(Distributed 10/16/15) HAMMOND, La. – Since the debut of a landscape horticulture research and extension program at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station eight years ago, we have continued to expand the research gardens. One of the largest efforts each year is evaluating new annual warm-season bedding plants and perennial flowers in the sun garden and shade garden.
(Distributed 10/09/15) HAMMOND, La. – Fall is here, and the LSU AgCenter along with the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association and other groups encourage you to add new plants to your landscape at this time of year. There’s no better horticultural time than now.
(Distributed 10/02/15) HAMMOND, La – One of the great flowers that continues to be popular in our Louisiana landscapes is perennial verbena.
(Distributed 09/25/15) HAMMOND, La. – Golden dewdrops is a common name for durantas, also known as sky flowers
(Distributed 09/18/15) HAMMOND, La. – Fall is the time of year when we include gardening maintenance and upkeep in our list of outdoor activities. Fall is also a great time to add new plants to the landscape. Many home gardeners also mulch new plantings or add new mulch to older, established plantings before winter.
(Distributed 09/11/15) HAMMOND, La. – American beautyberry, sometimes confusingly called French mulberry, is a great Louisiana native shrub deserving increased use. The genus is Callicarpa, and both native and non-native species of this plant can be found in Louisiana.
(Distributed 09/04/15) HAMMOND, La. – Garden mums are among the most popular landscape plants for fall. These plants are also known as chrysanthemums, and some folks in north Louisiana and other parts of the state refer to them as “pinks.”
(Distributed 08/28/15) HAMMOND, La. – What a rough July and August in Louisiana for hot temperatures and droughty conditions. The LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station in Hammond had 43 straight days of temperatures 95 or above. During that time we measured only 0.60 inches of rainfall. Similar high temperature durations and low rainfall totals were recorded across the state.
(Distributed 08/20/15) HAMMOND, La. – As we enter fall, many home gardeners are considering adding new plants to dress up the landscape. Two great plants for fall are celosia, which some of us also call cockscomb, and ornamental peppers.
(Distributed 08/14/15) HAMMOND, La. – The second hottest July on record in many parts of Louisiana coupled with below-normal rainfall statewide over the past eight weeks has led to drought symptoms in most landscapes. Lawns and landscape beds are suffering. Irrigation is vital through the rest of summer and through fall to prevent long-term damage to plants.
(Distributed 07/31/15) HAMMOND, La. – We are still a couple months away from fall, but there are several plants to consider now that will be showstoppers come October.
(Distributed 07/24/15) HAMMOND, La. – A tough plant that will keep blooming through summer and into fall, gomphrena likes really high temperatures. Also called globe amaranth, legend has it that the original planting was at the gates of Hades.
(Distributed 07/17/15) HