloom time by keeping the flowers they create looking fabulous through frost. Big, cone-shaped blooms start out white or green, then as the summer progresses, begin to take on pink and red tones. That color persists through frost, which means that people who grow panicle hydrangeas enjoy a solid three (or more!) months of flowering.
Panicle hydrangeas are some of the easiest and most reliable of all flowering shrubs, and certainly among hydrangeas. Hardy to USDA zone 3 and heat tolerant through USDA zone 8 or 9, these versatile, durable plants can be grown nearly anywhere in the country.
For many years, panicle hydrangeas only came in one size: huge. But that’s all changed, and there are several dwarf varieties that reach no more than 3-5′ tall and wide are available now. No matter what your space, there’s a panicle hydrangea that’s perfect for adding flower power!

 

4.) Smooth Hydrangeas
(Hydrangea arborescens)

 
These hardy native hydrangeas go by many names: smooth hydrangea, native hydrangea, wild hydrangea, ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea, wild seven-bark. But whatever you choose to call it, you can count on its big, bodacious blooms lasting months instead of just weeks. If you opt for a member of the award-winning Invincibelle® series, the show lasts even longer, since not only do the early summer blooms persist through autumn, these varieties continue to produce fresh flowers throughout the season. They are the only true reblooming smooth hydrangeas!
Though smooth hydrangeas have been popular garden plants for over a century, in recent years, they’ve undergone some major improvements that make them even more garden-worthy. Newer varieties have strong stems that don’t flop over in summer storms like ‘Annabelle’ does, dwarf and medium sizes that make it even more versatile, and an array of colors. You get all the reliability and easy care that has made Hydrangea arborescens such a timeless classic with much better performance.
For the best-looking smooth hydrangeas, plant with at least some sun each day. This ensures the strongest stems and the clearest, best colors.
5.) Sonic Bloom® Pink Weigela
(Weigela florida)

 
Sonic Bloom weigela are the original and best reblooming weigela money can buy! These Proven Winners weigela bloom in late spring/early summer along with other weigela, but then create additional waves of blooms through summer and into fall. Get more of those fabulously colorful trumpet-shaped flowers – which also means you’ll get more hummingbirds and pollinators in your yard.
Weigela are classic landscape plants, thanks to their easy-going nature. They do need full sun (at least 6 hours a day), but if you can provide that, you’ll be treated to a plant that needs no pruning, resists deer, tolerates drought, and looks great while doing it. And, you can take your pick of four fabulous colors.

In this video Miranda Niemiec, horticulture expert, highlights a few of the weigela we offer and gives some tips on how you can pick the perfect weigela for you!
6.) Bloomerang® Lilacs
(Syringa sp.)
Bloomerang lilacs are the original rebloomers. They bloom in spring along with conventional lilacs, then after a brief rest to put on new growth, they bloom again in mid-late summer. If conditions are good, you may even have lilac flowers in November! If you love lilacs but wish they bloomed longer, Bloomerang lilacs are the perfect choice. We have two fab varieties to choose from: Bloomerang Dark Purple,and Bloomerang Purpink.
These lilacs are a bit different than the classic lilacs: the flowers are smaller and the fragrance is different. The plants are, overall, smaller too, and the small leaves show exceptional disease resistance, especially compared to the old-fashioned varieties, which, while lovely, are quite prone to powdery mildew and bacterial disease. If you’ve struggled with keeping other lilacs healthy, Bloomerang lilacs take care of all of that and give you more flowers to boot.
Getting the best rebloom out of Bloomerang lilacs is simple: the more new growth they put on after their spring bloom, the more they will rebloom. To accomplish this, keep the plants growing vigorously by fertilizing monthly through late July, and don’t allow the plants to dry out or otherwise get stressed.

 
7.) Double Take™ Flowering Quince
(Chaenomeles speciosa)

 
Flowering quince is a classic spring-flowering shrub, but it had some prickly features – not least of all, abundant sharp thorns and a limited bloom time. The Double Take series from Proven Winners puts a whole new face on this old favorite with thornless stems, big double flowers, and a much longer bloom time. Even in hot climates like Texas, Double Take quince blooms for weeks longer than old varieties. In many
climates, they even rebloom, providing an impressive flush of colorful flowers in August and September.
Quince is a durable, drought-tolerant plant. Plant in full sun for the most flowers, though they can bloom very well in partial shade (4-6 hours of sun), especially when growing in USDA zone 8 or 9. We’ve found deer resistance on these to vary – old-fashioned quince are considered quite resistant due to their thorns, but the thornless Double Take series may experience some browsing in areas with heavy deer pressure.
8.) Rose Of Sharon
(Hibiscus syriacus)
At the height of summer, the last thing anyone wants to be doing is messing about in the hot sun in the garden – that’s the time you should be relaxing and enjoying the fruit of the work you did in spring and fall. And few plants make that easier to do than rose of Sharon. They need almost no maintenance and bloom for well over a month each year, often stretching into two month spans. That long blooming period won’t just delight you and your family: it will also be loved by all the hummingbirds and pollinators that find the colorful blooms irresistible.
Rose of Sharon comes in a wide range of blue to pink tones, including pure whites, and you’ll also find both double and single blooms (though the single blooms are the better choice if you are trying to attract pollinators). You’ll also find a range of sizes, from full-sized Chiffon and Satin series to Pollypetite, the smallest rose of Sharon on the market.
Love the months of color and flowers from rose of Sharon but hate their tendency to seed all over? All of the varieties that we carry here at Great Garden Plants are low or no seed! They won’t cause nuisance seedlings to pop up all over your yard.

 
9.) Landscape Roses
(Rosa sp.)

 
What’s a landscape rose? Well, they’re characterized by their vigorous growth, exceptional disease resistance, and ability to bloom all summer. Though their flowers are smaller, generally less fully petalled, and usually not fragrant compared to the hybrid teas that dominated the rose scene for so long, they more than make up for it with their laidback, low-maintenance nature and ability to bloom for months without deadheading.
We offer a huge selection of landscape roses from both the Knock Out® series, which started the craze, and the Oso Easy® series from Proven Winners. You’ll find a range of colors and sizes that are perfect for sunny spots.
Landscape roses don’t need deadheading (i.e., removing the old flowers as they fade) to continue blooming. In fact, they need virtually no care at all, save a pruning in spring. Even this, though, is easy – no need to fussy over where to make the cuts, since they grow so vigorously, they’ll easily rebound from a quick cut back with loppers or even hedge trimmers.
10.) Double Play Doozie® Spirea
(Spiraea x)
The first-ever reblooming spirea! Double Play Doozie® spirea lives up to its name with a performance that’s unmatched by any other spirea to date. In late spring/early summer (early June for us in Michigan), it explodes in clusters of red-pink flowers, and they continue to come consistently, all the way through autumn. We have simply never before seen a spirea with this level of flower power. It’s extraordinary!
Double Play Doozie has all the characteristics that make spirea such a popular garden plant: tidy rounded habit, easy-care, drought tolerant, deer resistant, and hardy. But it adds in beautiful red foliage in spring and non-stop blooming. Whether you plant one in your perennial garden, three in your landscape, or a whole hedge’s worth, you’ll be treated to an outstanding display with minimal care.
Double Play Doozie spirea is also seedless, so if other spirea tend to seed around in your area, it makes an ideal choice!

 
Ready to get started? Shop all of our flowering shrubs now! If you’re looking for a bit more information, check out our blog entry on ten long-blooming perennials.

Plant Your Own Amen Corner

The Amen Corner – the three most intimidating holes in golf, are also three of the most beautiful.
Finally back on schedule, the 2021 tournament will take place April 8-11. And unlike last year’s improvised fall edition of the tournament that saw Dustin Johnson claim the Green Jacket, this year’s edition will once again take place with a backdrop of spring blooms.

Whether it’s the spectacular azaleas, the ever-present dogwood, or another part of Augusta National’s famous landscaping that catches your eye, we’ve compiled some of our favorite plants from the course’s most iconic section to help you create your own amen corner right at home – if you see a plant on the golf course this spring that you can’t find on Great Garden Plants, contact us and let us know! Our customer service team is ready and willing to make sure your garden can be exactly as you envision it.

And as far as your golf game goes? We’ll leave that to Tiger.
Hole 11 – White Dogwood
The Amen corner begins with the White Dogwood hole. A native tree that holds interest throughout the year thanks to its changing colors and spectacular foliage, the White Dogwood hole is one that might be more visually appealing when the tournament tees off this fall.

 

While the landscaping team at Augusta National is somewhat secretive about the specific cultivars of each species they use, our Red Rover® Dogwood is a dogwood just as special as those at Augusta, with a compact enough habit to fit in your garden with ease. If your yard is the same size as the real Amen Corner it might make sense to look for a bigger dogwood, but Red Rover makes a terrific substitute for the rest of us.
Care Info:
Now that you have the right plant, you need to grow it with the expertise of the full-time landscaping staff of the world’s greatest golf course. If you don’t have that expertise, our care guide below should work just fine.

  • Soil: Red Rover can handle just about anything, acidic soil, clay soil, even some standing water.
  • Light: Does well with Sun, although a few hours of shade a day won’t hurt
  • Water: Just provide regular watering in periods of low rain.
  • Fertilize: A generous application in early spring helps promote growth
  • Pruning: Pruning can be done right after flowering, or not at all

And that’s it. A few simple tips and your yard will be well on its way to looking just like the Amen Corner.

 

Hole 12 – Golden Bell (Forsythia)

The 12th hole of the course is perhaps the most daunting from a golfer’s perspective. From a gardening perspective, it’s home to some of the most unique spring flowers you can find anywhere in the world. The golden bell hole, better known to the world as forsythia, hosts a number of these unique flowering shrubs and its stunning yellow flowers.

 

Another incredibly durable plant, forsythia is easy to grow in your landscape, and we would be remiss to not suggest our favorite forsythia, Flying Machine®. While this is a slightly different cultivar than what is likely used at Augusta, the extra durability and oversized flowers on this Proven Winners selection, combined with its resistance to deer and rabbits, as well as its ability to grow in just about any conditions make it a great equivalent for the Amen Corner at home.
Care Info:
An incredible upside of using Flying Machine for the forsythia section of your Amen Corner garden is its tremendous durability, which should help you spend more time enjoying its views, and less time landscaping them.

  • Soil: Grows pretty much anywhere. Can handle very dry soil once established
  • Light: Can grow anywhere from sun to shade, but more sun leads to more flowers
  • Water: Water regularly, avoid drowning
  • Fertilizing: Not needed, but some rose fertilizer can spur growth
  • Pruning: Not needed, although it can be done after blooming in late spring if desired

Another incredibly easy to care for plant leaves us with a fantastic start to the Amen Corner, with perhaps the most iconic of the Masters flowers left to plant.

 

Hole 13 – Azalea
The end of the Amen Corner is home to the most iconic of the flowers on the course, the Azalea. After missing the iconic Azalea blooms thanks to a fall tournament last year, the excitement for the 2021 blooms is at an all time high. A planting of your own azaleas can provide that same awe-inspiring view from your own window.

There are over 30 varieties of Azalea across the course and are over 1600 individual azalea plants on the 13th hole alone. We’re going to start with the assumption here that you’re not looking to plant 30+ azaleas in this section of your garden (Although if you can – we highly recommend it and would love to see), we’re going to recommend one of our favorite Azaleas to help round out your very own Amen Corner.

 Perfecto Mundo® Double Pink is a new Azalea cultivar that will give your home azaleas a unique advantage over many of the azaleas on the course at Augusta. While the typical azalea blooms for a month or two throughout March and April, Perfecto Mundo blooms for over 5 months, giving you that in bloom golf season feel throughout the entire year. While the Azalea hole was the most difficult hole on the course in 2019, growing these fantastic flowers will be easy.
Care Info:

  • Soil: Does best in well-drained acidic soil
  • Light: Partial sun works well, as does filtered sun, hence many of the tall trees that tower over the azaleas at Augusta
  • Water: Azaleas have shallow roots, which means they need frequent watering during heat waves
  • Fertilizing: Fertilization after the spring bloom can help promote growth, just don’t fertilize any time after late July
  • Pruning: A light trim after the spring bloom may help encourage a second round of blooms

 

An additional word of caution – while there is a theory as to how Augusta National manages to have spectacular blooms year after year, which states an application of ice can delay bloom time, cheating out blooms just isn’t possible. Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what expert horticulturist and Great Garden Plants Content Manager Stacey Hirvela said on the matter when we asked her:
“Flower buds get their cues to swell and open based on accumulated heat – that’s why spring-blooming things like lilacs, forsythia can vary so much in their bloom time. In cool springs, they open late, and in warm springs, they open earlier. So while cool conditions will delay or “hold” the bloom, putting ice on the plant won’t actually help – in fact, if the buds were quite close to opening, the ice would damage the flower bud tissue and they’d be all brown and raggedy when they bloomed. Putting ice on the roots won’t cut it.”
It’s that simple. No additional nonsense needed. Three easy-to-grow plants, one incredible replica of the most iconic golf course in the world.

What Is the Best Spacing for Ground Covers?
Some of our most commonly asked questions are in regards to plant spacing, specifically with ground covers! How far should ground covers be spaced and how long will it take to fully cover an area? Proper spacing can create some confusion because there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on a number of factors – what look you want, the size of the plant, growing conditions, budget, etc. While it can be hard to give each gardener an exact number, we do provide spacing ranges for each plant.
Plant spacing is normally given as a range; for example, 6-12″. If you live in a cold climate and/or want plants to fill in more quickly, plan to space at the shorter end of the range. If you live in a warm climate, are on a limited budget, or are willing to wait longer for plants to touch, use the higher end of the range. There really isn’t a maximum spacing for your plants. They can be planted as far away from each other as you like! However, it is important to consider the minimum spacing. Planting too closely will cause your plants to crowd each other – which leads to stress.
With that being said, here are our recommendations for our most popular ground covers:

 

Did you know we also sell some of our favorite ground covers as landscape plugs? Using landscape plugs is best for filling large spaces! We sell them in 32-cell trays for transforming your garden quickly with a lower budget.
Discover More Ground Covers

Bleeding Heart – April 2021

It’s Hard Not To Fall In Love With These Flowers

Bleeding heart (Dicentra) is our Plant of the Month for its cheerful spring blooms, which may be taking off in your garden soon! This perennial wears its heart on its sleeves, quite literally. Arching sprays appear in late spring, decorated with intricate heart-shaped flowers. The blooms look whimsical as they dangle above lacy fern-like foliage. They’re all so charming, we couldn’t choose just one! So, this month we’ll be highlighting all six varieties we offer.
1.) Bleeding Heart
(Dicentra spectabilis)
The old-fashioned bleeding heart is a classic in shade gardens for a reason! Lovely rose-pink petals with white tips form puffy -heart-shaped flowers. While this Dicentra has classic charm, it does have the shortest bloom time. It starts its display in late spring and can be seen blooming into early summer with adequate moisture. However, it usually goes dormant as soon as flowering ends.

 

 

2.) ‘Amore Rose’ Bleeding Heart
(Dicentra x)
‘Amore Rose’ bleeding heart has everything you love about the classic, but with darker flowers and a longer bloom time! Vibrant magenta flowers hover above blue-green foliage. It blooms prolifically well into summer, or even into fall if spent flowers are continuously removed. Intricate blue-green foliage stays looking fresh in the landscape, even when the flower display is done.
3.) ‘Gold Heart’ Bleeding Heart
(Dicentra x)
Looking for a bleeding heart with more color? ‘Gold Heart’ bleeding heart boasts brilliant gold foliage, which serves as the perfect backdrop for its rose-pink flowers! This long-blooming hybrid will reliably bloom for months in late spring and early summer. If it wasn’t already colorful enough, peach stems hold the foliage and flowers to form a lovely, bushy mound.

 

 4.) ‘Ruby Gold’ Bleeding Heart
(Dicentra x)
‘Ruby Gold’ bleeding heart is the first of its kind with gold foliage and red flowers! Peach stems are extra strong, ensuring the heart-shaped flowers hover gracefully for months starting in late spring. Between the foliage, flowers, and stems, this perennial is sure to turn heads in the garden.
5.) ‘White Gold’ Bleeding Heart
(Dicentra x)
‘White Gold’ bleeding heart is bound to brighten the shade with gold foliage and white flowers. Pure white heart-shaped flowers stay looking fresh for weeks, even in the heat, when given adequate moisture! It’s vigorous, reliable, and sure to amaze year after year.

 

 6.) Fringed Bleeding Heart
(Dicentra eximia)
Fringed bleeding heart has to be the personal favorite of the bunch! It has all the charm, but unlike the others, this one is native to the US. It’s everblooming, flowering freely from spring to frost with fringed flowers. Extra dissected leaves look like lace, adding almost as much charm as the flowers!
Pair your bleeding hearts with other spring-bloomers and flowering bulbs for a memorable spring display you’ll look forward to each year! Since the foliage for some varieties dies back in the summer, plant it with other shade-loving plants, like hostas, coral bells, or lily-of-the-valley, to fill in the gaps.

15 Dog-Friendly Plants for Your Garden
These Garden Favorites Are Safe For Your Pups
Dogs are man’s best friend, but they’re not always your garden’s best friend! If your dogs are anything like mine, they’ll take any chance they get to steal a twig, munch on flowers, or lay right in the middle of the garden bed. Sure, it’s destructive, but more importantly, it can be dangerous! Some plants are toxic for dogs – like ivy, foxglove, and boxwoods – and may make your dog sick when ingested. But don’t worry; we’ve compiled a list of our most popular outdoor plants that are safe for dogs. Add these to your garden to spend less time worrying about your pup, and more time enjoying your garden!

 


1.) Catmint
(Nepeta)
It may be called catmint, but it’s dog-friendly too! It’s one of the longest-blooming perennials on the market, providing over 5 months of flowers. It has strong stems, so it can handle some disturbance from a curious dog. Plus, the fragrant foliage may be a nice perfume for your pup!

 ‘Cat’s Meow’ Catmint

 ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ Catmint

 Walker’s Low Catmint

 Center Stage® Red Crapemyrtle

 Center Stage® Pink Crapemyrtle

 Infinitini Watermelon® Crapemyrtle

 Infinitini® Magenta Crapemyrtle
2.) Crapemyrtle
(Lagerstroemia)
Crapemyrtle is known for bringing drama to the garden, even when it’s not blooming! Vibrant flowers and colorful foliage make it hard to not stop and stare in the summer. If this shrub catches your dog’s eye too, no worries. It’s non-toxic and vigorous, so it can handle a few nibbles.
3.) Astilbe
(Astilbe)
Your pup might not be the fluffiest thing in your garden! Astilbe adds whimsical texture to every landscape with fluffy spikes of flowers. They’re wonderful shade perennials, known for their dark fern-like foliage and plume-like flowers. It’s non-toxic, durable, and low maintenance.

 White Astilbe

 Red Astilbe

 Pink Astilbe

 ‘Visions’ Astilbe

 

 Summerific® ‘Holy Grail’ Perennial Hibiscus

 Summerific® ‘French Vanilla’ Perennial Hibiscus

 Summerific® ‘Evening Rose’ Perennial Hibiscus
4.) Perennial Hibiscus
(Hibiscus)
Easy to care for and beaming with vivid blooms, hardy hibiscus is the perfect perennial for the summer. This attention-grabbing plant isn’t just dog-friendly; it’s pollinator-friendly too! Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees will happily visit the flowers, as long as your pup doesn’t chase them away.
5.) Thyme
(Thymus)
Thyme is a low-growing herbaceous perennial with fragrant foliage. Soft green foliage is aromatic when touched or crushed. It’s safe to eat fresh or dry, even for humans. It’s durable enough to handle some foot traffic (and paw traffic), so plant it around your stepping stones and pathways!

 Lemon Thyme

 Red Creeping Thyme

 ‘Archer’s Gold’ Thyme

 ‘Star Cluster’ Tickseed

 Uptick™ Gold & Bronze Tickseed

 ‘Ladybird’ Tickseed

 ‘Berry Chiffon’ Tickseed

 ‘Star Cluster’ Tickseed

 Uptick™ Gold & Bronze Tickseed
6.) Tickseed
(Coreopsis)
The non-stop blooms of tickseed (Coreopsis) will turn heads in your garden! You can rely on the vibrant flowers to continually bloom without any deadheading. Don’t worry; it doesn’t attract ticks but has small dark seeds that resemble little bugs (hence the name). Make sure your dog has their tick meds anyways!
7.) Black-Eyed Susan
(Rudbeckia)
Black-eyed Susan brings glowing color late in the season, just when it’s needed the most! Hundreds of cheerful flowers bloom in late summer and float high above dark green foliage and handle summer heat with grace. The plant is non-toxic, and with so many flowers, there’s no way your dog can eat them all!

 

 ‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Russian Sage

 ‘Sage Advice’ Russian Sage
8.) Russian Sage
(Perovskia)
With strong stems and an upright habit, Russian sage is the perfect accent plant in tough, hot, dry gardens. Blue-purple flowers persist all summer. It needs little water or maintenance to stay looking fresh! It’s a semi-woody perennial that is durable enough to handle a rambunctious dog. After my dogs run through it, they come out smelling amazing!
9.) Cranesbill
(Geranium)
Cranesbill, or perennial geranium, is more durable than it looks! Nothing seems to stop this vigorous ground cover. It boasts heat and drought tolerance, is not subject to insects or disease, and is deer resistant. It’ll keep glowing in the landscape, even if your dog pesters it. It’s non-toxic, but dogs generally don’t like the taste anyway.

 ‘Biokovo’ Cranesbill

 Rozanne® Cranesbill

 ‘Vision Violet’ Cranesbill

 ‘Biokovo’ Cranesbill

 Rozanne® Cranesbill

 ‘Drummond’s Pink’ Creeping Phlox

 ‘Emerald Blue’ Creeping Phlox

 ‘Amazing Grace’ Creeping Phlox

 ‘Drummond’s Pink’ Creeping Phlox
10.) Creeping Phlox
(Phlox subulata)
Creeping phlox may have dainty spring-time flowers, but this ground cover is tough-as-nails! It’s highly adaptable and able to thrive in challenging sites, like slopes, rocky areas, and borders. It grows to form a lush carpet of foliage and flowers that are non-toxic. It’s unbothered by deer and will hopefully be unbothered by your dog, too!
11.) Forsythia
(Forsythia)
Greet spring with extra enthusiasm each year with Forsythia blooms in your garden! Flowers are densely packed in tight clusters along the entire length of the stem. If your dog picks flowers off the stem or eats them as they fall to the ground, it’s ok. They’re non-toxic! This durable landscape plant is ready to shine.

 Flying Machine® Forsythia

 Show Off Starlet® Forsythia

 Show Off® Forsythia

 
12.) Coral Bells
(Heuchera)
Coral bells are cherished for their colorful foliage that persists from spring to fall. Leaves grow to form a lovely mound of foliage. Thankfully, all parts of this plant are non-toxic! Though it is fairly durable, it might not appreciate a trampling from your pup. Try planting it in a pot to avoid any paw traffic and ripped leaves from your dog.
13.) Maiden Grass
(Miscanthus sinensis)
Maiden grasses are the perfect addition to dog-friendly gardens! With long-narrow leaf blades that are non-toxic, your pup will love playing in the foliage. They’re more than just good looks; they’re also hardy, durable, and low maintenance. Watch them sway and rustle as your dog runs through them!

 ‘Bandwidth’ Maiden Grass

 ‘Strictus’ Maiden Grass

 ‘Gracillimus’ Maiden Grass

 Sunsparkler® ‘Wildfire’ Stonecrop

 ‘Autumn Joy’ Stonecrop

 ‘Coral Carpet’ Stonecrop

 Sunsparkler® ‘Wildfire’ Stonecrop

 ‘Autumn Joy’ Stonecrop
14.) Stonecrop
(Sedum)
Stonecrop ignites new life in your garden during late summer (a typically quiet time) when hundreds of starry blooms signal fall’s approach. It’s forgiving of heat, humidity, and drought so it stays looking fresh during hot months. It’s also non-toxic for pets, so you can relax knowing your dog will be safe!
15.) Roses
(Rosa)
You might be surprised to find roses on our list of dog-friendly plants! Yes, they have thorns, but that might actually be to your advantage. Plant them strategically as a barrier to keep your dog out of garden beds. Remove dead and dried branches promptly, as those have the sharpest thorns. If your dog is brave enough to try nibbling on rose flowers or leaves, it’s okay! They aren’t toxic.

 Oso Easy® Petit Pink Rose

 At Last® Rose

 Julia Child™ Rose

 Oso Easy® Petit Pink Rose

 At Last® Rose
Other Safe Plants For Your Dogs That We Love
Beautiful plants can add major curb appeal to your garden, but it’s important to keep in mind which varieties can make your furry friends sick. We listed our 15 favorite dog-friendly plants for your garden, but it doesn’t end there! There is a plethora of options for your pups that are both versatile and vibrant, and they are all approved by the ASPCA. Some more dog-friendly plant options for your garden include  hollyhock, coral bells, baby’s breath, christmas ferns, globe thistle, ice plants (delosperma), creeping phlox, and red hot poker.  As a pet parent with a green thumb, these plants for your garden help mitigate risks and keep your curious four-legged friends safe from ingesting harmful toxins.
Why Are Dog-Friendly Plants Important?
Choosing safe plants is only one part of creating a dog-friendly garden! Make sure you choose a mulch that’s safe for your dogs as well. Mulch made from cocoa shells, like cocoa bean mulch, is toxic for dogs. Try using cedar, pine, or hemlock mulches as a healthier alternative. Avoid spraying your plants with dangerous chemicals. If you do use fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, keep your dogs away from the applied areas until deemed safe. As always, make sure to consult your vet if your dog is showing any signs of discomfort after playing in the garden.
Have pictures of your dogs playing in the garden? Send them to us on Instagram, Facebook, or email and we’ll include them in social posts or future blogs!

Spring Greenhouse Tour
Brunneras, Hostas, Dianthus, And More
Join us on a greenhouse tour with Miranda, our horticulture expert. You’ll see where your new plants are grown and some of Miranda’s favorite varieties to give you some inspiration for your own garden!Our plants are grown with care in our greenhouse and then handpicked just for you! No matter what plant you choose for your garden, you can rest assured it’s being cared for thoughtfully until it reaches your door.

Garden Design Basics: Color
Color isn’t just for paintings; it has its place in your garden too! With proper planning, color can make your garden look more balanced and really help tie the landscape together! Whether you’re looking to transform a flower bed, a container, or your entire landscape, knowing the basics of color and how colors interact with one another is incredibly useful when designing any part of your garden, big or small. It’s time to break out a color wheel and get ready to use color to transform your space.

Color 101

Ever wondered why certain plants look great next to each other and some look out of place? Color may be the explanation! While some color combinations can naturally look pleasing to the eye and harmonious, some can appear chaotic and overstimulating. We’re here to break down 3 popular color combinations/schemes and explain why these colors work so well and how to use them in your garden.
Analogous Colors
Analogous means closely related. When three colors border each other on the color wheel, they create what are known as analogous colors. While these color combinations appear complex and interesting in the garden, they never look fussy or complicated; these colors look very natural when paired together.

 

Analogous color schemes are often found in nature, from oceans to sunsets to even some of your favorite plants; many things around us display analogous color schemes. Plants like Rainbow Rhythm® ‘Orange Smoothie’ daylily or ‘Flamenco’ red hot poker artfully display this color scheme naturally, but you can also design your garden to take advantage of these pleasing color combinations. If you’ve been struggling to make your garden appear balanced, try experimenting with analogous colors, we’ve shown a combination of plants below using yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange plants.
Monochromatic Color
Monochromatic color schemes are variations of one color, like what burgundy and pink are to the color red. Luckily for us, plants naturally come in endless color options, giving us so much variety to choose from. Just because monochromatic color schemes only focus on variations of one color, that doesn’t mean a monochromatic garden or flowerbed would be boring! By mixing in a variety of textures from leaves and flowers, we’re able to enjoy plenty of interest and visual contrast with just one color! Using monochromatic colors is a perfect strategy for those looking to make their garden feel interesting without appearing complicated. You’ll never have to worry about your garden feeling chaotic; these colors look naturally harmonious together.
Great Garden Tip: When planning a monochromatic garden, be sure to get plants with enough color variation. Getting plants that are too similar in color can lead things to look flat. Try mixing lots of light and dark-colored plants.
Complementary/Contrasting Colors
Complementary colors are colors opposite each other on the color wheel. There are three main complementary color pairs:

  • Blue and Orange
  • Red and Green
  • Yellow and Violet (Purple)

 

Also known as contrasting colors, complementary colors are known for providing high contrast when paired together. Sometimes these color pairs can look too intense; if that’s the case in your garden, look for tints or shades (plants with colors that appear mixed with black or white, like the color pink) to help tone down the saturation and intensity. Adding darker or lighter variations of complementary colors can make them more pleasing to the eye and look more harmonious in your garden.
You can often find complementary colors in nature. Take a walk around your garden and may find some plants exhibiting this color scheme. Plants like ‘Yarai’ Japanese iris and ‘Red Lightning’ coral bells look so appealing for a reason; they exhibit a perfect display of complementary colors. Using contrasting colors in your garden design will help pack a punch and help certain parts of your landscape pop and stand out while still creating balance.
Understanding the basics of color can be incredibly helpful when designing your garden. Whether you’re looking to create a sense of balance or have certain parts of your garden pop, the color of the plants you choose can help you accomplish these goals. Get creative! Test out these color schemes in containers, try finding which one works for
your space or is most appealing to you. The best thing about gardening is there is no right or wrong way to use color.

Ninebark – May 2021

Low Maintenance Color For 3 Seasons!

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance landscape plant, ninebark (Physocarpus) is the perfect plant for you! Ninebark adds interest to almost every season with colorful foliage, spring-blooming flowers, and late summer seed pods. Plus, it does all of this without you lifting a finger. It doesn’t take much work at all to keep this plant looking cheery, making it an excellent option for beginners. The dainty flowers are blooming soon in a garden near you, which is why we’re highlighting it as our May plant of the month.
All of our ninebarks are from Proven Winners ColorChoice, so you know they won’t disappoint in the landscape. High sun exposure, fungal disease, and drought never seem to faze these shrubs. That means you never have to worry. Meet all of our varieties, then decide which is best for your garden!
1.) Tiny Wine® Ninebark
Tiny Wine® Ninebark is aptly named for its bold purple foliage and smaller stature. Nearly everything about it is tiny; from its dwarf habit, mini leaves, and tiny flowers! Pale pink flower buds have a sweet scent that attracts pollinators. It’s the perfect way to add some darker tones to the garden, while still celebrating spring with cheerful flowers.

 

 2.) Tiny Wine® Gold Ninebark
If Tiny Wine® is a red wine, then Tiny Wine® Gold is a white! Everything about this shrub is refreshing, from its brilliant yellow new growth to its white fragrant flowers. New leaves emerge as bright yellow and then mellow to light golden green. Its dwarf landscape-friendly habit makes it an easy addition to any garden!
3.) Giner Wine® Ninebark
With bold foliage, soft white flowers, and a landscape-friendly habit, Ginger Wine® Ninebark deserves a spot in your garden! Orange foliage emerges in spring and keeps its vibrant color through summer and fall. Bright red seed heads complement the orange foliage when flowering is finished in summer.

 

 4.) Festivus Gold® Ninebark
Festivus Gold® Ninebark really is a festive shrub! It glows in the landscape with bright yellow foliage. Though its foliage is similar to Tiny Wine® Gold, its habit is not! Festivus Gold® is semi-dwarf, which means it’s a little bigger, reaching 3-4 feet tall and wide.
5.) Summer Wine® Ninebark
Summer Wine® Ninebark looks stunning all season long with deep purple foliage and a cascading habit. Arching branches are covered with textured foliage that keeps its purple hues, even in high sun exposure! In early summer, clusters of soft pink flowers smother the shrub and fill your garden with a sweet fragrance.

 

 6.) Summer Wine® Black Ninebark
Summer Wine® Black might have the most dramatic foliage of the bunch. New growth emerges with vibrant red and purple hues before darkening to black. It has a tidy, upright habit that looks fantastic in any landscape. It does grow the largest, reaching 5-6 feet tall and wide. Talk about a big impact!

Sparky Clematis Will Spark Joy in Your Garden

Clematis are known as the “queen of climbers,” and after seeing them in bloom, it’s hard to dispute this title! Clematis are woody vines that climb and weave over trellises, fences, walls, and arbors to create a tapestry of colorful blooms. Flowers come in an array of sizes, from small 4-petal flowers to massive dinner-plate blooms. However, the newest series of clematis from Proven Winners ColorChoice is unlike any you’ve ever seen before! Sparky® clematis will spark joy in your garden, and here’s why.

Phenomenal Flowers
Textured Pinwheel Blooms Are Truly One-Of-A-Kind

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever seen flowers quite this intricate? Clematis flowers are generally known for having 4-7 broad petals, but Sparky® breaks the mold with textured pinwheel-like blooms. Narrow colorful sepals cluster together to form a spikey flower! Flower buds open facing downwards, and then slowly raise up as they fully bloom. The result is an elegant display of flowers facing in every direction, which means they look stunning at any angle.
Though it blooms mainly in spring, it continues to create additional flowers throughout the summer in Michigan. Like other clematis, spent flowers add an extra textural element to the plant. After the petals fall, they leave behind fuzzy seed heads. Each seed is attached to a long tuft of hair for efficient wind dispersal!
Low Maintenance Beauty
Easy To Grow Means It’s Easy To Enjoy

 

Sparky® is a vigorous vine that is easy to train on structures. It’s a group 1 clematis, which means it blooms in the spring on old wood. This means that they set their flower buds for 2021 back in 2020. Similar to hydrangeas, pruning an old wood clematis should be avoided because you would be removing future flower buds! Since the spent flowers add textural interest, there’s no need to deadhead flowers either. That makes this clematis nearly maintenance-free!

Plants to Avoid and Enjoy for an Allergy Friendly Garden

Avoid Allergies Without Saying Goodbye To Your Garden
With springtime flowers starting to bloom nationwide and summer beckoning, allergy season is officially upon us. More than 50 million people in the united states alone suffer from allergies, and if you’re like me, you love plants but hate how they often trigger your seasonal allergy symptoms. Cue the runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and sneezing. But what if you could enjoy gardening without the threat of allergies? With a few smart plant choices and strategies, you can build a garden that you love that won’t contribute to your allergies and have you running for your nasal spray. Below we list our favorite perennials, and shrubs even allergy suffers can enjoy!
Our Favorite Plants For A Seasonal Allergy-Friendly Garden

Allergy-Friendly Perennials Include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Allergy-Friendly Shrubs Include:

What Makes A Plant Allergy-Friendly?
More often than not, the number one allergy trigger for plants is pollen, not the flowers themselves. While some plants have high pollen counts, there are many with low or no pollen levels, meaning there are still plenty of options for gardeners with allergies to enjoy! Plants with male flowers, whether the plant only has male flowers (dioecious) or both male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious), are typically worse for allergies as male flowers are the pollen producers on plants. But lucky for us, pollen usually only irritates allergy symptoms when it’s airborne. Plants that wind rather than animal pollinated tend to be most likely to evoke seasonal allergy symptoms. Due to their light and dusty pollen, wind-pollinated plants are known to be one of the most common contributors to seasonal allergies or hay fever. Plants that have sticky pollen (pollen grains on insect-pollinated plants tend to be heavier and tacky to make it more likely to stick to the insect’s body) or no pollen at all are typically the best allergy-friendly choices.
For some allergy sufferers, fragrance can also trigger symptoms. While some plants may not typically irritate sufferers, their highly fragranced blooms can sometimes still be irritating for one. So many gardeners may want to consider limiting highly fragrant plants in their garden this season if they find them bothersome.
How Do I Tell If A Plant Is Allergy-Friendly?
Lucky for us allergy sufferers, three-fourths of the flowering plants on earth are pollinated by animals giving us plenty of options to choose from and making it easier to avoid wind-pollinated plants. Looking for plants labeled pollinator-friendly or plants that are foliage-forward plants can be a quick way to narrow down which plants might be a good fit for your garden. And don’t worry, just because you suffer from allergies doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice big beautiful blooms. Many plants with showy flowers are considered allergy-friendly because their flowers are used to attract pollinators; it’s a win-win in our book.
Plants Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid
As we mentioned earlier, wind-pollinated plants tend to be more likely to trigger symptoms than animal pollinated plants. So what plants are more likely to be wind-pollinated? Trees such as birch, elm, maple, oak, and ash are all wind-pollinated and tend to produce large amounts of pollen. Allergy sufferers should also avoid conifers such as juniper, cypress, and cedar. Popular perennials like wisteria and common daisies should be avoided if pollen induces your allergy symptoms. For all the wisteria lovers out there looking for an allergy-friendly alternative, clematis would be a great option!

 

 What You Can Do?
While avoiding wind-borne pollen entirely is nearly possible, and attempting to do so would leave you trapped inside away from your garden, there are a few things you can do. First, you can avoid planting plants that are known allergy triggers for you. Next, a great strategy to implement is to limit your time outdoors when pollen is being shed. You can track pollen counts/levels in your area by heading to the National Allergy Burea or sites like Pollen.com. They’ve both created maps to easily track pollen levels and even the type of plants that are likely to be triggering symptoms (perfect for those who are more sensitive to some plants more than others, like me and ragweed).
Avoiding gardening and spending copious amounts of time during days with heavy pollen counts are the best ways to limit your symptoms. Other than that, you don’t need to give up gardening or beautiful flowers if you’re a seasonal allergy sufferer; you can add more (allergy-friendly) plants without worry! The list we created isn’t exhaustive so if you have questions about whether or not a plant you’ve been eyeing or have in your garden is allergy-friendly, reach out to us, and we’ll let you know! Our team of garden enthusiasts and horticulture experts are here to help, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. Happy Gardening!

Five Plants to Avoid if You Have Deer (and what to plant instead!)

It can be a thrill to see a deer in your own backyard – until you start to realize how much damage these big, hungry creatures can do to your plants. While hungry deer will eat just about anything, there are certain plants that they like so much that merely having them in your yard will actually *attract* them. Not only does this severely harm or even kill those plants, it encourages them to linger and feed on other plants, causing even more widespread damage. If you don’t mind the deer stopping by but want to stop short of rolling out the welcome mat for them, here are five perennials and shrubs to not plant, and some ideas for what you can plant instead.
1. Hosta

 

Do deer eat hostas (Heuchera)? Hostas are beautiful, elegant, and the go-to plant for shady spots in both warm and cold climates. They’re also at the top of the list of plants that deer love and actively seek out. If your hosta is just a bunch of stems sticking out of the ground with no leaves, that’s a sure sign that deer got to them! Though they can recover, deer favor them so heavily that they will continue to browse them as soon as a single new leaf dares to emerge, so unless you plan to install a fence any time soon, you should consider replacing your hostas with one of these suggestions. They thrive in the same shady conditions and are equally low-maintenance – maybe even more so, since the deer will leave them alone. Next, we’ll discuss some deer-resistant plants for shade.
Top Hosta Alternatives
Ferns provide the same effortless foliage interest as hostas but are rarely, if ever, bothered by deer. They share the same elegant, urn-like shape, and though many ferns tend to be taller than hostas, a huge range of colors, sizes, and shapes are available, so you’re sure to find one that works just as well.
Coral bells (Heuchera sp.) are another option to consider for foliage interest in the shade. Heuchera have undergone a veritable renaissance in breeding, with hundreds of colors, sizes, leaf shapes, and textures available, and coral bells are deer-resistant. They do require well-drained soil, though, and if you can provide some filtered light each day, you’ll find they become much more lively and colorful than if they grow in deep shade.
Foamy bells (Heucherella sp.) and foamflower (Tiarella sp.) are close relatives of coral bells that also merit consideration as hosta alternatives. These North American natives typically have a slightly more “rustic” or “wild” look than hostas, but that may be just what you are looking for!
2. Daylily

 

Ah, daylilies – so easy to grow, so long-blooming, so colorful! And so impossible to enjoy if you have deer. Daylilies are easily tied with hostas for the number one spot on the list of deer favorite foods and they similarly attract deer if you have them in your yard. They begin chowing down as soon as the foliage emerges in spring, but should your plants get to the point of flowering, you can be assured that any neighborhood deer will find them a particular delight. While it’s certainly disappointing to not be able to grow this all-time favorite perennial, take heart: there are some lovely deer-resistant alternatives that can provide the same easy-breezy summer color and are similarly maintenance-free.
Instead of Planting Daylilies, Try These
Coneflowers (Echinacea sp.) love the sun and bring tons of colorful blooms to the summer garden. And you don’t have to worry about deer, as they dislike the hairy leaves, stems, and of course, the prominent, prickly cones that serves as the namesake of this hardy perennial.
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) doesn’t have the color range of coneflowers, but blooms nearly non-stop all summer, so readily approximates the long blooming period of daylilies without the liabilities (and the flowers last more than just a day, too!).
Finally, consider coreopsis, aka tickseed. This super easy-care perennial blooms its little heart out – particularly the varieties ‘Moonbeam’ and ‘Zagreb‘ – for a flower display that easily rivals that of daylilies. And without the deer!
3. Arborvitae

 

The next plant on the list is a shrub, and an evergreen, but easily ties with the first two in its favorability with deer: arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis). If you’ve ever crushed the foliage on one, it’s easy to see, or rather smell, why – it has a delicious fruity fragrance that’s quite unique. Arborvitae are the most commonly-used evergreen for privacy hedges and screening, which makes their susceptibility to deer damage even worse. If you have deer in your area, a drive around your town will no doubt reveal arborvitae with the trademark “muffin top” or “ice cream cone” shape, where the deer have browsed to twigs everything that is within their reach, leaving the top portion lush and full. But there goes the privacy!
Alternatives to arborvitae are a bit harder to suggest. Though there are many, few of them grow as quickly as arborvitae does when it comes to providing privacy, but we have a few ideas below. It’s also worth considering that there are two different species of arborvitae out there – Eastern arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) and Western arborvitae (Thuja plicata). Of these two, Eastern arborvitae is much, much more susceptible to deer browsing than its Western cousin, so if deer pressure in your area is relatively low, opting for Western arborvitae might be a viable solution (though you should definitely plan to protect new plantings for their first three years when they are softest, tastiest, and most-within-reach of the deer).
Arborvitae Alternatives
Tall junipers (Juniperus sp.) are a first-choice arborvitae substitute. They are less shade tolerant than arborvitae, but make up for it by being tough-as-nails in terms of drought tolerance and longevity. You do need to wait a bit longer for a juniper hedge to fill in compared to an arborvitae one, but eliminating the risk of catastrophic deer damage should more than makeup for that. Another nice bonus with juniper: the aromatic “berries” it creates attract birds, and can be used in beauty products and cooking.
Another hedge plant to consider is false cypress, Chamaecyparis. These have a similar habit to arborvitae and can grow in more shade than junipers (though some sun is definitely recommended). They are a bit slower-growing, but make up for that in giving you different color options than all-green arborvitae offers. They’re also not as tall as arborvitae, which might be a very good thing, depending on your space.
Finally, if you are looking for small, globe-shaped alternatives to arborvitae like Anna’s Magic Ball or Tater Tot, boxwood makes a great choice. It is notoriously deer resistant, perhaps even deer-proof, shade tolerant, and can be trimmed to any shape. There are even some taller boxwoods that can be planted as privacy hedges, but generally, these are not as cold tolerant as arborvitae, so many not be a viable alternative for all locations.
4. Yew

 

Yew – known botanically as Taxus – is quite a puzzler when it comes to deer. It’s widely known to be one of the most toxic of all of the commonly used garden plants, particularly in the North, East, and Midwest, but deer absolutely devour it. How they manage to so completely destroy something that can be deadly to other animals (and humans) if ingested even in very small quantities is a mystery, but their love for eating this plant is enough that a yew in deer country doesn’t stand a chance.
A Few Options to Try Instead of Yew
All of the alternatives to arborvitae described above are equally good alternatives to yew, especially boxwood, which shares its tolerance of deep shade. In addition to those, however, you can also consider plum yew, Cephalotaxus harringtonia. You’re not imagining it: plum yew and regular yew are very closely related in both name and looks. However, plum yew goes untouched by deer compared to its cousin. Weird, right?! Perhaps it’s because plum yew has much longer, broader, bolder needles than regular yew. Plum yew is also much more heat tolerant than yew, and not quite as hardy, but still tolerates deep shade. Important: just because “plum” is in the common name does not mean that any part of this plant is edible; it is just as toxic as regular yew.
5. Roses

 Everyone knows that roses are some of the thorniest plants to be found in a garden, so it would be natural to assume that their prickly nature makes them unappealing to deer. This would be a serious mistake, though, because deer are ravenous when it comes to roses. It is theorized that their naturally high vitamin C content makes deer eat them almost compulsively, but whatever the reason, those trying to avoid attracting deer to their yard should avoid planting roses of any kind. Fortunately, we can offer a few suggestions that approximate the long-lasting color – and even the fragrance – of roses but are left alone by the neighborhood herd.
Deer- Ressistant Rose Alternatives Include
Sonic Bloom weigela are tops on our list – weigela tends to be quite deer resistant, but the Sonic Bloom series from Proven Winners is especially suited to replacing roses because it reblooms. It can provide double, even triple the weeks of bloom that a standard weigela does, extending the display well into summer when you’d otherwise be seeing roses. We also love the rose-like colors: pink, red, white, and yellow, all the same, lovely hues that make roses so appealing.
If it’s the fragrance of roses that you miss, try a butterfly bush (Buddleia sp.) instead! Their summer-long bloom time easily holds its own against any rose, and their colorful blooms give off a sweet honey scent. It’s quite different from the fragrance of roses, but you’ll be too busy enjoying all of the butterflies and hummingbirds it attracts to worry about that. While there’s no true red butterfly bush, ‘Miss Molly’ does come close, and you’ll have plenty of lovely pinks, purples, blues, and even white to choose from.
Abelia doesn’t boast the color range of roses, or of the previous two suggestions, but it makes up for it in lovely fragrance, non-stop blooming, and practically rock-solid deer resistance.
One last suggestion to consider, with a caveat: rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus). Some people report excellent deer resistance, while others report some minor browsing that may take off a few flowers here and there. Like most anything to do with deer, your mileage may vary, as they say. Still, it’s worth mentioning because it is so incredibly long-blooming and easy to grow, providing a similarly long window of color and beauty as roses.
Looking for more options that you can easily grow and enjoy, even in the presence of deer? We’ve got lots of them! Click the collection below to view more options.

4 Reasons to Add Herbs to Your Garden This Year
Out Of The Spice Rack, Into The Garden

 Herbs aren’t just for storing in your kitchen pantry; they have their place in your garden too! At Great Garden Plants, we are huge fans of adding herbs to the garden. Whether you harvest them for cooking or not, we’d still enthusiastically choose to grow them! Wondery why? There are four reasons…
1. Thrives In Sunny, Dry Locations
We can’t speak for every gardener, but many of us struggle with having super sunny, very dry locations in our yard that make it hard to grow most things. But with herbs, we’re able to give these areas new life. Herbaceous perennials like lavender actually prefer drier locations over more moist ones, which is often the quickest way to kill it. Lavender has the most flower power in super sunny locations, too, making it a favorite of ours for these areas in our landscape.

 

Pictured above: Lavender

 Pictured above: Tricolor Sage
2. Deer And Rabbit Resistant
One of our favorite qualities about herbs is their fragrance! And thanks to this quality, deer, and rabbits never touch them. This makes herbs the perfect addition to deer-ridden gardens, and while no plant is 100% deer or rabbit-proof, these furry friends tend to stay away from strongly scented plants.
3. Pollinator Friendly
Did you know planting herbs in your garden can help support your local pollinator population? Pollinators are huge fans of many of the flowers that bloom on herbs. The flowers on most herbs are often overlooked compared to their foliage, or they’re clipped/trimmed off! Consider leaving your flowers alone this year as not only are they usually edible, they also offer a meal for pollinators who will often dine on the pollen and nectar of their flowers.

 Pictured above: Lavender

 

 Pictured above: ‘Arp’ Rosemary
4. Compatible With Containers
While not all plants are perfect for containers, most herbs are! Meaning they don’t need to take up a lot of space to be enjoyed in your landscape. Fill a container on your sunny back patio for easy access from the kitchen, or plant it somewhere where you’ll enjoy their fragrance!
Our Favorite Perennial Herbs
Whether you’re picking out herbs to eat, for decoration, to support pollinators or all of the above, we have a variety of ornamental and edible herbs that you can add to your garden this season and enjoy. Below we share a few of our favorite herbs that you should consider adding to your garden this year!

Mixed Perennial Container Inspiration – Sun and Shade
Containers are the best way to bring life to patios and porches, showcase favorites, or grow plants that don’t particularly like your soil. Use pots to highlight just one plant or mix and match for a dynamic display. Annuals normally dominate mixed container plantings, but it’s time for a change! Did you know there are perennials that grow well in mixed containers – and look incredible doing it? It can be intimidating to pick perennials that grow well in containers and look good together. Don’t worry; we’ll help you with both! Here are our favorite combinations for sun and shade containers.
Sun Container
This container contains some of our favorite sun-loving perennials: Uptick™ Gold & Bronze tickseed, yellow creeping Jenny, and ‘Bandwidth’ maiden grass. Their combination is packed full of color and texture. Uptick™ Gold & Bronze Tickseed looks cheery from summer to frost with cheery yellow and copper daisy-like blooms. While tickseed brings color when it blooms, yellow creeping Jenny boasts colorful foliage from spring to fall. The low-growing chartreuse foliage looks its best when it spills out of containers. Finishing it off with a grass adds height, texture, and movement!

 

 Shade Container
We’ve been eyeing this combination in the greenhouse for a while! These shade-loving perennials all grow well together, in or out of containers. The cool blue tones of Shadowland® ‘Waterslide’ Hosta are a great compliment to the orange hues of Dolce® ‘Toffee Tart’ Coral Bells. ‘Brilliance’ Autumn Fern adds contrast and visual interest with lacy foliage that emerges with coppery tones. In early and mid-summer, the coral bells and hostas will bloom and attract pollinators! Since it thrives in the shade, this container works well on covered patios.

Big Plants, Even Bigger Impact!
We’re pleased to offer a selection of Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs in robust one-gallon sizes. They say you can’t buy time, but that’s what happens when you buy a gallon plant – we’ve spent an extra year, sometimes two or more, growing them so you reap the benefits. Everything about our gallon-sized plants is bigger. The shoots (above-ground foliage and flowers) are much larger, giving a lush and full look to the landscape. One-gallon plants have a more robust root system too, which means they require less monitoring and time to establish in the garden. Spend less time waiting for your plants to grow, and more time enjoying them!
There may be an obvious difference in size now, but we’re certain they will reach the same size at maturity. If you have more time and a lower budget, consider purchasing a quart. If you want (almost) instant garden gratification, browse our gallons! Either way, if you order your plant from Great Garden Plants, you know it will be healthy and ready to succeed in your garden.
Exactly How Big Are The Gallon Plants?
The most commonly asked question we get about our gallons is “exactly how large will the plant be?” Similar to our quarts, this question is hard to answer. The size of our plants changes over the season as plants grow and are trimmed. We keep our plants trimmed to encourage them to develop a larger, stronger root system. Better roots mean better establishment, so we’re only setting your plants up to succeed! So, while we can’t give exact numbers on how large they will be, we took some pictures to give you an idea.

 Let’s Dance® Blue Jangles Bigleaf Hydrangea

Our Most Versatile Container Plant (& How to Use It 3 Ways!)
What makes a successful mixed container planting? In our opinion, it’s a combination of colors, textures, and heights for a multidimensional display that never falls flat! Achieving this look isn’t always easy. Thankfully, we now offer a plant that is versatile enough to revive any boring container: ‘Blue Arrows’ rush.

Alright, we have to admit, pictures of this plant alone do not do it justice. That’s why we’re dedicating a whole blog to it! ‘Blue Arrows’ rush really is one of the most versatile container plants we know. It effortlessly grows in nearly any condition, including heat, drought, and even standing water. Plus, it has a narrow and compact habit that lends itself well to containers of any size. It is a full sun plant that boats upright blue-green foliage that reaches 3-4 feet tall. Like ornamental grasses, the leaf blades sway with the breeze. It may not steal the show on its own, but it is the perfect wingman, adding color, height, texture, and movement to the plant pairing.
To help you envision it in your own garden, we’ve potted it up with some of our favorite sun-loving perennials. Copy our combinations or just use our tips to construct planters of your own!
Urban Zest
Who knew ‘Blue Arrows’ rush, Solanna™ Golden Sphere tickseed, and purple sage were a match made in heaven? Solanna™ Golden Sphere produces boatloads of big, round, bright yellow blooms. They contrast with the purple foliage and stems of purple sage. Loved by cooks, gardeners, and even pollinators, purple sage boasts colorful leaves that start rich purple and age to lush green. The rush adds extra height and adds cool blue hues to the color palette. Place this container by your grill or outdoor bar so you can snag sprigs of sage as you cook!
The best part? This planter was actually made by one of our staff members! If you’re low on pots and feeling crafty, you can make your own using concrete, buckets, and rocks. Stay tuned for a DIY blog in the future.

 

 Cottagecore Container
This container might come straight from the fairytale cottage of your dreams. Amazing Daisies® ’Banana Cream’ shasta daisy boasts charming daisy flowers – with a buttery-yellow twist – adding the perfect amount of color and cheer to this collection. ‘Powis Castle’ Wormwood has a texture you need to feel to believe! It’s incredibly fluffy and fragrant to the touch, giving this mix a whimsical flare. We love the yellow and silver hues with the blue-green leaves of ‘Blue Arrows’ rush.
Want to recreate this container, too? Whitewash any terracotta pot to get a similar look! You’ll be pleasantly surprised with this simple transformation.
Handles The Heat
Need a combination that can handle hot, sunny porches? Rock ‘N Round ‘Pride and Joy’ Stonecrop, ‘Paint the Town Fancy’ Dianthus, and ‘Blue Arrows’ Rush might be for you! Rock ‘N Round ‘Pride and Joy’ Stonecrop will be the pride and joy of your garden (and maybe this container) with its succulent foliage and pink clusters of flowers. Pair it with firecracker flowers, like the pink and red blooms on ‘Paint the Town Fancy’ Dianthus, for a dynamic display. All three plants, including ‘Blue Arrows’ Rush, have blue-green foliage that will keep this container feeling refreshing all season long.
Want to add even more texture? Choose a pot with a textured pattern for some extra flair!

 

‘Chocolate Chip’ Bugleweed & ‘Pumpkin Perfection’ Ice Plant
Surprised by this incredible duo? We are too! It wasn’t until @plantsinapickle shared this combination on Instagram that we realized this is the ground cover duo we’ve been missing.

 ‘Chocolate Chip’ bugleweed (Ajuga) is a fool-proof ground cover that boasts eclectic evergreen foliage with spikes true-blue flowers in spring and summer. It’s drought-tolerant, can handle nearly any amount of sun exposure, and suppresses weeds as it grows in the garden. Its ability to handle tough-to-grow sites means it can grow easily along with the rugged ice plant (Delosperma). Hot Cakes® ‘Pumpkin Perfection’ ice plant is known for its bright, pure colors and outstanding performance in hot, sunny spots. We adore the juicy, bright orange hues of this variety, which perfectly complement the blues in ‘Chocolate Chip’ bugleweed. Let this duo effortlessly add color and life to the garden, all without lifting a finger!

Transform Your Trellis: How To Train Vines
Whether you’re looking to blanket your garden in charming flowers, cover an eye-sore, or make a big impact with a smaller footprint (think vertical!), vines are the plant for you. Many vines grow in a climbing habit, with long stems and runners that latch onto structures for support. Some cling, others twine, and a few suction onto surfaces to reach new heights. While they may look effortless as they scamper over structures, many of them benefit from extra training to grow just the way you like. Learn how to train your flowering vine to pep up your pergola, create the perfect backdrop, transform trees, or cover a railing or wall. Wherever you choose to grow them, they’re sure to transform your landscape into something spectacular!

 Pictured above: Scentsation Honeysuckle Vine
How Do Vines Climb?
You’ve probably seen vines climbing on a variety of structures, like fences, trellises, walls, poles, and trees, but how do they remain upright? There are a few different strategies vines use to attach themselves to surfaces. Identifying which strategy your vines use is the first step in properly training them!
Tendril vines, like grapes, passionflower, and sweet peas, use tendrils to latch onto supports. Tendrils are skinny, leafless, flexible stems that wave in the air until they find a support, then coil around it. Tendrils require some horizontal structure to hold onto, so they can’t climb straight up a pole.
Similar to tendril vines, twining vines climb up structures by wrapping around them. Instead of tendrils, they use either their leaves or stems. Clematis twines with the petioles of its leaves, where young leaves wrap around slim wires, twigs, or string. Because the petioles (or stalk of the leaf) are not very long, the support structure needs to be thin enough to wrap around. Contrary to twining leaves, twining stems can handle larger structures, like poles and thick branches. Twining stem vines (wisteria and honeysuckle) wrap their entire stem around any support they come in contact with. The coolest part? Whether it wraps clockwise or counterclockwise is genetically predetermined for each species.
Ever wonder how plants manage to climb up flat walls? It’s likely because they are using adhesive pads or aerial roots. Some vines, like Boston ivy and Virginia creeper, have touch-sensitive suction cups that allow them to stick to surfaces. The adhesive pads work on nearly every surface, including surfaces that are completely flat! Other climbers, like English ivy and climbing hydrangea,  use clusters of aerial roots (aboveground roots) that emerge from the stem to latch onto surfaces. These small and stout roots really do hold on for dear life, and will likely damage structures when you try to rip them off.
Scampering vines, like climbing roses, aren’t true vines. They don’t have tendrils, suckers, or twine to instinctively climb up surfaces. Instead, they grow with extra-long canes (or branches) that can easily be secured to structures. Their thorns can be used to prop themselves up (ouch!), but it isn’t always effective.
Why Do You Need To Train Vines?
Gravity doesn’t always favor vines. In order to climb upwards, vines must use other structures (or plants!) for support. Their growth is fairly unpredictable, as they grow in search of the nearest support, no matter the direction it is in. If it doesn’t manage to find the support it needs, it will grow along the ground. Therefore, untrained vines may look a little unruly at times. Train your vines to grow on the support structure you like, in the direction you like!

 

Pictured above: Sweet Summer Love Clematis

How to Train Your Vine
There are a few ways to train your vines on a structure. While some of them only need a push in the right direction (literally, just tuck them where you want!), others need extra hardware.
Wires And Strings
Leaf twining vines rely on supports that are narrow enough for their leaves to wrap around. If you think your trellis, pole, or fence is too thick for your vine, don’t worry! You can always add string, chicken wire, or bamboo poles to your support to ensure they have something to latch onto. One of our great gardeners, Laura (@howsitgrowingnj), tackles this problem with a combination of fishing line, paddle wire, and landscape staples!
The light post at the front of Laura’s house is too large for Pink Mink clematis to wrap around, so in this instance, she uses paddle wire in conjunction with a landscape staple to provide more support. The landscape staple anchors the paddle wire at the base, while the wire runs up and down the pole. The wire is small enough to look inconspicuous but is large enough to support the clematis year-round.
Wires and strings can be added to nearly any structure. If you love the look of vines climbing a wall, but know your twining vines can’t do it, just add wire! There are many wall trellis kits that can be used to transform a flat wall into a jungle gym for vines.

 

 
See our Vines and Climbers collection
Ties and Rubber Bands
Instead of using wires or strings, you can attach your vines to larger structures with ties and rubber bands! Michelle (@gardensandchickens) uses rubber ties to attach her clematis to a thick trellis. Use rubber ties like a tendril, wrapping them around the structure and stem for support. Ensure they are tied gently, as stems expand as they grow. Ties that are too tight will likely cut into the vine and damage it. Some vines will only need support from ties temporarily, others will need them the entire time they’re growing (climbing roses, we’re looking at you).

 

 Pictured above: Clematis
DIY Trellis
Interested in building your own trellis on a budget? Check out this video from Roxana (@soilandmargaritas) on how to create a trellis using branches from other plants in your garden! In this video, she uses the branches from pruning her hydrangeas in the spring.

Blue Star Creeper & ‘Red Rover’ Foamy Bells
You may be wondering why we’re suggesting you grow a shade plant with a sun plant, but trust us! Blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) is known to adding a splash of color in the sun with a blanket of light blue flowers, while Fun and Games® ‘Red Rover’ foamy bells (Heucherella) pops in the shade with coppery red foliage. Where do they overlap? In part sun! This colorful duo is durable, easy to grow, and patriotic, especially when creamy white flowers bloom on ‘Red Rover’. If you have an open spot in your part sun bed, consider adding in this pair! Between the long-blooming blue flowers and red foliage that persists spring-fall, your garden will be colorful all season long.

 Blue Star Creeper
(Isotoma Fluviatilis)
Dreams of covering your yard in a blanket of flowers can now be a reality with Blue Star Creeper. Tiny green leaves form a soft mat that grows easily between stepping stones, through a garden bed, or in difficult sites. It’s so low maintenance that we’d say you can plant it and forget about it, but it’s hard to forget about all this flower power!

 

 Fun And Games® ‘Red Rover’ Foamy Bells
(Heucherella x)
If your garden is looking a little boring, then Fun and Games® ‘Red Rover’ foamy bells will give it some life! Coppery red, heavily lobed foliage will have your neighbors asking you to send your ‘Red Rover’ right over. After seeing its showy foliage in person, everyone will want one of their own to enjoy!

11 Plants for Rock Gardens (That Aren’t Just Succulents!)
Tough-To-Grow Sites Just Got Easier To Fill
Rocky areas are known as tough-to-grow sites, typically plagued with heat, drought, and poor soils. Rock gardens incorporate rocks, stones, and gravel (natural or manmade) as a structural element – and then use plants to fill in the nooks and crannies. While these growing conditions may not be ideal, that doesn’t mean these areas can’t be filled with life! Not all plants thrive in these spaces, but there are plenty to choose from that will. So, if you’re looking for ideas for rock garden plants, check out our colorful, fragrant, or textured favorites below!

 1.) ‘Boulder Blue’ Blue Fescue
(Festuca glauca)
Rock gardens are known for being hot, dry, tough-to-grow sites, but it never seems to phase ‘Boulder Blue’ blue fescue! The steel-blue, almost metallic foliage keeps its color all season, even in the heat of summer. It grows in a compact habit that is perfect for planting between stones.

 

 

 

 

 

 2.) Yarrow
(Achillea sp.)
Yarrow is simple to grow, even in sunny and dry spots, which is why it’s perfect for rock gardens. Soft silver-green fern-like foliage adds texture. Straight, sturdy flower
stalks hold clusters of colorful and fragrant flowers all summer long. Enjoy the flowers fresh or dried in arrangements!
3.) Tickseed
(Coreopsis)
Want to cover your rocks in a swathe of flowers? Then tickseed is a must-have perennial. Masses of vibrant flowers bloom all summer long (even over 4 months). It’s not just good-looking! It’s easy to care for, versatile, fairly drought tolerant, and resistant to deer and rabbits.

 

 

 

 
4.) ‘Blue Zinger’ Sedge
(Carex Flacca)
On hot summer days, the thin, arching foliage of ‘Blue Zinger’ sedge keeps your garden cool. What sets it apart from ‘Boulder Blue’ blue fescue? ‘Blue Zinger sedge grows well in part sun and shade! It’s evergreen in warm climates, providing year-round color for southern gardeners.
5.) Cushion Spurge
(Euphorbia polychroma)
Cushion spurge thrives in tough sites, including gravelly and sandy soils. It won’t disappoint in your rock garden with long-lasting bright yellow flower bracts! It earns the name cushion spurge from its charming cushion-like habit, which stands out in the rock garden.

 

 

 

 6.) Spike Speedwell
(Veronica)
Speedwell is an easy-to-grow perennial that puts on quite the performance! Plants produce densely packed spikes resulting in an incredible, almost magical show of
flowers, lasting from summer through fall. It’s deer and disease resistant and grows well in tough soils.
7.) Russian Sage
(Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Russian sage is the perfect answer for those hot, dry sites that are hard to fill. Once established, Russian sage truly loves dry and well-draining conditions. It’s low maintenance, easy to care for, and deer resistant. This plant looks great anywhere, but we especially love how it looks in rock gardens!

 

 

 

 

 8.) Bugleweed
(Ajuga)
You may have noticed we include bugleweed (Ajuga) in so many of our blogs. It’s because this perennial ground cover really can do it all! Sun, shade, clay, sand,
slopes, rocks… bugleweed can grow anywhere. The best part? It looks good doing it! Add bugleweed to your rock garden for contrasting dark colors – especially if you have light-colored rocks.
9.) Coneflower
(Echinacea)
Coneflowers are native perennials that are adaptable to nearly any sunny environment, even heat, humidity, cold, and drought. Strong stems make for a durable plant, which means you don’t need to worry about flopping flowers. Plus, it’s low maintenance, requiring no deadheading or pruning. Keep your rock garden colorful AND low maintenance!

 

 

 

 

 

 10.) Stonecrop
(Sedum)
Stonecrop may be the obvious choice for rock gardens – for a good reason too. They’re shallow-rooting, drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and sun-loving. Plus, they
don’t mind growing over, in between, or around rocks. Fill in all the cracks and crevices of your rock garden with their succulent foliage!
11.) Irish Moss
(Sagina subulata)
Replicate the look of mossy rocks by incorporating Irish moss into your rock garden! Is it a real moss? No, but it sure does look like it. Shamrock green foliage grows in dense clumps, forming a cushioned mat as it spreads through the garden. It looks (and feels) soft, but this plant is surprisingly durable.

 Honorable Mentions For Your Rock Garden:
Even though we listed some of our favorite plants for rock gardens, the options continue! Perennials like mangave are excellent choices for succulent and rock gardens with hot temperatures in growing zones 9-11. Red creeping thyme is another ground cover option for rock gardens that thrives in tough-to-grow soil sites and can be easily tucked in empty spaces.
While these are some of our favorites, there are more to choose from! Make sure you browse our collections of heat-tolerant plants and drought-tolerant plants for more ideas for your rock garden.

Great Garden Spotlight: Michelle (@gardensandchickens)
Great Garden Spotlight: Michelle (@gardensandchickens)
We may supply the great plants, but it’s our customers that have the great gardens! Each week we find ourselves in awe of the amazing gardens you share with us on social media. We find so much joy and inspiration in what you share that we couldn’t just keep them to ourselves, so we’re starting our Great Garden Spotlight series! We hope this series helps you find inspiration, connect with fellow gardeners, and learn a few great gardening tips along the way.

 Pictured above: Lavender, Hydrangea
Meet Michelle, who some of you may know as @gardensandchickens. She’s a working mother-of-two that always manages to carve out time to work in her flourishing garden. The best part? She takes her Instagram followers along for the ride, sharing tips and bits of inspiration as she goes! We admire how she gives back to the gardening community with enriching content, which is why we had to feature her garden in our first spotlight. See how she uses our plants (and more!) to build the garden of her dreams.
Tell us about your garden! What’s your zone, weather, soil, and light like?
I garden in Atlanta, GA – which is zone 7b/8a with heavy red clay soil that I’ve learned how to amend and plant in. We have hot and dry summers and wet but mild winters. I garden on a pretty typical suburban lot – it’s a little bit more than half an acre. Our front yard is mostly lawn (right now) and full sun. Our backyard is a combination of part sun/shade/and full sun which makes it both challenging and fun to plant in.

 

 Pictured above: Foxglove, Foamy Bells, Astilbe, Fern
How would you define your garden style? Do you have a theme or follow any rules in your garden?
I try to be a “no-rules” gardener because I truly think of my garden as my “play space” – where I can experiment and try plant combinations without much consequence. I used to mostly stick to planting white, blue, purple, or pink blooms and avoided planting red and yellow flowers “so they wouldn’t clash”… But this year I found that I actually really like the splash of color that I accidentally planted! I do try and ensure that each area that I plant has some sort of evergreen shrub so that winter is a bit less boring… and if I can incorporate a fruit tree or edible plant – I do. It’s fun for the kids and delicious season after season!
What plant is a must-have in your garden?
It’s so hard to pick just one… but if I had to pick, I would say oakleaf hydrangea. They have multi-season interest – big gorgeous blooms and require absolutely no maintenance!

 Pictured above: Oakleaf Hydrangea, Geranium 

 Pictured above: Yarrow, Daisy, Hosta, Fern, Hydrangea
Michelle’s Great Garden Tip
Gardens aren’t built overnight. I feel like it’s so easy to think you can completely transform your yard in one season and people get inspired and plant all the things across their entire yard and then quickly get overwhelmed with the maintenance and upkeep baby plants sometimes require. I’ll give three tips that help me stay “grounded” in the garden:

  1. Focus on transforming one bed at a time – watch to understand the light conditions (full, part sun, or shade), and find plants that grow in your zone that you love for that bed. That way you’re only dragging a hose/worrying about one bed a season and your garden budget has a bigger impact. A few plants across your property might not be noticeable – but a few new shrubs in one bed will bring you so much joy throughout the season.
  2. Don’t overthink it – most plants can be moved in the fall or spring without issue. The great thing about gardening is that most decisions aren’t permanent.
  3. Check the tag for mature size – those baby plants will grow. You want to make sure you have room for them! Also, if there’s a plant you love that you don’t have room for… there is likely a more compact version of the plant available that you can substitute.

Hosta Flowers: Cut or Keep?
While plants are normally cherished for bright, intricate, or delicate flowers, hostas flip the script and command attention with their broad leaves. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t flower at all! In early to midsummer, hostas start to push out spikes of white or lavender blooms. These flowers excite some, while others just find them a distraction from their foliage. That leaves you with a choice: do you cut or keep your hosta flowers?
Like any decision you make in your garden – it’s completely up to you. But if you’ve talked to avid shade gardeners, there are some strong opinions out there! We’ll highlight the reasons to save or toss away your hosta flowers.
Cut The Flowers
The main reason gardeners cut their hosta flowers is to conserve energy – or appropriately distribute energy. It’s similar to how tomatoes are commonly pinched back! Gardeners will remove the side shoots (or suckers) on tomatoes so the plant can use its energy to produce larger, more nutritious fruit. Tall scapes of flowers can be costly for hostas to produce and maintain. Cutting them off as they start to emerge will divert that energy back to the foliage, creating a fuller look. Other gardeners just don’t like the look! Don’t worry; cutting the flowers back won’t damage the plant. It actually helps it in the long run.

 
OR

 Keep The Flowers
While cutting the flowers may benefit the foliage, there are so many reasons to let them stay! The tall scapes look elegant in the landscape and add a pop of color as they bloom. Flowers are typically white, lavender or blue depending on the variety, which always contrasts nicely with their foliage. The tubular blooms are intoxicating to pollinators, especially bees, who are commonly found burrowed in the petals. They’re rich in nectar, and even a delicate fragrance, which invites pollinators to linger in the shade garden. We asked our Instagram followers whether they cut or keep their hosta flowers, and 72% of them let their hostas bloom!
Not sure which side you’ll choose? You can always do both. Give the hosta flowers a chance to bloom, and after letting the pollinators enjoy them for a day, cut them for flower arrangements! Their unique scapes of tubular blooms are perfect for adding height to flower arrangments, and they have a surprisingly long vase life.

8 Native Milkweeds for Monarch Butterflies
Milkweed may have an ugly name, but it sure is accurate! When damaged, their foliage exudes a milky latex sap that is toxic to most wildlife. It’s native to the prairies, fields, and wetlands of the United States, where it spreads prolifically from seed. While milkweed may grow in the landscape like a weed – don’t underestimate its ecological importance! Its flowers provide nutrient-rich nectar and pollen for pollinators, but that’s not all they offer. Milkweed plays a vital role in the Monarch butterfly lifecycle, serving as a host plant for monarch caterpillars.
Monarch caterpillars exclusively feed on their leaves, which are filled with cardenolides. Cardenolides are stored in the bodies of Monarch caterpillars and butterflies as a defense against predators. Without milkweed, we wouldn’t have Monarchs.

 Are Milkweed Bugs Harmful?
It’s not uncommon to find orange and black insects on your milkweed, especially in the fall. Don’t worry; these insects are harmless to you and the plant! They’re called milkweed bugs, and similar to Monarch caterpillars, they feed exclusively on milkweeds. They feed on the seeds, which each milkweed plant produces thousands of. If you find milkweed bugs on your plants, you can ignore them or just remove them by hand.

 There really are so many reasons to grow milkweed: they boast showy flowers, support pollinators, are easy to grow, deer resistant, drought-tolerant, low maintenance, generally disease-free, and they add whimsical charm to the garden. Flowers bloom all summer long, and when they fade, they’re replaced with giant seed pods filled with silky wind-dispersed seeds. Growing them is a no-brainer! Here are 8 of our favorite milkweeds to add to your garden:
1.) ‘Cinderella’ Swamp Milkweed
(Asclepias incarnata)
With butterflies fluttering around the clusters of elegant pink blooms, ‘Cinderella’ swamp milkweed really looks like it belongs in a fairytale! Bright pink flower buds open to pale pink flowers, each heavily laden with nectar.
Native range: AL, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

 

 2.) ‘Gay Butterflies’ Milkweed Mix
(Asclepias tuberosa)
Delight Monarchs (or any pollinators) by adding ‘Gay Butterflies’ milkweed mix to your garden. Flowers are a mix of red, orange, and yellow hues that will certainly have your garden buzzing! Their warm colors welcome the heat of summer with open arms.
Native range: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV
3.) ‘Hello Yellow’ Milkweed
(Asclepias tuberosa)
Cheery yellow flowers may be the best way to welcome pollinators to your garden, and ‘Hello Yellow’ milkweed is covered in them! They aren’t only rich in nectar, but fragrance as well, making them a magnet for butterflies and gardeners.
Native range: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV

 

 4.) Prairie Milkweed
(Asclepias sullivantii)
Clusters of pale pink flowers bloom in the summer, but what makes prairie milkweed stand out is the foliage! In our opinion, this milkweed has the most attractive leaves. Thick, smooth leaves look appealing all season long, serving as the perfect food source for caterpillars.
Native range: AR, IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, OK, SD, WI
5.) Whorled Milkweed
(Asclepias verticillata)
Whorled milkweed puts a twist on the classic milkweed look with long, slender, needle-like leaves. It may not have the flashiest flowers, but they certainly are just as effective for attracting pollinators! Petals take on white and green hues that glow in the moonlight.
Native range: AL, AR, AZ, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

 

 6.) Orange Milkweed
(Asclepias tuberosa)
Orange milkweed is a beacon for Monarchs with brilliant orange flowers that bloom continuously through the summer. It looks tropical, but trust us, it’s native! With colors this bright, we know it will catch the eye of every pollinator and gardener in (or near) your garden.
Native range: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV
7.) Showy Milkweed
(Asclepias speciosa)
Globular clusters of pink, star-shaped flowers on showy milkweed make a big impact in the garden! The spikey flowers bloom on top of upright stems, boasting nectar and fragrance for pollinators. It isn’t as aggressive as other milkweeds, making it a little easier to control in the garden.
Native range: AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, KS, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY

 

 8.) ‘Ice Ballet’ Swamp Milkweed
(Asclepias incarnata)
Crisp white blooms of ‘Ice Ballet’ swamp milkweed are like a vanilla ice cream cone for pollinators! Flowers are fragrant, rich in nectar, and bloom all summer long. The best part? They don’t melt in the heat like our ice cream would.
Native range: AL, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

Great Garden Spotlight: Roxana (@soilandmargaritas)
We may supply the great plants, but it’s our customers that have the great gardens! Every day we find ourselves in awe of the amazing gardens you share with us on social media. We find so much joy in what you share that we couldn’t just keep them to ourselves, so we started our Great Garden Spotlight series! We hope this series helps you find inspiration, connect with fellow gardeners, and learn a few great gardening tips along the way.

 
Meet Roxana, who is better known as @soilandmargaritas on social media. She really can do it all – from building a flourishing garden to demonstrating useful DIY projects, all while taking drool-worthy photos along the way! She turns almost every project she completes in her garden into engaging posts and videos, in both English and Spanish. We are so inspired by her presence in the gardening community, which is why it was a no-brainer to feature her and her garden in our spotlight series. See how she uses our plants (and more) to build the garden of her dreams.
Feeling inspired by her photos? Create a similar look by shopping the plants tagged in each picture!

 
Pictured above: Coral Bells, Hydrangeas
Tell us about your garden! What’s your zone, weather, soil, and light like?
I garden in a small suburban lot located in central Indiana. Technically, I am considered zone 6a but am right at the border with 5b, so I play it safe and play by the rules of the latter. My weather is a bit of everything, we enjoy all 4 seasons to the max, from really cold winters to really hot summers. We get rain here and there, so thankfully, we do not struggle with long periods of drought.
Indiana is known for having clay soil, but luckily, when our home was built waaayyy back then (possibly early 1900s) the lot we live in now was amended with really rich soil, which makes my gardening easy. I garden mostly in full sun, but I take advantage of large shrubs to create a little bit of shade for a couple of shade-loving plants.
What inspired you to start DIY projects in your garden and where did you find inspiration for them?
DIY projects for the garden help me both creatively and financially but it also gives me an opportunity to turn everything off around me while making something that will bring me joy later on. I don’t have a specific resource for finding inspiration, but I am highly influenced by English Gardens. I find them quite romantic and they are a huge motivation in everything I do in mine.

 
Pictured above: Alliums, Coral Bells

 

What plant is a must-have in your garden?
Hydrangeas. Hands down. It is REALLY hard to choose one, but if my garden was on fire and I had time to dig one type of plant, I would definitely save my hydrangeas hedge. In zone 5b, my ‘Limelight’ panicle hydrangeas are hardy and they perform extremely well in full sun. They are not picky and the blooms are HUGE! I can use the blooms fresh for the longest periods of time and they also dry really well for any DIY projects later on.
What is your favorite great garden tip?
Garden for yourself! You are the only person that you have to impress when it comes to doing anything in the garden. That is the whole point of this garden lifestyle. And if I can add a second-best… we all mess up! Even gardeners that have decades with their gardens still fail sometimes. Do not let the world of social media tell you otherwise.

 
Pictured above: BoxwoodHosta

Coneflowers – July 2021
July 2021 Plant of the Month
As summer temperatures rise in the garden, many plants start to fade. Not coneflowers (Echinacea)! These long-blooming perennials thrive in full sun and heat, adding vibrant color to the garden from summer to frost. Coneflowers aren’t only pretty – they’re also problem-solvers in the landscape. They adapt easily to any well-draining soil (even poor soils) and can handle mild drought once established. Even in gardens plagued with deer, coneflowers always seem unfazed. Deer and other garden pests dislike their hairy leaves, stems, and prickly cones that serve as the namesake of this hardy perennial.
Coneflowers are easy to grow and even easier to love, which is why you’ll find them in gardens all over the US. After planting them, you’ll soon learn that gardeners aren’t the only ones that love coneflowers! Pollinators find their blooms irresistible – and we can’t blame them. Colorful petals radiate from a prominent center cone, composed of hundreds of fertile florets, loaded with pollen, nectar, and fragrance. Flowers give way to prominent seed heads, which can be left standing in the fall and winter to attract birds.

 

 

 How To Grow Coneflowers

  • Soil: Any well-drained soil will do.
  • Light: Full sun. Plant them in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of full sun a day. If planted in too much shade, plants may flop or strain to reach the sun.
  • Water: Average. Water regularly the first season to encourage good root growth. Though coneflowers handle heat and dry conditions well once established, they appreciate regular watering and flower more if they are not stressed.
  • Spacing: 16 – 20 inches
  • Fertilizing: Little needed. Over-fertilizing will cause spindly growth, so once in the spring with a granular garden fertilizer is more than sufficient.
  • Winterizing: Avoid damp spots. Do not heap mulching over crowns in winter, as this can cause rot. Leave the foliage and old flowers standing for winter (birds enjoy the seed heads), then trim back or remove spent foliage in early spring before new growth emerges.
  • Maintenance & Pruning: Once planted, they are best left alone, as they do not transplant well. Deadheading (snipping off the spent blooms) is not necessary but does increase new flower production!

Every gardener should have a few (or more) coneflowers, which is why we’re highlighting it as our July plant of the month! They come in an array of colors and sizes, so they’re easy to mix and match. While we offer 18 different varieties, here are our favorites in each color:
Color Coded™ ‘Frankly Scarlet’
Coneflower (Enchinacea)
With scarlet-red blooms, Color Coded™ ‘Frankly Scarlet’ coneflower adds a punch of color to the summer garden. It’s frankly one of the best coneflowers on the market, and the pollinators agree. It’s beloved by bees, butterflies, and gardeners everywhere!

 

 Color Coded™ ‘Orange You Awesome’
Coneflower (Echinacea)
Juicy tangerine flowers on Color Coded™ ‘Orange You Awesome’ never fade, even in the heat. Heavily saturated orange petals open in the heat of the summer with pink and red hues. It’s practically a fruity cocktail for pollinators!
Color Coded™ ‘The Price Is White’
Coneflower (Echinacea)
Looking for some consistency? Color Coded™ ‘The Price is White’ is produced clonally from tissue culture, so all the plants are identical. The result is large, white, uniform blooms! The petals are so large that they overlap, creating a full-looking flower you can enjoy all summer long.

 

 Color Coded™ ‘Yellow My Darling’
Coneflower (Echinacea)
Color Coded™ ‘Yellow My Darling’ will be the star of your flowerbed with cheery bright yellow flowers. Their saturated yellow blooms age to a creamy yellow, resulting in different toned flowers on the same plant. It looks picture perfect on tall stems, even in the heat!
Powwow® Wild Berry
Coneflower (Echinacea)
PowWow® Wild Berry may be compact, but it sure does pack a punch with brilliant berry-colored blooms! Improved branching means it blooms more profusely than the rest, resulting in a flood of flowers from summer to frost.

 

 ‘Magnus Superior’
Coneflower (Echinacea)
‘Magnus Superior’ is known as a classic coneflower for a good reason! This award-winning traditional variety boasts gigantic blooms with vivid purple petals radiating from the copper center. It stands taller in the landscape, reaching 36 inches tall with strong stems.

9 Best Perennial Ground Covers for Shade
No sun? No problem! Here we’ll list our favorite ground cover shade plants.
Often times shady spots are neglected in gardens, especially tough-to-fill sites under trees, shrubs, or structures. While you could spread mulch and call it a day, you could up your garden game by planting shade-tolerant ground covers instead! They’re economical (returning year after year, free of charge), low maintenance (or completely maintenance-free), flowering (look gorgeous) and hard-working (suppressing weeds along the way). There are so many plants that can do the job, but here are 9 of our favorites!
Bugleweed
(Ajuga)
Bugleweed is a fast-growing, ground-hugging, semi-evergreen flowering groundcover with dozens of blue flowers in spring. Plant bugleweeds (like Chocolate Chip, Black Scallop, or Tropical Toucan) beneath taller growing perennials or shrubs in place of costly mulch to help keep the weeds down. Highly effective between stepping stones. Be careful not to plant too close to a lawn where it will co-mingle with grass. It can be difficult to eradicate!

 

 

 

 Yellow Creeping Jenny
(Lysimachia nummularia)
Yellow creeping Jenny effortlessly forms a dense mat of small golden foliage. It spreads quickly and roots easily, which means your garden will be transformed in no
time! Use it in containers, garden beds, or both. Perfect for planting underneath tall perennials & shrubs.
Coral Bells
(Heuchera)
If you’ve read our other blogs, you know that we love coral bells for their color, utility, and easy-going nature. These shade-loving perennials effortlessly brighten the garden with colorful foliage from spring through fall. They even boast tall spikes of bell-shaped flowers in late spring/early summer. It’s easy to mix and match them with other ground covers, or just more coral bells!

 

 

 

 

 ‘Crested Surf’ Japanese Painted Fern
(Athyrium niponicum)
This fern is a must-have, especially for fern enthusiasts. ‘Crested Surf’ Japanese painted fern from Proven Winners looks like it belongs underwater, but it’s really right at home in your shade garden. Soft gray and sage green foliage is accented by silver & dark maroon. It pairs well with other colorful shade foliage!
Sweet Woodruff
(Galium odoratum)
Sweet woodruff is a shade-loving ground cover can handle all your garden woes, including weeds, deer, and rabbits. Aromatic semi-evergreen foliage serves as a great filler between shrubs. Blooms create drifts of white flowers in the spring. It spreads quickly through the garden, even on shaded steep hills and around trees!

 

 

 Lungwort
(Pulmonaria)
For a plant with an ugly name, it sure does have lovely foliage! Lungworts boast slender leaves with flashy silver spotting. It shimmers just enough to catch your eye
and draw you in. Combined with cobalt-blue flowers in the spring, this eclectic plant is always shining.
Foamflower
(Tiarella)
Edge a shaded border, pathway, or plant between bulbs – wherever you plant foamflower will get a boost of cheer. Foamy white flowers bloom in spring above colored foliage for 4 seasons of interest (semi-evergreen in some zones). The foliage is deer resistant, but the flowers may get eaten!

 

 

 Creeping Dogwood
(Cornus canadensis)
Want to enjoy dogwood flowers but don’t have room for a tree? Creeping dogwood is the perfect ground cover for you! It forms a blanket of lush, oval foliage and boasts
the classic white dogwood flowers in spring. It’s a native ground cover that is disease deer, and rabbit resistance, making it an easy addition to the shade garden.
‘Bowles’ Periwinkle Vine
(Vinca minor)
‘Bowles’ periwinkle vine may be tough as nails, but that makes it easy to love! This shade-loving, deer-resistant, and drought-tolerant perennial can handle road salt, poor shallow soils, and seashore planting. While it may be rugged, it does have delicate lavender blooms in spring that give it extra charm.

Can I Plant a Garden in Summer?
It’s summer, there’s still time to get growing!
Spring fever is long over and summer is finally in full swing. You, and your plants, are probably feeling the heat of summer! That leaves many gardeners questioning, did I miss the spring planting window? Is it too late to plant? Really, it depends on where you live and how much time you have to care for your plants.
Generally, we don’t recommend planting in the summer due to high temperatures and dry conditions. Adjusting to a new garden can be stressful enough for a plant, and having to do it in hot summer weather can make it even more difficult. Most plants end up wilted or withered, especially if they are not watered. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do it, especially if you live in the north!
Gardeners in the North, or zones 6 and colder, can probably still get away with planting perennials in the summer. The trick is to provide plenty of water at the time of planting and almost daily for the next few weeks. If you plan on leaving your plants to go on vacation, we suggest waiting. A good soaking every day or 2 is vital for transitioning your new plant to the garden. Keep in mind that cloudy or misty mornings are the best times to plant in the summer months.
For gardeners in the south, or zones 7 and warmer, you may want to wait to plant! If it’s a struggle for you to be outside for very long, your plant probably feels the same way. Wait until the weather begins to cool in early fall before planting anything new.
Just because you are waiting to plant doesn’t mean you have to wait to buy! Thanks to our new website, you can now choose your own ship date at checkout. We’ll take care of your plants for you until you’re ready to plant them.

 

Great Garden Spotlight: Chris (@joysofgardening)
We may supply the great plants, but it’s our customers that have the great gardens! Every day we find ourselves in awe of the amazing gardens you share with us on social media. We find so much joy in what you share that we couldn’t just keep them to ourselves, so we started our Great Garden Spotlight series! We hope this series helps you find inspiration, connect with fellow gardeners, and learn a few great gardening tips along the way.

 Meet Chris, who goes by @joysofgardening on Instagram. He really does show how much joy gardening can bring to your life by sharing pictures of flowers in bloom and his overall garden transformation. He makes gardening look easy – even though he is working in some brutal clay soil. Follow his garden transformation for inspiration, tips and tricks, and our favorite part, his #ScienceSunday posts! Learn the biology behind common garden problems and other interesting garden phenomena. We think Chris and his garden are inspirational for millennial gardeners (or gardeners of any age), which is why he’s earned a spot in our spotlight series! See how he uses our plants (and more) to build the garden of his dreams.
Feeling inspired by his photos? Create a similar look by shopping the plants tagged in each picture!
Tell us about your garden! What’s your zone, weather, soil, and light like?
My garden is in the north suburbs of Atlanta, which lies in hardiness zone 7b.
I’m still learning about the microclimate of my garden, as we live in a heavily wooded neighborhood and a creek passes through our garden! The trees provide a lot of afternoon shade, so I’d estimate that 80% of our garden is part-sun (4-6 hours sunlight). The remaining areas are shade beds at the bases of the trees. Luckily, the morning sun provides enough energy to get sufficient blooms on most plants, although I’m still experimenting with placement as the garden is only a year old. I love full-sun plants for their blooms so I have a lot of varieties in my garden, but most of them don’t produce to their max potential because they get less than 6 hours of direct sunlight. I personally don’t believe there are strict rules on this! Many full sun plants can do well in part sun, and I still enjoy them for their foliage and lesser blooms.
The soil where we live is just brutal. It’s hard clay with lots of rocks and takes a long time to amend. In a recent post, I time-lapsed digging holes for my new hydrangeas from Great Garden Plants (Gatsby Star and Tuff Stuff Mountain Hydrangeas). The video looks fast, but the reality is that it took me thirty minutes to dig four holes big enough to fit the hydrangeas (I dug double the depth and width of the nursery pot), yikes! The benefit is that gardening counts as my workout of the day most days.

 Pictured above: Anemones, Iris

 Pictured above: Daisy, Let’s Dance Blue Jangle Hydrangea
How did you start gardening? Do you think you were born with a green thumb or was it something you picked up along the way?
I started gardening in elementary school! I was taught and inspired to love plants by my nanny, Karen, who had an amazing vegetable and flower garden. She would let us pick vegetables, prune and plant flowers, and would share her experience along the way. I had my first pepper plant by my parents’ mailbox in elementary school, and I remember feeling so excited when it finally produced a fruit! I saw how attention and care could produce a reward, and it inspired me. I also enjoy being outdoors, so those concepts combined make gardening a great choice for a hobby.
It wasn’t until ten years later, when I purchased my own home, that I was able to pick up gardening again. The baseline knowledge I learned from Karen helped me create my current garden, but I use a lot of online resources and blogs like Great Garden Plants for continued learning. That’s what I love about the hobby… there is never a moment when a gardener “knows it all”.
What plant is a must-have in your garden?
It’s Hydrangea Week at @greatgardenplants, so I’m tentative to say “hydrangeas” as it could come across as a cheesy plug… but my honest truth is that it IS my favorite plant! Right now, I have twenty-eight hydrangea shrubs and eight varieties in my garden, and that number is ever-growing. I just LOVE their large elegant blooms and the diversity that the species offers. Our garden has a mix of foliage and bloom types in each bed and just like other perennial flowers, you can mix and match shapes and textures to create attractive scapes. They provide interest for nine months of the year in zone 7b, and their flowers can be cut and dried for year-round decor.
I’m still waiting on botanists to create an evergreen hydrangea…

 Pictured above: Hydrangea, Yellow Creeping Jenny

 Pictured above: Buddleia Butterfly Bush
What is your favorite great garden tip?
I love how willing people are to share their gardening tips on social media. I’ve learned so much in the year I’ve been online! I’ll be forever thankful to the person who shared the tip to use college extension programs for gardening assistance! My alma mater, the University of Georgia, has an amazing cooperative extension program that provides tips and tricks for everything you can imagine. College extension programs also post botany research articles and that’s where I find a lot of interesting and relevant information for @joysofgardening! These programs provide information at no cost, and some even give away seeds FOR FREE if you ask! Go check out your local extension program!

 Pictured above: Coneflower
Where did you find inspiration for your science Sunday posts?
I love to learn the “why” and “how” about things in life. I like to know how things function and why things are the way they are.
I think that was the mentality that drove me into my current profession of physical therapy and athletic training. I spent eight years studying science to become a licensed healthcare provider, so that habit of inquiry has been ingrained. You can call me a self-identified nerd if I’m choosing to read about plant enzymes and root systems instead of watching Netflix on a Saturday night (LOL).

How to Create a Hydrangea Hedge
No Garden Has Space For Boring Hedges
Add Timeless Charm With A Flowering Hydrangea Hedge
Hedges serve an important purpose in the garden – creating privacy, covering eyesores, and adding structure to the landscape. Arborvitaes, boxwoods, and tall ornamental grasses fit the role of traditional hedges with their large habits and lush foliage. Still, they may not create the show-stopping performance your garden needs. Overhaul your traditional hedge and build a wall of flowers using hydrangeas instead!
Whether you’re looking to create a tall privacy hedge or a low border, there is a hydrangea that fits the bill. Hydrangeas come in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes, all of which make a huge impact when planted in a row. In the summer, your hedge will be exploding with flowers, lasting through the fall and winter if spent flowers are left standing. Gardeners are always amazed at the charm they bring to their gardens, and neighbors never seem to complain either.
Making your own hydrangea hedge can be intimidating, especially if you’re starting from scratch. That’s why we’re here! We’ll guide you through how to recreate the magic in your own garden.

 Spacing For Hydrangea Hedges
When designing a hedge, the most common question we hear is, “how far apart should I space my hydrangeas?” The answer to this depends on a few different factors, including which hydrangea you’re using, where you live, and what look you’re going for. A general rule of thumb is to start by looking at the width of the plant. For example, Incrediball smooth hydrangeas (pictured above) reach a mature size of 5 feet tall and wide. Therefore, plants can be spaced with their centers 5 feet apart to be nearly touching at maturity.

 If you don’t want to wait a long time for your hedge to fill in, you may want to consider planting them a little closer. It can take several years for plants to reach their full size, and even longer in colder areas. Planting them closer means that separate plants will touch sooner, and then overlap at maturity. The result is a lush wall of foliage and flowers that is hard to resist!
It may be tempting to plant them close together, but make sure you’re not planting them too close. When they’re packed close together, airflow is reduced and disease is more prevalent. Leave adequate space between plants to allow airflow for happy plants (and happy gardeners). All of our plant pages have spacing recommendations under the “more information” section in the “how to grow” tab. Incrediball hydrangeas are recommended to be 3-5 feet apart, so you can plant them spaced 3 feet if you wish.

 The number of plants you’ll need for your hedge depends on the plant spacing. Try using our plant calculator to help determine the number of plants for your space!
See How Some Of Our Great Gardeners Created Hedges
Over the course of spring and summer in 2018, Christopher and Eric (@growforme5b) purchased several ‘Limelight’ panicle hydrangeas for a hedge. They connected a string from the back corner to the front corner of their lot, mapping out where a hedge should be placed. Knowing the height and width of Limelights, they measured 5 feet in from the property line where they wanted the hedge to start and end. They planted 15 hydrangeas, each 5 feet apart from the center, all along the property line.
Not all of their plants were purchased from Great Garden Plants, so they were not uniform at planting. They spent a great deal of time pruning them in the fall and spring to ensure uniformity. That was the most important stage in creating a uniform hedge.
Now, in 2021, their Limelight hedge is finally filled in and budded up to bloom all summer long! Swipe through the images below to see their hedge grow from 2018 to now.

 ‘Limelight’ hedge in 2021

 ‘Limelight’ hedge in 2018

 ‘Limelight’ hedge in 2019

 ‘Limelight’ hedge in 2021

 ‘Limelight’ hedge in 2018
Are Hydrangea Hedges Difficult To Maintain?
With how elegant your hedge looks, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to maintain! If the hydrangea you choose grows on old wood (bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas), then only deadheading is necessary for another season of blooms. If your variety blooms on new wood (smooth and panicle hydrangeas), you should prune your hedge in early spring.
Does pruning an entire hedge sound daunting? Dale Deppe, from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs, demonstrates just how simple it can be – even with an 80-foot hydrangea hedge!

10 Types Of Hydrangeas for Small Gardens
If you have a small garden or are short on space, the question “do I have room for a hydrangea?” has probably crossed your mind at least once or twice. Often when we think of hydrangeas in terms of their size, big, full shrubs are the first thing that
comes to mind. But with smaller hydrangeas, you can get everything you love about the plant (think big full blooms) without taking up too much space in your garden. These small but mighty shrubs are ideal for border hedges, tucking into flowerbeds, and more! Here, we’ll discuss 10 types of hydrangeas perfect for small gardens.
How Small Is A “Small” Hydrangea?
In this blog, we classify small hydrangeas as plants that grow to be 3′ or under, with a few exceptions. This is quite small compared to some classic favorites like ‘Limelight’ panicle hydrangea, which can grow to be 8 feet tall. We recommend those who need a small hydrangea get one of these suggested varieties instead of pruning a larger hydrangea to size. This not only makes your life easier when it comes to garden maintenance, but it will also leave you with a better-looking plant in the long run. But luckily for gardeners everywhere, there is truly a hydrangea for every sized garden! Keep reading to discover our 10 favorite small hydrangeas, sorted by variety.
Bigleaf Hydrangeas
(Hydrangea macrophylla)
Let’s Dance® Blue Jangles® Bigleaf Hydrangea
Height x Width: 1 – 2′ Tall x 3′ Wide
Blue hydrangeas are a classic garden addition. But before Let’s Dance® Blue Jangles® bigleaf hydrangea entered the scene, many gardeners may not have had room for them. This hydrangea from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs is the most compact blue hydrangea on the market! Letting gardeners everywhere enjoy those beautiful blue blooms even if they are short on space.
Note: Flower color will depend on soil pH. To ensure blue blooms, be sure to get your soil tested from your local extension program. Acidic soil that contains aluminum is the ideal condition for blue hydrangeas.

 

 
Wee Bit Grumpy® Bigleaf Hydrangea
Height x Width: 2′ Tall x 2.5′ Wide
Compact habit but big on blooms! Wee Bit Grumpy® bigleaf hydrangea boasts large purple or pink blooms (color depending on soil pH) that are incredibly reliable. Thanks to its dwarf size, this hydrangea is incredibly useful in the landscape, and you won’t have to worry about cutting it back to keep it at a small and manageable height. Those who love Wee Bit Grumpy® should also consider Wee Bit Giddy® bigleaf hydrangea, which reaches 2-3′ tall and wide and features red-pink to slightly purple blooms depending on the soil.
Cityline® Paris Bigleaf Hydrangea
Height x Width: 1 – 2′ Tall x 2′ Wide
In need of a hydrangea that will fit anywhere, doesn’t need pruning, and is incredibly vibrant? Cityline® Paris bigleaf hydrangea checks all those boxes! The blooms on this hydrangea are incredibly saturated with a vibrant pink. If you’re a gardener seeking a pink hydrangea that won’t turn blue, this one is for you! Plus, it has lovely glossy foliage that resists disease, adding to its season-long beauty.

 Smooth Hydrangeas
(Hydrangea Arborescens)

 Invincibelle Wee White® Smooth Hydrangea
Height x Width: 1 – 2.5′ Tall x 2′ Wide
The first and only of its kind, Invincibelle Wee White® smooth hydrangea is the only dwarf ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea around. It’s the smallest smooth hydrangea available! Growing to be 1-2.5′ tall and wide, this is one small hydrangea. Thanks to its small size, we’ve found it to be an incredibly versatile choice. Try planting it as a low hedge or using it in a container. Its crisp white blooms and dark green foliage won’t let you down.
Invincibelle Mini Mauvette® Smooth Hydrangea
Height x Width: 2.5 – 3′ Tall x 3′ Wide
While Invincibelle Mini Mauvette® smooth hydrangea may look small, it is certainly mighty! With strong stems, an abundance of blooms, and lovely mauve-pink color, this small hydrangea looks perfect all season long. Thanks to its small size, you’ll be able to easily tuck it into any spot in your garden.

 Panicle Hydrangeas
(Hydrangea paniculata)

 Bobo® Panicle Hydrangea
Height x Width: 3 – 4′ Tall x 4′ Wide
If you’re looking for a hydrangea with boatloads of blooms, look no further than Bobo® panicle hydrangea. This hydrangea has a tiny frame that grows to be
covered entirely in flushes of white cone-shaped flowers throughout the season. Plus, thanks to their lacy appearance, its blooms look extra special in cut flower arrangements. Thanks to its dwarf size, almost every garden has room for this panicle hydrangea!
Little Lime® Panicle Hydrangea
Height x Width: 3 – 5′ Tall x 5′ Wide
It’s hard not to love the creamy green blooms of ‘Limelight’ panicle hydrangea (or Limelight Prime®.) If you’ve found yourself longing for this popular panicle hydrangea but don’t have space in your landscape, Little Lime® hydrangea might be the perfect alternative. A dwarf version of ‘Limelight” growing to be 3-5’ tall and wide, Little Lime® hydrangea is not only beautiful, but it’s versatile too! It makes a lovely addition to flowerbeds, low hedges, and more!

 

 
Fire Light Tidbit® Panicle Hydrangea
Height x Width: 3′ Tall 3′ Wide
If you’re looking for the smallest panicle hydrangea we offer, Fire Light Tidbit® hydrangea is the shrub for you. Reaching 2-3′ tall and wide, this is one hydrangea that can be planted just about anywhere! Covered in large mophead blooms that appear earlier than other varieties, you’ll find yourself in awe each season when you see its flowering display. Like Fire Light® hydrangea, it boasts the same white blooms that are to a vibrant pink and then to red and autumn approaches.
Mountain Hydrangeas
(Hydrangea Serrata)
Tiny Tuff Stuff™ Mountain Hydrangea
Height x Width: 1.5 – 2′ Tall x 2′ Wide
Though Tiny Tuff Stuff™ hydrangea may look delicate when its covered head to toe in lacecap blooms, it’s anything but! This reblooming hydrangea is incredibly high-performing and reliable. Living up to its name, Tiny Tuff Stuff™ is the smallest mountain hydrangea we grow, reaching just 1.5-2′ tall and wide. When do you prune this small but mighty hydrangea? Not at all! This tiny plant eliminates the need to prune or trim this shrub to manage its size.

 Great Garden Tip: As you’re searching for plants to add to your garden, be sure to checkout out each plant’s “details” tab in the More Information section to see what its mature height and width will be! Our space-savers and container-friendly plant collections are also great resources for finding plants that are suitable for small gardens.
We hope this blog showed you that even if you’re short on space, you still might have room for one of these blooming beauties. With so many varieties to choose
from, there’s an option for every style and size of the garden! You can even plant one in your favorite container if you’re really short on space! While we didn’t have room to list every small-scale hydrangea we carry, there are still a few more wonderful varieties that are great options for those not wanting to sacrifice too much space. Check them out by heading to our Hydrangeas for Small Spaces page to see these and the rest of the varieties featured in this blog. If you ask us, hydrangeas are always worth the space they take up, no matter how big or small!

Hydrangeas for Cut Flowers (& How to Keep Them Fresh!)
Easy To Love, Indoors And Out
Hydrangeas are a garden staple for good reason. Their big, bountiful blooms keep us coming back for more season after season. But what if you brought the magic indoors? Hydrangeas not only look dreamy outdoors, but they make great cut flowers for vases and floral arrangements too! Below we’ll share our favorite hydrangeas for cut flowers and a few tips for keeping them fresh.

 The key to keeping healthy cut flowers is water, right from the start! As you venture into the garden to cut flowers, bring a container of water with you. Slightly warm (tepid) water is preferred. Cut the stems at a diagonal angle with sharp clippers for the best results. Remove all leaves on the stems, or at least all the leaves below the water line before placing them in a vase.
Preventing Cut Hydrangeas From Wilting
While hydrangeas are known for their long-lasting displays in the garden, they’re notorious for quickly wilting as cut flowers. But why do hydrangeas wilt, even in fresh water? Some
plants exude a sap when they are cut, which normally protects them from any diseases or pests from entering their vasculature. However, this sap can also clog the stems and prevent uptake of water, which leads them to wilt within hours of cutting. Don’t worry; there are two techniques to combat the sap and keep the blooms fresh.
1. Alum Dip
The easiest way to keep them fresh might already be in your kitchen cupboard. Alum powder is used in baking and pickling to extend food life and alter flavors and textures. It’s also slightly acidic, prevents algae growth, and is able to prevent the stems from clogging with sap. It’s as simple as dipping each stem in alum powder before placing them in fresh, room temperature water.
2. Boiling Water
It sounds intense, but this method really does work! Bring a pot of water to a boil, then remove from heat. Dip each stem into the water for 15 to 30 seconds and then place them in room temperature water. The boiling water breaks down the sap, clearing the vasculature for water uptake.

 

While nearly all of our hydrangeas make for excellent cut flowers, there are a few that made it into our favorites list. Check them out here:
Smooth Hydrangeas
(H. Arborescens)
Bigleaf Hydrangeas
(H. Macrophylla)
Panicle Hydrangeas
(H. Paniculata)

Fade-Proof Flowers for Summer Heat
If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Get Out Of The Garden
The dog days of summer are finally here, and you (and your plants) are probably feeling the heat from the hottest stretch of summer. Heat impacts plants in different ways. Some wilt, others crisp up, and a few even take a break from flowering altogether. That can leave your garden feeling a little lackluster for a few weeks. But don’t worry; some plants like it hot! Beat the summer heat with flowering perennials and shrubs that survive, or even thrive, in high temperatures and dry soils.
Check out some of our favorite flowering plants that never seem fazed in the summer heat!
Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)
High Impact, Low Maintenance
Why use tiki torches in your garden when you can plant red hot poker (Kniphofia) instead? Spikes of vibrant flowers resemble sparklers or flaming torches, perfect for igniting your garden with color. They handle deer, rabbits, disease, heat, and mild drought with ease, making them a great addition to any sunny spot that needs some extra flare. There isn’t anything else quite like it! Discover other tropical looking flowers HERE.
Hibiscus
Vibrant Blooms For Weeks On End
Whether it’s perennial hibiscus, or their close cousin rose of Sharon, hibiscus shines in the summer with vibrant blooms. Their flowers are practically massive billboards, advertising to pollinators that they’re loaded with rich nectar and pollen. While other flowers are fading, hibiscus is just getting started. Celebrate summer with weeks of delightful flowers! Discover other garden plants that flourish in full sun.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Attract A Plethora Of Pollinators
Looking for fragrant flowers all summer long that can take the heat? Butterfly bush (Buddleia) combines saturated colors with a rich honey-like fragrance to entice pollinators (and gardeners). Spikes of flowers appear all summer long – with no need to deadhead or remove them. Even if you neglect them while on vacation, butterfly bush won’t really mind! It’s heat and drought-tolerant, requiring little to no maintenance to thrive. Learn more about butterfly bush on our blog HERE.
Russian Sage (Perovskia)
Bullet-Proof Performance All Summer
Even on the hottest summer days, Russian sage (Perovskia) always looks fresh with silvery foliage and icy purple-blue blooms. This perennial is the perfect answer for hot, dry sites that are hard to fill. They truly thrive in heat and drought once established! Plant it along a pathway, patio, or porch to enjoy their fragrant foliage. Learn more about perennials that bloom all summer long.
Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)
Bold Blooms For Pollinators
Hummingbird mint (Agastache) bursts with a profusion of vibrant blooms in the summer! Spikes of flowers hover above fragrant foliage, serving as a beacon for pollinators (especially hummingbirds). It’s tolerant to hot, dry sites and performs exceptionally well in containers. This drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, and pollinator-friendly perennial won’t disappoint. Learn more about pollinator-friendly plants HERE.
Coneflowers (Echinacea)

Our Go-To For A Good Reason
Coneflowers (Echinacea) aren’t only pretty – they’re also problem-solvers in the landscape. They adapt easily to nearly any well-draining soil and handle drought with ease once established. After planting them, you’ll soon learn that gardeners aren’t the only ones that love coneflowers! Pollinators find their blooms irresistible. Even on hot summer days, the flowers will look like a fresh treat for bees, butterflies, and more. Learn more about coneflowers HERE.
Salvia
Low Maintenance, Drought-Tolerant, And Easy To Grow
Give salvia a spot with lots of sun, and it will reward you with masses of long-blooming flower spikes all summer long! Dense spikes of flowers come in a variety of colors, all adding rich color to the landscape. It’s easy to grow, making it a star in the summer garden. Plant it in a hot, well-draining site, and this prolific plant will still dazzle. Learn more about salvia HERE.
Catmint (Nepeta)
Looks Delicate, Acts Tough
Not only is catmint one of the longest-blooming perennials on the market, but it’s also one of the most dependable! You can count on this long-time favorite to look picture-perfect, even in high temperatures. Small blue flowers make a big impact by blooming by the hundreds. It’s an ideal way to add a burst of color and fragrance! Learn more about other long-blooming perennials.

Questions Answered Series: Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Your Questions on Butterfly Bush, Answered!
Butterfly bushes (Buddleia) are cherished for their unrivaled flower power in hot, sunny gardens. Their blooms combine saturated colors with a rich, honey-like fragrance for an impactful display from summer into fall. If you couldn’t tell by the name, gardeners aren’t the only ones that adore this plant. The real show starts when butterflies and hummingbirds flock to your garden to visit your butterfly bush
flowers. What makes this plant even better? It’s easy to grow and low maintenance – with no need to even deadhead the blooms!
Whether you’ve already planted your butterfly bush or are planning to buy one soon, you can find the answers to all your Buddleia-related questions here! See what others are asking and learn why this shrub deserves a spot in your garden.

 

Are Butterfly Bushes Bad for Butterflies?
There is some controversy on whether butterfly bushes are bad for butterflies. Really, butterfly bushes are not bad for butterflies! People can’t live by “bread alone”, and butterflies cannot live on butterfly bushes alone. To create the best garden for pollinators, make sure you provide other food sources (like host plants for larvae) as well. The more plants the merrier.
Is Butterfly Bush Invasive?
Butterfly bush is invasive to some areas in the US, and is even banned in Oregon and Washington. However, plant breeders have focused on developing non-invasive varieties that are packed with color and fragrance without risk of spread. To qualify as a non-invasive variety, a butterfly bush must show less than 2% germination, producing few to no viable seeds.
Butterfly bushes in the Lo & Behold® and ‘Miss’ series from Proven Winners ColorChoice shrubs have undergone rigorous testing and are certified non-invasive, which is why they can be shipped to Oregon and Washington.
Why Isn’t My Butterfly Bush Blooming?
There are a few reasons why your Buddleia may not be blooming:

  • Not enough sun. Butterfly bushes require full sun, which means at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. It needs this (and prefers even more) to set flower buds and put on the best blooms.
  • Pruned too late. Butterfly bushes bloom on new wood, which means they set their buds on new growth in the spring. If you prune your plant too late, you may be cutting off the future flowers!
  • Too much water. If your butterfly bush is not blooming and is also boasting some yellow leaves, you may be overwatering your plant! Butterfly bushes do not like to have “wet feet”, and prolonged periods in wet soils will make them stressed. A plant under stress is not likely to bloom.
  • Too much fertilizer. These tough shrubs don’t require much (or any) extra fertilizer to succeed in your garden.

Gardeners oftentimes forget how excess fertilizer, especially nitrogen, will promote leafy green growth instead of blooms. Skip on the fertilizer, even in the spring, unless you know your soil is deficient in nutrients.
Can Butterfly Bush Grow in Pots
Yes, planting butterfly bush in containers is the best way to invite pollinators to your patio or porch. They all thrive in containers. The dwarf series of butterfly bushes (Lo & Behold and Pugster) are the perfect size for pots. Make sure you use an appropriate size pot with large drainage holes and keep it in full sun!

 Is My Butterfly Bush Dead?
We hear this question all the time in early spring! The short answer: no, probably not. Plants enter dormancy for the winter, losing their foliage and leaves. New growth emerges when spring rolls around, but some plants hit the “snooze” button instead of waking up early. Butterfly bush is notorious for waking up a little later than the rest. Give them a few extra weeks in the spring to push out new growth. In cold climates, you may have to wait until late May or early June!
How Do I Grow Butterfly Bush?
Butterfly bushes are fairly easy to grow and low maintenance. For the best growth, we recommend the following conditions:
Soil: Butterfly bushes require very well-drained, even dry, soils.
Light: Full sun – at least six hours of bright sun each day.
Water: Low to average watering; soil can even be dry once established. Butterfly bush do not tolerate wet conditions for any period of time.
Spacing: 2 to 4 feet
Fertilizing: Little needed; if desired, apply a granular rose or garden fertilizer in early spring.
Winterizing: In fall, plants can be trimmed lightly if desired, but save major pruning for spring. Do not fertilize in fall, and if mulching, do not apply heavily at the base of the plant.
Maintenance & pruning: Butterfly bushes are best pruned in spring, once the new growth has begun to emerge. At that point, cut just above where big, healthy buds appear. Give butterfly bushes plenty of time to emerge in spring, especially in colder climates – this may take several weeks, even if other plants in your yard are already leafing out.
Will Butterfly Bush Grow in Shade?
For the healthiest and happiest butterfly bushes, you will need to plant them in full sun, which is a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight. Ideally, 8 hours of bright, direct sunlight each day will result in the best blooms. Don’t worry! They can handle the intense sun and heat even in summer.
Why are Flowers on My Butterfly Bush Turning Brown
While we wish flowers could last forever, alas, they all eventually fade. Plants produce flowers for one purpose: reproduction! Once a flower has been successfully pollinated, the flowers fade, and energy is diverted into producing seeds in its place. We call these finished flowers “spent flowers”. It’s completely normal to see on your butterfly bushes, especially if they have been blooming for a few weeks.
Don’t worry; just because flowers are fading does not mean there aren’t more to come! As one spike turns brown, you will probably find a new one starting to bloom on a nearby stem.

 Should I Deadhead Butterfly Bushes?
Butterfly bushes do not require deadheading, which is why they are considered to be low maintenance! However, you can trim the spent flowers off if you please. It may even help your plant push out a couple more blooms.
How Do I Prune My Butterfly Bushes?
Butterfly bushes bloom on new wood, which means they should be pruned in the spring. Wait until new growth has emerged before you start, then cut just above where big, healthy buds appear. The result will be stronger stems and better blooms!
When Do Butterfly Bushes Bloom?
Butterfly bushes are generally late blooming plants, with flowering starting in summer and into the fall. Once your zone experiences its first frost, you can expect the flowers to fade and the shrub to start entering dormancy.
What is Butterfly Bush Winter Care?
Here are some things you should NOT do to butterfly bush to prepare the shrub for winter. First, skip the pruning during late fall and save for spring to protect dormant buds. You’ll also want to avoid any mulching as it conserves too much moisture, leading to root rot over the winter. Butterfly bush prefers well-drained soil, and any excess water could be harmful. And lastly, there is no need to fertilize your butterfly bush in the fall before the first freeze. Instead, save any fertilizing for spring to help promote new growth when optimal. So, what is the best way to prepare your butterfly bush for the chilly months? Leave it alone!

 Can I Grow Butterfly Bush in Clay Soil?
Butterfly bushes require well-draining soils, which is the biggest downfall of soils with high clay content. The small particles of clay pack together tightly, leaving little room for water drainage and air circulation. While it can be difficult to grow Buddleia in clay soils, it is not impossible! We recommend planting your butterfly bush so they are slightly above, rather than even with, the soil to encourage water to drain away from the base of the plant. Do not amend or add anything to the soil at planting time, as this can cause serious drainage problems. Skip on mulching around the base of
the plant to allow the soil to dry out faster.
 How Large are Butterfly Bush Flowers?
While each individual flower is tiny, they cluster together to form large spikes of flowers! The size varies based on the variety, but here is a graphic to help give you an idea:

 
Is Butterfly Bush Toxic for Dogs?
While they are not edible, they are also not poisonous to dogs, cats, or humans. Eating a large quantity (we mean a lot) of leaves, stems, or flowers can cause an upset stomach. It is certainly safe for your dogs!
Are Butterfly Bushes Deer Resistant
Yes! Butterfly bush is deer resistant. Deer, rabbits, and other garden pests tend to avoid the foliage and flowers of butterfly bush. They receive an A-rating on Rutger’s deer resistance ratings list.

Questions Answered Series: Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus)
Your Questions on Growing & Caring For Rose of Sharon, Answered!

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) boasts massive, tropical-looking blooms that transform your yard into a garden oasis. It’s no wonder that this surprisingly cold hardy shrub has gained so much popularity among gardeners and pollinators! Whether you’ve already planted your rose of Sharon or are planning to buy one soon, you can find the answers to all your questions here. See what others are asking and learn why this shrub deserves a spot in your garden.

 

When Does Rose of Sharon Bloom?
Rose of Sharon (or althea) puts on an incredible display of flowers in the summer! The period it blooms depends on the variety, some blooming for weeks and others blooming for months. Long-blooming varieties will bloom from summer through fall until the first frost in optimal growing conditions. You can count on all of our roses of Sharon to bloom for months on end!
Which Roses of Sharon are Sterile?
Not all roses of Sharon are sterile. Why does this matter? Rose of Sharon is notorious for seeding and producing an abundance of nuisance seedlings. Breeders know this is a problem for gardeners, so they’ve devoted their talents to breeding varieties with impressive flowers and low to no seed. They include:

Can Rose of Sharon Grow in a Pot?
Yes, you can grow rose of Sharon in a pot or container! There are three important things to keep in mind for container plantings:

  1. Proper drainage: rose of Sharon requires well-draining soils, so select your potting media accordingly. Perlite can always be added to media to improve drainage. It’s vital that the pot or container has large drainage holes.
  2. Pot size: select the right size pots for your plant! Some rose of Sharon varieties grow to massive proportions, requiring very large containers.
  3. Lighting: place your pot in an area that receives full sun. Rose of Sharon grows best with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.

Can Rose of Sharon Be Kept Small?
While rose of Sharon can withstand some light pruning in early spring, it does not grow well when continually trimmed to stay small. Cutting your rose of Sharon throughout the growing season will lead to reduced blooms and an overall stressed plant. Instead, we recommend selecting varieties that naturally grow smaller than the rest. Pollypetite® is a dwarf rose of Sharon reaching 3-4 feet tall and wide. Purple Pillar® and White Pillar® grow tall but have a narrow habit. They can reach 16 feet tall but only grow 2 feet wide!
How Do I Grow Rose of Sharon?
Overall, rose of Sharon is fairly low maintenance and easy to grow! Here are our general recommendations:
Soil: Plant in any well-draining soil, high fertility is ideal.
Light: Will perform best if planted in full sun.
Water: Has average water needs, but will not tolerate sogginess.
Space: 3 to 8 feet apart depending on the variety.
Fertilizing: Has rather high fertility needs. It is best to fertilize in early spring, once the ground has thawed, with a granular rose or flowering shrub fertilizer.
Winterizing: No special treatment is required.
Maintenance: Rose of Sharon does not need regular pruning, but can be pruned or trimmed in early spring if desired. Note: rose of Sharon is late to leaf out in spring. That doesn’t mean it’s dead! Be patient.
How Big Does Rose of Sharon Get?
Rose of Sharon shrubs can reach up to 8-12′ tall x 6-10′ wide at maturity, depending on the variety. Its tall habit and a large, vibrant flower display make Rose of Sharon excellent for landscaping and hedges. This superstar shrub puts on quite the show!
When Can Rose of Sharon Be Transplanted?
The best time to transplant rose of Sharon is when it is still dormant in late fall or early spring. Make sure you dig a wide hole around the base of the plant to ensure the shovel will not damage the roots. Carefully dig up the root ball and move to a new hole that is 2x the size of the root ball. While transplanting is okay for rose of Sharon, it can still cause some stress and will take time to reestablish. Do not be surprised if there is a slight reduction in blooms the next growing season!
How and When Should I Fertilize Rose of Sharon?
Roses of Sharon are heavy feeders, meaning they need plenty of nutrients to sustain growth and flower. We recommend applying a granular rose fertilizer in early spring. Do not fertilize in the fall, as this will encourage the plant to push out tender new growth that will die in cold temperatures!
How Do I Prune Rose of Sharon?
Roses of Sharon do not require any pruning! That’s what makes them so low maintenance in the garden. However, if you’d like to prune them, we recommend doing so in early spring. Don’t trim back more than 1/3 of the plant each season.

 Why is My Rose of Sharon Not Blooming?

Rose of Sharon is prized for its extravagant flowers, so when it doesn’t bloom, it can be a huge disappointment! Here are a few reasons why your rose of Sharon may not be blooming:

  • Not enough sun. Rose of Sharon requires full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight) to set flower buds and bloom its heart out. If you think your plant is in an area with too much shade, you can transplant it to a sunnier spot.
  • Excessive heat. Many flowering plants will take a break from blooming in excessive heat to conserve energy. If your area has experienced unusually high temperatures, don’t worry. The blooms will likely return when it cools down a bit.
  • Watering. Overwatering and underwatering can both stress your rose of Sharon, which leads to a reduction in blooms. Overhead watering and summer rains can also rot unopened flower buds. Avoid spraying the flower buds as you water.
  • Improper pruning. We do not recommend pruning rose of Sharon. This shrub blooms on new wood, which means it sets its buds on new growth in the spring. It is still possible to prune your plants in early spring if you wish, but pruning them too late will remove flower buds.
  • Pests. If your rose of Sharon has flower buds, but they aren’t opening, check for aphids. Aphids will cause the buds to rot and fail to open.

Why are My Rose of Sharon Leaves Turning Yellow?
Yellowing leaves typically indicates your plant is overwatered! Rose of Sharon requires well-draining soils and is not tolerant of “wet feet”.  Try reducing how frequently you irrigate and feel the soil before watering. If the soil feels moist to the touch, skip on watering for now. If you’re sure your plant has not been overwatered, the problem may be soil drainage.
Clay soils will hold onto water for long periods of time, suffocating the roots. Amending the soil at planting can cause poor drainage by holding onto water (we call it the bathtub effect). Landscape fabric near the base of the plant prevents soil water evaporation, keeping the soil wet for longer. We strongly discourage amending soil at the time of planting and laying landscape fabric near plants. If this is the case, you may want to relocate your plant to a new area.
Will Rose of Sharon Lose its Leaves in Winter?
Yes! Rose of Sharon is a deciduous shrub that loses its leaves in winter, even in warmer climates. You can expect the leaves to yellow slightly and drop in late fall.
Are Rose of Sharon and Hibiscus the Same?
Yes and no. The name “Hibiscus” isn’t a common plant name, it is the genus that rose of Sharon (and other flowering plants) belongs to. They all have similar-looking tropical flowers, but there are some major differences. Rose of sharon, or althea, is a woody shrub that is hardy to cold climates. It grows in zones 5-9 and goes dormant in the winters, losing its leaves but not dying to the ground. Perennial hibiscus, also known as rose mallow, is a hardy perennial that dies to the ground each year but returns the following spring.

 Can Rose of Sharon Grow in Shade?
No, rose of Sharon cannot grow in the shade. It requires full sun (at least 6 hours direct sunlight) to grow and bloom to its full potential. If grown in shade, you can expect few to no blooms, weak stems, and droopy leaves.
Is Rose of Sharon Deer Resistant?
Yes, rose of Sharon is fairly deer resistant. Rutgers gives rose of Sharon a B-rating for deer resistance on their landscape plants rated by deer resistance list. This means that they are “seldom severely damaged”, but it is not impossible for hungry deer to take a few bites!
Is Rose of Sharon Toxic to Dogs?
According to the ASPCA, rose of Sharon is not toxic to dogs, cats, or horses. It is completely safe for your dog to play near, brush against, or even nibble on.
What is the lifespan of Rose of Sharon?
Rose of Sharon is a long-lasting perennial, with some plants thriving up to 30 years after they’ve been planted! To ensure your Rose of Sharon grows robust flowers year after year, ensure it’s in a sunny area with well-drained soil.

Great Garden Spotlight: Brad (@garden.evolution)
We may supply the great plants, but it’s our customers that have the great gardens! Every day we find ourselves in awe of the amazing gardens you share with us on social media. We find so much joy in what you share that we couldn’t just keep them to ourselves, so we started our Great Garden Spotlight series! We hope this series helps you find inspiration, connect with fellow gardeners, and learn a few great gardening tips along the way.

 

Meet Brad, who you may already know as @garden.evolution on Instagram and youtube. Brad has cultivated an incredible new garden at his 1874 farmhouse in Ohio, filled with flourishing flowers and major cottage garden vibes. Besides the obvious, there really is one thing that makes Brad and his garden extra special. Brad is always lifting other gardeners up, whether it’s through educating stories, Q&As, or just shouting out fellow gardeners that are killing it in their gardens. His garden is inspirational, he is motivational, and that is why he is in our Great Garden Spotlight!
Feeling inspired by his photos? Create a similar look by shopping the plants tagged in each picture!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR GARDEN! WHAT’S YOUR ZONE, WEATHER, SOIL, AND LIGHT LIKE?
First, I would like to say thank you to Great Garden Plants for taking notice of my garden and spotlighting me. I’m truly honored to be a part of this lineup of other gardeners! Currently, we are a zone 6 here in Northeast Ohio, with our weather being pretty unpredictable at this point. We’ve had a fast warm-up, weeks of straight rain, and more weeks of being so dry, hot, and humid! Even the soil in my garden is pretty all over the place. For a home that was built in 1874, you would think the soil would be perfect, but it hasn’t been worked much. It’s mostly a mix of clay and decent soil, so I can’t complain really. Our garden is mostly full sun since we had to take down about 7 trees from disease and wrong placement from the previous owner. Don’t worry though, I’ve planted double that since starting the garden with more to come!
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR GARDEN STYLE? IS THERE A THEME YOU FOLLOW OR ANY RULES?
As far as my garden style, I’ve always been rooted in cottage gardens. When I first got the gardening bug, I was majorly inspired by my neighbor’s cottage garden, where I got my first plants. Over the years, though, I’ve become a little looser with my designs. I am inspired by natural-style gardens, but adding my own twists. I hate rules, though, and think gardening is meant to be a personal journey. You should create a garden you love!

 

‘Whoops-A-Daisy’ Shasta Daisy Amazing Daisies® Daisy May® Shasta Daisy

 

WHAT PLANT IN YOUR GARDEN SERVES THE BEST PURPOSE?

I don’t cling to just one plant in a sense, but if I had to pick just one I think it would have to be Calamintha nepeta sp. nepeta (calamint). It’s in bloom for so long and is neutral enough with its soft white blooms that it can be in any part of your garden and unify the look as you go about. I will also suggest Geranium Rozanne if you have the room for her, as it’s such a workhorse for blooms!
WHAT PLANT IS A MUST-HAVE IN YOUR GARDEN?
Without a doubt and the quickest answer I’ll ever come up with is coneflowers!!! Echinacea are my passion and I’ve been collecting them for a couple of years now. I currently have about 50 named varieties and won’t stop till I find them all! Pollinator magnets! These are classic cottage plants from the prairies that are so easy to incorporate into a garden because of the range of colors, shapes, and sizes available today. A garden must have them!! Must!

 

 

‘American Dream’ Tickseed
‘Green Twister’ Coneflower

WHAT’S YOUR BEST ‘GREAT GARDEN TIP’?
Don’t go too hard, too fast on building your garden. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and neither should your garden. Take the time to read up on your plant choices and why you might make them. The right plant for the right place isn’t a lie. Enjoy the building process, and if you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world! Gardening is a journey that so many of us find as therapy, a release, a hobby, a creative outlet. Find that passion and just keep going! We all have green thumbs. It’s learning through the years and connecting with other gardeners that make it so much fun!

Questions Answered Series: Roses (Rosa)
Your Questions on Roses, Answered!
With blooms this beautiful, it’s no wonder roses are a garden classic! Flowers are bursting with vibrant petals, adding long-lasting color – and even fragrance – to the garden for up to five months. Dress them up in elegant rose gardens or keep them casual in cottage gardens. Either way, roses steal the show wherever you plant them. Whether you’ve already planted roses or are planning to buy some soon, you can find the answers to all your questions here. See what others are asking and learn how to achieve the rose garden of your dreams.

 

 Why is my rose the wrong color? Can roses change color?
It’s not unusual for some flowers on your rose to bloom an unexpected color, especially if it was just delivered to your door! The color of roses can vary depending on the temperature when buds are set. When buds are set in warm temperatures, peach roses take on yellow hues and pink/red roses lighten in color. In cooler temperatures, roses usually have darker, more saturated colors.
Did your At Last® or Oso Easy Italian Ice® rose show up with yellow flowers? Don’t worry, it’s due to hot temperatures in our greenhouse or in shipping as the buds set. Once you plant it in your garden and give it time to adjust, the future blooms will return to their lovely apricot or pink hues.
However, there a few varieties of roses you can expect to change color with age! Ringo All-Star® emerges with melon-orange blooms that fade to a soft lavender and pink as they mature. Ringo® also changes color, starting with bright yellow petals and fading to white.
Why are my rose leaves turning brown?
There are a few reasons why the leaves on your roses may be turning brown, but the main culprits are usually high temperatures and lack of water. In extreme heat, moisture won’t reach the edges of the petals and leaves, causing them to look “burned”. The key to avoiding this is to keep them well-watered all summer long. Make sure you water around the base of the plant to prevent water from sitting on the leaves. Water droplets can act as magnifying glasses and cause more burn!
Fungal disease and insect attacks can also cause brown leaf margins. However, you’ll probably see other symptoms as well in these cases. Check for evidence of disease or insects and treat using insecticide or fungicide spray. We offer many roses that show impressive disease resistance, like the Oso Easy series, that don’t require sprays!
Why are my leaves turning yellow?
Yellow leaves are the telltale sign of overwatering in most plants. When the roots are sitting in water for long periods of time, one of the first signs of stress you’ll see is chlorosis, or yellowing leaves. This applies to roses as well, who prefer to grow in well-draining soil to avoid standing water. If you’ve been irrigating frequently, experiencing high rainfall, or have clay soils, this is likely the culprit.
Some other causes are extreme heat, fertilizer, and shade. High temperatures can cause roses to defoliate, with leaves turning yellow and falling off. Nitrogen, iron, or magnesium deficiency can cause yellowing leaves, which is easily fixed with fertilizer. Overfertilizing (and nutrient toxicity) can cause the same problem, so be careful when applying fertilizer! Follow the directions on the label or contact your local extension office when solving nutrient deficiencies.
If leaves are yellowing and falling off at the base of the plant, don’t worry. It’s probably shedding leaves that are shaded by the leaves above them. It’s a natural process for roses to shed leaves that aren’t contributing to photosynthesis. Leaves are energy-costly to maintain and prevent airflow. Shedding them at the base or center of the plant is usually beneficial!
How do I prune roses?
The best time to prune roses is in early spring, just as the new leaves start to emerge. Remove any dead or damaged branches. If a branch looks diseased, remove the branch and disinfect your pruners after each cut to reduce the spread. Look at the center of the plant. Does it look overcrowded? Will there be good airflow after leaves emerge? Remove a few branches to open it up if necessary. For the rest of the plant, cut it back by 1/3 in height. Make your cuts just above large, healthy buds for the best growth.
Should I deadhead roses? If so, how?
Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers (or dead flowers) on your plant. It’s quite easy to do! Follow the stem of the spent flower to the highest set of five leaves and cut diagonally just above the leaf node. This will encourage new growth and future blooms.
Not every rose needs to be deadheaded. Most Proven Winners roses, including At Last® and the Oso Easy® series, are self-cleaning and do not require deadheading for rebloom. That’s what makes them so easy to care for! You can still tidy them up if you’d like by removing the flowers as noted above.

 What is rose Rosette Disease? Are any roses resistant to rose rosette?
Just saying “rose rosette disease” is enough to make any experience rose gardener shudder. Rose rosette disease is a virus that is spread by eriophyid mites. It was first reported in 1941 and has been a problem for gardeners ever since. Plants with rose rosette disease will have bright red deformed stems and leaves with excessive thorns. Once your plant shows symptoms of rose rosette disease, there isn’t much you can do to save it.
There isn’t much you can do once your plant has rose rosette disease, but you can help prevent it by:

  1. Report your case. If you ever have rose rosette disease, report your case by sending pictures and information to researchers studying the spread.
  2. Do not replant. Allow a few seasons before planting a new rose in the same area as an infected plant, even after it is removed. The virus can’t live in the soil, but it can live in any living root tissue still present in the soil.
  3. Prune your roses. Mites overwinter in flower buds, so pruning your roses and disposing of any material will eliminate some mites.
  4. Space your plants. Planting roses close together only helps the spread of mites from plant to plant.
  5. Protect your roses from wind. Mites are easily spread in the wind. Plant your roses in an area protected from prevailing winds and avoid using leaf blowers near your roses.

Unfortunately, there are no varieties of roses on the market that are resistant to rose rosette disease. Breeders and researchers are working on it, which is why reporting your cases is so important!
What is the black spot on my rose? How does it spread?
Black spot is a common fungal infection in roses that develops circular or irregularly shaped black spots on the leaves. It festers in moist areas with little airflow. If your rose has black spot, it’s not the end of the world! There are a few easy ways to manage it:

  1. Cut off any infected leaves. Disinfect your pruner between cuts to prevent the spread to other areas of the plant
  2. Discard any cut or fallen leaves around the plant, especially in fall.
  3. Avoid wetting the leaves. Wet leaves are most susceptible to black spot disease. Avoid overhead watering, especially on dark and cloudy days.
  4. Ensure adequate air circulation. Prune the plant in spring to ensure proper airflow. Space the plants apart to allow them to breathe.
  5. Spray fungicides. There are several fungicides on the market for controlling black spot disease. Visit your local gardening store for options.

Are roses good for pollinators?
Yes! Roses are loaded with pollen and rich nectar, which is great for pollinators. Bees and butterflies especially love fragrant and brightly colored blooms. Roses with fewer petals tend to attract more pollinators, as the nectar is more easily accessible. Oso Easy Lemon Zest, Oso Easy Urban Legend, Oso Easy Paprika, Ringo, Ringo All-Star, White Knock Out, and Pink Knock Out roses all have easily accessible nectar reserves.
When do roses bloom?
Roses start to bloom in early summer and continue to bloom up to first frost with proper care! Most of our roses bloom for 4-5 months.
How do you grow roses?
Here are our general care instructions for our landscape roses:
Soil: Prefers moist, slightly acidic, well-draining soil. Roses benefit from the addition of compost, aged manure, or leafmold to the planting soil.
Light: Sun (> 6 hours direct sunlight a day)
Water: Try to keep the soil evenly moist, especially in their first growing season. Never allow the foliage to remain wet into the evening; water early in the day.
Spacing: 3 – 4 ft.
Fertilizing: To keep the flowers coming, feed your roses with a fertilizer blended especially for roses. This can be done after each bloom cycle.
Winterizing: Spread a layer of composted manure, compost, or shredded leaves over the base of the plant in late fall after the ground freezes. Covering these mounds and the lower parts of the bushes with evergreen boughs will add protection. Pull the mounding material away from the stem as new growth emerges in spring. Prune injured branches over when new buds emerge in spring.
Maintenance & pruning: Prune to remove deadwood, to control or direct growth, and to promote flowering. Wait until growth breaks in early spring before pruning. Every 2 or 3 years, remove about one-third of the old branches to stimulate new, fresh growth.
What time of year do you plant roses?
Determining the best time to plant roses depends on your growing zone and current climate conditions, but spring and fall are the ideal times to begin planting. When planting in the spring, be sure to do so after the final frost to reduce the risk of damage to your young roses. If you’re planting in the fall, just be sure to plant early enough to establish your roots before the frost returns for the season.
Which roses smell the best?
Without a doubt, the most fragrant rose we offer is At Last® rose from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs. Many landscape roses were bred for disease resistance over fragrance, but fortunately, At Last® is both! Flowers hold a strong fragrance all summer long that will certainly welcome your neighbors to stop and smell the roses. Many other roses have a light fragrance, like Oso Easy Lemon Zest, but they don’t compare to At Last.
My rose is supposed to be fragrant, but I don’t smell anything
Fragrance is a luxury for roses. If they can afford it (energy-wise), they will produce it. However, it is quite energy-costly for them to produce! If your plant is stressed, it will likely divert its energy from producing fragrance to recovering from stress. The stressor could be anything, from inadequate irrigation to nutrient deficiency, pests, disease, or heat. Once you solve the stress, the fragrance will return! See some of our other questions for help with common rose stressors.
Which roses are easiest to care for?
Roses are notorious for being fussy plants that require a lot of attention in the garden. Thankfully, advances in plant breeding have made roses easier than ever to grow! In fact, some of them are oh-so-easy, even for beginners. The Oso Easy® series from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs was bred for superior disease resistance and easy-growing nature. There’s no need to spray, prune, or deadhead Oso Easy® roses, which makes them easy to love all summer long. Plant them in an area with full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight each day) and watch them thrive!
Are roses poisonous to cats and dogs?
No, roses are not toxic to cats, dogs, or horses! While it is not poisonous, it is still not safe for pets to eat. Ingesting the thorns on roses can damage the digestive tract of your animals.
How should I fertilize my roses?
For the best growth and blooms, feed your roses with Espoma Rose-tone fertilizer (or other rose fertilizers) in early spring and after each flush of blooms. Stop fertilizing in late summer. Fertilizing too late in the season will promote tender new growth that will be damaged in frost.
Why isn’t my rose flowering?
There’s nothing worse than a rose that won’t bloom! Here are a few reasons why your rose may not be flowering:

  1. Not enough sun. Roses require full sun to set buds and bloom to their full potential. If your shrub is not receiving enough sun, you can always transplant it to a sunnier spot.
  2. Excessive heat. Many flowering plants, including roses, will take a break from blooming in high temperatures due to heat stress. This is usually temporary, with blooms returning as temperatures cool down.
  3. Pests. Stress from insect damage can prevent your rose from blooming. Some insects attack the flower buds, which means they die before ever opening. Check your plant for pests to determine which insect is causing damage.
  4. Fertilizer. Overfertilizing your roses, especially with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, will cause your plant to push out leafy green growth, but no blooms. Make sure you select a well-balanced rose fertilizer for serious flower power!

Will roses grow in pots?
Yes! Roses are lovely additions to container plantings. There are three important things to keep in mind when planting rose in pots:

  1. Proper drainage. Roses require well-draining soils, so select your potting media accordingly. It’s vital that the pot or container has large drainage holes to prevent standing water.
  2. Pot size. It’s important you select the right size pot when growing shrubs in containers. A pot that is too large will hold on to water for too long, while a pot that is too small will dry out quickly.
  3. Lighting. Place your pot in an area that receives full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight each day).

 Do Deer and Rabbits Eat Roses?
You’d think a plant covered in thorns would be deer resistant, but alas, this is not the case. Deer and rabbits both love to eat roses. It is theorized that they’re naturally high in vitamin C content, making deer eat them compulsively. For alternatives, check out our blog on plants to avoid if you have deer.
Will roses grow in the shade?
No, we do not recommend growing roses in the shade. Full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight) is required for the best growth. Roses grown in the shade are likely to have yellow leaves, smaller stature, disease, and reduced blooms.
Do all roses have thorns?
If you asked Brett Michaels from Poison, he would say “every rose has its thorns”, but botanically speaking, roses don’t have thorns at all. Thorns are modified branches with sharp edges, while prickles are sharp projections that arise from the epidermis and cortex of the stem. The “thorns” on roses are actually prickles!
Botanical jargon aside, most varieties of roses do produce sharp “thorns”. Breeders have been working on varieties that are completely thornless, but they don’t typically have the vigor and resistance as other roses. That’s why thornless roses haven’t taken over the market quite yet. All of the roses we offer do produce thorns/prickles, but are generally selected to not be too thorn-heavy.

 8 Tropical-Looking Flowers for Cold (& Hot!) Climates
Make Your Garden a Stay-cation Destination
Longing for a vacation to a tropical oasis? No need to book a flight when you can bring the vibrancy and magic of the tropics to your own backyard! These 8 perennials and shrubs may have exotic blooms, but you won’t have to worry about the cold stopping their show year after year. With these curated picks, you’ll think you’ve been transported to someplace tropical with just a step outside your door.
Perennial Hibiscus
(Hibiscus Moscheutos)
Massive satellite-dish-shaped flowers, vibrant colors, and a prominent staminal column look like they belong on a tropical island, but you’d be surprised to learn they are native to North America! Perennial hibiscus (swamp mallow, or Hibiscus moscheutos) grows in wet soils in the Eastern and Southern United States. They are one of the latest perennials to emerge in spring, but watching them transform from tiny buds to big, healthy plants in a matter of weeks is nothing short of delightful.
Rose of Sharon
(Hibiscus Syriacus)
Similar to perennial hibiscus, rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) boasts vibrant blooms in the summer that attract pollinators. The biggest difference between the two? Rose of Sharon is a woody shrub, so it doesn’t die back to the ground each year. Instead, these mighty shrubs grow to form a massive wall of flowers that serve as a perfect backdrop to your pool or tiki party.
Red Hot Poker
(Kniphofia)
Nothing says tropical like flaming torches, and that’s exactly what red hot poker (torch lily, or Kniphofia) brings to the garden. Spikes of vibrant flowers bloom in the summer, boasting hues of yellow, orange, or red. Native to South Africa, red hot poker is no stranger to heat, humidity, and bright sun. However, many varieties are cold-hardy as well, surviving winters in zone 5! Let red hot poker warm up your cold climate garden as it returns year after year.
Ice Plant
(Delosperma)
The tropical colors and succulent foliage of ice plant (Delosperma) may have you believing it only grows in heat, but fortunately, you’d be wrong! Hardy ice plants can survive cold winters in zones 5 or 6, then return for a fiery display in summer. All summer long, you can expect hundreds of flowers to bloom against the small succulent foliage. Choose a juicy orange, vibrant yellow, or ruby-red for a punch of color in your garden.
Lily-of-the-Nile
(Agapanthus)
Lily-of-the-Nile blooms with clusters of true-blue or white blooms in the summer atop mounds of neat, strappy leaves. This unique, hardy to find, and hardy perennial grows even in zone 6. They are outstanding as a cut flower and in the garden, and you’ll have plenty to enjoy, thanks to its super long bloom time.
Montbretia
(Crocosmia)
This award-winning perennial commands attention with fiery red blooms and elegant form. Abundant tubular flowers on ‘Lucifer’ Montbretia set the mid-late summer garden ablaze in vivid color. Pollinators love this plant, especially hummingbirds and butterflies! When the flowers aren’t in bloom, the dramatic upright leaves take center stage. It grows well in hot and humid areas, but is also reliable in gardens in zone 5!
Cardinal Flower
(Lobelia Speciosa)
Vibrant blooms and dark foliage on cardinal flowers add a tropical flair to every garden! This native perennial handles troublesome wet soils with ease. If you have a bog or rain garden, plant it near the edge. Blooms appear in midsummer and last until fall, drawing hummingbirds and butterflies in to drink its uncommonly sweet nectar. Commonly found in the southern US and Mexico, cardinal flowers also handle cold winters in zone 6 with the help of extra mulch around the roots.
Honeysuckle
(Lonicera)
With tubular-shaped flowers and vibrant colors, honeysuckle will dazzle in your garden from late spring through summer! Their blooms are heavily fragrant and laden with rich nectar, which invites hummingbirds and butterflies to your backyard stay-cation too. It thrives in heat, humidity, and drought once established, making it easy to grow in warm and cold climates (down to zone 4).

Questions Answered Series: Hostas
Your Questions on Hostas, Answered!
Hostas are known for commanding attention in the shade garden. Thick corrugated leaves form graceful mounds of foliage that keep their appeal from spring to fall. Their versatility is what makes them extra special, apart or together. No matter which shape, size, color, or textured hostas you choose, you can count on them being reliable and easy to grow in containers, garden beds, and city environments.
Whether you’ve already planted hostas or are planning to buy some soon, you can find the answers to all your questions here. See what others are asking and learn why hostas are the ultimate shade garden plant!

How Do You Grow Hostas?
Hostas are one of the best perennials for beginner gardeners. Why? They’re incredibly low maintenance and easy to grow! Here’s how to grow hostas:
Soil: Performs well in average or fertile soil.
Light: Thrives in shade (< 4 hours sun) to part-sun (4-6 hours sun).
Water: Has average water needs, and once established, plants have some tolerance for dry shade (particularly plants with thick leaves). In general, soils should never be allowed to dry out.
Spacing: Depends on the size of your hosta.
Fertilizing: In spring, a light fertilizer can be applied around the emerging plant, but not touching it.
Winterizing: Leave foliage standing in the fall to help protect the crown. If desired, a layer of mulch can be applied in a 2″ layer very near the base.
Maintenance & pruning: Groom plants by removing yellow or dead leaves and cut flower spikes back as they finish blooming in summer.
Can You Transplant Hostas? If so, when?
Yes! Hostas are quite easy to transplant and only require a good shovel and plenty of water. Wait to transplant until early spring to avoid heat and dry soils that would further stress your plants. Use a shovel to dig a wide circle around the plant, ensuring you are not cutting too many roots in the process. Gently lift your plant out by the root ball, dig a new hole that is wider and deeper, and plant. Help your hosta adjust to its new spot by providing plenty of water and an extra boost of fertilizer.
Why are There Holes in My Hosta Leaves?
There are a few different garden pests that could be eating your hostas. Slugs and snails are the most common perpetrator. Because they only feed at night, it can be hard to see it in person. To confirm if it is slugs, look for their slime trails in your garden or check the leaves later at night. Other insects include beetles, aphids, cutworks, and grasshoppers. If there are large holes or missing leaves, you may be dealing with deer and rabbits, who are both known to eat hostas.
The first step in protecting your plants from pests is identifying what pest it is. Keep a close eye on your plants and note any insects you see on the plant or other animals in the garden.
How Do I Prevent Slugs from Eating My Hostas?
Hostas may be a slug’s favorite food, but there are a few things you can do to protect your hostas:

  • Water your hostas in the early morning, giving the foliage and soil enough time to dry before slugs emerge at night.
  • Dispose of any fallen debris around your plants, as this is where slugs may be living.
  • Remove slugs by hand at night using a flashlight.
  • Set beer traps using a plastic container filled with beer. Surprisingly, slugs and snails are attracted to the beer and will fall into the container.
  • Use a chemical spray to deter or kill slugs and snails on your plants. Check your local gardening store for options.

Can Hostas Grow in Full Sun? Which Hostas Can Handle the Most Sun?
Hostas grow best in shade (less than 4 hours direct sunlight) to part sun (4-6 hours direct sunlight) and are prone to burning when grown in too much sun. We do not recommend growing hostas in full sun (+6 hours direct sunlight). However, there are a few hosta varieties that can tolerate sun better than others. That being said, they will need plenty of water to withstand the sun and heat.

Why is My Hosta Turning Yellow?
Unfortunately, there isn’t one answer to this problem! Here are a few reasons why the leaves on your hosta may be yellowing:

  1. Fungal disease: there are two types of fungal diseases that cause yellow leaves. Petiole rot (Sclerotium rolfsii) rapidly spreads on hostas, causing leaves to yellow, collapse, and defoliate. Look at the stem of the leaf to identify the presence of petiole rot. Fusarium root and crown rot is a fungal pathogen that enters through wounds on the leaves or roots. Leaves turn yellow before withering. Remove and destroy any infected plant tissue.
  2. Bacterial disease: bacterial soft rot can occur in early spring following cold temperatures. Bacteria enter the plant through wounds created by cold damage. Leaves will yellow and feel soft or limp. Disinfect any tools before, during, and after trimming plants with disease!
  3. Overwatering: if your plants are receiving too much water or are subjected to poorly draining soils, the leaves will turn yellow. To avoid overwatering your plants, feel the soil before watering to gauge moisture. Hostas prefer evenly moist soil that is not wet.

Why is My Hosta Turning Brown?
There are a few reasons why your hosta may have brown leaves:

  1. Leaf scorch: hostas are prone to leaf scorch when they are planted in too much sun. The edges of the leaves will turn brown and brittle. If your plant is burning, we suggest transplanting it to a shadier location.
  2. Disease: anthracnose is a disease that causes brown spots or brown edges on leaves. Infected areas will feel brittle to the touch and will likely look torn. This disease persists in humid areas with poor air circulation, so ensure you are properly spacing your plants to prevent anthracnose.
  3. Nematodes: hosta leaf nematodes are small worms that live inside hosta leaves. As they feed on the leaves, they leave behind brown streaks between veins. With enough damage, the entire leaf can brown and die.
  4. Underwatering: hostas that aren’t receiving enough water will have brown leaf margins. If this is the case, water more frequently and consider mulching around your plants to conserve soil moisture.

Are Hostas Evergreen?
No, hostas are not evergreen. Each winter, the plants will enter dormancy and die back to the ground before re-emerging in spring. You can keep the faded foliage standing until spring, but we recommend cutting it back in the fall, especially if you have problems with slugs. Slugs lay their eggs in the dead hosta foliage, so removing them in fall will deter slugs from returning in spring!
Should I Cut or Keep Hosta Flowers?
Like any decision you make in your garden – it’s completely up to you whether you cut or keep your hosta flowers. But if you’ve talked to avid shade gardeners, there are some strong opinions out there! The main reason gardeners cut their hosta flowers is to conserve energy – or appropriately distribute energy. Cutting the flowers promotes more foliage growth. Some just don’t like the look! According to an Instagram poll, the majority of our community keeps hosta flowers for their color, fragrance, and pollinator-attracting ability.
When Do Hostas Bloom?
In early to midsummer, hostas start to push out spikes of white or lavender blooms. Only some varieties have fragrant blooms, but pollinators love them either way.
What are Miniature Hostas?
Miniature hostas may be tiny, but they sure are mighty! Reaching less than 5 inches tall and wide, these hostas are great candidates for containers, fairy gardens, or small beds. Their small leaves are especially charming and come in an array of shapes and colors. In the past, these whimsical hostas were notorious for being difficult to grow, but are now bred to be easy for beginners! Check out all of our miniature hostas:
Which Hostas are Slug Resistant?
Thankfully, hosta breeders have been focusing their efforts on creating new varieties that are slug-resistant for quite some time now. There are many options that are slug-resistant, but not slug-proof! If you know slugs are a problem in your garden, choose varieties with thickly corrugated or wavy leaves. Proven Winners does a great job selecting plants for their slug resistance. Shop them here.
Can Hostas Grow in Pots
Yes, absolutely! There are a few things to keep in mind when growing hostas in containers:

  1. Proper drainage. Hostas require well-draining soils, so select your potting media accordingly. It’s vital that the pot or container has drainage holes to prevent standing water.
  2. Pot size. It’s important you select the right size pot when growing perennials in containers. A pot that is too large will hold on to water for too long, while a pot that is too small will dry out quickly. Some hostas are small (5 inches) while others are massive (5 feet). Plan accordingly!
  3. Lighting. Place your pot in an area that receives shade (< 4 hours direct sun) to part sun (4-6 hours direct sun).

 Are Hostas Poisonous to Dogs and Cats?
Hostas are toxic to dogs and cats! Eating a large number of hosta leaves won’t kill them, but can lead to indigestion. Keep an eye on your pets as they play near hostas.
Can I Plant Hostas Under Trees?
Yes, of course! This is where hostas thrive. They make a lovely understory under trees and even tall shrubs that cast shade. Avoid planting them under maple trees, which have a vigorous root system that might choke out your hosta.
Do Deer Eat Hostas?
Unfortunately, yes, deer love to eat hosta plants. They will nibble on the green glossy leaves and take bites from the fragrant flower stems above the plant. You can install a fence around your hosta plants to keep the deer at bay or choose one of these deer-resistant hosta alternatives HERE.

Salvia: care-free color in August heat
Tough-to-grow sites in your garden don’t have to be lackluster! Salvia handles drought, poor soils, and intense heat with ease (and looks good doing it). Not only are they durable, but they’re packed full of vibrant colors, fragrance, and pollinator-attracting power that will bring your garden to life. Unique flower spikes emerge in late spring or early summer, covered in small tubular flowers that are loaded with nectar and pollen. And while pollinators are drawn to the flowers, the fragrant foliage tends to drive deer and rabbits away. Salvia is truly a worry-free addition to the garden, which is why it is commonly found in landscapes all over the US.
Many gardeners find August to be a relatively boring month in the garden. High temperatures and drought cause flowers and foliage to quickly fade. Some plants even stop producing flowers altogether until temperatures cool down. Salvia still manages to shine throughout August, and with some extra deadheading, will even rebloom while everything else slows down. Every gardener should have a few (or more) salvias, which is why we’re highlighting it as our August plant of the month.

How to Grow Salvia

  • Soil: Any average soil will do, provided it is well-draining. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Light: Full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight per day)
  • Water: Dry to average — Plants may repeat bloom throughout the summer, but need regular moisture to encourage this.
  • Spacing: 1 – 2 ft
  • Fertilizing: None required; if desired, apply a general-purpose garden fertilizer in early spring.
  • Winterizing: No special care is needed. Many gardeners allow the spent foliage to stand until spring and remove it when new growth emerges.
  • Maintenance & Pruning: Remove spent flower spikes to help encourage rebloom.

Whether you’re looking for an airy light blue or dark saturated purple, you’ll find it in our collection. Meet the lineup here:
‘May Night’ Salvia
With long-lasting flowers and strong stems, you can rely on a lush display of indigo flowers on ‘May Night’ salvia all summer long! Even in strong winds and rain, spikes remain upright for you and the pollinators to enjoy.
Color Spires® ‘Azure Snow’ Salvia
Two-toned flowers on Color Spires® ‘Azure Snow’ salvia are bound to catch your eye in the garden! Flowers with ice blue and white tones appear in late spring and continue to bloom all summer long. Plant it in masses for the best look (and pollinator-attracting power).
Color Spires® ‘Back to the Fuchsia’ Salvia
If your garden needs an extra pop of pink, then Color Spires® ‘Back to the Fuchsia’ salvia is the perfect perennial for you! Vibrant pink flowers bloom on dark charcoal stems. Pair it with dark foliage plants, like Black Lace® elderberry or Winecraft Black® smokebush.
Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue” Salvia
Looking to cool down your hot summer garden? Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ salvia offers striking light-blue bloom in contrast to the typical darker purple colors. Use it as an accent or make it the star of the show by planting it in masses!
Color Spires® ‘Indiglo Girl’ Salvia
The flowers of Color Spires® ‘Indiglo Girl’ salvia are so saturated and vibrant, they practically glow in the landscape! You’re not the only one who will notice. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are drawn to the blooms, which last all summer long.
Color Spires® ‘Pink Dawn’ Salvia
Color Spires® ‘Pink Dawn’ salvia truly is a low-maintenance beauty that keeps on giving all summer long. Cotton candy pink flower spikes look dreamy alone or in masses. Plant them in an area where you can watch all the butterflies enjoy the blooms!
Color Spires® ‘Violet Riot’ Salvia
Add a jolt of violet-blue color to your landscape with Color Spires® ‘Violet Riot’ salvia! This salvia takes everything you love about the classic ‘May Night’, but adds more flowers, stronger stems, and more saturated colors. What more could you ask for?
Color Spires® ‘Caradonna’ Salvia
‘Caradonna’ salvia offers more than just deep violet flowers. They boast dark purple stems as well! The flower spikes pop against their silvery-green fragrant foliage, attracting pollinators and repelling deer.

Our New Must-Have Plant: Geums
Introducing Geums
With lobed green foliage similar to coral bells and ruffled rose-like blooms, geums (or avens) are quickly gaining popularity among gardeners and cut flower farmers. After growing them, you’ll quickly learn why! Airy flowers bloom on wispy stems, creating a charming and relaxed look that perfectly fits cottage gardens. They start blooming in late spring, attracting flocks of pollinators (especially butterflies) as they continue to flower into summer. They can face downwards (like hellebores), outwards, or upwards, looking good from every angle. Flowers are long-lasting before fading into feathery, smoke-like seed heads, making them perfect for cut arrangments at any stage.
Beyond their swoon-worthy blooms, geums are hard-working perennials in the landscape. They’re rarely plagued with disease, resistant to deer and rabbits, tolerant of dry and poor soils, and are easy to maintain. All they require is a quick trim when flowers and foliage fade and they’ll reward you with flushes of new leafy growth and blooms.
We’re thrilled to add geums to our collection of plants, just in time for the fall planting season. Keep reading to meet our new varieties and learn how to make them feel at home in your garden.
How to Grow Geums

  • Soil: Geums grow best in rich, well-draining soils. While they tolerate some drought, they do not tolerate wet soils. In winter, wet soils can be fatal. Ensure your plants have proper drainage!
  • Light: Full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight each day) is preferred, but in hot climates, they do benefit from afternoon shade to escape the heat. Plants not receiving enough sun will grow slowly and have fewer blooms.
  • Water: Average water needs – water regularly until established.
  • Spacing: Based on the size of the variety you choose, we recommend spacing them anywhere between 12 and 24 inches apart. Air circulation is important, so don’t plant them too close together.
  • Fertilizing: They don’t require much fertilizer but may benefit from a light sprinkling of a well-balanced granular fertilizer in early spring. This is important if you know your soils are deficient in nutrients.
  • Winterizing: No special care is needed. Spent flowers and seed heads can be left standing for winter interest. Clean up spent foliage and flowers in early spring to welcome a flush of new growth.
  • Maintenance & pruning: Geums will reward you for promptly removing spent flowers and foliage with new growth and repeat blooms. It’s not necessary, but keeping them well-groomed will give you the best look.

Pretticoats™ Peach Geum (Avens)
When you combine old-fashioned charm and modern-day breeding, you get incredible plants like Pretticoats™ Peach geum. Yellow and pink ruffled petals form charming peach flowers that bloom from April to September. With multiple flushes of reblooms, this geum will provide you with flowers all season long! Its compact habit makes it easy to grow in containers or the front of beds.
Tempo™ Rose Geum (Avens)
Rosy-pink flowers will have you blushing when you see Tempo™ Rose geum blooming in spring. This early-blooming variety is packed with flower power, producing an abundance of blooms from April through June. Its dark stems add extra appeal when used as cut flowers, adding contrast to arrangements. It’s the smallest geum we offer, reaching 8″ tall and 10″ wide, perfect for nestling into rock gardens.
Prairie Smoke Geum (Avens)
While some geums are grown for their flowers, the native Praire Smoke geum is actually admired for its achenes. Small, pink bell-shaped flowers bloom in the spring and fade into pink puffs of smoke. The feather-like seed heads last for weeks, adding unique color and texture to the landscape! It’s a new staff favorite, so we’re sure you’ll love it too.

Questions Answered Series: Coneflowers (Echinacea)
Your Questions on Coneflowers, Answered!
Coneflowers (Echinacea) are long-blooming perennials that thrive in full sun and heat, adding vibrant color to the landscape from summer to frost. Coneflowers aren’t only pretty – they’re also problem-solvers in the garden. They adapt easily to any well-draining soil and can handle mild drought once established. Even in gardens plagued with trouble, coneflowers always seem unfazed. Whether you’ve already planted coneflowers or are planning to buy some soon, you can find the answers to all your questions here. See what others are asking and learn how to make coneflowers feel at home in your garden!

When Should I Plant Coneflowers?

In general, late spring and early fall are the best times to plant perennials. If you choose to plant your coneflowers in the spring, make sure you wait until the last frost has passed and the soil is sufficiently warm. When planting in early fall, plant your coneflowers several weeks before the expected first frost. Thankfully, coneflowers are quite heat tolerant, so you could even plant them in summer if you’d like! No matter what time you plant them, ensure you provide plenty of water for the first few weeks to help them establish.
Can Coneflowers Grow in Containers?
Yes, absolutely! There are a few things to keep in mind when growing coneflowers (Echinacea) in containers:

  1. Proper drainage. Coneflowers require well-draining soils, so select your potting media accordingly. It’s vital that the pot or container has drainage holes to prevent standing water.
  2. Pot size. It’s important you select the right size pot when growing perennials in containers. A pot that is too large will hold on to water for too long, while a pot that is too small will dry out quickly. Choose containers that are equally deep as they are wide.
  3. Lighting. Place your pot in an area that receives full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight each day) for the best growth and blooms.

How Do You Grow Coneflowers?
Coneflowers are easy to love, but they’re even easier to grow! Here are our suggestions when growing coneflowers:

  • Soil: Any well-draining soil will do. They can even handle sandy or gravelly soils that are tough to grow in.
  • Light: Full sun. Plant them in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of full sun a day. If planted in too much shade, plants may flop or strain to reach the sun.
  • Water: Water regularly during the first season to encourage good root growth. Though coneflowers handle heat and dry conditions well once established, they appreciate regular watering and flower more if they are not stressed!
  • Spacing: Depends on the size of the variety you plant, but in general, 16 – 24 inches apart.
  • Fertilizing: Little fertilizer is required when growing coneflowers. Over-fertilizing will cause spindly growth, so once in the spring with a granular garden fertilizer is more than sufficient.
  • Winterizing: Avoid damp spots. Do not heap mulching over crowns in winter, as this can cause rot. Leave the foliage and old flowers standing for winter (birds enjoy the seed heads), then trim back or remove spent foliage in early spring before new growth emerges.
  • Maintenance & Pruning: Once planted, they are best left alone, as they do not transplant well! Deadheading (snipping off the spent blooms) is not necessary but does increase new flower production.

Can Coneflowers Grow in Shade?
No, coneflowers require full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight each day) and do not tolerate shady spots (less than 4 hours direct sunlight). When coneflowers don’t receive enough sun, they produce fewer blooms and tend to flop with weak stems. Make sure you plant them in a sunny spot from the start, as they don’t transplant very well!
Should I Deadhead My Coneflowers?
Really, it’s completely up to you. Deadheading is not necessary to enjoy the blooms, but it does encourage new flower production. However, there is a good reason to avoid deadheading. Birds and other wildlife love the spent seed heads and will commonly visit them throughout fall and winter. To get the most out of your coneflowers, we do suggest deadheading in the summer, then when fall starts, to stop deadheading and leave the remaining flowers standing. You’ll get more blooms in the summer, then invite life to the garden in late fall and winter.

 Why are My Coneflower Leaves Yellow?
There are a few reasons why your coneflowers may have yellow leaves:

  1. Overwatering. Yellow leaves are a classic sign of overwatering coneflowers. Coneflowers do not grow well in wet soils, as their roots need plenty of air circulation. Try watering your coneflowers deeply, but not frequently. When planted in soils that do not drain properly, they are susceptible to root or crown rot (sclerotinia blight), which causes yellow leaves. Plants with crown rot should be removed and disposed of promptly.
  2. Whitefly infestation. Whiteflies feed on the sap from stems and leaves, causing them to turn yellow. If you think your plant is infested with whiteflies, check for eggs on the underside of leaves. You can treat whiteflies fairly easily with insecticides from your local gardening store.
  3. Nutrient deficiency. If grown in poor soils, your coneflowers may be showing symptoms of nutrient deficiency with yellowing leaves. Apply fertilizer in early spring, but be careful to not over-fertilize, as this will cause spindly growth. We suggest testing your soil pH and nutrient levels by reaching out to your local ag extension office.

Why are the Flowers on My Coneflowers Distorted?
If the blooms on your coneflowers look distorted, they may be plagued with aster yellows, a viral-like disease that is transmitted by insects that feed on their sap. Plants with aster yellows are “infected” with a phytoplasma in their phloem that multiplies, causing deformed flowers and odd tufts of growth inside the blooms. This may also cause yellowing of leaves, but is hard to identify by that symptom alone.

 Distorted growth on coneflowers (Echinacea) from aster yellows. Images provided by Missouri Botanical Garden.
Why is My Coneflower Wilting?
While coneflowers are easy to care for, they aren’t bullet-proof! There are a few reasons why your coneflowers may be wilting:

  1. Not enough water. Though coneflowers are quite drought-tolerant once established, they still need plenty of water their first few months in your garden. Make sure you provide water, especially in the heat of the summer.
  2. Too much shade. If coneflowers are not receiving enough sunlight, they’ll have weak and droopy stems. Make sure your coneflowers are planted in full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight each day) for the strongest stems and best blooms.
  3. Sclerotinia blight. Also known as crown or root rot, Sclerotinia blight is a fungal pathogen that originates from the soil. It usually enters through the damaged tissue in the roots or base of the stem. It’s prevalent in damp conditions, so avoid overwatering your plants.

What is Eating My Coneflower?
It’s never a good feeling to see holes in the leaves or petals of your coneflowers. Unfortunately, there are many different pests that could be the cause of it. If there are small holes on your plant, it’s likely an insect, like Japanese beetles, aphids, eriophyid mites, or earwigs. If there are large holes in the leaves, or petals and whole flowers go missing, you may be dealing with a bigger pest like rabbits. While deer aren’t particularly fond of coneflowers, rabbits sure are. To stop the problem, you’ll have to Sherlock your way to identifying which pest it is first. Keep a close eye on your plant and note any bugs or wildlife you see nearby!
Are Coneflowers Deer and Rabbit Resistant?
Unfortunately, coneflowers are not deer and rabbit resistant. While they aren’t the first choice of deer, it’s not uncommon for deer to still eat them if not much else is available. On the other hand, rabbits particularly enjoy coneflower petals and foliage. If your garden is home to rabbits, we suggest planting your coneflowers in a fenced area or spraying them with a non-toxic spray to deter them.
Will Coneflowers Reseed Themselves or Spread?
Coneflowers will not spread via roots or rhizomes, but they may self-seed, eventually filling garden beds. Seedlings can be easily removed throughout the season to control the spread. Self-seeding is less common with hybrid coneflowers, which have a lower seed count. If hybrids do self-seed, do not be surprised if the offspring looks much different than the parent! Hybrid coneflowers are clonally propagated since plants derived from seeds tend to be quite different.

 Which Birds Eat Coneflower Seeds?
Coneflowers provide interest long after the flowers fade with prominent seed heads that attract birds in fall and winter! Here are a few of the birds you might notice feasting on your coneflower seeds:

  • Goldfinches
  • Chickadees
  • Woodpeckers
  • Cardinals
  • Blue Jays
  • Mourning Dove
  • Pine Siskin

Are Coneflowers Fragrant?
Yes! Coneflowers have a light, sweet, honey-like fragrance that attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and gardeners to the flowers. While the scent on some
varieties isn’t strong enough to smell from afar, you can certainly smell them when you lean in to admire the blooms.
What’s the Difference Between Coneflowers and Daisies?
While many of us immediately envision flowers with white petals and a bright gold center when we hear “daisy”, there are actually hundreds of different types. The common daisy, black-eyed Susan, shasta daisy, and coneflower are all relatives in the daisy family, Asteraceae. When you see them all together, it’s not that surprising! They all have broad petals that radiate from a prominent center. The main feature that sets coneflowers (Echinacea) apart is their copper cone-shaped center of fertile florets.
Are Coneflowers Poisonous to Dogs and Cats?
No, coneflowers are not toxic to dogs or cats! Your pets can safely play among the coneflowers, even if they occasionally nibble at them. While not toxic, ingesting a large quantity of coneflower foliage or flowers can lead to indigestion.

Our Guide for Fall Planting
The start of fall may signal the gardening season is coming to a close, but it’s not over yet! There is still plenty of time to enjoy colorful flowers and foliage, or even sprinkle in some new perennials and shrubs before winter arrives. Even with cold temperatures approaching, the soil remains warm for much longer, which gives your new plants time to grow roots and establish in your garden. In some areas, planting in the fall is more favorable than planting in spring! So grab your sweater, shovel, and a few (or more) great plants and get some stellar fall garden ideas. We’ll spell out everything you need to keep your fall garden flowers flourishing for the rest of the season.
How Cold is Too Cold to Plant?
Worried whether your plants will establish before winter? You actually have more time than you think! While the gardening season for annuals typically ends around the first frost, perennials and shrubs continue to grow (especially belowground) until the hard frost. The first frost occurs when air temperatures dip below 32° Fahrenheit, but hard frost is when the ground and air both freeze.

 

Average First Frost Date
Zones 3, 4: Sept. 1 – Sept. 30
Zones 5, 6, 7: Sept. 30 – Oct. 30
Zone 8: Oct. 30 – Nov. 30
Zones 9 -10: Nov. 30 – Dec. 30
You can expect a hard frost in December, January, February, or not at all depending on your zone. We recommend planting everything up to 6 weeks before the ground freezes, giving your plants enough time to establish before snow and harsh temperatures arrive. Aim for the end of October in colder zones or mid-November in warmer zones. If your plants are still in nursery pots (plastic containers), it’s best to get them in the ground to protect their roots, even if you plan on moving them in spring.
Garden Care in Fall
Unfortunately, not every plant is suitable for fall planting! For the best success, select plants that are hardy to your zone and not sensitive to winter temperatures in your area. Some shrubs, like bigleaf hydrangeas or butterfly bushes, are particularly sensitive to cold temperatures and should be planted in spring or summer. In cold climates, we also recommend gardeners wait to plant evergreens (azaleas, holly, boxwood, even arborvitae) to avoid windburn.
You may be asking yourself: what should I plant for a fall garden? Here are some great options for fall planting:
1. COLD-TOLERANT PLANTS
Even in the chilliest winters, from USDA zone 4 and below, these cold-tolerant plants seem to thrive! You won’t have to wonder whether your plants survived the harsh winter. We are confident these plants won’t let you down.
2. Spring Bloomers
When considering what to plant in fall, we always think spring. Why? Planting your spring bloomers in fall ensures they’ll be ready to perform when spring arrives next year!
3. Southern Shrubs
Southern gardens can be dry, humid, sunny, or shaded, but the one thing they all have in common is they’re hot. That’s why fall is the best time to plant in warm zones! Shrubs have plenty of time to establish in your garden before the hot summer months return next year.

10 Perennials You Can Cut Back In Fall (& 10 You Shouldn’t)
The gardening season is coming to a close, and if you live in cold climates, your perennials may already be starting to drop leaves and enter dormancy. Don’t worry – it’s completely normal – but it does leave some gardeners wondering what to do next. Should I cut my perennials or leave them standing for winter? When should I cut back my perennials?
In short, it depends on your plants and where you live. Gardeners in cold climates benefit from leaving their foliage standing to protect their crowns. A plant’s crown is where the stem meets the roots, usually at the soil line, and new growth will emerge in the spring. Leaving the foliage provides some insulation and protects the crown from snow. That said, not every plant needs this extra protection during winter. Some even benefit from being cut back in the fall, whether it’s to prevent disease or remove obstacles for spring growth.
We’ll spell out which plants you can cut down in fall and which ones should be left standing until spring. Like any decision you make in your garden, it’s completely up to you. Use this blog as a guide, not a rulebook!
Perennials to cut in the fall:
1.) Phlox
Phlox may shine from late spring to the end of summer, but when cooler temperatures arrive, they start to fizzle out. We suggest cutting them back in late fall for one main reason: powdery mildew. Phlox is susceptible to powdery mildew, especially when the foliage is wet for prolonged periods. Even mildew-resistant varieties, like those introduced by Proven Winners, have a higher chance of infection during cool and wet fall months.
*Destroy any foliage with symptoms of powdery mildew and disinfect pruners before trimming other plants.

 

 2.) Bee Balm (Monarda)
Similar to phlox, bee balm (or Monarda) is susceptible to powdery mildew, especially during damp fall months. To prevent the disease from returning the following year, we suggest cutting the plants back in the fall and removing any debris – no matter the variety! It will give your plants a clean start next season.
*Destroy any foliage with symptoms of powdery mildew and disinfect pruners before trimming other plants.
3.) Yarrow (Achillea)
While some perennials look magical in winter – others don’t – and that’s okay. When winter arrives, the spent foliage on yarrow (or Achillea) is pretty… unattractive. We suggest cutting it back in the fall foliage – but not all. Late in the season, yarrow pushes out new basal leaves. Cut any old foliage, but keep the new basal leaves to protect the crown during winter.
*Pro-tip: cut the fresh flowers to enjoy indoors, or leave spent flowers stalks standing for some winter interest.

 

 4.) Spike Speedwell (Veronica)
Spike speedwell (or Veronica) may look whimsical from spring through fall, but they do fade quickly once the first frost hits. Similar to yarrow, we suggest cutting them back to their basal foliage, which also grows near the crown late in the season. It’ll clean up their appearance and prepare them to spring back to life when winter ends!
5.) Astilbe
The lacy, fern-like foliage on astilbe stays green and healthy spring through fall but quickly fades to yellow and brown after the first frost. While the foliage turns quite lackluster, the spent flowers keep their whimsical texture. We recommend cutting back the foliage to tidy up the garden, but keeping the spent flowers for winter interest.
*Don’t like the look of spent blooms in the garden? Try cutting them for dried arrangements indoors.

 

 6.) Columbine (Aquilegia)
Columbine (or Aquilegia) is an old-fashioned favorite for its springtime display of colorful flowers. The best way to set it up for success in spring? Clear out any old foliage or flower stems in late fall. It will prevent disease and pests from returning, plus remove any obstacles for new growth in spring!
7.) Daylilies (Hemerocallis)
Daylilies (Hemerocallis) grow in cheerful clumps of grass-like foliage that droop and turn brown in the winter. Is it necessary to cut back in the fall for plant health? No, but some gardeners prefer a cleaner look through the winter months. Save yourself the mess in spring by cutting them back after they enter dormancy!

 

 8.) Hosta
While keeping hosta foliage standing during winter will protect the crown, there is one good reason to cut them back in the fall. Slugs! Slugs lay their eggs in dead hosta foliage and removing leaves after frost will deter slugs from returning in spring. Especially if your garden is plagued with slugs, we recommend cutting them in late fall.
*Still unsure? Cut it down partially, leaving 4-6 inches standing above ground, and then remove all debris.
9.) Catmint (Nepeta)
Catmint’s (Nepeta) aromatic foliage stays fresh from spring to fall but quickly turns yellow and brown once frost hits. Some gardeners see this as an eyesore and like to trim it back for a cleaner appearance. If you do decide to cut it back, we do advise leaving at least 4-6 inches standing above ground to protect the crown over winter.

 

 10.) Salvia
Salvia is a star in the summer garden but does leave some to be desired during winter. Flower stalks typically flop and turn brown, similar to their foliage. Some gardeners choose to keep it standing until spring, while others trim it back for a cleaner appearance. It’s up to you! To cut it back, trim it down to the new basal growth, which protects the crown over winter.
Perennials not to cut back in fall
1.) Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Coral bells (or Heuchera) boasts colorful foliage from spring to fall, and even through the winter in warmer climates. Whether coral bells are evergreen or not in your zone, we don’t suggest cutting them back in late fall. Why? Their foliage protects their crown through the winter. All you have to do for another year of vibrant color is tidy the plant up in spring!

 

 2.) Coneflowers (Echinacea)
Coneflowers (Echinacea) are long-blooming perennials that add vibrant color from summer to frost, but it doesn’t stop there. Their blooms provide interest long after they fade with prominent seed heads. Birds and other wildlife (including goldfinches, blue jays, and cardinals) love the seeds and commonly visit them throughout fall and winter. We suggest leaving them standing in winter to add texture and life to the winter garden, but you can always cut them if you’d prefer!
3.) Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Similar to coneflowers, black-eyed Susans (or Rudbeckia) also boast prominent center cones that can be left standing all winter long. You can find birds perched on their spent seed heads in late fall and winter, which adds a little interest and excitement to the winter garden! If you prefer a tidier winter appearance, cutting them won’t hurt the plant either.
*We love how their black dried seed heads look in dried flower arrangements in fall and winter!

 

 
4.) Ornamental Grasses
Planting ornamental grasses is one surefire way to add four seasons of interest to your garden – even though it’s only a perennial! Ornamental grasses bring height, color, movement, and structure to the landscape. Even when it’s dormant in winter, the foliage takes on rich gold hues and keep their structure until they’re cut down in spring.
*Dried plumes hold snow and frost beautifully in the landscape, or you can bring them indoors as decoration.
5.) Ferns
The best part of ferns? Watching their new fronds emerge in spring and unfurl as summer approaches. The fronds add feathery texture and lush green, purple, or silver hues to the garden. While they may lose their color in winter, they continue to add texture and protect the crown until new fiddleheads appear the following spring. Wait to trim back old fronds in spring once you see new ones emerging!

 

 6.) Milkweed (Asclepias)
As a native perennial, milkweed (Asclepias) plays a vital role in supporting pollinators – all year long. In spring, its foliage serves as a food source for Monarch caterpillars. In summer and early fall, clusters of nectar-rich flowers feed butterflies, birds, and bees. Leave your milkweed standing in late fall and winter to provide shelter for pollinators that make nests in hollow stems. They’ll thank you in the spring!
7.) Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)
Originally from South Africa, red hot poker (Kniphofia) is well adapted to heat, humidity, and bright sun. Winter temperatures? Not so much, even though some varieties are hardy down to zone 5. We suggest leaving the foliage standing all winter long to protect the crown. Flowers stalks can be removed, but wait to tidy up the rest until spring!

 

 8.) Cranesbill (Geranium)
Cranesbill (or Geranium) are hard-working perennials in the garden – even in the winter months. They’re semi-evergreen, which means they will keep their green foliage through winter in mild climates. Wait to cut the foliage back until spring to enjoy some extra greenery through the winter!
*If cranesbill is not evergreen in your zone, you can always cut it back if you’d prefer.
9.) Stonecrop (Sedum)
They may look similar to succulents grown indoors, but stonecrops (Sedum) are surprisingly winter hardy. During the winter months, their foliage and flowers will die back, but we don’t suggest cutting them. Why? The spent flower stalks on upright sedums offer texture, color, and food for wildlife. Plus, they look delightful as they hold freshly fallen snow!

 

 10.) False Indigo (Baptista)
The garden is usually quiet in the winter from blankets of snow that absorb sound. False indigo (Baptisia) changes that by adding texture, movement, and noise (even though it’s dormant). Spent flowers give way to black pods in fall, resembling little maracas that are filled with seeds. They rustle in the winter winds and create a little music while doing so!

Questions Answered Series: Hydrangeas
How To Plant, Grow & Care For Hydrangeas: Your Questions Answered!
Hydrangeas have come to be a fan favorite in the gardening world. Blooming in hues of blue, pink, white, and even green, the array of colors keep us coming back for more, time and time again. There’s virtually a hydrangea for every garden! Whether they stand alone or are planted in a hedge, these shrubs know how to make an impact. We often hear that gardeners are intimidated by this popular flowering shrub. We’re here to tell you; you don’t have to be. Whether you’re already growing hydrangeas or are planning to buy some soon, we’re here to help you find all the information you need to know, and we’ll help bust some myths along the way! See our most common questions about hydrangeas and learn how to enjoy them year-round in your garden.

 

What are the different types of hydrangeas?
Here at Great Garden Plants, we offer 7 different types of hydrangeas. Knowing which type you have is one of the most important steps to growing them successfully! We’ll spell it all out for you right here:

  1. Bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla): these hydrangeas are characterized by their big, glossy, leathery leaves and pink, blue, or purple blooms.
  2. Mountain hydrangeas (H. serrata): native to chilly mountainous areas, mountain hydrangeas grow well in colder climates. They look similar to bigleaf hydrangeas, with pink, blue, or purple blooms, but they’re generally lacecap instead of mophead.
  3. Smooth hydrangeas (H. arborescens): beloved for their huge, globular blooms and rock-solid reliability. Sometimes called ‘Annabelle’ -type hydrangea, as this variety is the most widely recognized smooth hydrangea.
  4. Oakleaf hydrangeas (H. quercifolia): easy to recognize with their big, oak-shaped leaves and fragrant white flowers. One of the few hydrangeas with fall foliage color.
  5. Panicle hydrangeas (H. paniculata): one of the most beautiful, reliable, and long-blooming hydrangeas ever. Football-shaped flowers start white and change to pink or red in late summer. Sometimes called peegee or ‘Limelight’ hydrangea.
  6. Cascade hydrangeas (H. x): white flowers bloom along trailing stems, creating a cascading display of flower power. One of the newest types of hydrangeas on the market.
  7. Climbing hydrangeas (H. petiolaris): grows as a vine using rootlets to grab ahold of structures. Popular on chimneys, brick, and wood fences.

How do I grow hydrangeas?
Soil: Hydrangeas require well-drained but moist soil. A good layer of mulch is very helpful for minimizing drought stress and conserving moisture.
Light: Plants can take sun (6+ hours sun) in cooler areas, but part sun (4-6 hours sun) with afternoon shade is recommended in warm climates. If your plant frequently wilts in the afternoon even though it was recently watered, or your flowers turn brown quickly, that may indicate the spot is too sunny for it.
Water: Average to abundant (as long as the soil is well-drained).
Winterizing: Apply a good 2-3″ layer of mulch to help protect the shallow roots.
Fertilizing: Fertilize in early spring, once the ground has thawed, with a granular rose fertilizer. For reblooming varieties, make an additional application in late spring/early summer to boost reblooming ability, particularly in colder areas.
Are hydrangeas easy to care for?

Yes, hydrangeas are easy to grow and require little maintenance once established! Planting in an area with plenty of sun (with some afternoon shade) and well-drained soil requires little maintenance to thrive. Just make sure to give these superstar shrubs a little more water, about 1 inch per week, during the peak growing season.
Which hydrangeas bloom on old wood vs. new wood?
Knowing whether your hydrangea blooms on old wood vs. new wood is important when determining when to prune. Why? It distinguishes when your plant sets buds, and we want to avoid cutting off any precious future flowers.
Bigleaf, mountain, cascade, climbing, and oakleaf hydrangeas all bloom on old wood, which means they create their flower buds for the next year right when they finish blooming in the current year. That means flower buds sit on the plants all year long, just waiting for summer.
Panicle and smooth hydrangeas bloom on new wood, which means they create their flower buds in early spring after dormancy. Buds are set on the newest growth on the plant, and usually don’t wait too long before bursting into bloom.
How and when should I prune my hydrangeas?
How and when you prune your hydrangeas depends on two things: which type of hydrangea you have and whether it blooms on old or new wood. Pruning hydrangeas in the spring is a healthy framework for many types of hydrangeas. If you’re not sure which type you have, don’t worry, we spell it out for you in the questions above. Here’s how to prune each type:

  1. Bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla): avoid pruning bigleaf hydrangeas, as they bloom on old wood, which means pruning it will cut off next year’s flower buds. You can trim off any dead wood or old blooms, but nothing more!
  2. Mountain hydrangeas (H. serrata): don’t prune mountain hydrangeas. Similar to bigleaf hydrangeas, they bloom on old wood. For maximum flower power, avoid trimming any part of the plant, except for dead branches and spent flowers.
  3. Smooth hydrangeas (H. arborescens): prune smooth hydrangeas in late winter or early spring by cutting back 1/3 of their total height. They bloom on new wood, so this will encourage lots of new growth, which means lots of flowers.
  4. Oakleaf hydrangeas (H. quercifolia): avoid pruning oakleaf hydrangeas, as it will remove the flower buds for the upcoming season. It blooms on old wood and should only be pruned to remove dead branches and old blooms.
  5. Panicle hydrangeas (H. paniculata): panicle hydrangeas bloom on new wood, so they should be pruned in late winter or early spring by cutting back 1/3 of their total height. This will promote stronger stems, bigger buds, and more flowers.
  6. Cascade hydrangeas (H. x): no need to prune cascade hydrangeas, as they bloom on old AND new wood! You’ll get the best performance if you avoid pruning.
  7. Climbing hydrangeas (H. petiolaris): climbing hydrangeas bloom on old wood, so they flower best if you do not prune them.

Which hydrangeas are easiest to grow?
While some hydrangeas are notorious for being picky, other types are known to be a breeze (even for beginners). By far, the easiest hydrangeas to grow are panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata). They’re hardy, reliable bloomers, and adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions. Enjoy months of blooms without a worry in the world!
If you’re looking for an alternative to panicles, then smooth hydrangeas are a great second option.
Can hydrangeas grow in pots and containers?
Yes, hydrangeas grow well in large containers! There are three important things to keep in mind when planting hydrangeas in pots:

  1. Proper drainage. Hydrangeas like water, but still require well-draining soils. It’s vital that the pot or container has large drainage holes to prevent standing water.
  2. Pot size. It’s important you select the right size pot when growing shrubs in containers. A pot that is too large will hold on to water for too long, while a pot that is too small will dry out quickly.
  3. Lighting. Place your pot in an area that receives full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight) to part sun (4-6 hours direct sunlight).

 Can I trim my hydrangea to keep it small?
No, we do not recommend trimming hydrangeas to keep them small for a variety of reasons. Cutting your hydrangea back severely can cause weak stems and reduced blooms, especially if it is a variety that blooms on old wood! Instead, we recommend choosing dwarf varieties. There are many to choose from, including Little Lime®, Bobo®, Invincibelle Wee White®, Invincibelle Garnetta®, Invincibelle Mini Mauvette®, Fire Light Tidbit®, Tiny Tuff Stuff™, Wee Bit Grumpy®, and more.
Which hydrangea do I have?
There are so many types of hydrangeas on the market, it’s hard for us to tell without seeing them with our own eyes! We summarized the most notable features for each type (with pictures) in the answers above and in our “7 Different Types of Hydrangeas” blog. If your plant is still a mystery, you can always send us pictures on social or via email at info@greatgardenplants.com.
Should I deadhead my hydrangeas?
It’s completely up to you! Some gardeners like to trim them off as soon as they fade, while others keep them around for extra color and texture in the winter months. Either way, all spent flowers should be removed in spring before new growth emerges.

 Which hydrangeas change color?
Almost every type of hydrangea changes color in some way throughout the season. Most notably, bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) and mountain hydrangeas (H. serrata) are known to change from pink to blue or purple depending on the soil pH and availability of aluminum ions.
Panicle hydrangeas (H. paniculata) typically start the season with light green blooms, which turn white and take on bright pink and dark red hues as they age. Smooth hydrangeas (H. arborescens) typically do the opposite, starting white or pink and turning jade green as they mature. Some oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) blooms change color, but most notably, their foliage takes on vibrant fall colors.
How do I make my hydrangea blue or pink?
We’ll keep this chemistry lesson as short as possible! The color of bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) depends on two things: the soil pH and aluminum ion availability. In basic soils (pH 7.5 or higher), aluminum is immobile in the soil and cannot be reached by plants. This results in flowers that bloom pink. However, when the soil is acidified (pH 6.5 or lower), the aluminum ions are released from the soil and can be taken up by the plant. The more aluminum hydrangeas take up, the bluer their flowers will be. If your bigleaf hydrangea in acidic soil is still not blue, that may mean your soil has a low aluminum ion concentration.
How do you change your soil pH? In general, we don’t recommend altering your soil pH. We think every hydrangea color is beautiful, but we are biased hydrangea lovers! If you do want to change your bloom color, we’d recommend using ground lime to raise the pH (pinker blooms), or garden sulfur or ammonium nitrate to lower the pH (bluer blooms). The easiest way to do this is in a container, so consider planting your hydrangeas in pots instead of beds. Make sure you test the pH and aluminum content before altering your soil. Finally, be patient! You may not see results until the following season.
Great garden myths: using vinegar, rusted nails, razor blades, hairpins, coffee grounds, pine needles, are not practical ways to change your hydrangea color. Stick with our recommendations above, or ask your local nursery, garden store, or favorite online plant store (info@greatgardenplants.com) for alternatives!

 Are hydrangeas poisonous to dogs and cats?
The ASPCA does list hydrangeas as toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. While it won’t cause death, it will upset your pet’s digestive system when ingested. However, it won’t cause problems if they touch it, brush up against it, or even roll on it. Keep an eye on your pets as they play near your hydrangeas and train them to avoid chewing on them.
Why aren’t my panicle hydrangea flowers turning from white to red?
Panicle hydrangeas are glorious in the fall, taking on rich pink and red hues as the flowers age. Some gardeners note that their panicle hydrangeas are missing their colorful show, turning from white to brown instead. There are two reasons why this might happen: water stress and high temperatures.
If your hydrangea is stressed in late summer, it’ll probably save its energy and skip this year’s colorful show. It takes energy to have pigmented blooms, so your plant has to use it wisely. Make sure you keep your hydrangeas well-watered throughout the summer (but not overwatered) for the best performance.
Unfortunately, we can’t control the temperature. But if we could, we would send you cool nighttime temperatures starting in late summer. That’s what triggers your hydrangeas to develop the most vibrant colors! If it’s been especially warm in your area in late summer and early fall, your hydrangea flowers might turn brown.

 Are hydrangeas evergreen?
No, hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs that lose their leaves each winter, even in warm climates. You can expect the leaves to yellow before dropping in late fall.
Why isn’t my hydrangea flowering?
There are a few reasons why your hydrangeas may not bloom:

  1. Improper pruning. Have you been cutting your plants back at all? If so, when? These are usually the first questions we ask gardeners when we hear their hydrangeas aren’t blooming. Bigleaf, mountain, and oakleaf hydrangeas bloom on old growth, which means they should not be pruned. Panicle and smooth hydrangeas bloom on new growth and should be pruned in late winter or early spring. Pruning at the improper time (or at all) will cut off the flower buds.
  2. Not enough light. If your hydrangea is growing in low light, blooming may be reduced or stop overall. Ensure your hydrangeas are receiving sun (6+ hours of direct sunlight) or part sun (4-6 hours direct sunlight).
  3. Cold winters. This is mainly a problem for hydrangeas that bloom on old wood (bigleaf, mountain, oakleaf, cascade, climbing). Because these hydrangeas have flower buds on them all through fall, winter, and spring, they can be damaged by cold weather, especially in zones 5 and 6. If new growth on your plant in spring emerges from the ground – not the stems – then winter cold is killing the branches back to the ground. We suggest moving them to an area protected from winter winds
  4. Spring frost. This can threaten hydrangeas in nearly all areas, including warm climates. If a spring frost or freeze hits, it zaps the bud, and the flower buds for the year die. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to protect from – on nights when a frost or freeze is predicted, drape old blankets over the plants.
  5. Too much fertilizer. An excess of nitrogen fertilizer encourages your hydrangeas to grow leafy green growth instead of flowers. Make sure you are providing your hydrangeas with a well-balanced fertilizer.
  6. Deer. Deer are fond of feeding on hydrangea flowers, so if deer are a problem in your area, you may need extra protection!

When should I transplant my hydrangeas?
In general, spring and fall are the best times to transplant hydrangeas. For gardeners in the north, spring is the best time. It will give your shrubs three seasons to establish in their new home before winter hits. For gardeners in the south, it’s the opposite. We suggest transplanting your hydrangeas in the fall, as summers tend to be more stressful than winters. Your shrubs will have three seasons to grow more roots before hot and dry summers arrive.
What is the best fertilizer for hydrangeas?
Before fertilizing it’s important to identify which type of hydrangeas you have. Depending on the variety, many hydrangeas benefit from applying fertilizer in mid-to-late springtime. Great Garden Plants opts for organic, slow-releasing fertilizer for hydrangeas, but this differs from gardener to gardener. This article from The Spruce dives into different fertilizer techniques and options depending on your landscape.
Can I cut hydrangea flowers for arrangements?
Yes, of course! Hydrangeas are lovely additions to floral arrangements. The key to keeping healthy cut flowers is water, right from the start. Bring a container of slightly warm (or tepid) water with you as you pick flowers. Cut stems at a diagonal angle with sharp clippers, removes all the leaves, and place them in a vase.

While hydrangeas are known for their long-lasting display in the garden, they are notorious for fading quickly as cut flowers. Check out our blog for the best hydrangeas to use and how to keep them looking fresh! Click here for more.

 Why is my hydrangea flopping?
We love hydrangeas that develop massive blooms, but not when they flop over! Here are 3 reasons why your hydrangea may be flopping:

  1. Severe pruning. When hydrangeas are cut back severely, the plant responds by rapidly pushing out a lot of soft new growth – this happens so quickly that it doesn’t have the time to develop the strong woody cells that keep the branches upright. It’s typically temporary for that season, and if it is pruned properly the following spring, it can recover. That means cutting it back by just 1/3 its total height in late winter/early spring.
  2. Too much shade. Growing in too much shade will encourage the plant to grow tall in search of light, but with weak stems. If your plant is receiving less than 4 hours of direct sunlight a day, we recommend transplanting it to an area with more sun.
  3. Excess fertilizer. Applying too much fertilizer to your hydrangeas will encourage them to grow quickly, but with very weak stems. Make sure you are not overfertilizing your shrubs. They only need a boost once a season!

How do I create a hedge of hydrangeas?
Making your own hydrangea hedge can be intimidating, especially if you’re starting from scratch. That’s why we’re here! We’ll guide you through how to recreate the magic in our blog (linked here). Here are the main points to consider:

  • Spacing: The answer to this depends on a few different factors, including which hydrangea you’re using, where you live, and what look you’re going for. A general rule of thumb is to start by looking at the width of the plant. For example, Incrediball® smooth hydrangeas reach 5 feet wide, so you can plant them with their centers 5 feet apart.
  • Number of plants: Depends on the size of your space and which hydrangeas you use. Try using our plant calculator to help determine the number of plants for your space.

Remember, read more in our blog on hydrangea hedges!

 Are hydrangeas deer resistant?
Unfortunately, no, hydrangeas are one of the least deer-resistant plants on the market. While they only occasionally damage leaves and stems, they will certainly feast on the flowers and buds. We have yet to find a hydrangea that is truly deer resistant, so for now, you have three choices when dealing with deer: install a fence, use repellent sprays, or get a good guard dog!
Can hydrangeas grow in shade? Which hydrangeas are best for shade?
Hydrangeas grow best in full sun (6+ hours sun) in the north and part sun (4-6 hours sun) in the south. While all hydrangeas are grateful for afternoon shade in the hottest hours of the day, they do not handle full shade gardens (receiving less than 4 hours of sun). If your hydrangea is not receiving enough sun, you can expect any unhappy plant with weak stems and fewer flowers – which no gardener wants.
If you’re a shade gardener that is still determined to grow hydrangeas, we’re rooting for you! There are 2 hydrangeas that can handle shade better than others: oakleaf hydrangeas (H. quercifolia) and climbing hydrangeas (H. petioralis). They perform the best in shade, but will still have reduced blooms if they don’t receive enough sun. Keep a close eye on them and transplant to a sunnier location if necessary.

 Why are my hydrangea leaves turning yellow?
Yellowing leaves typically indicates your plant is overwatered! Hydrangeas require well-draining soils and are not tolerant of “wet feet”.  Try reducing how frequently you irrigate and feel the soil before watering. If the soil feels moist to the touch, skip on watering for now. If you’re sure your plant has not been overwatered, the problem may be soil drainage.
Clay soils will hold onto water for long periods of time, suffocating the roots. Amending the soil at planting can cause poor drainage by holding onto water (we call it the bathtub effect). Landscape fabric near the base of the plant prevents soil water evaporation, keeping the soil wet for longer. We strongly discourage amending soil at the time of planting and laying landscape fabric near plants. If this is the case, you may want to relocate your plant to a new area.
Which hydrangeas can withstand cold winters?
Panicle and smooth hydrangeas are the best for cold climates, all the way down to zone 3. Because they bloom on new wood, cold winter temperatures won’t stop them from flowering. They produce their buds in the spring and bloom in the summer. While they benefit from extra mulch in the winter months, they don’t need any other protection (like covers).
While we don’t typically recommend bigleaf or mountain hydrangeas for cold climates, the Let’s Dance and Tuff Stuff series from Proven Winners includes reblooming varieties, which flower on old and new wood all along the stem. Even if some buds die back in winter, they will still flower for you in summer!
Which hydrangeas have colorful fall foliage?
Not all hydrangeas have colorful fall foliage, but the ones that do sure are a treat in the landscape. They are usually still blooming when their foliage takes on color, creating a truly unforgettable display. Here’s a definitive list of all our hydrangeas that boast fall colors:

  • Oakleaf hydrangeas are known to have the best fall color with massive leaves that take on vibrant red and maroon hues. Generally, all oakleaf hydrangeas change colors, regardless of the variety.
  • Mountain hydrangeas don’t quite take on the fall color you’d expect. Instead of turning red, orange, or yellow, they turn a rich shade of purple that perfectly compliments their light and airy blooms.
  • Let’s Dance Can Do bigleaf hydrangea is one of the only bigleaf hydrangeas that change colors in fall. Foliage takes on a mix of fiery red and deep purple hues.
  • Quick Fire is the panicle hydrangea most widely known for its fall coloration. Not only do the massive blooms turn a vibrant red or berry, but their foliage also reliably lights up the landscape.
  • Little Quick Fire panicle hydrangea is the compact version of Quick Fire. It really does take everything you love about the original (like the fall color) and packs it into a tiny habit.
  • Fire Light Tidbit panicle hydrangea also features colorful autumn foliage, turning red as the blooms change colors too.

 What is the life expectancy of hydrangeas?
If proper care is received, hydrangea shrubs are very long-lasting, up to 50 years in some cases. Pruning, frequent watering, and regular plant examination during the peak growing season can set them up for success through the years to come.
How far apart should you plant hydrangeas?
The spacing of your hydrangea shrubs depends on the variety. Some hydrangeas like panicle hydrangea can span up to 5ft wide, while dwarf varieties may only reach 2ft wide. A good rule of thumb when planting your hydrangea is to place centers at least 5ft apart. For more information on hydrangea spacing, read our blog HERE.

5 Easy Tips for Protecting Your Potted Plants This Winter
Unlike annuals, perennials and shrubs don’t die in the winter, which leaves many gardeners wondering, “how do I overwinter my perennials and shrubs in containers?” It’s a good question to ask, too! Overwintering plants in containers is quite different from overwintering them in the ground – all thanks to their roots.
In winter, the soil stays warmer than the air, protecting roots from cold winter temperatures. However, when you grow perennials and shrubs in pots, they lose the extra insulation that soil provides. Instead, containers freeze and thaw quickly, which is especially stressful (or even deadly) for your plants.
With that being said, not all plants will perform poorly in winter containers. The rule of thumb is that plants are winter hardy in containers if it is two zones hardier than the zone you live in. Great Garden Plants is located in zone 6, which means we can grow plants hardy to zones 4 and lower without problem in containers. We always recommend growing plants that are two zones hardier for success. But don’t let this rule stop you! If you’re determined to grow plants that are hardy to your zone (or just one zone hardier), there are some extra steps you should take to make sure they survive.
We’ll walk you through our 5 tips for overwintering your plants in pots this winter:

  1. Plant your perennials and shrubs in the proper containers.
  2. Move your pots to a sheltered location.
  3. Wrap your planters with insulation.
  4. Keep your plants moist through winter.
  5. Avoid fertilizing and pruning until spring.

Pick the Proper Pots
What’s the worst thing that could happen to your containers over winter? They crack – or even worse – they completely shatter. Clay, ceramic, concrete, or glazed pots are all susceptible to cracking when left out in freezing temperatures. There are two reasons why you want to avoid this. First, you may lose your favorite decorative container. Second, large cracks will further expose the plant’s root system to freezing temperatures and winter winds. The roots are likely to dry out, which puts your plants at risk of death.
We also don’t recommend leaving any perennial or shrubs in the plastic nursery pots they arrive in over winter. Because they are so thin, they provide little to no insulation for the roots, leaving them exposed to cold temperatures. They are likely to freeze and thaw periodically, which is traumatic for the plant.
Instead, we recommend overwintering your plants in plastic, wood, or composite pots that can withstand freeze and thaw action.

 
Pictured above: Solanna Golden Sphere Tickseed, Twilight Little Blue Stem, Groundcover collection

 Move Your Planters
It can be a gamble to leave your plants as-is on your patio for the winter. Instead, we recommend moving your planters to a sheltered location that’s protected from winter winds. Either next to your home or shed, under your deck, or even in an unheated garage. It will save your pots from the freeze and thaw cycle, prevent root damage, and protect branches from breaking in strong winds or ice. Evergreen shrubs and perennials will still require bright light, but dormant plants can handle darker areas for winter.
We never recommend bringing your pots into a heated space (like indoors). Why? Most perennials and shrubs require a dormancy or chill period to grow and flower the following season. They expect, and actually hope, to undergo cold winter temperatures. Completely skipping a winter season may stress them out to the point of death.
*If moving into a shed or garage, wait to do so until winter temperatures drop well below freezing and the plant is almost in full dormancy.
Pictured above: Suñorita Rose
Use Insulation
If you can’t move your containers to shelter, you’ll have to bring to shelter to your containers! Try wrapping your pots with insulation, like blankets, burlap, or thick bubble wrap. This protects your pots from cracking – but more importantly – it protects the roots from harsh freezes that can damage the plant.
Don’t mind the extra work? You can always use nature’s protection: the soil. Dig a trench and bury the potted containers up to the base of the plant. This will provide as much insulation as it would have if planted in the ground.
No matter which option you choose, make sure you finish by insulating your plants with a layer of mulch. This ensures the soil stays moist and a little warmer

 Pictured above: Spark Pink Clematis

 
Water (Lightly!)
Surprised you still need to water your plants in winter? Dormant does not mean dead, so your plants still need water! Roots may die from desiccation in dry pots, so it’s important to keep them moist throughout the winter. This generally isn’t a problem if your plant isn’t sheltered from winter precipitation. However, if you moved your pots under a covering, they shouldn’t be ignored.
When we say moist, we do not mean soaking wet. It’s important to water your plants infrequently and with a light hand. Check on your plant every few weeks or each month, feeling the soil with your fingers to get a sense of how wet it is. If the soil feels moist, skip watering. If it’s drying out, consider lightly watering again.
Pictured below: Black Lace Elderberry, Show Off Sugar Baby Forsythia, Oso Easy Italian Ice Rose
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Avoid Fertilizing & Pruning
It’s natural for plant growth to slow down (or stop completely) in fall and winter for a good reason. Leafy new growth and soft stems are not tolerant of cold temperatures. They’re the first part of the plant to die once freezing temperatures hit. What does this have to do with fertilizing and pruning?
Both fertilizing and pruning encourage the development of new growth on plants (particularly, shrubs). Do not apply fertilizer after midsummer to allow your plant to naturally enter dormancy. If you’re planning on pruning or cutting back your plants, do so in early spring.

 
Pictured above: Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha® Mountain Hydrangea

10 native plants (& nativars) to grow this year
In recent years, enthusiasm for gardening has boomed, welcoming beginners to start their first gardens. But that leaves many of them wondering, “what are the best plants to grow?” In short, it all depends on what purpose you’d like your garden to serve. If you’re looking to support pollinators and local wildlife, choose natives.
Native plants (sometimes called “straight species”) are naturally found in an area or region without human intervention. That means they’re well adapted to their climate, low maintenance, and can handle problems (like drought or poor soils) with ease. More importantly, they tend to be favored by native wildlife and pollinators, probably because they’ve evolved together for centuries.
Plant breeders admire these qualities in native plants and have worked to breed them into “cultivars” with distinguishing characteristics. Cultivars are the product of plant breeding. They are defined as plants selected for specific traits, like foliage color, flower size, or disease resistance. Cultivars of native plants were given the catchy term “nativar,” leaving many gardeners wondering if it is still technically native. Here at Great Garden Plants, we say yes!
Are nativars just as beneficial as native plants? The jury is still out! Studies have noted that specific changes (like foliage color) can make plants less appealing to native insects, or nativars with double flowers can prevent pollinators from reaching their nectar and pollen. However, other traits that nativars offer are even more beneficial for the environment. Some nativars produce more flowers, bloom for longer, and provide more food for wildlife. While we can’t say for certain that nativars are better or worse than natives, we can say they are leaps and bounds better than non-native plants.
We’ve compiled all of our plants native to North America (including nativars) into one collection so they’re easier to shop. It boasts over 200 plants, so we’ll highlight some of our favorite North American natives that will happily call your garden home.
1.) Bluestar (Amsonia)
Bluestar (or Amsonia) provides season-long interest, starting in spring when clusters of pale blue flowers start to bloom. Their flowers and foliage both attract pollinators, serving as a nectar source and host plant. Butterflies and bees are attracted to the nectar-rich blooms and coral hairstreak butterfly caterpillars feed on the foliage. It’s
just as stunning in fall as the foliage takes on vibrant yellow hues. We offer the straight species native (Amsonia hubrichtii) as well as some nativars:

 

 2.) Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Black-eyed Susan (or Rudbeckia) are cherished for their glowing yellow flowers in late summer and early fall, just when it’s needed the most. Their later blooms offer nectar to pollinators at a time when other flowers typically start to fade. They attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds in summer and birds in the fall as the flowers give way to seedheads. Since they’re native, they’re naturally deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, and able to handle a wide range of soils. Here are the natives and nativars we offer:

3.) Coneflowers (Echinacea)
Coneflowers are a garden staple for a reason; their cheery fragrant flowers are beloved by pollinators and remarkably easy to care for. Fritillaries, swallowtails, and painted lady butterflies flock to the blooms alongside hummingbirds and bees. To best serve your local wildlife, we don’t recommend deadheading when the flowers fade in fall! Their seed heads provide an important source of food for birds through fall and winter. We offer over 18 different nativars, including:

 

 4.) Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum)
Tall spikes of flowers bloom in the summer, providing a long-lasting source of nectar and pollen. Flowers start to bloom as the base of the spikes first, and as they fade, the buds above start to open. That means a continuous source of flowers for wildlife and gardeners to enjoy. If you love Veronica (or spike speedwell), you’ll definitely enjoy this perennial. While it differs in its presentation from leaves, it provides the same easy-care beauty, just bigger. We offer one nativar right now:

5.) Bowman’s Root (Gillenia trifoliata)
Bowman’s root (or Gillenia trifoliata) is a bushy native perennial that boasts clusters of white flowers in late spring and early summer. It attracts butterflies, skippers, and most importantly, a variety of native bees. The foliage takes on vibrant red hues in fall, making it even more spectacular. We offer the straight species native:

 

 6.) Buttonbush
Buttonbush (or Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a native shrub with spherical white blooms you just have to see to believe.  They’re fragrant, loaded with nectar, and irresistible to butterflies and other pollinators. Plus, birds love the bright red seed heads that follow. While the flowers are showy, the foliage is just as important. Buttonbush serves as a host plant for a variety of showy moths (like the titan sphinx), making nearly every part of this plant beneficial for local wildlife. We offer a compact nativar from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs:

7.) Goatsbeard
Goatsbeard (or Aruncus) is a native perennial that brings life to the shaded regions of your garden. The ethereal, feather-like flowers attract butterflies, bees, and birds, making it the perfect specimen in a pollinator garden. We offer the straight native (Aruncus dioicus) which grows in bushy clumps that reach up to 6 feet tall. However, if you don’t have the space, you can always opt for the compact nativar version. 

 

 
8.) Milkweed
There really are so many reasons why milkweed (or Asclepias) belongs in your garden. They boast showy flowers, support pollinators, are easy to grow, deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, low maintenance, and generally disease-free. While many types of pollinators adore milkweed, it’s especially important to Monarch butterflies. Monarch caterpillars exclusively feed on their leaves. We offer a few different native and nativars: 

9.) Oakleaf Hydrangeas
Oakleaf hydrangeas (or Hydrangea quercifolia) are North American native shrubs that boast bold foliage, summer blooms, fall color, and peeling bark. The result is four seasons of interest for gardeners to enjoy. Their massive lacecap flowers carry a sweet fragrance that attracts pollinators by the score. Plus, they’re versatile, shade tolerant, and heat tolerant, which means they’re outstanding in nearly any garden. We offer several nativars, including the Gatsby series from Proven Winners:

 

 10.) Perennial Hibiscus
Perennial hibiscus (hardy hibiscus, swamp mallow, or Hibiscus moscheutos) easily attracts pollinators far and wide with massive dinner-plate size flowers. Large petals are arranged around a prominent staminal column that is loaded with pollen, making it hard for pollinators to miss. They naturally grow in wet soils in the Eastern and Southern United States, making them perfectly suited for wet troublesome sites in your garden. We offer the nativars from the Summerific® series from Proven Winners, including:

Greenhouse Tour: May 2022
Join Miranda (our horticulture expert) on a spring tour of our greenhouses located in Grand Haven, Michigan. There’s so much to see, but in this video, we’ll highlight some of our favorites: irises, geums, lavender, and coral bells

Great Garden Designs: Our staff-favorite combinations
When shopping on a site with over 800+ perennials and shrubs, the most challenging part can be deciding what looks best together! The possibilities are (nearly) endless, but we’re here to help with some of our favorite combinations in our gardens. Keep reading to learn about our gardens and discover what you could plant in yours!
Miranda’s Shade Garden
Shaded areas are notorious for being dull and difficult to garden, but I’m here to prove that isn’t always the case! Woodland gardens are some of my favorites, and my new house with massive oak trees sets the scene to create a woodland garden of my own. This mix of barrenwort, brunnera, astilbe, and ferns adds the perfect pops of color and texture from spring to fall. The coppery-orange blooms on ‘Orange Queen’ barrenwort pair well with the blue flowers on ‘Queen of Hearts’ brunnera (and their heart-shaped foliage seals the deal). ‘Moccachino’ astilbe adds contrast with dark foliage and white summer blooms. ‘Crested Surf’ Japenese painted ferns rounds it all out with silver, green, and purple coloration all season long.

 
‘Orange Queen’ Barrenwort
‘Queen of Hearts’ Siberian Bugloss
‘Moccachino’ Astilbe
‘Crested Surf’ Japanese Painted Fern

 
Pam’s Moon Garden
Pam and her family like to spend their evenings outside around the fire pit, so it was clear she needed a bed with crisp white flowers that shine (even at night). She just started her first moon garden this year, with Gatsby Moon oakleaf hydrangea as the centerpiece. Mixing ‘Honorine Jobert’ Japanese anemone, Magic Show® ‘White Wands’ spike speedwell, and Luminary™ ‘Backlight’ garden phlox around it ensures she’ll have blooms to enjoy from summer to frost!
‘Honorine Jobert’ Japanese Anemone
Magic Show® ‘White Wands’ Spike Speedwell
Gatsby Moon® Oakleaf Hydrangea
Luminary™ ‘Backlight’ Tall Garden Phlox
Sarah’s Container Garden
Sarah enjoys showcasing her favorite perennials in mixed containers to add color and fragrance to her patio and deck. She loves the contrast between the yellows and pinks of her tickseeds with the violet and purple hues on her salvia and lavenders. The pollinators find this combo irresistible as well! Try planting her favorite combination, which includes Uptick™ Gold & Bronze tickseed, ‘Hidcote’ lavender, ‘Sizzle & Spice® ‘Zesty Zinger’ tickseed, and May Night’ salvia

 Uptick™ Gold & Bronze Tickseed
‘Hidcote’ Lavender
‘May Night’ Salvia
Sizzle & Spice® ‘Zesty Zinger’ Tickseed

 

Tani’s Cottage Garden
Whimsical, charming, and carefree plants create the perfect cottage garden beds. Tani’s garden is packed full and bursting with color to liven up the landscape. ‘Blazing Sunset’ Geums, Rozanne Cranesbill, Platinum Blonde™ Lavender, and
Solanna™ Golden Sphere Tickseed pack a punch with their variety of colors, textures, and fragrances. This eclectic combination is sure to bring your cottage core dreams to life – in your landscape or in cut arrangements.

How To Plant Patio Containers for Shade
Wondering what to plant in your shaded patio containers? We’ve got you covered! We’ll give you all the information you need to be successful in planting a beautiful mixed container – plus, all of our favorite plants to do it. Watch our video here:

Recreate the look with ‘Crested Surf’ Japanese painted fern, ‘Brilliance’ autumn fern, ‘Pretty in Pink’ barrenwort, ‘Caramel’ coral bells, and yellow creeping Jenny

Questions Answered Series: Lavender (Lavandula)
Your Questions on Lavender, Answered!
Lavender (or Lavandula) is one of our top-selling plants for a good reason. Its fragrant foliage and flowers are delightful additions to pollinator, cut flower, herb, or even children’s gardens. Better yet – lavender is drought tolerant, heat tolerant, and resistant to pests. But that doesn’t always mean it’s easy to grow! Whether you’ve already planted lavender or are planning to buy some soon, you can find the answers to all your questions here. See what others are asking and learn how to make lavender feel at home in your garden.

 

What are the different types of lavender?
While there are almost 40 different species of lavender (Lavandula), Great Garden Plants carries three main types that are most notable for their popularity, garden performance, and hardiness. There are a few distinguishing characteristics to familiarize yourself with choosing one for your garden. We’ll spell it all out for you here:

  • English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): the tried-and-true classic that has gained popularity in Europe and the US for its fragrance and hardiness. It includes best-selling cultivars like ‘Hidcote’, ‘Munstead’, and Sweet Romance® from Proven Winners. If you’re envisioning massive fields of lavender flowers, it’s likely English lavender.
  • Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia): as a hybrid of English and Portuguese lavender, Lavandin is cold tolerant, heat tolerant, and a vigorous grower. It’s widely known to be the most fragrant, which is why it’s commonly used in the perfume industry. 
  • Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas): the showiest of the bunch with prominent and colorful bracts. These petal-like bracts at the top of the flower resemble butterfly wings (and attract pollinators), earning the name “butterfly lavender.” It’s heat tolerant but not cold hardy, so we recommend growing it in zones 8-11.

Which lavender is the most fragrant?
All of our lavenders are fragrant, but lavandin (or Lavandula x intermedia) is known to be the most fragrant lavender on the market, which is why it’s commonly used in perfumes and essential oils. English lavender (or Lavandula angustifolia) is prized for its sweet fragrance as well. Here’s a list of our most fragrant favorites:

How do you grow lavender?
Lavender is known to be relaxing, but gardeners know that growing it can be a little stressful. How you care for it is crucial for its success:

  • Sun: The spot you choose must get at least 6 hours of bright sun each day – flowering will be weak and the plant will be more prone to disease in less sun than that.
  • Soil: Equally important to the amount of sun is that the soil is well-draining. In other words, it never stays wet for long periods of time. Wet, soggy conditions are the fastest way to kill a lavender! If you have clay soil that drains slowly, you can still be successful with lavender if you avoid amending the soil (i.e., don’t add any compost, potting mix, etc., at planting time) and plant your lavender slightly above, rather than even with, the soil level.
  • Water: Be very careful not to overwater lavender. If your plants are hit with an irrigation system, adjust your program or the individual sprinkler head(s) that hit them so you can control how much supplemental water they receive.
  • Mulch: We normally enthusiastically recommend a good 2-3″ layer of mulch on most perennials and shrubs, but plants that prefer life on the drier side like lavender and butterfly bush benefit from little to no mulch, as it can hold excessive moisture around the roots. If you do use mulch in the area where your lavender is planted, thin it out to just a light sprinkling as it nears the plant’s root zone.
  • Winter: Lavender is most likely to be severely damaged in fall and late winter/early spring when the ground isn’t frozen and frequent cold rains and/or melting snow keep the soil wet. This is rarely an issue in sandy or rocky soils but merits serious consideration in clay soils.

For even more information on how to grow lavender, read our Lavender: Secrets to Success blog!
Which lavender is best for cooking?
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) tends to be the most popular for culinary purposes, thanks to its sweet fragrance. While you may think a more fragrant lavender is better (like lavandin), choosing a lavender with too much fragrance can lead to a soapy or overly floral taste. The type you choose really depends on your personal preferences! Here are a few of our favorites for cooking:

Lavender can be used in dishes, either fresh or dried. Typically, the buds are harvested before they even bloom. Remember that dried lavender buds are more potent than fresh ones. 

 Can lavender grow in shade? How much light does it need?
Unfortunately, lavender cannot grow in shaded areas (or even in part sun). They require full sun, or more than 6 hours of direct sunlight daily, for the best performance. Growing in too little sun can reduce growth and make lavender more prone to diseases.
Can lavender grow in pots?
Yes, lavender grows well in pots or containers. There are a few things to keep in mind when growing your lavender in pots.

  1. Proper drainage. Lavender requires well-draining soils, so select your potting media accordingly. The pot or container must have drainage holes to prevent standing water.
  2. Pot size. Select the right size pot when growing lavender in containers. A pot that is too large will hold on to water for too long, while a pot that is too small will dry out quickly. Choose containers that are equally deep as they are wide.
  3. Lighting. Place your pot in an area that receives full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight each day) for the best growth and blooms.

Can I bring my lavender indoors?
No, we do not recommend growing lavender indoors as houseplants. The cultivars we sell should be grown outdoors. However, if you live in a zone where lavender is not hardy, you can move them to an unheated and sheltered location over winter.
Why not the heat? Most lavenders require a dormancy or chill period to grow and flower the following season. Entirely skipping a winter season can be stressful for your plants!

 Why isn’t my lavender flowering?
While we love the fragrant foliage, we all know gardeners grow lavender for their flowers! If your lavender isn’t blooming, here are a few reasons why: 

  • Not enough sun. Lavender requires full sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight daily) to bloom to their full potential. If your lavender is not receiving enough sun, you can always transplant it to a sunnier spot.
  • Fertilizer. Overfertilizing your lavender, especially with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, will cause your plant to push out leafy growth but no blooms. Lavender prefers growing in low-nutrient soils, so we suggest you skip the fertilizer. 
  • Water stress. If your lavender is overwatered or underwatered, your plant may produce few to no flowers until the problem is resolved. 
  • Improper pruning. Lavender should be pruned in early spring to encourage new growth and subsequent flowers. If you prune too heavily, too early, or not at all, there is a chance your plant won’t flower.

Why is my lavender dying?
There are a few reasons why your lavender may be dying:

  • Poor drainage. Lavender must be planted in well-draining soils, or soils that don’t stay wet for prolonged periods. Sandy soils typically have the best drainage, whereas clay soils have the worst. If you know your soil has poor drainage, plant your lavender with the crown slightly above the soil line to encourage water to drain away from the base of your plant.
  • Overwatering. Even in well-draining soils, it’s possible to overwater your lavender. And if you do so, it’s basically a death sentence for your plant. Lavender that is overwatered will quickly develop root rot, yellowing leaves, and defoliation (leaf drop).
  • Underwatering. While lavender doesn’t like too much water, it also can’t live without it. Young plants that are not yet established need to be watered frequently, but with a light hand, until they develop larger root systems. If your plant is drooping and the soil feels bone dry, you’re likely underwatering!
  • Winter damage. Areas with cold winter rains or frequently melting snow are not ideal for lavender unless the soil is well-draining. It’s not uncommon for gardeners with poorly draining soils (like clay) to see some winter damage from wet soils. We recommend you skip mulching your lavender over winter to ensure soils won’t stay too wet. 
  • Humidity. High humidity isn’t ideal for lavender, which prefers growing in dry Mediterranean climates. It’s rare that humidity outright kills your plant, but it is possible, especially in shipping.

Is lavender safe for cats and dogs?
Lavender contains a small amount of linalool, making it toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Thankfully, your pets will need to ingest a very large amount to feel the effects (vomiting, reduced appetite, fever). Ingestion is not usually lethal.

 When does lavender bloom?
Lavender typically starts blooming in late spring or early summer, followed by additional flushes in mid to late summer. The exact timing varies between cultivars and heavily relies on climate.
Should I prune lavender in my garden?
Yes, we recommend pruning your lavender to improve its garden performance. The best time to prune is early spring, but wait until new growth emerges! Cutting any earlier may increase the potential for winter or frost damage. Cut the stems above large emerging buds, even if that means cutting your plant back by half or more. However, avoid cutting it all the way to the ground!
Why is my lavender getting woody?
Lavender develops woody tissue from the base of the plant as it matures, similar to shrubs. This isn’t necessarily bad for your plant and is completely natural! If your plant becomes too woody, it can look unsightly and produce fewer flowers. Don’t fear; there’s an easy solution. Prune your lavender in early spring to rejuvenate it! See the question above for more details.
Which lavender is best for hot or cold zones?
All of our lavender are labeled with their recommended growing zones, so use that as your guide when purchasing! English lavender and lavandin are generally best for cooler zones, while Spanish lavender performs best in hotter zones (up to 11).
Is lavender evergreen?
Yes, lavender is evergreen in warmer zones and keeps its silvery foliage through the winter. Colder zones (like us in zone 6a) can expect the foliage to drop in the winter. But don’t worry! It’ll be back in the spring like other deciduous perennials and shrubs.

 Should I deadhead my lavender?
Yes, you should deadhead lavender! Deadheading your lavender will encourage another flush of blooms. Most lavenders will have 2 or 3 flushes of flowers through the summer.
How much should I water my lavender?
It’s hard to say, as it depends heavily on the growing conditions! In general, lavender prefers growing in dry to average soils. It’s drought tolerant once it’s established, but still needs to be watered while it’s young. Water newly planted lavender two times a week to ensure the soil doesn’t dry out. When your plants are established, reduce the frequency to once a week or every two weeks. Water deeply each time you irrigate your plants to encourage deep root growth.
These are just general suggestions. Hotter climates may need to water more, while cooler climates water less. The best way to tell if your plant needs water is by feeling the soil. If it feels wet to the touch, skip watering until it dries out.
Which lavender has the largest flowers?
Sensational!® lavender (or lavandin, Lavandula x intermedia) boasts the largest flowers of all the lavender we carry at Great Garden Plants. Each inflorescence (or grouping of flowers) averages 4.3 inches long, totaling 50 flowers per inflorescence.
Will deer or rabbits eat lavender?
Deers and rabbits avoid eating lavender, thanks to its fragrant foliage. Rutgers gives lavender an A-rating for deer resistance on their landscape plants rated by deer resistance list. This means that they are “rarely damaged” in the landscape.
What is the best month to plant lavender?
While this may vary between different varieties and climate zones, typically, lavender plants do best when planted during spring after the risk of frost has subsided. If you live in a warmer climate zone, you may not need to wait and can begin growing early spring. Regardless of climate zone, refrain from planting lavender during winter.
Does lavender attract bees and other pollinators?
Pollinators love lavender plants just as much as we do! Lavender is primarily known for attracting bumblebees and honey bees to its tubular flowers.
Do lavender plants spread?
Yes, lavender plants can spread through seed dispersal, but it does not occur often. Easy solutions to reduce the spread would be to cut and enjoy the fragrant flowers before they form seeds or weed out the very few nuisance seedlings you may notice each spring.

Juglone-Tolerant Plants for Gardening Near Black Walnut Trees
While black walnut (Juglans nigra) trees are beloved for their rich history, they have accrued a problematic reputation among gardeners for a few reasons. They develop an extensive root system, cast a dense shade, and, most notably, they produce a toxic chemical called juglone. Or, really, they produce the precursor called hydrojuglone. Hydrojuglone is found in high concentrations in the roots and hulls of black walnuts, and as it makes contact with the soil, it is transformed into juglone. Why is this problematic? Long story short: juglone is toxic enough to kill surrounding plants. Researchers aren’t quite sure how it happens, but they believe it interferes with photosynthesis, respiration, and water uptake.
There are two ways juglone spreads to nearby plants. Large, fleshy nuts develop early to mid-fall and drop to the ground. As the outer shells (or hulls) break down, they release high concentrations of juglone. The second is allelopathy – which is practically chemical warfare for plants. Their roots exude chemicals (in this case, juglone) into the soil for nearby plants to uptake.
Is growing near a black walnut tree a death sentence? No, it’s absolutely not. For how much it’s discussed, there surprisingly hasn’t been much research on it. The scientific community can’t conclusively agree on whether allelopathic juglone can be spread in high enough concentrations to kill nearby plants. Plus, many symptoms from juglone poisoning overlap with drought stress, so it may be misdiagnosed in the garden. Gardening near (or even under) walnut trees is still possible, so don’t resent your trees just yet. We’ve compiled a list of plants showing juglone tolerance in the landscape to help.
Juglone-tolerant shrubs

  1. Arborvitae (Thuja)
  2. Barberry (Berberis)
  3. Beautyberry (Callicarpa)
  4. Clematis
  5. Deutzia
  6. Dogwood (Cornus)
  7. Elderberry (Sambucus)
  8. Forsythia
  9. Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
  10. Juniper (Juniperus)
  11. Mockorange (Philadelphus)
  12. Ninebark (Physocarpus)
  13. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus)
  14. Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
  15. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum)
  16. Viburnum
  17. Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)
  18. Blue Holly (Ilex x meserveae)

 
Pictured above: Illuminati collection

 Juglone-tolerant perennials

  1. Anemone
  2. Aster
  3. Astilbe
  4. Barrenwort (Epimedium)
  5. Bee Balm (Monarda)
  6. Bellflower (Campanula)
  7. Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
  8. Bugleweed (Ajuga)
  9. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia)
  10. Coral Bells (Heuchera)
  11. Cranesbill (Geranium)
  12. Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  13. Coneflower (Echinacea)
  14. Ferns
  15. Goatsbeard (Aruncus)
  16. Hosta
  17. Iris
  18. Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium)
  19. Lenten Rose (Helleborus)
  20. Lilyturf (Liriope)
  21. Lungwort (Pulmonaria)
  22. Milkweed (Asclepias)
  23. Pachysandra
  24. Phlox
  25. Primrose (Primula)
  26. Sedge (Carex)
  27. Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum)
  28. Speedwell (Veronica)
  29. Stonecrop (Sedum)
  30. Sweet Woodruff (Galium)
  31. Violet (Viola)
  32. Yarrow (Achillea)

Pictured above: Honorine Jobert Japanese Anemone
What are the symptoms of juglone toxicity?
The main symptoms of juglone toxicity are yellow leaves, wilting, and stunted growth. If plants are especially sensitive, symptoms can appear days after planting, while other plants may take years to show signs. It’s believed that juglone blocks the vasculature (or water-uptake pathways), which is why juglone toxicity can look similar to drought stress.
With that being said, many plants suffering from drought stress may be misdiagnosed as juglone-sensitive. Black walnut trees have an aggressive root system, making it hard for younger plants to compete for water and nutrients. Plus, the dense leaf cover can prevent rainfall from really saturating the soil beneath the canopy. Irrigating is the best way to ensure your newly planted perennials and shrubs can grow under walnut trees.
Which plants are most sensitive to juglone?
Shrubs like lilacs, azaleas, rhododendrons, yews, and hydrangeas (besides smooth hydrangea) are juglone-sensitive, along with perennials like peonies, columbine, and lilies. Many vegetables like tomatoes, asparagus, peppers, and potatoes have also exhibited juglone sensitivity. There isn’t a definitive list of sensitive plants, but those listed have grown poorly under walnut trees, as observed by horticulturists and gardeners.
What precautions should I take when gardening near walnut trees?​
Unless you’re growing plants with high sensitivity to juglone, the biggest threat is falling fruits and leaves. Aside from the roots, the hulls of the fruits contain the highest concentration of hydrojuglone. The leaves have a lower concentration, but their sheer quantity can do some damage. Simply remove the fallen leaves and fruits before decomposing to ensure your plants aren’t affected.

 Is it safe to use walnut mulch and leaf compost?
This is a surprisingly a hot topic in the gardening community. The leaves of walnut trees do contain juglone, but the juglone breaks down as the leaves do. Allow your walnut leaves to compost for a month or so before using them in the garden. The wood has little to no juglone, which means it is safe for gardeners to use as mulch. Similarly, any juglone in the wood is broken down after exposure to air and water, so your mulch should be completely safe by the time it reaches your garden.

Great Garden Tips: November Checklist 2022

Timely Garden Tasks For
November

Download the printable version by clicking the link, here.

  • Keep watering your evergreens until the ground freezes.
  • Make sure your garden beds aren’t bare! Add mulch to your garden beds to help your plants stay warm by providing insulation and maintaining adequate moisture levels.
  • Southern gardeners, you still have plenty of time to plant perennials and shrubs.
  • Cut back any perennials susceptible to disease over winter. Leave 3-5 inches standing to protect the crown.
  • Avoid some fall clean-up to protect pollinators. Remove leaves from your lawn, but keep them in your garden beds.
  • Have a compost pile? Give it a good turn before winter sets.
  • Wash and disinfect all of your garden tools before storing them for winter.
  • Southern gardeners have migratory birds to feed! Wash and refill your birdfeeders to welcome them to your garden.
  • It’s not too late to plant spring bulbs (like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths) if the ground isn’t frozen, but don’t wait much longer.

Great Garden Tips: October Checklist 2022

Timely Garden Tasks For
October

Download the printable version by clicking the link, here.

  • Northern gardeners should plant their last perennials and shrubs for the season. To see our tips on planting in the fall, read our guide.
  • Divide and transplant your spring-blooming perennials.
  • Southern gardeners should start to bring their houseplants indoors.
  • Enjoy the colorful fall foliage. Mark in your garden journal which colors are most prominent, and consider adding more shrubs to round out your fall color scheme. 
  •  Keep your evergreens well-watered until the ground freezes. It’s normal to see some browning, even in the middle of evergreens like arborvitae and other conifers. Don’t let that scare you into overwatering them!
  • Rake the leaves on your lawn for your compost pile, or use them as mulch for your beds.
  • Add extra support for climbing vines that are exposed to strong October winds.
  • First frosts are approaching, so check the weather to learn when to cover your cold-sensitive plants.
  • Plant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring-blooming bulbs near the end of the month.

Mini Christmas & Holiday Trees: A new way to use arborvitae
Whether you’re a gardener, houseplant lover, or just a great gift giver, our new mini Holiday/Christmas trees are the perfect way to spread cheer. While classic Christmas trees are usually firs or pines, our favorite arborvitaes (or Thuja) might be even better. Why? Their smaller stature makes them suited for entryways, patio containers, and tabletops. They keep their appeal for even longer than cut trees, as their roots are intact. Finally, unlike other Christmas trees, this one can be planted in your landscape if given proper care through the holidays. Decorate them with lights and ornaments or let them shine on their own. We can’t wait to see what you do with them!
Which tree is best for you?
There has been debate around our greenhouse on which arborvitae serves as the best holiday tree. Spoiler alert: you really can’t go wrong. ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae (pictured left) may tower over Full Speed A Hedge® ‘American Pillar’ in the landscape, but it’s short and stout in our gallon containers, averaging 32″ tall. Dense branches and dark green foliage give it a lush appearance that looks picture-perfect as centerpieces on dining tables or countertops.
If you’re charmed by the nostalgic Charlie Brown Christmas tree, then Full Speed A Hedge® ‘American Pillar’ is perfect for you. It may be a little lanky, but honestly, that only adds to its appeal (at least in our eyes). It’s much taller, averaging 40″ tall at shipping. Its lower trunk is bare, which means you can easily nestle small presents around it. We think it’s best suited for patio containers, entryways, or family rooms.

 
‘Green Giant’ arborvitae (left) and Full Speed A Hedge® ‘American Pillar’ (right)

What are living Christmas trees?

Living Christmas trees are grown with an intact root system, which means they can be planted in your landscape after use. They’re typically grown in containers with soil or have their roots wrapped in burlap. Since they haven’t been cut, they stay fresher (and more fragrant) for longer. At Great Garden Plants, our living trees are grown in one gallon containers that are wrapped with decorative paper and a twine bow.
Why are living Christmas trees better?
There are many benefits to living Christmas trees. They stay fresh for longer, drop fewer needles (if any at all), and can be replanted in your landscape to enjoy for years to come.
How long does a living Christmas tree last?
With proper care, living holiday or Christmas trees can be easily enjoyed through the holiday season in pots, or for years if you plant it in your landscape. For the longest lasting display, keep your arborvitae outside for as long as possible. Ensure the soil stays moist, but not wet, and keep it in an area protected from strong winds. Even if its cold outside, it’s best to leave them outdoors! The heat indoors can be stressful on your tree, so avoid bringing it indoors for long periods of time (longer than a week).
Once the holidays are over, plant it in your garden. This is easier for gardeners in warmer zones where the ground isn’t frozen yet. If you live in colder zones, we recommend preparing a site to plant them in advance. Before the ground completely freezes (just a few weeks before the holidays), dig a hole and leave it open until you’re ready to plant. Ensure you water and mulch your trees after planting for the best performance over winter!
Can you keep a living Christmas tree indoors?
Yes, you can keep your living Christmas tree indoors, but not forever! Arborvitae performs best outdoors in cooler temperatures. The heat and dry air indoors can cause them stress over time. Bring your trees indoors for short periods (a few days at a time) and position them away from heating sources. 

Great Garden Tips: December Checklist 2022
Timely Garden Tasks For
December
Download the printable version by clicking the link, here.

  • Wrap your arborvitae and other cold-sensitive evergreens with tree wrap or burlap to protect them from winter burn in cold climates.
  • Cut branches from your arborvitae, juniper, red-twig dogwood, or holly to enjoy indoors.
  • Reminisce on your garden this year. What did you love or hope to improve on in your garden?
  • Look after the birds by leaving the seed heads on your perennials and shrubs. 
  • Protect your plants by adding another thick layer of mulch for the winter.
  • Deer are a year-round problem, but damage can worsen in winter months. Add a layer of burlap, chicken wire, or liquid repellent to your perennials and shrubs.
  • Provide extra support for some evergreen shrubs to avoid breakage in strong winds or heavy snow.
  • Similar to the garden, your houseplants are going dormant too! Avoid fertilizing or overwatering them as they rest for winter. Consider moving some away from cold windows.
  • Watch the birds as they enjoy winter berries on junipers, holly, viburnum, cotoneaster, coralberry, and more!

Companion Plants for Hostas
Hostas have earned their status as one of the most popular perennials for shade gardens. Their thick, corrugated leaves form graceful mounds of foliage that keep their appeal from spring to fall. Most importantly, they’re easy to grow (even for beginners) in containers, garden beds, and city environments. By this point, we hope to have already convinced you to add at least one hosta to your landscape. But what plants should you pair with them?
The possibilities seem endless, especially since hostas are one of the most versatile plants we offer. They come in an array of shapes, colors, and sizes, which means they play well with others but can also create a dynamic garden all on their own. We’ll spell out our favorite companion plants for hostas to get you started, but let your creativity flow as you mix and match them.
How to grow hostas
It’s crucial to know how to grow hostas before selecting compatible plants. Hostas grow best in morning sun and cool afternoon shade. Therefore, you wouldn’t want to pair it with lavender, which prefers full sun and dry soils. The best plants to pair will grow in similar conditions.

  • Soil: Prefers to grow in average or fertile soil.
  • Light: Thrives in shade (< 4 hours sun) to part sun (4-6 hours sun). Morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal, especially in hotter climates. 
  • Water: Hostas have average water needs, and once established, they have some tolerance for dry shade (particularly plants with thick leaves). For the best growth, soils should not dry out.
  • Fertilizing: In spring, a light fertilizer can be applied around the emerging plant. It may not be necessary if your garden has fertile soil.
  • Winterizing: Slugs lay their eggs in dead hosta foliage, and removing leaves after frost will deter slugs from returning in spring. Cut the foliage back in late fall, but leave 4-6 inches standing to protect the crown over winter. In cold climates, spread an extra layer of mulch (2″ thick) for added insulation.
  • Maintenance & pruning: Groom plants by removing dead leaves and cutting flower spikes back as they finish blooming in summer.

Plants to pair with hostas

 The peanut butter and jelly pairing of the garden world: hostas and coral bells. Both perennials are beloved for their long-lasting color that persists from spring to fall. 

 Evergreen lenten roses (or hellebores) bloom in winter while hostas are still dormant, ensuring your shaded garden beds are appealing before your hostas even emerge.

 
Ferns have feather-like fronds that contrast nicely with hostas’ broad leaves. Like hostas, ferns grow well in problematic sites, which means even shady corners can look lush.

 Shaded gardens are known for their foliage, but don’t forget the flowers! Pair hostas with astilbe’s fluffy plumes for a textured landscape.

 Hostas aren’t just meant for shade. They also grow well in part sun, which means you can match them with other moisture-loving plants, like hydrangeas.

 Charming heart-shaped flowers on bleeding hearts bloom well in part sun and shade. The broad leaves of hostas serve as the perfect backdrop for the delicate blooms.

 Brunnera’s silver heart-shaped shimmer is just enough to catch your eye, so we like to tuck them between hostas to keep the garden interesting.

 We love pairing Japanese forest grass (or Hakonechloa) with hostas with chartreuse variegation to brighten the shade. 

 Diervilla is an easy-growing shrub that keeps your garden low maintenance, even in shade. Plus, its orange and chartreuse foliage pairs well with cool-colored hostas.

 Fragrant spikes of white flowers on sweetspire bloom in summer. When they’re planted with hostas that have fragrant flowers, pollinators (and gardeners) won’t be able to resist visiting your garden.

 Eclectic lungworts always add interest to shade gardens. Colorful flowers bloom in spring, and after they fade, silver-speckled foliage shimmers alongside your hostas.

 Japanese anemones are known for their tall stems and satiny flowers, which look somehow even more whimsical as they float above your hostas.
Designs from our garden journal

 Mix these colorful and low-maintenance perennials and shrubs to problematic sites, like under the canopy of large trees.

 This bed’s chartreuse foliage and pink flowers can even make your shade gardens feel sunny.

 Mix these colorful and low-maintenance perennials and shrubs to problematic sites, like under the canopy of large trees.

 This bed’s chartreuse foliage and pink flowers can even make your shade gardens feel sunny.

Great Garden Tips: January Checklist
Timely Garden Tasks For
January
Download the printable version by clicking the link, here.

  • Gently brush heavy snow from the branches of trees and shrubs.
  • Allow ice to melt naturally from plants to avoid damage. Removing ice by hand (or with a blow dryer) almost always damages the buds and branches. Your plants will appreciate your patience!
  • Avoid applying salt on icy pathways – try sand or birdseed instead. Winter salt inevitably soaks into the soil, which can cause quite a bit of stress for your plants. 
  • Recycle your Christmas tree by leaving it outdoors for wildlife, cutting it down into mulch, or donating it to your community. 
  • Support your local birds by cleaning and refilling your feeders. Disinfect them monthly to reduce the spread of contaminants and diseases. 
  • Water your plants in containers – even if they’re dormant. Dormant does not mean dead, so your plants still need water. Lightly water your containers to keep the soil moist (not wet), so the roots stay healthy.
  • Dust on your houseplants can block sunlight and reduce photosynthesis. Clean the dust off the foliage every few weeks to keep your indoor plants healthy and happy.
  • Read our blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok for garden inspiration. Now is the perfect time to daydream and plan what changes you’ll make to achieve your dream garden in 2023.
  • Browse our website and check the new plants we’ve added for this season! We’re adding over 200 plants this year.

Great Garden Tips: February Checklist
Timely Garden Tasks For
February
Download the printable version by clicking the link, here.

  • Walk around your garden and take inventory – is anything missing? Add a few shrubs to your 2023 wishlist if your garden lacks color or structure.
  • Order your plants from Great Garden Plants now to receive them in spring!
  • Water your plants in containers. Plants in containers (even when dormant) dry out much quicker than plants in the ground. Water lightly to keep them moist for the healthiest roots.
  • Water your evergreens if you’ve had a dry season. Evergreens with broad leaves are most at-risk for drying out from the winter winds and sun.
  • Clean and disinfect all your unused containers to prevent the spread of disease to future plants. 
  • If you need to apply dormant sprays, now is your last chance to do so! New growth will be emerging soon.
  • Growing vegetables or annual flowers from seed? Finalize your sowing and transplanting schedule after purchasing seeds.
  • Exclusive for gardeners in warm zones (8b-11):
    • Some dormant plants may start to leaf out, which means you can apply a slow-release balanced fertilizer to promote growth!
    • Prune your roses and cut a few branches out from the center to improve air circulation.

Great Garden Tips: March 2023 Checklist
Timely Garden Tasks For
March 2023
It’s time to welcome spring! As we begin to start anew, it’s essential to keep these timely garden tasks in mind for the upcoming month to ensure vibrant and thriving blooms for the months to come. Here are the timely garden tasks for March 2023, specially curated by the Great Garden Plants team.

  • Protect your plants against deer and rabbits! Build fences and cages around susceptible plants, especially while they’re covered in tender new growth. An alternative to fencing is liquid deer and rabbit repellent.
  • March is the perfect month for mulch. Remove old layers of mulch from winter and replace it with a fresh batch.
  • If your soil has thawed and freezing temperatures aren’t in the forecast, now would be the time to fertilize and give your plants a strong start.
  • Apply sulfur, or other soil acidifiers, for acid-loving plants like azaleas.
  • Cut back some perennials left standing over winter, like coral bells and ornamental grasses. Leave the rest for now to protect pollinators, who are likely hiding in the spent foliage!
  • Prune flowering shrubs that bloom on new wood (like smooth and panicle hydrangeas), but avoid pruning other shrubs. You may be cutting off flower buds! If in doubt, don’t cut.
  • Daffodils and tulips are starting to bloom! Cut a few flowers to create spring bouquets to enjoy indoors.
    • Great garden tip: daffodils should be in their own vase, as their sap damages other flowers.
  • Cut pussy willow branches to enjoy indoors.
  • Unwrap any wrapped shrubs or roses to awaken them, but be wary of freezing temperatures! They may need to be covered again during extra-cold nights.

Companion Plants for Lavender
Lavender (or Lavandula) is beloved by gardeners for its fragrant flowers, silver foliage, and sunny disposition. Not only are they lovely, but they’re hardworking in the landscape. They handle drought, heat, and pests with ease – as long as they grow in the right conditions. By this point, we hope to have already convinced you to add at least one lavender to your landscape or container garden, but what plants should you pair with it?

We’ll spell out our favorite companion plants for lavender to help you create a pollinator, cut flower, herb, or even children’s gardens. Let your creativity flow as you mix and match!
How to grow lavender
It’s crucial to know how to grow lavender before selecting compatible plants. Lavender grows best in full sun and sharply draining soils. Therefore, you wouldn’t want to pair it with ferns, which prefer shade and moist soils. The best plants to pair will grow in similar conditions.

  • Sun: The spot you choose must get at least 6 hours of bright sun each day – flowering will be weak and the plant will be more prone to disease in less sun than that.
  • Soil: Equally important to the amount of sun is that the soil is well-draining. In other words, it never stays wet for long periods of time. Wet, soggy conditions are the fastest way to kill a lavender! If you have clay soil that drains slowly, you can still be successful with lavender if you avoid amending the soil (i.e., don’t add any compost, potting mix, etc., at planting time) and plant your lavender slightly above, rather than even with, the soil level.
  • Water: Be very careful not to overwater lavender. If your plants are hit with an irrigation system, adjust your program or the individual sprinkler head(s) that hit them so you can control how much supplemental water they receive.
  • Mulch: We normally enthusiastically recommend a good 2-3″ layer of mulch on most perennials and shrubs, but plants that prefer life on the drier side like lavender and butterfly bush benefit from little to no mulch, as it can hold excessive moisture around the roots. If you do use mulch in the area where your lavender is planted, thin it out to just a light sprinkling as it nears the plant’s root zone.
  • Winter: Lavender is most likely to be severely damaged in fall and late winter/early spring when the ground isn’t frozen and frequent cold rains and/or melting snow keep the soil wet. This is rarely an issue in sandy or rocky soils but merits serious consideration in clay soils.

Plants to pair with lavender

 Both yarrow and lavender grow in xeric soils, and make it look easy. They have good texture.

 They are so boopable! I love to boop them. Spikey little seedheads.

 It’s just very pretty, that’s all you need to know. Buy it.

 Frickin love russian sage. It like kinda glows when like golden hour hits it just right.

 I really have to battle my intrusive thoughts to not just squish them. They are so beautiful and squishy, I just like want to squish them.

 I just wanna go like running through it screaming don’t like mentHoLS

 Who doesn’t love a good rose? What more do you need to know.

 Um, it’s just cute -\_(‘ ‘)_/-

 These are just okay. They’re kinda rubbery. But the flowers are kinda cute.

 OOOOO. It’s so soft and silky, makes me want to curl up and take a nap.

 So cute. Bright flowers. yay

 Feel like these are classic and beautiful just like you. xD Rawr
Designs from our garden journal

 Mix these colorful and low-maintenance perennials and shrubs to problematic sites, like under the canopy of large trees.

 This bed’s chartreuse foliage and pink flowers can even make your shade gardens feel sunny.

 Mix these colorful and low-maintenance perennials and shrubs to problematic sites, like under the canopy of large trees.

 This bed’s chartreuse foliage and pink flowers can even make your shade gardens feel sunny.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Creeping Phlox
Sure, you may know creeping phlox for its stunning pink and purple hues and its low-growing and mat-forming look, but did you know it can survive even the harshest winters and that it looks beautiful even after it blooms? Yes! This incredibly versatile plant is a staple in many outdoor gardens because its diversity allows it to thrive in several landscape environments. Here, Great Garden Plants dives into seven things you probably didn’t know about creeping phlox and how these unique traits make it the powerhouse of ground covers. Click the links to jump to specific sections regarding phlox:

  1. Creeping Phlox Naturally Suppresses Weeds.
  2. Winterizing Creeping Phlox Is a Breeze.
  3. Creeping Phlox is Pet & Pollinator Friendly.
  4. There Are Over 60 Species of Creeping Phlox.
  5. Creeping Phlox Is An Excellent Choice For Slopes & Hillsides.
  6. Creeping Phlox Spreads Slowly.
  7. Creeping Phlox Are Beautiful Even After Bloom.

#1. Creeping Phlox Naturally Suppresses Weeds
Who likes dealing with pesky weeds? Not us! Creeping phlox is a fast-spreading and hardy ground cover that has been used by gardeners to naturally suppress weeds in their garden or landscape. The secret is in the soil. It’s a carpet of flowers chokes out weeds by stretching underground through the soil. Once established, ground covers like creeping phlox begin suppressing weeds by giving them no space to grow – essentially crowding them out.
Try weeding before planting your creeping phlox during the spring or fall – this should help with suppression and keep weeds at bay next bloom.

 
Pictured above:
Drummond’s Pink’ Creeping Phlox

 

#2. Winterizing Creeping Phlox Is a Breeze
Not only is winterizing creeping phlox a breeze: it’s practically nonexistent! No special care is needed to protect creeping phlox in the winter. Even when frigid temps and frost hit your plants, roots still remain alive deep within the soil. In fact, snow provides a nice blanket of protection to your creeping phlox throughout the winter months, so don’t bother knocking it off your plants.
If you wanted to give your creeping phlox some special attention, try pruning your phlox by cutting them back once the flowers have faded. Otherwise, this plant will do just fine throughout the winter if you decide to pay it no mind.

#3. Creeping Phlox Is Pet & Pollinator Friendly
When searching for plants for your garden you may be shocked at the number of plant varieties that are toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals. According to the
ASPCA, the systemic effects of toxic plants on animals can cause vomiting and other gastrointestinal issues.
That isn’t the case for creeping phlox. This plant powerhouse is both pet and pollinator friendly, so you can not only ensure your fury friend stays safe, but you can also give yourself a pat on the back for promoting an environment for native wildlife like bees and butterflies. As an added bonus, this non-toxic variety is also deer resistant, meaning they likely won’t bother messing with your plants. Watch out for rabbits though!

 

 

#4. There Are Over 60 Species Of Phlox
You may know about the variety of colors of phlox, but did you know about the several different species that permeate these beautiful hues? There are over 60 species of Phlox, including Phlox paniculata (garden phlox), Phlox divaricata (woodland phlox), and Phlox adsurgens (northern phlox). Native to North America and Eastern United States, most varieties of phlox thrive in areas of full-sun and fairly moist soil.
Unlike its family members, creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) grows closer to the ground, reaching about 6 inches in height at a maximum. Plant them alongside tall garden phlox, like
‘Cloudburst’ or Luminary™ ‘Backlight’ which can reach up to 30″ tall at maturity!
#5. Creeping Phlox Is An Excellent Choice For Slopes & Hillsides
Ground covers in general make excellent choices for slopes and hillsides. It can be difficult maintaining gardens alongside sloped landscapes. Still, creeping phlox requires minimal maintenance after planting, meaning you won’t have to climb any steep hills often to keep these plants alive and well. Just opt for a garden hose nozzle for safe watering! 
As an added bonus, creeping phlox and other ground covers are excellent at preventing erosion on slopes and hillsides because their spreading roots hold soil in
their place. This can be ideal for environments with heavy rainfall.

 

 

#6. It Takes Over a Year For Creeping Phlox To Show It’s True Potential
Yes, creeping phlox often comes back better than ever! Similar to other ground cover varieties, creeping phlox can take some time to reach it’s true potential. Even though it’s fast-growing, creeping phlox take about two years to reach maturity. Its rate of growth could depend on a variety of conditions during it’s planting time. Don’t give up on it though! Even if your phlox wasn’t as prosperous and vibrant after initial planting, check back with it the coming spring.
These incredibly resilient plants can withstand many harsh growing conditions and can come back faster growing the following spring in the right conditions.
Learn more about other spring blooming flowers:

Learn More

Pictured above: Opening Act Pink-A-Dot Hybrid Phlox
#7. Creeping Phlox Is Beautiful Even After Bloom
We can’t get enough of plants with garden appeal year-round, and creeping phlox is no exception. Creeping phlox foliage will develop vibrant green leaves after they are done blooming before going dormant in the winter. In addition, its mossy look (i.e., the name moss phlox) adds an earthy appeal to your garden. This makes phlox a fantastic addition to a cottage landscape by adding an “overgrown look” to rock and retaining walls as it creeps down the sides.
Because of its thick mossy texture, phlox can handle a high volume of foot traffic during after its bloom and before its dormant period.
Get more gardening inspiration for your landscape:

 

Creeping Phlox From Great Garden Plants
We hope you learned something new! Creeping phlox is a vigorous
perennial that can add a splash of color to any garden or landscape. This low ground cover can thrive even in the most difficult soils, requires minimal maintenance, and has significant curb appeal year-round. What’s not to love about this gorgeous plant? Shop the collection of creeping phlox for sale from Great Garden Plants today. 

 ‘Drummond’s Pink’ Creeping Phlox
DESCRIPTION

  • Thrives in tough soil sites.
  • Excellent on banks, slopes and along pathways!
  • Fast growing, deer-resistant evergreen groundcover.
  • Enjoy a blanket of bright pink blooms in late spring!
  • Zones 3-9, full sun, 6″ tall x 20″ wide at maturity.

 ‘Emerald Blue’ Creeping Phlox
DESCRIPTION

  • Hundreds of fragrant blue flowers bloom in spring!
  • Spreads vigorously as a low-growing carpet.
  • Ultra-hardy to cold zone 3 winters.
  • Thrives in challenging sites.
  • Zones 3-9, sun, 6″ tall x 24″ wide at maturity.

 ‘Violet Pinwheels’ Creeping Phlox
DESCRIPTION

  • More intense flower color compared to other creeping phlox.
  • Enjoy 100s of fragrant purple flowers each spring!
  • Perfect for slopes or pathways.
  • Trouble-free plant! Drought tolerant and deer resistant.
  • Zones 4-8, sun/part sun, 5″ tall x 36″ wide at maturity.

Top Spring Blooming Flowers That Are Deer-Resistant
Deer-Resistant Spring-Blooming Plants
Spring blooms mean new beginnings. Beautiful perennials begin to blossom, and wildlife begins to come alive again, much like we do. Unfortunately, this also means deer start to feed on many garden plants like a buffet: leaving spring-blooming flowers broken and lifeless. Most of this garden damage is done during the springtime because of new and tender growth that deer are attracted to. Here, we list our top spring-blooming flowers that will add a vibrant pop of color to your garden and keep deer at bay. This list includes deer-resistant plants that make excellent ground covers, while others are perfect for shade. As a bonus: some of these deer-resistant perennials can even bloom all summer long!
What Makes a Flower Deer-Resistant?
First things first: what are deer-resistant plants? In order for a plant to be deer resistant, it’s considered that the deer generally pay them no mind due to a strong scent, bitter flavor, texture or painful thorns and stems. It’s important to keep in mind that deer-resistant does not equal deer-proof and no plant is completely deer resistant. These are plants that deer tend to avoid, but deer and other animals will eat nearly any plant if they are hungry enough. Remember, like all things in life: good things take time and preparation, so plan on planting these deer-resistant flowers the previous fall to reap the benefits of a vibrant garden come spring.
‘I See Stars’ Siberian Iris
I See Stars’ Siberian iris is a graceful addition that deer and rabbits avoid. Even in areas where these animals dwell, they generally go untouched despite their irresistible color. We certainly aren’t ignoring this flower: this elegant perennial stands out wherever you plant it, featuring bold blue blooms and delicate white details during spring. This late spring-blooming flower also loves wet soil, so be sure to plant this near ponds or in a rain garden. Plant in your garden, and you’ll be surprised at how carefree it is!

 

 ‘Do Tell’ Peony
Never again will you have to sacrifice beautiful blooms for deer resistance. ‘Do Tell’ Peony is generally avoided by deer, loved by pollinators, and adds a romantic pink color to your spring garden. Delightful bright bowl-shaped flowers bloom heavily from late spring to early summer. If you’re planting in your outdoors, find a sunny spot in your garden and watch this plant thrive with little care. You can also try cutting this flower; vivid blooms from peony flowers can last in a vase for over a week.
‘Paint The Town Magenta’ Dianthus
Even in hot climates, you can count on ‘Paint the Town Magenta’ dianthus from Proven Winners to bloom its heart out in your spring garden. Their color is so bright as to practically glow in the landscape, and the deep violet center of each flower adds to the effect. These dianthus are ideal additions to rock gardens, flower gardens, and landscaping, and their neat evergreen foliage is very nice along the edge of a path or garden bed during late spring/early summer. Luckily deer pay these show-stopping spring flowers no mind. 

 

 ‘Bowles’ Periwinkle Vine
Never again will you have to sacrifice colorful blooms in order to ward off dear! Also known as vinca or myrtle, ‘Bowles’ Periwinkle Vine is known for its lavender flowers that bloom in spring, glossy foliage, and clump-forming habit- so it is more sedate in spreading. And the best part? Deer generally tend to avoid them! This shade-loving deer-resistant perennial is also drought-tolerant once established, making it a durable ground cover choice for beginner gardeners.
‘Storm Cloud’ Bluestar
‘Storm Cloud’ Bluestar blooms in late spring, featuring beautiful, starry blue flowers. Even butterflies will linger in your garden to admire this native perennial. While you can count the pollinators in, you can be sure the deer will count bluestar out. Despite its swoon-worthy appearance, deer generally tend to avoid these flowers! You can even enjoy these delicate flowers in cut arrangements; the possibilities are endless for this durable plant.

 

 ‘Biedermeier Mix’ Columbine
‘Biedermeir Mix’ Columbine is an old-fashioned favorite that deer generally tend to avoid. Columbine is perfect for the perennial, cottage, or woodland garden, which is great because those are typically the places deer call home. Nodding spring blooms rise above the foliage on short, sturdy stems. Enjoy an array of colors, including red, pink, blue, and white flowers with curved spurs. The different color combinations allow you to get creative with these flowers – try mixing in cut flower bouquets!
‘Spot On’ Lungwort
‘Spot On’ lungwort (Pulmonaria) thrives in the shade and boasts a surprisingly colorful display of flowers in early spring. Say goodbye to winter with salmon pink flower buds as they open to cobalt blue flowers.  After its bloom season, ‘Spot On’ Lungwort still steals the show with silver-speckled foliage. These deer-resistant plants for shade are also low-maintenance and thrive in cool, moist sites. This plant is also rabbit, and disease resistant.

 

 Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis)
Cover your landscape with Blue Star Creeper: a starry carpet of soft blue blooms during the spring that then turns to long-blooming flowers in the summer. This ground cover is popular at Great Garden Plants for a reason: Blue star creeper tolerates foot traffic, making it an excellent lawn alternative for those looking to add more color and texture to their landscape. While deer may walk through this lovely spring-blooming ground cover, they generally avoid taking a nibble.
Bloomerang® Purpink™ Lilac
Lilacs that bloom in the spring represent renewal and confidence. Welcome in the good gardening vibes with hundreds of flowers that bloom from spring to fall. The Bloomerang® series of lilacs from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs were selected for their compact habit and incredibly long bloom time. While this flower is sweetly scented and enchanting to humans, deer tend to avoid these. As an added bonus, these deer-resistant plants are low maintenance as well.

 

 Czechmark Trilogy® Weigela
Czechmark Trilogy™ transforms the standard with a remarkable three-color bloom during late spring. Clusters of 1/2″ funnel-shaped flowers have a colorful array of white, pink, and red for a crown jewel performance in late spring to early summer and are perfect for pink flower lovers. Butterflies and hummingbirds love these beautiful flowers too, but deer generally tend to avoid them. Guess they aren’t huge fans of the array of pink hues!
Shop Deer-Resistant Plants For Sale
Oh deer, didn’t find what you’re looking for? That’s okay: Great Garden Plants has a whole collection of deer-resistant plants so that you can find the missing piece for your garden! We understand how discouraging it can be when deer and other animals like rabbits constantly nibble on your plants, potentially destroying months or even years of work in your garden. With these spring-blooming flowers, no longer will your garden be treated like a buffet. From perennials to shrubs and everything in between, explore our entire collection of worry-free plants deer tend to avoid. 

Great Garden Tips: April 2023 Checklist
Timely Garden Tasks For
April 2023
Download the printable version by clicking the link, HERE.
Spring is in full swing, and it’s the most active time of year in your garden! These timely tasks will be helpful as you begin to plant your new perennials, shrubs and more. Here are the timely garden tasks for April 2023, specially curated by the Great Garden Plants team. Share these tips with your friends on social media by clicking the icons below!

  • No matter where you live, it’s time to plant your perennials, shrubs, and cool-season annuals. The ground is likely thawed, so let’s get digging!
  • Transplant and divide your older perennials. It’s best to do so when they’re still dormant, but it will still be fine if they’re starting to re-emerge.
  • Cut the stems of forsythia and flowering quince for flower arrangements. If they’re budded up, they’ll bloom indoors!
    • Great Garden Tip: Slit lengthwise up the stem to absorb more water and last longer.
  • Avoid cutting back your bulb foliage, even if the flowers have faded. They need their leaves to photosynthesize and create energy for the next season.
  • Time for spring clean-up! Rake and remove leaves, small twigs, or any debris from winter.
    Cut back the rest of the perennials left standing over winter to make room for fresh, new growth.
  • Prune your flowering shrubs that bloom on new wood after the first signs of growth. Not sure if it blooms on old or new wood? Wait to prune and ask us first!
  • All zones can prune roses now. Cut the stems down to nodes with a leaf containing five leaflets. (Sketch) Cut a few branches out from the center to improve air circulation and prevent disease.
  • We all know April is known for its showers, but if precipitation has been light, make sure you irrigate. Keep a close eye on newly planted perennials and shrubs and any container plantings.
  • Warmer zones (8-11) can start planting warm-season annuals!

Dormant (But Not Dead): Our guide to dormant perennials & shrubs
Unlike annuals, perennials and shrubs don’t die in the winter, which leaves many gardeners wondering, “how do I overwinter my perennials and shrubs in containers?” It’s a good question to ask, too! Overwintering plants in containers is quite different from overwintering them in the ground – all thanks to their roots.
In winter, the soil stays warmer than the air, protecting roots from cold winter temperatures. However, when you grow perennials and shrubs in pots, they lose the extra insulation that soil provides. Instead, containers freeze and thaw quickly, which is especially stressful (or even deadly) for your plants.
With that being said, not all plants will perform poorly in winter containers. The rule of thumb is that plants are winter hardy in containers if it is two zones hardier than the zone you live in. Great Garden Plants is located in zone 6, which means we can grow plants hardy to zones 4 and lower without problem in containers. We always recommend growing plants that are two zones hardier for success. But don’t let this rule stop you! If you’re determined to grow plants that are hardy to your zone (or just one zone hardier), there are some extra steps you should take to make sure they survive.
We’ll walk you through our 5 tips for overwintering your plants in pots this winter:

  1. Plant your perennials and shrubs in the proper containers.
  2. Move your pots to a sheltered location.
  3. Wrap your planters with insulation.
  4. Keep your plants moist through winter.
  5. Avoid fertilizing and pruning until spring.

Should I cut my dormant plants?
What’s the worst thing that could happen to your containers over winter? They crack – or even worse – they completely shatter. Clay, ceramic, concrete, or glazed pots are all susceptible to cracking when left out in freezing temperatures. There are two reasons why you want to avoid this. First, you may lose your favorite decorative container. Second, large cracks will further expose the plant’s root system to freezing temperatures and winter winds. The roots are likely to dry out, which puts your plants at risk of death.
We also don’t recommend leaving any perennial or shrubs in the plastic nursery pots they arrive in over winter. Because they are so thin, they provide little to no insulation for the roots, leaving them exposed to cold temperatures. They are likely to freeze and thaw periodically, which is traumatic for the plant.
Instead, we recommend overwintering your plants in plastic, wood, or composite pots that can withstand freeze and thaw action.

 Which plants aren’t dormant in winter?
What’s the worst thing that could happen to your containers over winter? They crack – or even worse – they completely shatter. Clay, ceramic, concrete, or glazed pots are all susceptible to cracking when left out in freezing temperatures. There are two reasons why you want to avoid this. First, you may lose your favorite decorative container. Second, large cracks will further expose the plant’s root system to freezing temperatures and winter winds. The roots are likely to dry out, which puts your plants at risk of death.

6 Reasons Coral Bells Belong In Your Garden
Coral bells, also known as Heuchera or alumroot, are a group of perennials known for their stunning foliage and delicate, bell-shaped flowers. Heuchera plants are diverse and colorful perennials native to North America. They are well-known for their attractive foliage with a unique waxy texture that can be used to make natural dyes. With their wide range of colors and textures, ease of maintenance, and ability to attract pollinators to the garden, coral bells are an incredibly versatile plant for any gardener.
Whether you’re adding a pop of color to an outdoor patio, or creating depth and delight in a cottage garden, coral bells allow you to easily customize your landscape. Learn more as we dive deeper and discuss six in-depth reasons why this powerhouse of a plant belongs in your garden.

 Picture above: ‘Red Lightning’ Coral Bells
#1. They feature striking & versatile foliage
This small plant packs a colorful punch! Coral bells colors feature a wide range of hues, including pink, green, and everything in between. Some varieties of coral bells have heavily veined leaves, while others have ruffled edges or a wavy texture.

They are semi-evergreen in colder climates and evergreen in others. Discover your zones to learn which variety best fits you HERE. With so many different colors and textures to choose from, coral bells can be used to create various exciting and unique garden designs!

 Pictured above: ‘Berry Smoothie’ Coral Bells

 Pictured above: Dolce® ‘Spearmint’ Coral Bells
#2. They are container-friendly
Aside from an array of colors, what also makes coral bells so versatile is their ability to thrive in containers. Compact in habit, coral bells have a shallow root system that doesn’t require a lot of space, making them perfect for growing in containers. This means your coral bells can thrive on apartment balconies, porches, small gardens, and more!
In fact, growing coral bells in containers can actually be beneficial because it allows for better control of soil quality and moisture levels. Additionally, container-grown coral bells can be easily moved around to find the perfect spot to thrive, whether in full sun or partial shade.
#3. Coral bells are pollinator magnets
Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds love coral bells just as much as we do! Coral bells are beautiful additions to the garden and play an essential role in supporting local wildlife, particularly pollinators. Pollinators especially love taller varieties, with their large bells producing tons of sweet nectar, becoming a beacon of activity in your landscape.
The smaller varieties are still a popular pollinator spot, with their sturdy foliage creating a perfect buffet pedestal for insects and birds alike. In addition, because they can flower more than once per year, you can expect pollinators paying a visit to your garden time and time again.

 Pictured above: ‘Paris’ Coral Bells

 Pictured above: Dolce® ‘Apple Twist’ Coral Bells
#4. They are perfect for shaded areas
Along with their ability to grow well in containers, many varieties of coral bells also thrive in low light levels, making them a perfect addition to the shady areas of your
garden. Some varieties thrive in partial shade or filtered light, making them an ideal plant for areas of your garden that don’t receive a lot of direct sunlight.
Their shallow root system allows them to grow well under trees and shrubs where other plants may struggle. With their beautiful foliage and stunning blooms, coral bells can add texture and interest to any shade garden.  No shade to other plants, but that’s just awesome!
#5. They are oh-so-easy to care for
By now, it’s no secret: coral bells are extremely low-maintenance! Aside from regular watering during its peak season and minimal pruning in early spring, it is that easy to take care of due to it’s shade-loving nature.
Just make sure to examine leaves for diseases every so often visually. If you find a potential bacterial spot, cut it off and closely examine the affected area the following week. It really is that easy to have 3+ seasons of stunning foliage in your home garden every year.

 Pictured above: Primo® ‘Black Pearl’ Coral Bells

 Pictured above: Coral Bells and Hosta
#6. They make amazing companion plants
Because of their versatility, coral bells make excellent additions to already thriving shade gardens! One of our favorite combinations is planting coral bells right next to hostas. These shade-loving perennials have large, textured leaves that can contrast the smaller, more delicate foliage of coral bells.Additionally, the foliage of coral bells can add texture to a garden, with some cultivars having ruffled or patterned leaves. With their ability to complement and enhance other plants, it’s easy to see why coral bells make excellent companion plants!
Tips for growing coral bells
For successful growth in a garden or landscape, it is best to plant coral bells during spring or fall when the soil is moist and cool. Coral bells prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and slightly acidic, so be sure to test your soil before planting to ensure healthy growth. When planting, select a location that receives partial shade, as direct sunlight can be harmful. These plants don’t like too much water! It’s important to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. You can also fertilize in the spring and fall to encourage growth, however, this step is optional.
For container planting, ensure the pot has drainage holes and use a high-quality potting mix. Select a container that is at least 12 inches in diameter with drainage holes to allow excess water to drain. Learn more about determining the right size pot for your container plant HERE. Carefully remove the coral bells from their nursery pot and gently loosen the roots. Place the plant in the center of the container and backfill with potting mix until the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Water the plant thoroughly after planting and then regularly. Then you’re good to go! Deadhead spent flowers and remove any damaged or yellowing leaves as needed to promote healthy growth.
Luckily, the Proven Winners varieties we offer were bred to be disease resistant so you don’t have to worry about losing precious bells!

 
Pictured above: Dolce® ‘Wildberry’ Coral Bells
Coral bells from Great Garden Plants
In conclusion, if you are looking for a plant that is both beautiful and beneficial, coral bells are an excellent choice. These perennials come in a wide range of colors and textures, making them a versatile addition to any garden design. They are also relatively low maintenance and are able to tolerate a range of growing conditions, from partial shade to full sun, meaning they can thrive just about anywhere!
Great Garden Plants offers a wide range of coral bell varieties, each of which has been carefully selected for its beauty and ability to thrive in a variety of growing conditions. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, our online store has everything you need to create a stunning and eco-friendly garden that you can enjoy for years to come.

How To Upcycle Cardboard In Your Garden
Whether it’s from online shopping or a recent move, we all know how quickly boxes can stack up. If you find your recycling bin overrun by cardboard, try one of these easy ways to upcycle and reuse cardboard, enhancing your garden while reducing waste. Cardboard is 100% biodegradable and can help with sustainable gardening at home. Biodegradation is the breakdown of organic matter by microorganisms, such as bacteria. Since cardboard is made of paper, when it breaks down, it adds organic matter to the soil in your garden.
While there is not much scientific literature supporting cardboard’s efficiency in permanent landscapes, there is a general consensus it can be a great addition to your annual beds if properly maintained. Permanent, ornamental landscapes, non-maintained sites, and restoration areas are not appropriate locations for newspaper and cardboard sheet mulches. Read the full paper HERE.
Before we get into how to use cardboard in the garden, we must know what cardboard you use and how it will affect your results. The cardboard you are using should be free of all plastic tape and stickers (brown paper tape is ok!). Additionally, be sure to use cardboard free of heavy and excessive print. Celebrate Earth Month and learn how to upcycle cardboard in your garden.
Creating New Garden Beds
This no-till method is excellent if you just moved and want to start a new garden or are expanding a previous garden to enjoy more plants. First, break down your boxes, and remove any tape or labels. Next, mow the area you are starting your garden in and lay the flattened boxes down, being sure to overlap the edges so that weeds cannot grow through the cracks. Finally, wet the area generously with a garden hose. You can add mulch, compost, shredded leaves, grass clippings, or other organic matter to enhance the soil and speed up the decomposition.
The final step is simple; sit back and let the soil reclaim all that organic matter! How long this step takes depends on the biology of your soil and weather conditions. However, the more microbes and earthworms, the faster the cardboard will disappear. If you notice there is still cardboard when it comes time to plant, just cut a hole through the remaining cardboard so you can access the soil underneath and transplant it as usual.
The ideal timeframe for this project is 6-8 weeks before planting, making this an excellent project for the off-season when you are itching to get your garden going. However, as all gardeners know, patience is a virtue. The longer you wait, the richer your soil will be.
DIY Container Gardening
Maybe you live in a condo or apartment, and you are looking to break into the wonderful world of container gardening; perhaps you have a passion for design or DIY, and you’re looking for a new project, or maybe you are looking for a fun way to get kids into gardening. Regardless of your situation, this method is an easy way to reuse cardboard while getting your creative side involved.
It is as simple as using old boxes as planters! First, make sure that you use a thick, sturdy box for the best results. Then, line the inside of the box with plastic from previous packaging or a few of the 2 million plastic grocery bags we know you have to floating around your house. Make sure to poke holes through the plastic and cardboard for drainage, add some potting soil and your plant of choice, then voila! You have a container garden.
This is where it can get fun. Unleash your creative side and decorate your new planter for the best results. The possibilities are endless, and involving the kiddos in raising a new generation of budding gardeners is a great craft.
Check our staff member Tani’s creation! (@garyleedrive)

 Pictured: At Last Rose

 
Filling Raised Beds
Raised bed gardening has recently been rising in popularity, and we can certainly see why. Gardening in a raised bed is an easy way for gardeners with decreased mobility to stay active outside; it can also be an alternative when gardening in an area with poor soil or bad drainage. In addition, since they are above ground, raised beds heat up easier, allowing you to extend your growing season into earlier months.
Positives aside, a significant drawback of a raised bed can be that they are expensive to fill. While your raised bed should have at least 18″ of soil for the plants to grow in, you can line the bottom with cardboard and large branches or logs to fill depth beyond that. You can also line the bottom of your bed with cardboard to deter weeds instead of burlap. Another way to utilize cardboard in raised bed gardening is to cover the bed at the end of the season.
This is a great way to prepare your beds for the next growing season; use the same method when starting a new bed. As a bonus use for cardboard in this regard, you can also use it to lay down the foundation for a gravel, woodchip, or rock pathway around your raised beds. Talk about the ultimate green garden!
Adding Cardboard To Compost
A final easy way to upcycle your cardboard is to incorporate it into your compost. Roughly torn into pieces, the cardboard will rot well in the compost heap so long as it is mixed in with greens and not layered. Corrugated cardboard works even better because the corrugations hold it open until it decomposes. This is a great way to deal with the excess cardboard, all while adding nutrients to your compost.
Great Garden Tip: When being used in compost, cardboard functions as a “brown,” or carbon. For it to break down, you will need to balance it with enough “green,” or nitrogen. Food scraps, plant and lawn trimmings, and weeds without seed heads are all good “greens” for composting. 
In Conclusion
It’s important to cultivate consciously. Using cardboard in the garden is a great way to upcycle and enhance your garden to make it more earth-friendly. If you aren’t like the rest of us and don’t have enough cardboard building up, check in with friends, neighbors, or businesses to see if they have cardboard to spare. Here at Great Garden Plants, we chose more sustainable packing options for our customers. Our boxes are formulated with yellow pigment and a copper-free blue pigment to eliminate the presence of copper/heavy metals on our cardboard so you can have even more confidence upcycling our cardboard!

Questions Answered Series: Rain Gardens
How To Plant, Grow & Care For Rain Gardens: Your Questions Answered!
Rain gardens have taken the horticultural industry by storm, no pun intended. These purposeful gardens have become a wonderful and sustainable way to manage stormwater runoff while beautifying your landscape, having both an aesthetic and ecological impact. By collecting rainwater and allowing it to slowly infiltrate into the ground, rain gardens can reduce the amount of water that enters storm drains, which can help prevent flooding and erosion. Additionally, rain gardens can provide a habitat for pollinators and other wildlife while creating charm in your landscape.
Here, Great Garden Plants answers all your questions about designing, planting, and caring for rain gardens.

 What is a rain garden?
Simply put, a rain garden is a garden designed to filter rainwater. These gardens are typically planted in a depression where rainwater runs off a roof, driveway, or higher ground. This will help to capture and absorb the rainwater, preventing it from running off into storm drains and potentially causing erosion or pollution. In addition to its practical benefits, a rain garden can enhance a landscape’s beauty and provide a habitat for wildlife, such as butterflies and birds.
Unlike ponds and wetlands, rain gardens only hold onto water briefly, typically draining within 12-48 hours. Creating a rain garden can be as simple as adding a few water-loving (and salt-tolerant) plants to your landscape. Or make it complex by creating a bioretention area! Like anything in your garden, it’s entirely up to you. Later on in this blog, we’ll discuss the plants best suited for rain gardens due to their solubility and water-loving nature.
How do rain gardens work?
Rain gardens filter pollution, keeping fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals from drains and local water sources. This happens when storm water flows over the plants and the top mulch, before being absorbed into the soil. Over time, pollutants and nutrients are broken down in the soil. By directing rainwater away from storm drains, ponds, and rivers and into a rain garden, you create a beautiful landscape that works to reduce water pollution. These purposeful gardens also capture and divert runoff from gutters and patios.
What plants are best in rain gardens?
There are plenty of perennials and shrubs that grow well in rain gardens. Generally, they don’t mind having wet or water-logged soils for a short period of time. We don’t recommend planting any pond or stream-loving plants here, as rain gardens shouldn’t stay wet for too long. Explore our full list of rain garden plant recommendations HERE.
Hostas: These shade-loving plants also prefer wet soil, making them a color and compact addition to your rain garden.
Bee Balm: Most commonly found alongside streams and in boggy areas, bee balm is a natural fit. Pollinators will love this rain garden addition too!
Cranesbill: This hardy and highly adaptable plant will thrive in wet soil, making them great rain garden additions. Not to mention, their various purple and blue blooms
and tall habit add a whimsical feel.
Phlox: While phlox may require more sun than other rain garden plants, they also thrive in wet soils on sloped landscapes.
Columbine: The dense root system of Columbine makes it able to easily absorb water and manage erosion in your rain garden. Their colorful mix of petals makes them a vibrant addition between hostas and phlox.
Daylilies: Rain garden plants don’t ever need to be dull and drab! Daylilies’ colorful blooms make look beautiful in a cottage or woodsy garden.
Siberian Bugloss: What’s not to love about the heart-shaped leaves and beautiful spring blooms from Siberian bugloss? These plants make great woodland garden additions and prefer moisture-rich environments.
Cardinal Flowers: This moisture-tolerant plant attracts pollinators in troves and has an extremely high tolerance for wet soil.
Feather Reed Grass: The feathery, light pink blooms from varieties of feather reed grass feels add a nautical aesthetic to any landscape, making them perfect for growing near ponds or streams.

Ninebark: This plant is natively found in boggy areas or along streams, making it a seamless addition to your rain garden.
Shop our collection of plants for rain gardens:
Rain Garden Plants
What is the best spot for a rain garden?
A rain garden is a beautiful and eco-friendly addition to any yard or landscape, but determining where to put it may leave you feeling lost. When designing your rain garden, look for places where rainfall runoff naturally occurs, like near driveways, downspouts, and slopes. You can plant your rain garden alongside these areas or find a spot where the water pools in your landscape. They’re usually small depressions (but not ditches). But be careful! You’ll want to avoid areas that collect too much water and turn into ponds.
Additionally, consider factors such as sun exposure, proximity to trees and other plants, and the size of the garden. Most rain garden plants thrive in full sun or partial shade, so a spot with at least six hours of direct sunlight is ideal.
What are the benefits of a rain garden?
Rain gardens have several positive environmental impacts. One of the most significant is reducing the amount of stormwater runoff. When rainwater runs off hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, and streets, it picks up pollutants like oil, fertilizer, and other chemicals and carries them into local waterways. This can cause pollution, erosion, and harm to aquatic life. Rain gardens capture and absorb this water, allowing it to slowly infiltrate the ground, filtering pollutants and recharging the local groundwater supply.
Rain gardens also provide habitat for wildlife, particularly pollinators like birds, butterflies, and bees. Native plants in the garden supply food and shelter for these creatures, helping to support local ecosystems.
How do you design a rain garden?
Before designing any garden, it’s important to determine its purpose. Luckily, rain gardens are incredibly purposeful and take the “why” out of the equation. Designing a rain garden involves several vital steps to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing and effective at managing stormwater runoff.
Once you have chosen a location, it is essential to consider the size and shape of the garden. A good rule of thumb is to make the garden at least 100 square feet or 10% of the size of the impervious surface that is draining it. The next step is to determine the depth of the garden. Most rain gardens are between 6 and 12 inches deep and should have a 2-3% slope to encourage water to flow into the garden. Ensure that the garden is not too deep, which can lead to poor drainage and waterlogged plants.
When choosing your rain garden plants listed earlier in this blog, opt for a mix of grasses, sedges, and wildflowers to provide diversity and create a natural look.

 What zones are best suited for rain gardens?
Rain gardens are well-suited for various climate zones but are particularly effective in areas with heavy rainfall and soil draining poorly. Rain gardens are generally best suited for areas that receive at least 20 inches of yearly rainfall.
Regarding specific climate zones, rain gardens are well-suited for temperate and humid regions, such as the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, the Northeast, and the Southeastern United States. These regions receive ample rainfall and often experience heavy storms that create runoff.
Find your gardening zone:
Zone Finder
What type of maintenance does a rain garden require?
Rain gardens are low-maintenance gardens, but they do require some upkeep to ensure that they remain effective so they don’t warrant any unwanted pests or diseases. Here are some maintenance tasks to consider for a rain garden:
Watering: During periods of drought, it may be necessary to water the garden to prevent the plants from drying out.
Weeding: Regular weeding is necessary to keep the rain garden free of invasive species and to allow native plants to thrive.
Pruning: Some plants in the rain garden may require pruning to keep them from becoming too large or to promote healthy growth. Check our “How To Grow” section on every rain garden plant to determine if yours needs pruning!
Shop plants suited for rain gardens from Great Garden Plants
In conclusion, rain gardens can be an easy and aesthetically pleasing way to reduce erosion and pollution in your landscape. The horticultural experts at Great Garden Plants have assembled a collection of rain garden plants (over 160!) to help you create the rain garden of your dreams. From show-stopping grasses to colorful perennials, there’s a rain garden plant available for your unique setup. Shop rain garden plants for sale:

Pollinator-Friendly Perennials to Keep Your Garden Buzzing
As gardeners, nearly every day can feel like Earth Day as we enjoy the plants around us. However, Earth Day is about more than just appreciating the planet; it’s a call to action. So, what can you do to make a difference this Earth Day (April 22, 2023)? Consider supporting your local birds, bees, butterflies, beetles, and moths by planting pollinator-friendly perennials!
Pollinators play a vital role in our ecosystems, gardens, and especially our food chain. Flowers produce pollen as a means of reproduction. To successfully reproduce, most plants require their pollen to reach a different flower to complete fertilization. That’s where pollinators come in. As they visit flowers in search of food (generally, protein-rich pollen or nectar), they are dusted in pollen grains, which they carry to the plants they subsequently visit.
Without fertilization, the life cycle of plants is halted. No seeds, fruits, or berries can be produced without it! With populations of pollinators in decline, this has made a substantial impact on our ecosystems and agriculture. One of the best ways to help your local pollinators rebound is by expanding their habitat and providing more food using pollinator-friendly plants. With all the hard work they do, they definitely deserve it!
While there are so many pollinator-friendly plants to choose from, here are seven of our favorites. You’ll love them, and the pollinators will too.
Our favorite pollinator-friendly perennials
Allium
(Allium)
Alliums may be related to onions, but these ornamental varieties are known for their large, globe-shaped purple flower heads! The globular flowers are comprised of many individual florets, each loaded with nectar and pollen. They start blooming in late spring and continue to persist for weeks or months into summer. They attract pollinators but deter other pests, deer, and rodents with their onion-like foliage.

 

 

 

 

 

 Bee Balm
(Monarda)
The striking colors and superlative performance of bee balm make it a favorite among pollinators and gardeners alike. While it may have “bee” in its name, it also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds! Firework-like flowers bloom in the summer, and when they fade, birds can enjoy the seeds. It’s native to the US, easy to grow, and deters deer and rabbits.
Milkweed
(Asclepias)
Milkweed is a powerhouse for pollinators, especially Monarch butterflies. Clusters of colorful flowers bloom in the summer and boast fragrance and sweet nectar. More importantly, it’s a host plant for Monarchs! Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of milkweed. Cardenolides in the sap are stored in the Monarch’s body, which serves as a defense against predators. Without milkweed, Monarch populations would severely drop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Coneflower
(Echinacea)
Coneflowers earn their name for the cone-shaped center, where all the pollen and nectar are stored for pollinators. Vibrant flowers bloom all summer long, no deadheading required! Fritillaries, swallowtails, and painted lady butterflies flock to the blooms. Leave flower heads standing in the fall so birds can enjoy their seeds.
Salvia
(Salvia)
There are so many reasons to add salvia to your garden. It’s deer resistant, drought-tolerant, easy to grow, and most importantly, it’s a magnet for pollinators! This long-blooming perennial is bursting with color in the summer. Pollinators, especially bees, adore their spikes of flowers that are heavily laden with nectar. Long bloom time + lots of nectar = happy pollinators!

 

 

 

 

 

 Foxglove
(Digitalis)
The flowers of foxglove are designed especially for bees! Purple bell-shaped blooms have small spots on their lower lip, guiding pollinators straight to their pollen and nectar. It serves as a landing strip for bees, who are the perfect size to crawl into the flowers. Flowers bloom at the bottom of the flower stalks first and slowly open to the top. The result is a long bloom time and a reliable source of food for bees!
Black-Eyed Susan
(Rudbeckia)
‘American Gold Rush’ black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is the triple crown-winning perennial for 2023, and for good reason! All-America Selections chose it as the herbaceous perennial winner after a 3-year winter trial, showing no signs of fungus even in wet, humid conditions. In addition, its gorgeous golden yellow flowers and seedheads attract birds and other wildlife in troves.

 

 

 

 

 Dianthus
(Dianthus)
Dianthus features brightly colored petals, a strong fragrance, and an abundant supply of nectar to keep the pollinators coming back for more. The flower clusters
make the bees and butterflies feel right at home; just make sure these plants get a decent amount of sun, about 4-6+ hours of exposure.
Calamint
(Calamintha)
White, confetti-like blooms cover calamint from mid-summer to fall. This durable perennial is so easy to care for, which makes it a minimal maintenance addition to pathways, patios, and rock gardens. In addition, its aromatic foliage will attract pollinators and people alike!

 

 

 

 

 

 Spike Speedwell
(Veronica spicata)
If you want a truly magical display in your pollinator garden, spike speedwell is sure to be a fantastic addition. This easy-to-grow perennial features densely packed spikes in an array of pink and purple colors. Try planting this unique beauty in containers or alongside a garden hedge for a stunning display that both you and pollinators will enjoy!
Tall Garden Phlox
(Phlox paniculata)
Brighten up your garden during the summer with tall garden phlox! Dark pink eyes decorate the light pink flowers, guiding bees, butterflies, and more straight to its sweet nectar. After adding phlox, your garden will be all the “buzz” amongst pollinators. Phlox is also great for beginner gardeners and requires little maintenance for vivid blooms.

 

 More plants for pollinators
In this blog we listed just some of our favorite pollinator plants, but it doesn’t stop there! ‘Lucifer’ montbretia, yarrow, cardinal flower, catmint, and Russian sage are also amazing additions to pollinator gardens. The best part of planting pollinator-friendly perennials is that they will continue to provide food and habitat for years to come. Sprinkle a few of them throughout your garden or devote a whole section to these important creatures. Either way, the birds, bees, and butterflies will be delighted you thought of them!

The Art of Patience: Celebrating Late-Blooming Plants
Spring is here, and many of us eagerly await blooming flowers and budding leaves. However, if you’re a plant enthusiast, you may have noticed that not all plants wake up from their winter slumber simultaneously. Some plants seem to be hitting the snooze button well into the spring season. These late bloomers are not lazy or defective plants but rather species that have evolved to take their time to emerge from dormancy. They may even have some tricks up their sleeves (or roots) to survive the unpredictable weather accompanying the transition from winter to spring.
Not to fear, these perennials and shrubs need just a little more time to wake up! In this blog, we discuss exactly what dormancy means and provide a list of plants that require more patience before they break dormancy.
What does it mean when a plant goes dormant?
First things first: what does dormancy mean in gardening? Think of it as a “reset” button. Dormancy is a stage in the plant life cycle when it enters a prolonged period of rest. Perennials and shrubs enter this sleep during unfavorable or harsh environmental conditions (like winter) to conserve energy so they can fully awaken again when favorable growth conditions arrive. Depending on your climate and growing conditions, plants will “break” dormancy when ideal temperatures, humidity, and sunlight levels begin to align consistently.
When a plant emerges from its slumber, you’ll often see new buds begin to grow along previously bare stems or see perennials start to pop out of the soil. However, unseasonably warm temperatures can cause a plant to break dormancy prematurely. Keeping your ground covered in mulch is wise to decrease the effect of dramatic weather patterns. Plants don’t die when they enter this state, even if they may appear that way; instead, they “hibernate”, living on reserves compiled during their peak seasons of growth. Patience is key, so don’t worry if plants look a little worse for wear before their peak season!
Plants that break dormancy late

 
Asclepias (Milkweed)
Breaks dormancy: mid to late spring
This native perennial reliably returns year after year, though it may take its time! Your patience will be rewarded: pollinators love their nectar and pollen-rich blooms from June through August.

 
Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
Breaks dormancy: late spring
As one of the last shrubs to break dormancy, butterfly bushes can really test your patience. Cold-climate gardeners may even wait until June to see new growth. Panicles of brightly-colored flowers are well worth the wait, and pollinators agree.

 
Baptisia (False Indigo)
Breaks dormancy: mid spring
We don’t blame you for being eager for false indigo to return – their blue or multicolor blooms are irresistible! Wait until late March or early April for it to start growing again, then enjoy the flowers about a month later.

 
Certostigma (Plumbago)
Breaks dormancy: mid to late spring
This plant provides whimsical interest in cooler months, with rich blue flowers in early fall followed by maroon foliage. Hardy plumbago is tough as nails, so don’t fret at the late dormancy; they’ll be back!

 
Caryopteris (Bluebeard)
Breaks dormancy: late spring
You may be used to shrubs emerging come spring, but some like it hot; during the summertime, that is! Carypoteris, or Bluebeard, develops leaves in late spring and bursts with dark blue, purple, or pink flowers in late August.

 
Fern
Breaks dormancy: late spring
Ferns make for an elegant and classic addition to any shade garden, with new fronds emerging in late spring. Luckily these semi-evergreen plants still look great before they break dormancy, so you’ll have stunning foliage year-round.

 
Perennial Hibiscus
Breaks dormancy: late spring to early summer
Hibiscus are historically one of the last perennials to break dormancy, including the Summerific Series. They break dormancy late and take a few weeks or months to grow before reaching their season of interest mid-late summer.

 
Hydrangea
Breaks dormancy: mid spring
We know waiting for massive mophead and lacecap flowers from hydrangeas can be hard, but patience is key! Some types, like bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas, may produce large buds first while panicle and smooth hydrangeas are just behind. 

 
Ornamental Grasses
Breaks dormancy: late spring to early summer
Ornamental grasses, especially warm-season grasses, tend to hit the snooze button just long enough to make you worry. It’s one of our most frequently asked-about plants! Don’t worry; these reliable perennials will emerge as the weather heats up.

 
Pineapple Lily
Breaks dormancy: early to  mid summer
While these perennials may be easy to grow, they require a lot patience! Pineapple lily will break dormancy in summer. But their unique habit and purple star-shaped flowers are well worth the wait once they begin to bloom.

 
Perovskia (Russian Sage)
Breaks dormancy: mid spring
This late-summer blooming perennial features fragrant lavender-blue blooms. Because Perovskia thrives in warm temperatures, it emerges a little later in spring than other drought-tolerant plants.

 
Weigela
Breaks dormancy: mid to late spring
Once the leaves emerge on weigela in mid-spring, you won’t have to wait much longer to enjoy the flowers. This early summer bloomer bursts into bloom in late May or early June, and some cultivars continue to rebloom into fall. 

Great Garden Tips: May 2023 Checklist
Timely Garden Tasks For

May 2023
Download the printable version by clicking the link, HERE.
As the temperatures rise and the days get longer, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work in the garden. May is a crucial month for gardening tasks, and with the proper planning and execution, you can ensure a bountiful garden throughout the summer months. In this gardening checklist, we will cover all the essential tasks you must do in May to set your garden up for success. So grab your tools, and let’s get started!

  • Spring rains are ending, so set your irrigation schedule for the season! Water by hand or look into creating your own irrigation system.
  • Fertilize azaleas after their first flush of blooms to encourage more flowers later in the season.
  • Now that your garden is awake, so are the pests. Keep an eye out for slugs, which you can find feeding at night.
  • Check whether your vines and climbers are securely attached to their fences or trellises.
  • Weeds are likely returning in full force, so make sure you consistently pull them before they set seed.
  • Now is the best time if you want to prune or shape your early spring blooming shrubs (forsythia, quince, Pieris, etc.), if desired. Wait until they’ve finished blooming before trimming.
  • Routinely deadhead your plants to encourage more flowers.
  • May is the perfect month for planting perennials and shrubs, but it may be too cold for some gardeners (zones 3-6) to plant warm-season annuals.
  • Bring your houseplants outdoors to enjoy the sun on warmer days.
  • Set up supports for top-heavy plants, like peonies, to keep them upright for the season.
  • Gardeners in cooler climates should harden off any tomato, herb, or pepper seedlings started indoors by bringing them outside for a few hours a day.

12 Garden Plants That Flourish In Full Sun
These plants are one with the sun!
Finding the right plants for your garden is crucial to achieving the garden of your dreams, and when it comes to plants that love the full sun (6+ hours of sun/day), there’s a wide variety of options to choose from. With so many attractive options for plants that thrive in different levels of sun exposure, it can be challenging to sort through which ones are best suited for your unique gardening goals. Of course, these plants have a sunny disposition, from knockout roses and vibrant coneflowers to gorgeous grasses and fragrant lavender.
Here, you’ll find our list of our favorite sun-loving garden plants. Click the links to skip ahead to find what you’re looking for!

First, what do full sun, part sun, and shade mean? Watch to get all the answers:
Low-maintenance plants for full sun

 ‘Sassy Summer Sunset’ Yarrow
(Achillea)
Yarrow is a sun-loving perennial that is incredibly easy to grow and maintain. It requires full sun, is cold and heat tolerant, and is resistant to deer and rabbits. In addition, its vibrant array of color options makes it an attractive choice for beginner gardeners! We can’t think of any downside to this versatile plant: add it to a hedge or flower garden with plenty of sun and watch it thrive before your eyes!
‘Sweet Sandia’ Coneflower
(Echinacea hybrid ‘Sweet Sandia’)
Get the tropical flower look without spending your precious time on maintenance! Although coneflowers are drought-tolerant, they require dry to medium soil moisture. So plant in a sunny spot with low soil moisture and water weekly during the summer season. The compact habit of coneflowers makes them a great addition to small gardens without sacrificing big blooms.

 

 ‘Miss Molly’ Butterfly Bush
(Buddleia ‘Miss Molly”)
Showy shrubs that are easy to grow? Count us in! ‘Miss Molly’ Butterfly Bush features large clusters of pink and purple flowers for months once established in a sunny area.  The possibilities are endless, and no deadheading, special protection, or fussing is required. Plant and watch your garden become a beacon of activity for pollinators. For more information about butterfly bush, check out our blog “Questions Answered Series: Butterfly Bush (Buddleia).”
Honorable mentions:
These aren’t the only low-maintenance plants that love full sun! Consider planting ornamental grasses, hibiscus and crapemyrtle too. You can’t go wrong; all of these are great choices for beginner gardeners.
Ground cover plants for full sun
Wheels of Wonder® Fire Wonder Ice Plant
(Delosperma)
The flowers from ‘Fire Wonder’ ice plant feature bright red, orange, and yellow hues, akin to a beautiful summer sunset! Ice plant features prolific and rapid blooms, making them a fast-establishing deer-resistant ground cover for your landscape. Just ensure these are planted in areas receiving more than 6 hours of sunlight and fast-draining soil.

 

 Red Creeping Thyme
(Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’ )
Red creeping thyme is a best-seller for a reason: this ground cover is quick to spread and thrives with little care in sunny areas. The dense, vibrant blooms on red creeping thyme require full sun and well-drained soil, making a fantastic lawn substitute for small spaces. This low-grower is also great for adding texture and attracting pollinators. With red creeping thyme, creating a pop of color on sunny slopes and pathways has never been easier.
‘Angelina’ Stonecrop
(Sedum rupestre)
The vibrant chartreuse appearance of  ‘Angelina’ stonecrop is almost as bright as the sun! This stonecrop can perform in high heat and humidity, making it a dependable choice for full-sun ground covers. While interest peaks in the summer with neon blooms, this plant’s succulent leaves look great year-round.

 Honorable mentions:
Not to fear: more sun-loving ground covers flourish in many gardening zones. Try planting sedum, dianthus, tickseed, or ‘Emerald Blue’ phlox alongside sunny slopes or tucked between your other sun-loving plants.
Container plants for full sun

 ‘Stella d’Oro’ Daylily
(Hemerocallis ‘Stella De Oro’)
Nothing makes gardeners more eager for spring than the arrival of blossoming daylilies. Highly adaptable and compact, the daylily isn’t just for planting in masses; they also make for fantastic container plants in areas with high levels of sunlight!
You’ll be wowed whenever you see the vibrant golden-yellow flowers from late spring to fall.
Suñorita® Rose
(Rosa x ‘Chewgewest’)
The classic beauty of roses isn’t just reserved for landscapes and hedges; they make amazing container plants too. Suñorita® rose from Proven Winners features orange-yellow blooms that add a statement to patios. In addition, these full-sun roses are extremely tough and durable, so you won’t have to pay these container plants any mind all summer long. I mean, it’s love for the sun is literally in it’s name!

 

 ‘Bandwidth’ Maiden Grass
(Miscanthus sinensis ‘NCMS2B’)
Didn’t think grasses could make impactful container plants? Think again! ‘Bandwidth’ Maiden Grass has an upright and compact habit featuring green and yellow horizontally striped leaves, making it a great addition to containers and small spaces. Try adding to a patio to create a nautical aesthetic or tuck between other sun-loving plants.
Honorable mentions:
It doesn’t stop there! Some of our other favorite container plants for full sun include red hot poker, calamint, barberry, and weigela.
Plants for full sun and heat
‘Hidcote’ Lavender
(Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’)
There’s nothing more classic, more timeless, more fragrant than lavender! ‘Hidcote’ features bright purple flowers and silver-gray foliage that stay evergreen even as the sunlight dwindles. As a bonus, these sun-loving perennials can withstand months of high heat and drought. Make a lavender wreath or press flowers for fragrance and art projects; the possibilities are endless. 

 

 ‘Becky’ Shasta Daisy
(Leucanthemum ‘Becky’)
‘Becky’ Shasta Daisy is a charming garden addition with full sun and heat. Featuring perfect petals and yellow centers, the shasta daisy is practically a picture-perfect perennial. So why not plant it next to colorful coneflowers and striking lavender foliage? After establishing, add to a cut-flower arrangement, and before you know it, you’ll be transported to Wonderland. Learn more about Shasta daisy HERE. ‘Sage Advice’ Russian Sage
(Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Sage Advice’)
The strong, upright stems from Russian Stage keep your gorgeous bright purple flowers upright even in the highest of high temperatures and drought conditions once established! Peaking midsummer into fall, this plant loves abundant sunlight and is an excellent addition to a hedge or along a pathway. The deliciously sweet scent resembles its appearance, featuring a sage-like lavender smell.

 Honorable mentions:
You know what they say: if you can’t take the heat (and the sun), get out of the garden! If you’re looking for more options consider planting stonecrop, allium, or dahlia. 

Garden DIY: Mother’s Day Cut Flower Arrangement

 

*Sustainably made with trimmings from our greenhouse.
Nothing says “I love you, Mom” like a gorgeous bouquet of cut flowers! Cut flowers represent the hard work and tender care given to you by your mother or motherly figure in your life. No matter her style, a unique arrangement for mom can be created using flowers from your garden. Whether it’s Mother’s Day, a birthday, or just for appreciation, cut-flower bouquets will surely wow. As a bonus, once you’ve selected your cut flowers, these arrangements only take a few minutes.
You only need a pot or a vase, a tape grid, and beautiful cut flowers! Read on as we give inspiration and list our favorite plant combinations for your Mother’s Day cut-flower arrangement.
For the minimalist Mom
Try using these trendy spring bloomers with neutral tones to achieve the look. When choosing plants for this bouquet style, look for cut-flower classics like
dahlia, roses, smooth hydrangea, and yarrow. Consider the colors light and airy, with shades of white, beige, pale pink, and pastel blue. After choosing your flowers, it’s time to place them in your arrangement. Start with your larger statement flowers first, then fill in any bare areas of your bouquet, tucking smaller upright flowers in the nooks and crannies. Then all that’s left to do is admire the beauty of your minimalist creation!
Our favorite combinations:

 Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea

 Reminiscent™ Crema Rose

 ‘Firefly Diamond’ Yarrow
For the unconventional Mom
This mom likes the rare and unusual, so give her a cut flower arrangement that’s as unique as she is! Consider out-of-the-ordinary shapes, fun textures, and uncommon color combinations when choosing plants for this bouquet style. Start by gathering leaves and cuttings from more plants tall in habit, like astilbe or fountain grass; these will act as the base of the arrangement. Now it’s time to get crazy! Grab a funky statement flower like foxglove or lupine, and surround it with fun smaller cuts from globe thistle or catmint. Creative chaos is the name of the game, so don’t be afraid to play with new styles here.
Our favorite combinations:

 ‘Candy Mountain’ Foxglove

 ‘Blue Glow’ Globe Thistle

 ‘Blacknight’ Hollyhock
For the color-loving Mom
Vibrant bouquets will always be a Mother’s Day name stay, especially when your mother loves a pop of color. Grab some bright geums, coneflower, poppies, tickseed, false sunflower, or dianthus when gathering flowers for this arrangement. The more color, the better! Then begin evenly adding your plants to your vase or pot so there is no color concentration in specific areas. Next, tuck smaller flowers like dianthus and tickseed in bare spots and any green plant foliage to complete the arrangement. The best part? Colorful bouquets will often boast the most delightful fragrance.
Our favorite combinations:

 ‘Blazing Sunset’ Geum

 Solanna™ Golden Sphere Tickseed

 ‘Harvest Moon’ Oriental Poppy
“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.” – Maya Angelou

 

Get Inspired: Our Staff’s Spring Planting Plans
The Great Garden staff doesn’t just talk the talk; they plant the plants!
Punny, we know, but spring has sprung, and our team is busy cultivating gorgeous perennials, shrubs, and trees in their gardens. Read on to discover what our Great Garden friends are planting this spring, their signature gardening style, favorite new plants, and more. Who knows, our staff’s garden picks might even inspire you!
Miranda: The Shade Gardener
What are you planting this spring?
“This is the first spring that we can plant in our new backyard, so I’ve been anticipating this all winter (or probably longer)! I’ve already purchased a bunch of Siberian bugloss, barrenworts, goatsbeard, and Japanese anemone. Can you tell I have a shade garden?”
Which new plant from Great Garden Plants are you most excited about?
“The best part of my job is that I get to choose the new plants we offer, so how could I pick just one? The foxgloves (or Digitalis) are at the top of my list since I researched foxglove-pollinator interactions for a bit in Costa Rica. I’ve slowly started a Japanese anemone collection that needs Frilly Knickers™ Japanese anemone added to it, with ruffled petals and soft purple accents. Last but not least, Flavorette™ Honey-Apricot rose, because peach is my favorite garden color AND the petals are edible.”

 

 Tori: The Colorful Gardener
What are you planting this spring?
Sparkling Stars’ pink and red masterwort, ‘Bubble Bath’ allium, ‘Fall in Love Sweetly’ Japanese anemone, and ‘Peachie’s Pick Stokes’ aster. I have a bunch more in my wishlist too!”
How would you describe your garden style?
“My garden style is color, color, color! I want things that re-bloom or are long blooming.”
Which new plant from Great Garden Plants are you most excited about?
“I am most excited about the ‘Dalmatian Purple’ and ‘Sugar Plum’ foxgloves because they look amazing in the greenhouse! They’re definitely on my wishlist.”
Lindsey: The Container Gardener
How would you describe your garden style?
“Because I’m so busy, I find myself opting for container plants that require low levels of maintenance and sunlight to keep them thriving for a long time! This is why I love a good boho garden with lots of green foliage; the longevity of those plants is super important to me.”
Which new plant from Great Garden Plants are you most excited about?
“‘Maggie Daley’ astilbe is my new obsession, the feathery lavender pink blooms are seriously to die for!”
What word best describes how plants make you feel?
“Connected. Every time I admire the beauty of a flower, I feel connected to the beauty that our earth gives us!”

 

 Kennedy: The Pet Planter
What are you planting this spring?
“Some cat-friendly plants for my shady balcony, probably lots of catmint.”
How would you describe your garden style?
“I don’t have a garden, but I love the look of the old Victorian-style gardens like the one in princess diaries.”
Which new plant from Great Garden Plants are you most excited about?
“I love the ‘Café au lait’ dahlia and the ‘Candy Mountain’ foxglove.”
What word best describes how plants make you feel?
“Happy and refreshed, I love being outside!”
Tani: The Maximalist Gardener
What are you planting this spring?
“A little bit of everything! I’m planning to completely change the landscaping in front of my house this year. I have my eye on Dandy Man Color Wheel Rhododendron, Lenten roses, Japanese Painted Fern, ‘Wild Rose’ coral bells, and ‘Pretty in Pink’ barrenwort.”
How would you describe your garden style?
“Maximalist! With a little sprinkle of chaos. When it comes to my garden, more is more! I love flowers and bright, vivid colors. I mix annuals and perennials to create a look I can easily change each year. I’m extremely laid back when working in the garden, so I gravitate towards low-maintenance plants. Last year I grew more perennials and shrubs that could be added to cut flower arrangements, and now I’m hooked. As my garden starts to bloom, there isn’t a week that goes by that I’m not bringing a cut flower arrangement to my kitchen table.”

 P.S. Tani has her own gardening Instagram! Follow her at @garyleedrive

 Emilee: The Shrub Lover
What are you planting this spring?
“My apartment doesn’t allow me to have a garden! But I will live vicariously through my mom’s and convince her to add some ‘Essence Purple’ lavender.”
How would you describe your garden style?
“My gardening style is focused more on greenery. I love a good flower, but I would prefer to have my garden filled with leafy shrubs.”
Which new plant from Great Garden Plants are you most excited about?
“I am the most excited for ‘Emerald Mist’ Siberian bugloss perennials! I love the greenery of them, but they also get small blue blooms – how cute!”
What word best describes how plants make you feel?
“Serene.”
Pam: The Timeless Gardener
What are you planting this spring?
“To tell you the truth, not sure if I will have time this year, but I’m expected to see some of my lovely perennials bloom soon.”
How would you describe your garden style?
“Not sure I have one, I like a little bit of everything!
Which new plant from Great Garden Plants are you most excited about?
“The dahlias are timeless, and the lupine too!”
What word best describes how plants make you feel?
“Calm.”

 

Greenhouse BTS Tour – Astilbe, Lavender, Foxglove, & More!
In this video, you’ll see the Great Garden Plants greenhouse behind the scenes. Miranda Niemiec, Operations Manager and horticulture expert takes viewers around the greenhouse and highlights some of her favorite varieties including astilbe, foxglove, lavender, and more!

Questions Answered Series: Arborvitae (Thuja)
Your Questions on Arborvitae, Answered!
If you’re looking to add structure, privacy, and lush green foliage to your garden, then arborvitae (or Thuja) is probably the shrub for you. They can be short, tall, rounded, pyramidal, green, or blue, which means there really is an arborvitae for every garden. Whether you’ve already planted arborvitae or are planning to buy some soon, you can find the answers to all your questions here. See what others are asking and learn how to grow arborvitae like a pro.

 

What are the different types of arborvitae?
Is it a shrub? Is it a tree? How big does arborvitae get? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell when it comes to arborvitae (Thuja). There’s so much variation in size among the different arbs we offer, ranging from 1 foot to over 50 feet tall! We use the terms shrub and tree interchangeably for our arbs, but, botanically speaking, they’re all shrubs from their low branching at the base.
The genus Thuja comprises five species, including two natives that we offer: Thuja occidentalis and Thuja plicata. The main difference between the two is their size and hardiness. T. occidentalis (or eastern arborvitae) is cold hardy down to zone 3, boasting evergreen foliage that may turn bronze in winter. T. plicata (giant arborvitae or western red cedar) is from the west coast, so it prefers mild winters in zones 5-8. Their foliage stays green all winter long (no bronze coloration), which is an advantage of the species. But their green foliage comes with a massive habit. Most T. plicata reach over 30-50 feet tall (except the dwarf Fluffy®).
Does this answer your question? Probably not. So here’s a diagram showing the difference in size and shape for each arborvitae we offer. This is the most helpful tool for envisioning which cultivar belongs in your garden.

 How do you grow arborvitae?
Soil: Best grown in moist, fertile, well-drained soils. Poorly drained and wet sites should be avoided.
Light: Full sun (6+ hrs direct sun) to part sun (4-6 hours direct sun)
Water: Keep the soil moist but not wet.
Fertilizing: Top dress in spring with a slow-release, balanced fertilizer.
Winterizing: Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder zones. Tolerates wind once established and withstands heavy ice or snow. They may darken or bronze slightly in the winter.
Maintenance & Pruning: Requires little or no pruning but can be sheared easily if necessary. Avoid pruning in late summer or fall as pruning stimulates new growth, which can be easily damaged by fall and winter temperatures.
How far apart should I plant my arborvitaes?
The distance between each plant at planting all depends on the size of your arborvitae, which varies significantly among cultivars. The general rule of thumb is to space them based on their width. For example, our Full Speed A Hedge®’ American Pillar’ arborvitae reach 5 feet wide, so you should plant them with their centers 5 feet apart.
However, if you’re looking for a lush privacy hedge that fills in fast, you can plant them even closer. The minimum spacing should be the plant width divided in half.
Therefore, if you want a dense Full Speed A Hedge®’ American Pillar’ hedge, you can plant them with their centers 2.5 feet apart. If you’re growing a hedge of arborvitae, the minimum spacing is definitely recommended.

 
Can arborvitae grow in the shade?
Unfortunately, arborvitaes are not suited for shade. They grow best in full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight) to part sun (4-6 hours direct sunlight), requiring at least 4 hours of sun for lush greenery. Gardeners in warm climates should grow them in part sun, where they’ll get some shade in the afternoons. However, when grown in too much shade, they’ll look spindly and sparse.
An alternative to arborvitae in shade gardens would be yews or boxwoods.
How fast does arborvitae grow?
Two things determine the growth rate of your arborvitae: the cultivar and the growing conditions. Tater Tot® won’t grow quite as fast as ‘Green Giant,’ and even two ‘Green Giant’ arborvitaes can grow at much different rates if they are not grown in areas with optimal light, water, and temperature.
In general, we say it takes 5-9 years for shrubs to reach maturity. It may be shorter for smaller cultivars or even longer for larger ones. Nevertheless, we do offer growth rates under optimal conditions for our four most common arborvitaes:

  1.  Full Speed A Hedge ‘American Pillar’: up to 2 feet a year
  2.  ‘Green Giant’: up to 3 feet a year
  3.  ‘Emerald Green’ (or ‘Smaragd’): up to 18 inches a year
  4.  ‘Hetz Wintergreen’: up to 2 feet a year
    How much should I water my arborvitaes?
    This is always a tricky question to answer, as it relies heavily on the growing conditions in your garden! Arborvitaes like moist, well-draining soils, and how much water you use to keep the soil moist depends on your soil type, sunlight, and climate. In general, we recommend watering 1 inch a week. Feel the soil with your fingers (at least a few inches deep) to better understand your soil’s moisture level between waterings. Does it feel dry? Water them a little more. Does it feel wet or soggy? Use less water to avoid drowning them. Also, keep an eye out for browning or yellowing leaves, as this might be caused by under or overwatering.

 Arborvitae foliage ranging from brown to green and yellow
Why is my arborvitae turning brown?
It can always be worrisome when plants turn brown, especially when they should be evergreen. There are a few reasons why this may be happening:

  • Drought stress: brown foliage is usually a sign of drought stress. Though many arborvitaes can handle mild drought once established, they prefer to grow in moist yet well-draining soils. The easy solution is to water more frequently.
  • Transplant shock: if branches of your arborvitae turn brown right after planting, it’s likely just transplant shock. Planting can be stressful for the roots as they adjust to a new garden, so it’s not uncommon for a few branches to die. It’s okay; your shrubs will still bounce back. Keep them well-watered (but not overwatered) as they establish in your garden.
  • Natural foliage drop: if the foliage on the inner part of your arborvitae is browning, don’t worry! This is entirely normal and expected. As your arborvitae grows, the inner foliage will be shaded by new growth, causing it to turn brown and shed. It’s not being used for photosynthesis, so your plant no longer needs it.
  • Winter burn: if you notice browning during or after winter, usually only on one side of your shrub, it’s likely winter burn. Sunlight and cold winds in the winter can dry out the foliage, turning it brown. Plant your arborvitaes in a sheltered location or protect them with tree wrap/burlap to avoid winter burn.
  • Disease: Some fungal infections can turn your arborvitaes brown. Arborvitaes are more susceptible to disease when they are stressed, so water and fertilize them properly. Remove infected branches and treat your plant with a fungicide.

It’s fairly normal if your arborvitaes turn a little orange, purple, or bronze (not brown) in winter. As you drive around, you may notice it happening in other conifers as well. However, this should be temporary for the winter before turning green again in spring.

 Natural foliage drop on an arborvitae
When is the best time to plant arborvitae?
The best time to plant arborvitae depends on where you live. For gardeners in cold climates, we recommend planting your arborvitae in late spring. It gives your plants plenty of time to establish before the next winter arrives. However, for gardeners in warm climates, we recommend the opposite. Instead, plant your arborvitaes in the fall to give them enough time to establish before the following summer.
With that being said, you can get away with planting your arborvitae in both seasons, no matter where you live. Ensure you provide plenty of water for the first few weeks after planting.
Should I trim my arborvitae? If so, when?
Arborvitaes are low maintenance, requiring no trimming or pruning for lush green growth. However, you can lightly trim them in early spring to remove winter dieback or gently shape them. However, we don’t recommend any heavy trimming or cutting them down to size. Rather than trimming your arborvitae to keep it small, we suggest choosing a cultivar that has a compact habit.
Are arborvitaes evergreen?
Yes, arborvitaes are evergreen, keeping their scale-like foliage over the winter for added interest. While most will keep their green color, especially in mild zones, it’s not uncommon for some cultivars to take on orange, purple, or bronze hues during the winter months in cold climates. This coloration is temporary for the winter!

 
Arborvitae, juniper, or false cypress: what’s the difference?
Arborvitae, juniper, and false cypress are all members of the cypress family. However, though they’re related (and frequently confused), there a quite a few differences between them.
Compared to arborvitae, junipers (Juniperus) tend to have more bluish-green foliage, are slower growing, and produce aromatic “berries” that attract birds. While they take longer to grow, they are deer resistant, drought-tolerant, and easier to grow.
False cypress (Chamaecyparis) looks similar to arborvitae but comes in a broader range of textures and colors (like gold and blue). They tend to be smaller and much slower growing, but that might be good, depending on your garden. False cypress is also deer resistant, unlike arborvitae.

 Arborvitae (left), Juniper (middle), and False Cypress (right)
Why are my arborvitae’s branches drooping?
If your arborvitae branches are drooping in the winter, it’s likely due to dry soil, heavy snow, strong winds, or all of the above. There are a few things you can do to prevent this. 

  • Apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of your plants to insulate the roots and keep the soil moist. If your plant dries out, it will droop and turn brown.
  • Gently knock heavy snow off the branches of your plants.
  • Plant your arborvitae in an area protected from strong winds (like on the side of your home or shed).
  • Wrap your plants with burlap or tree wrap for winter protection. 

 
Will arborvitae grow in containers?
Arborvitae grows well in containers, especially the dwarf varieties like Tater Tot®, Anna’s Magic Ball®, and Fluffy®. There are three things to consider when growing arborvitae in pots:

  1. Select the right size pots for your arborvitae! We recommend starting small, then upsizing your pot as your plant grows. Keep in mind, many arborvitaes reach epic proportions, requiring very large containers. As they mature, you may have to transplant them in the garden. 
  2. Make sure your container has large drainage holes. Arborvitae is not tolerant of saturated soils.
  3. Place your pot in an area that receives full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight) or part sun (4-6 hours direct sun).

We don’t recommend growing our largest arborvitaes, like ‘Green Giant’ and Spring Grove®, in containers for longer than one or two seasons. They grow very quickly, requiring enough space to spread out.
Is arborvitae deer resistant?
With fragrant, scale-like foliage, you’d think arborvitae would be deer resistant. But – unfortunately – that is NOT the case. Rutgers University gives arborvitae a D-rating on their deer resistance list, which means they are “frequently severely damaged.”
If deer are a problem in your garden, we recommend planting tall junipers, false cypress, or boxwood instead.
Is arborvitae toxic to dogs and cats?
Arborvitae can be poisonous for cats and dogs when ingested in high quantities. Eating it can cause nausea, vomiting, indigestion, and death (though highly unlikely).

 Which arborvitae grows the fastest?
Without a doubt, the two arborvitaes that grow the fastest are ‘Green Giant’ and Full Speed A Hedge® ‘American Pillar’. Both of these arborvitaes may start small but grow quickly to hide any unsightly views. ‘Green Giant’ can grow up to 3 feet a year, while Full Speed A Hedge®’ American Pillar’ grows 2 feet a year.
Why is my arborvitae turning yellow?
There are a few reasons why your arborvitae may be turning yellow:

  • Overwatering: the most common cause of yellowing foliage is too much water. Arborvitae is not tolerant of wet soils and requires good drainage. If the roots stay wet for too long, they will rot, turning the foliage yellow. 
  • Nutrient deficiency: yellowing foliage is one sign that your plant is deficient in nitrogen, potassium, or iron. If you haven’t fertilized your arborvitae, now is the time to start! Apply a well-balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring.
  • Natural foliage drop: it’s entirely normal for the inner part of your arborvitae to turn yellow as it grows. The inner leaves are shaded by new growth, so the plant no longer needs them.

Are arborvitaes native?
All arborvitaes offered at Great Garden Plants are either American arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), giant arborvitae (Thuja plicata), or a hybrid (Thuja x). All of them are native to North America!
Should I wrap my arborvitae in winter?
The short answer: it depends! Gardeners wrap their arborvitae in winter to avoid winter burn, which happens when the foliage dries out and dies from sun and wind exposure. Young arborvitaes planted in open areas in colder climates are most likely to suffer from winter burns. If this sounds like your plant, you might consider loosely wrapping it with tree wrap or burlap!
With that being said, not every arborvitae is susceptible to winter burn. If your arborvitae is in a sheltered location (protected from winds), has a mature root
system (to access deep water reserves), or your area has mild winters (zones 7 & up), it will probably be fine without added protection.

 Are arborvitae roots aggressive or invasive?
Thankfully, no! With a plant that gets this big, you’d think it has a monstrous root system to go along with it. Instead, it’s mainly composed of shallow and thin fibrous roots that only spread as far as the aboveground width.
How do you straighten a bent arborvitae?
If you have a young arborvitae that is slightly bent, do not fear, as this can be set back into place! Just grab a stake, place it upright along the bent limb, and position it until it begins to stand upright on its own. While arborvitaes can withstand harsh weather conditions, young trees are susceptible to bending from heavy snowfall. Therefore, gently clean off your trees after the snowfall with a broom to keep your arborvitaes upright.
Does arborvitae have a lifespan?
According to the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, arborvitae, or Thuja occidentalis, has an estimated 50 to 150 years lifespan. The lifespan depends on species as well as environmental conditions.
Can I overwater my arborvitae?
Yes, you can overwater your arborvitae tree. While arborvitae needs moist soil to thrive, overly watered or waterlogged soil may lead to root rot and discolored leaves. Added layers of mulch can help maintain healthy levels soil moisture. 

9 Stunning Perennials That Bloom All Summer Long
Summer days, blooming away!
As summer begins, garden enthusiasts and nature lovers eagerly await the explosion of vibrant colors in their outdoor spaces. These reliable plants bring life and beauty to your garden and offer a constant source of joy throughout the sunny months. From tall flowers to low growers, these beautiful perennials give long-lasting summer color to your garden. Let’s dig in!

 Coneflower
(Echinacea )
Nothing screams summer more than the tropical hues from coneflower! These long-blooming perennials thrive in the summer and adapt to nearly any landscape with well-drained soil and plenty of sun. Other than that, coneflowers are extremely low-maintenance and great for beginners. Try placing them next to their close plant relatives, the black-eyed Susan or Shasta daisy; they’re all in the Asteraceae family! Then you’ll have a sea of flowers with prominent centers with classically beautiful petals for 3+ months. Learn more and get answers to the frequently asked questions about coneflowers HERE.
Hummingbird Mint
(Agastache)
If you’re looking to build a buzzing pollinator garden this summer, hummingbird mint is a staple. This perennial is drought and heat-tolerant and has mint-like foliage and colorful flower spikes, making it a hardy, sun-loving addition to zones 5-10. It’s in the name: nectar from hummingbird mint attracts pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds all summer and fall! Use hummingbird mint in a low-maintenance garden hedge and walk by to get a whiff of the highly fragrant flowers.

 

 Shasta Daisy
(Leucanthemum × superbum)
The fluffy white blooms from Shasta daisies are as bright as the summer sun and look perfect tucked into small spaces or in containers. Daisies are an old-fashioned classic reminiscent of warmer weather and sunny days, making them a popular perennial during summer months. Stiff green stems hold these robust flowers high and keep them from flopping, making them a great addition to your cut-flower garden. Learn more and get answers to the frequently asked questions about Shasta daisy HERE.
Tickseed
(Coreopsis)
While this perennial may be tiny, its flower power is mighty! Tickseed is one of the longest-blooming perennials on the market today, with bountiful flowers beginning in summer and lasting through fall. The pollinators love tickseed just as much as we do; try placing in a cut-flower arrangement and tucking into containers or small spaces for endless impact, the possibilities are endless, and the blooms are never-ending! 

 

 Russian Sage
(Perovskia atriplicifolia )
Russian sage can take the heat and thrive in hot, dry gardens, making it a perfect summer plant, especially in areas with troublesome soil conditions. This plant begins its show with bright purple florets that attract pollinators above icy-green foliage mid-summer and lasts well into early fall! It packs a punch in a small footprint and makes a great addition to hedges, pathways, and cottage gardens. Try crushing the leaves to release an intoxicating fragrance that is sure to relax.
Spike Speedwell
(Veronica spicata)
It’s only up from here, literally! Spike speedwell blooms in late spring or early summer and lasts well into autumn. Its densely packed flower stems can be found in various colors but most commonly appear with vibrant blue and pink hues, making them a whimsical addition to any moon garden or for adding a splash of color to containers. As a bonus, these plants are incredibly easy to care for and deer-resistant. Just sit back, and watch the bees and butterflies explore your garden on a breezy summer evening. 

 

 Blanket Flower
(Gaillardia)
Fiery like the sun, the blanket flower is a stunning long-blooming summertime staple! Featuring crimson red,  golden yellow, and bright orange colors, blanket flower is an absolute super bloomer and is perfect for hot, sunny gardens. Simply prune your blanket flower to extend blooms well past the summer season. These plants are also deer-resistant and great for beginners. Place in a sunny spot with well-drained soil and it’s sure to thrive.
Cranesbill
(Geranium sanguineum)
Looking for a low-maintenance ground cover that blooms all summer long? Look no further than geraniums, especially Rozanne! This low-grower is exceptionally durable and can withstand substantial heat and drought from late spring to early summer. Build a rainbow of flowers in your landscape by featuring various colors, including pink, blue, purple, and white. Try planting between other perennials in your rock garden or create a cranesbill pathway along your sidewalk to your front door. No matter where you choose to plant this ground cover, you’ll surely be wowed by its compact and showy display. Did we mention these plants are also deer and pest resistant? 

 

 Black Eyed Susan
(Rudbeckia hirta)
Long-blooming black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) begins its bloom in the summertime and starts as a crisp white color, quickly transitioning to a cheerful golden yellow. But it doesn’t stop there! Flowers bloom throughout fall, so you can enjoy bright colors well into the cooler months when other perennials begin their slumber. This native perennial is also loved by pollinators, with their prominent centers and sturdy petals providing a buffet for bees and butterflies alike. Finally, pair it with coneflower for the ultimate colorful and robust garden hedge. 

Great Garden Tips: June 2023 Checklist
Timely Garden Tasks For

June 2023
Download the printable version by clicking the link, HERE.
It’s officially summertime, and things are heating up in the garden! From pruning to planting, a few gardening tasks will set you up for success during some of the most prolific blooming periods of the year. So here you’ll find our timely garden tasks to begin as we kick off June.

  • Edge your garden beds for a clean and structured look.
  • Apply a thin layer of mulch around the base of your perennials and shrubs to lock in soil moisture before the summer heat sets in.
  • For those in warmer zones (8-11), it’s probably getting hot in your garden. Make sure you frequently water your plants, especially in containers, to keep them happy.
  • Decorate your patio with potted annuals, perennials, or shrubs!
  • Continually deadhead spent flowers, especially on roses, for more blooms.
  • Insects are returning – good and bad! Inspect your plants for signs of pest damage and treat them accordingly.
  • Plant perennial herbs (like rosemary, lavender, or sage) to use in summer cocktails and other recipes.
  • All zones can plant warm-season annuals – but remember to pinch them back for fuller growth and more flowers.
  • Prune your wisteria after it finishes blooming.
  • Japanese beetles are starting to return. Knock any beetles off your plants and into a soapy cup of water.
  • Keep on weeding! It feels like a never-ending task, but it keeps your garden tidy and healthy.

Questions Answered Series: Shasta Daisy
Your questions on Shasta daisies answered!
There is no more accurate signal to the start of summer than the blooming of Shasta daisies. A part of the Asteraceae family, the Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) is one of the most common types of daisies. It is a garden classic featuring golden yellow centers and large white flower petals. These superstar perennials feature long-lasting blooms, attract pollinators, and look amazing in cut-flower arrangements. So whether you want to add Shasta daisies to your garden or have questions about your plants, the horticultural experts at Great Garden Plants have you covered.
Here, we’ll answer all your frequently asked questions about growing and caring for Shasta daisies!

 

How do you grow Shasta daisies?
Shasta daisies can thrive for years after planting if adequately cared for. Learn the growing requirements for these truly sun-loving perennials!
Soil: When planting your shasta daisies, search for areas with average to dry, well-draining soils. Good soil drainage is essential, as these plants steer clear of soggy or overwatered soil.
Light: Daisy flowers do well in full sun (> 6 hours sun). They can tolerate some light shade, particularly in hot summer climates or when plants are grown in dry soils.
Water: Shasta daisy is drought-tolerant, but does grow best when given some supplemental water, especially as young plants are establishing.
Fertilizing: Fertilizer can be applied to daisies in the spring if desired, but it usually isn’t necessary. They are not heavy feeders.
Maintenance & Pruning: Daisies are a low-maintenance perennial. Remove spent flower heads, and trim back stems to the highest leaf node after flowering to encourage reblooming, and that’s it! The center of clumps will weaken, so divide clumps as needed (every 2-3 years) to maintain vigor.
Let us explain exactly what each type of lighting means and gives great tips on success in your garden.
What months do Shasta daisy plants bloom?
Daisy flowers are truly a summertime classic, blooming anywhere from late spring or summer through the beginning of fall. They are prolific growers, meaning they come and grow (get it?) very quickly and continuously throughout the season. Some varieties spread rapidly, so ensure they are confined within a garden bed or a container if you don’t want too many blooms! But then again, is that such a bad thing?
How tall will Shasta daisy get?
Shasta daisies are notorious for their tall habit, with sturdy stems that reach up to 3 feet tall, with some varieties like the ‘Becky’ Shasta daisy coming in even taller at 3.5 feet tall! The height of your Shasta daisy will largely depend on it’s growing conditions.
What pairs well with Shasta daisies?
If you’re looking for companion plants for Shasta daisies, look no further! Consider choosing other sun-loving perennials for your zone that are drought-tolerant and tall in habit. To create the ultimate cottage garden of your dreams, discover some of our favorite companion plants for Shasta daisies like coneflower (Echinacea), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), or tickseed (Coreopsis). Surprisingly, all these plants are also within the daisy (Asteraceae) family!
Other staff-favorite companion plants include:

 
Can you grow Shasta daisies in a pot?
Yes, Shasta daisies can thrive in pots and containers all summer long! As long as you place your plants in a sunny spot and use pots with drainage holes, you can see their upright habit begin to grow with prolific blooms. Create a sunny disposition on your doorstep, or wow guests on your patio. Just remember to prune to make way for new growth.
What is the difference between a daisy and a Shasta daisy?
The term “daisy” encompasses a wide range of plants, which includes the beloved Shasta daisy. Other commonly known daisies are coneflowers, Gerber daisies, Gloriosa daisies, and Marguerite daisies. There are a few traits that distinguish Shasta daisies from the rest. They are one of the largest daisies, reaching 12-42 inches tall, boasting white flowers with a prominent yellow center. Some Shasta daisies like ‘Marshmallow’ can even appear puffy or fringed with double blooms. The span of their flowers is also wider, about 3 to 4 inches across at maturity.
How do you winterize Shasta daisies?
No special care is needed to winterize your Shasta daisies! You may leave spent blooms on plants over winter to reseed and attract birds in the winter garden. Just be sure to clean up spent foliage in early spring just before new growth emerges.
Do Shasta daisies need to be deadheaded?
While it isn’t required, deadheading daisies are greatly encouraged to promote new flower growth, mainly because they can bloom several times in one season. When flowers begin to wilt and turn brown after the season ends, cut back down to the leaves to encourage solid and prolific blooms the following year. If you deadhead regularly, you can significantly extend beautiful daisy flowers!

 What are some problems with Shasta daisies?
While Shasta daisies are generally a very hardy plant, they are prone to a few problems:

  • Root rot: waterlogged soils can cause Shasta daisies to develop root rot, which is why we recommend planting it in sites with drainage. If you suspect your plant is suffering from root rot, transplant it to a new site and reduce watering. You can also keep it planted in the same site, but slightly raise the crown to be above the soil line to encourage water to drain away from the plant. 
  • Pests: aphids and mealybugs are common pests for Shasta daisies. If you notice signs of pest damage (holes in leaves, discoloration, stunted growth), examine your plant closely to look for physical bugs. Prune off any areas you think are infested and wash off your pruners and consider treating your plants with a gentle pesticide or neem oil.

 Are Shasta daisies safe for pets?
Shasta daisy is mildly toxic and should not be consumed by humans or animals. According to the ASPCA, when cats or dogs digest daisies, they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and incoordination. Consider creating a garden with pet-friendly plants to keep them safe. But remember, it’s just as important to train your pets to avoid ingesting any plants. For a list of dog-friendly plants, check out our blog HERE, and for a full list of toxic plants from the ASCPA visit the link HERE. Are Shasta daisies deer-resistant?
While some sources list Shasta daisies as deer-resistant, they are unfortunately susceptible to deer damage. The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station gives shasta daisies a C-rating, which means it is “occasionally severely damaged” by deer. For deer-resistant plants, shop our collection HERE.
Has the botanical name of Shasta daisy changed?
Did you do a double-take when you reading the Shasta daisy botanical name? You’re not alone! Previously referred to by its botanical name Chrysanthemum x superbum, it’s name was changed and is now referred to as Leucanthemum x superbum.
Why aren’t my Shasta daisies blooming?
There are a few reasons your Shasta daisies may not bloom; often, overwatering, heat-stress or over-fertilizing are the culprits. Remember, these plants love sunlight and are extremely drought tolerant, so occasional watering when the soil is visibly dry should be good. If you’re in an area with higher temperatures, your Shasta daisies could benefit from more frequent watering. You could also try pruning your plants more often to encourage new growth. 

How To Build a Rainbow Garden
Cultivate a colorful landscape
There’s nothing quite as stunning or as colorful as a rainbow garden. This garden style features plants resembling the rainbow’s colors in attractive arches, pathways, shapes, and more. Rainbow flower gardens signify happiness, acceptance, health, and positivity for many cultures and societies worldwide. Here we’ll teach you how to add a significant pop of color to your landscape and design the rainbow garden of your dreams!

  Pictured above: Red & Yellow colors –  Fire Spinner Ice Plant, Purple color –  Catmint, Pink spikes –  Beardtounge, exotic  Mangave
3 easy steps to design a rainbow garden
#1. Get inspired
We always say the first step to designing a garden is to find inspiration, and in this case, extra-colorful inspiration! Begin the search on Google, through our blog, or create a board on Pinterest and start saving your favorite designs. This is a great opportunity to visit your local botanical garden or nature center as well. There’s an array of different garden styles and layout options to consider. Get inspiration on our Pinterest, HERE.
#2. Sketch your layout
Now that you’re equipped with some inspiration, it’s time to envision it in your space by sketching a layout. Decide your garden location and measure the space, then start by outlining the area on a sheet of paper. Draw the shape of your garden along with its surroundings, like hedges, trees, tables, benches, and walls. Perhaps you’re planting a colorful pathway or creating a maze of a garden oasis; the possibilities are endless! When you’re filling in the colors easy way to remember the rainbow is the acronym ROY-G-BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.)
#3. Choose your flowers
Gardening isn’t just about appearance – keeping growing zones, light requirements, and watering needs in mind when selecting any plant for your garden is essential. Opt for plants that require the same conditions for the most cohesive garden. You may not be able to use the exact plant you find in your inspiration, but with thousands of plants to choose from, it’s easy to find colorful replacements you may love even more! We’ve listed some of our favorite plants for each color below, and while they all may thrive in full sun, we have plenty of other recommendations for shade. Read our colorful plants for shade gardens blog HERE, or find a full list of our shade plants HERE.
Our rainbow garden favorites
Many of the featured perennials, like coneflower, bellflower, phlox, and ice plant come in nearly every color of the rainbow!
Red: Geum, primrose, geranium, rose, petunia, red coneflower, red bee balm.
Orange: Chrysanthemum, ‘Caramel’ coral bells, milkweed, red hot poker, poppy, marigold, blanket flower.
Yellow: Yarrow, milkweed, tickseed, yellow coneflower, false sunflower, ice plant, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia).
Green: Japanese painted fern, ‘Strictus’ maiden grass (or other ornamental grasses), sedum, viburnum.
Blue: Plumbago, clematis, blue Siberian iris, spike speedwell, bluestar, bugleweed.
Indigo: Salvia, bluebeard, phlox, cranesbill, pansy, baptisia.
Violet: Lavender, lupine, bellflower, lilac, allium, cranesbill, phlox, dahlia, hummingbird mint, perennial violet.

 The possibilities are endless!
Rainbow gardens aren’t just reserved for perennial flowers; you can create them by planting fruits, vegetables, and more! This also provides an excellent opportunity to educate your children on the importance of cultivating and caring for the earth by working with nature, so consider getting them involved in the process of creating the rainbow garden. Invite all people of life (and pollinators) into the garden to promote love in a positive environment. You can even plant in a garden bed, in containers, or on a balcony window; the symbolism of a rainbow garden can follow you nearly anywhere.
“When there is love in the heart, there are rainbows in the eyes, which cover every black cloud with gorgeous hues.” — Henry Ward Beecher

5 Ways to Use Flowers at Your Summer Garden Party
It’s summer, time to celebrate!
Event season is upon us. From weddings and graduation parties to backyard get-togethers, summer is the perfect opportunity to socialize with friends and loved ones in the beautiful outdoors. With your garden already thriving, there are ways you can incorporate the beauty of flowers into your event elements. Whether you’re adding petals to a gorgeous cake or making arrangements to wow guests, you can use flowers from your garden in many ways during your next summer party. Let’s get started!
#1. Create stunning centerpieces

 Pictured above: Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea, White Splash Wintercreeper, and Full Speed A Hedge® ‘American Pillar’ Arborvitae.
There’s nothing more classic than a gorgeous bouquet summer garden party, and it’s incredibly easy to make your own out of cut flowers! Hydrangeas are statement shrubs; their vibrant mophead flowers and a wide array of colors make excellent cut flowers in table arrangements. To cut your hydrangeas cut across the stem just above where the leaf foliage begins. After cutting, immediately place your hydrangeas in cold (not icy) water; these plants can’t thrive without constant moisture! Roses accompany these large flowers beautifully; just put them in empty spaces around the vase.
Extend the beauty well past your party by replacing dipping stems in boiling water or by coating the bottom with alum dip. It may sound intense, but these methods actually work! Learn more about cut hydrangea flowers and how to keep them fresh in our blog by clicking HERE.
Great Garden recommendations: Along with hydrangeas, we love tucking small succulent flowers from plants like stonecrop in between the delicate petals to add stark contrast to arrangements.
#2. Add edible flowers

 Pictured above: Flavorette™ Honey-Apricot Rose.
Edible flowers make an elegant addition to cakes, cookies, salads, charcuterie boards, and more. Decorating your food with edible flowers is a surefire way to wow your summer garden party guests – and it’s incredibly easy! After gently washing, add whole flowers on top of frosting in your baked goods, or incorporate petals into savory dishes for contrasting flavors. Add the same flowers to create a monochrome design, or pick several varieties from your garden to create various colors and textures.
It’s important to remember that not all flowers are edible; many flowers are toxic if ingested by humans or pets. Do not consume flowers that have been sprayed with chemicals. View a list of poisonous plants HERE.
Great Garden recommendations: Flavorette™ Honey-Apricot Rose is a new edible rose from Proven Winners that can be added to dishes. This rose features naturally sweet petals and a highly fragrant apricot scent that looks delicate when arranged on top of cakes and other sweet treats. As a bonus, Flavorette™ Honey-Apricot rose is incredibly floriferous and easy to grow, so there will be plenty of flowers to enjoy.
#3. Get creative with container plants

 
Pictured above: Container #1 includes ‘Blue Arrows’ rush, Solanna™ Golden Sphere tickseed, and purple sage. Container #2 includes Amazing Daisies® ’Banana Cream’ shasta daisy, ‘Powis Castle’ wormwood, and ‘Blue Arrows’ rush. Container #3 includes Rock ‘N Round ‘Pride and Joy’ stonecrop, ‘Paint the Town Fancy’ dianthus, and ‘Blue Arrows’ rush.
Container plants don’t have to be boring, and a summer garden party is a perfect occasion to liven things up! Add small sculptures, or create a nautical aesthetic by adding seashells; containers allow endless customization. Consider tucking some new statement perennials with contrasting textures in a sun container by combining tickseed, yellow creeping Jenny, and ‘Bandwidth’ maiden grass. Or, if you’re a shade gardener, spruce up your pots by adding the cool tones from hosta and fern plants. Just make sure plant combinations require similar amounts of sunlight and soil moisture.
Great Garden recommendations: Nobody knows container plants like Great Garden Plants! View articles about the best container plant combinations and get inspired by different gardening styles at our blog HERE.
#4. Make delicious drinks

 Pictured above: Black Lace® Elderberry.
Edible flowers aren’t just reserved for food; they make flavorful additions to mocktails, refreshers, cocktails, and more!  Certain flowers compliment different drinks with their complex and floral flavors, so establish your party drink first. Next, take your edible cut flowers and trim the stems off. Add them to your drink and let them steep to incorporate their flavor.
Add the edible blooms to your pitcher, or add your multiple edible flowers to ice cubes to add bold color to your cocktail. You can also garnish the rim of your glasses with gorgeous blossoms; just make sure to moisten the rim of your glass with water or lemon. The possibilities are truly endless. As mentioned above, check which flowers are non-toxic to humans and pets before consumption.
Great Garden recommendations: ‘Ellagance Purple’ lavender, or any other lavender, has a pleasantly sweet flavor and slight bitterness, making its cut flowers excellent in a range of spirit cocktails. Peonies and roses boast a sweet and mild flavor that adds a refreshing taste to crafted drinks, while wildflowers like dandelions and violets taste amazing in simple syrups. These combinations are sure to cool down your guests on a hot summer day!
#5. Create party attire

 
Pictured above: Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea, Little Lime Punch® Panicle Hydrangea, Summerific® ‘Berry Awesome’ Perennial Hibiscus, and Pugster Blue® Butterfly Bush.
Are you looking to add some flair to your summer garden party? Take your cut flowers and make them into flower crowns for guests; it’s surprisingly easy! Grab a few pieces of wire, some twine, and cut flowers from your garden. Measure the wire around your head and begin wrapping the twine around the wire. Then take your cut flowers and add cut stems between the twin and the wire. Fill around the circle’s circumference, starting with large flowers like hydrangeas and dahlias, then filling empty spaces with smaller flowers like tickseed and geranium. Now your flower crowns are party-ready; it really is that easy!
Great Garden recommendations: Consider various hydrangea colors in your crown to add a serious pop of color! Incrediball® Blush Smooth Hydrangea features a soft pink color and delicate flowers, while this Let’s Dance® Blue Jangles® Bigleaf Hydrangea deepens the palette with vivid blue hues. Or plant Let’s Dance Sky
View® Bigleaf Hydrangea
to get a variety of incredible flower colors packed into a compact shrub. A high-fashion runway show in your very own backyard awaits!

How To Prune Roses: Easy 5-Step Guide
While roses (Rosa) may be one of the most romantic garden plants, it sometimes gets a bad reputation for being high maintenance. Don’t let that intimidate you! Roses are adaptable to various environmental conditions, which is why gardeners from across the globe enjoy them in sun-soaked landscapes. As breeders develop new varieties, they only get easier to grow. However, there is one secret to success with roses: routine pruning. If you’re looking for an easy guide to pruning and deadheading your roses (no matter the variety), we’re here to help.
Here we’ll discuss 5 easy steps you can follow today to prune your roses and keep them looking fresh tomorrow.

 Pictured above: Flavorette Honey-Apricot Rose, Oso Easy Roses
When should I prune roses?
This exact time can depend on your growing zone, but generally speaking, roses should be pruned when they are dormant during late winter or early spring after the final frost. Pruning roses too early may invite disease or cause your shrubs to bloom later in the season than expected.
What happens if I don’t prune my roses?
We don’t prune our roses just for fun (even though some of us enjoy it). Pruning your roses prevents disease, improves airflow, and promotes new growth and maximum flower production. Leaving any damaged, diseased, or crowded stems on your roses only weakens your plant over time – and who wants that? Follow these quick and easy steps to help increase the longevity of your roses!

Let’s get started…
Step #1: Grab the right tools
Pruning roses are even easier (and faster) with the right tools. Begin gathering your bypass sheers, which are ideal for pruning roses with their precise blades that form a clean, damage-free cut. Loopers are larger sheers that are more effective at trimming thicker canes and require two hands to operate. Electric hedge trimmers can also do the trick. Grab a biodegradable or recyclable bag for any trimmings. Don’t forget to wear long sleeves and grab your gloves; rose bushes have thorns and can get a bit prickly!
 Pictured below: Corona Tools Loopers and Bypass Pruners.

 Step #2: Remove dead & diseased growth
After you’ve gathered your tools, start at the base of the rose bush. Start by removing any remaining leaves, access twigs, or foliage that have fallen off the plant. Then examine all areas: the center, around the outside, and where buds are forming. Remove visibly dead and diseased growth upward along the shrub. This growth will often look brown, discolored, thin, spotty, and brittle. Diseased growth is also easy to spot after flowering and features buds that have failed to open or fully blossomed flowers that are droopy and cracked. Prune these branches back to where the wood begins to look healthy and cut at a 45-degree angle.
Great Garden tip: When removing diseased branches, sterilize your pruners after each cut to reduce the spread to other sections of your plant. Newly cut growth is especially susceptible to disease.

 Step #3: Trim crossed branches
Crossed branches that are rubbing up against each other can cause friction and cut off air circulation to the root of your roses. It may not look like it now, but these areas cause damage over time and are essential to address early on in the pruning process. Crossed branches are especially prevalent in the climbing rose varieties. Easily find them by gently opening up the center of the plant. Trim these crossed branches to increase sun exposure and decrease disease risk.

 Step #4: Prune remaining flower canes
Don’t just prune to remove dead and dying foliage; promote healthy new growth by trimming the remainder of your flower canes and branches. Your goal here should be to reduce the height and width by one-third. When deciding exactly where to trim, look for large and healthy buds. Cut at a 45-degree angle just above the bud, facing the angle outward to prevent new growth from facing inside the shrub. 

 Step #5: Water and fertilize your roses
After cleaning up trimmed foliage, give your roses a little tender love and care after pruning by adding some fresh granular fertilizer and a hefty helping of water. Then sterilize any used tools with a disinfectant and wipe clean, especially if you plan on pruning other plants; this prevents diseases from spreading in your garden. Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and watch your rose garden come alive.

 Learn more about pruning roses by watching the video below:
How to deadhead roses
Deadheading and pruning are two entirely different things: pruning removes any unhealthy, diseased, or unproductive areas of the plant, while deadheading specifically removes spent, faded, or drooping flowers to promote the growth of new ones. After pruning your roses during late winter or early spring, deadhead them throughout the growing season (typically summer through early fall) to encourage fresh blooms.
To deadhead, simply cut beneath the base of the spent flower where it joins the stem. It’s that easy! Then wait for new, vibrant blossoms to enter your garden. Learn more about when to prune, or when to deadhead, your roses in the video below.

Great Garden Tips: July 2023 Checklist
Timely Garden Tasks For
July 2023
Download the printable version by clicking the link, HERE.
July gives us many opportunities to tend to our garden as the days get longer and temperatures rise! Aside from routine watering (especially during scorching temperatures), there is a bevy of other tasks that can be completed to keep your garden in tip-top shape. Check out our July 2023 gardening task list to ensure you check all your boxes.

  • Plant mixed containers for your patio, just in time for a 4th of July barbeque!
  • Deadhead any plants for a tidier appearance and to encourage new blooms.
  • Monitor your roses for black spot and prune any diseased foliage. Remember to disinfect your pruners between each cut to reduce the spread!
  • Are your climbing roses pushing out long canes? Make sure they’re well supported as they climb your structures.
  • Refresh your birdbath – the birds will thank you!
  • Water, water, and more water! July is one of the hottest months, and your plants probably feel the heat. Water deeply in the morning to ensure your plants stay healthy.
  • Pull your weeds to make sure they don’t compete for water.
  • Harvest some of your herbs to dry or freeze.
  • Japanese beetles are back in full force. Walk through the garden and knock them into a soapy cup of water.

17 Drought-Tolerant Plants That Thrive In Tough Soil
Whether you live in an arid region or simply seek to reduce your ecological footprint, this blog will equip you with the knowledge and inspiration needed to cultivate a thriving garden that can withstand prolonged periods of drought.
From striking succulents to native grasses, here we’ll list 17 plants that can thrive in periods of drought, even through the heat of summer.
What does it mean when a plant is drought-tolerant?
Drought tolerance, as it pertains to gardening, describes a plant’s ability to grow and withstand periods of drought or minimal rainfall and watering. Remember – this doesn’t necessarily mean they handle dryness all season long. Drought is a temporary environmental condition, and drought-tolerant plants have adapted to survive through them, even in the heat. The length of time that a plant can survive in drought conditions can vary between a few days to weeks or a month. Between periods of drought, they require a good soaking to keep them growing happily through the season. While they are low maintenance, they can’t be forgotten in your landscape!
Remember that these plants are drought-tolerant once established, requiring frequent and deep watering after planting or as a young plant. It can take 1-2 years for perennials and shrubs to become established and up to 3 years for trees.
Expert-recommended garden plants for drought:

 Stonecrop (Sedum)
Stonecrop
is resilient to just about every tough condition; heat, humidity, drought, and freezing temperatures! Even though stonecrop is incredibly drought tolerant with succulent foliage, it still should be watered every 7 to 10 days during the intense summer heat.

 Catmint (Nepeta)
It’s hard to take your eyes off of catmint’s gorgeous spikes of blue and purple flowers – but we promise, it thrives on neglect! With full sun and good drainage, catmint can survive prolonged periods of drought, even in zone 8. Give your plants a deep soak every 10 to 12 days to keep the blooms fresh.

 Lavender (Lavandula)
Drought may slow down its growth, but lavender plants still boast gorgeous flowers and a powerful fragrance through periods of dryness. Try cutting this sun-loving perennial and adding it to a cut flower arrangement to bring the relaxing scent indoors! 

 Beardtongue (Penstemon)
Beardtongue
stands out all season with its interesting foliage and pollinator-attracting flowers. This drought-resistant perennial serves a purpose too and can help prevent erosion on sloped landscapes and sandy dunes.

 Tickseed (Coreopsis)
Talk about toughness – tickseed is long-blooming and can thrive in poor and dry soils once established. It makes a colorful addition to rock gardens and fits nicely in tight spaces or containers.

 Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Invite the pollinators to play in your garden with butterfly bush! This vibrant and unique shrub blooms all summer long, even during prolonged periods of drought once established. When you do water your butterfly bush, do so thoroughly.

 Maiden Grass (Miscanthus)
Not only is maiden grass drought tolerant, but it also resists disease and deer. Watch plumes emerge in the fall that start a fluffy pink and transition to a wonderful beige color. If you notice the foliage drooping or browning, definitely supplement with 

 Wormwood (Artemisia)
The incredibly versatile wormwood features silvery-grey fragrant foliage that thrives in nearly every grow condition thrown at it; heat, humidity, drought, and more! Try in a mass planting along a garden hedge or add to your rock garden.

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 Salvia (Salvia)
Attract pollinators and deter deer with indigo flowering spikes from salvia! Don’t worry about watering more than once every 2 weeks once it’s established, and watch this fragrant perennial thrive, especially in late spring and early summer.

 Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)
Looking for eye-catching flower power without all the maintenance? Look no further than hummingbird mint! Plant in a dry area with plenty of sunlight and watch it live up to its name – attracting pollinators in troves.

 Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Looking for colorful flowers that won’t fade in the summer heat and prolonged periods of drought? Daylilies are truly tough as nails and can store moisture and nutrients in their long, tuberous roots.

 Yarrow (Achillea)
Yarrow
is an extremely drought-tolerant and easy-to-grow perennial. Aside from rainfall, It doesn’t require much additional water, but weekly watering is encouraged during the summer for the best flower production.

 Coneflower (Echinacea)
Coneflowers
are vibrant perennials that come in an array of gorgeous colors with flowers stacked on top of sturdy stems. They require some minimal watering, but be sure to let the soil dry out in between.

 Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia)
This gorgeous native grass can tolerate high heat, poor soil, and prolonged periods of drought – all without sacrificing the fluffy and airy pink-hued blooms above foliage. During warmer temps, give this grass a good watering once a week.

 Dogwood (Cornus)
If you’re looking for a plant that adapts well to changing environmental conditions, look no further than dogwood! Shade, sun, drought, it doesn’t matter – dogwoods are incredibly adaptable.

 Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
Enjoy bright and bold blooms all summer long with rose of Sharon! This shrub is drought-tolerant once established, though soil should never fully dry out during the peak season (summer). 

 Spirea (Spiraea)
Spirea
can thrive in tough soil, is low maintenance and drought-tolerant, and attracts pollinators. You can find spirea in various flower colors, including pink, purple, white, and yellow!

How To Grow Lavender In Containers
With its mesmerizing scent and stunning blooms, lavender (or Lavandula) has been cherished for centuries as a versatile herb for it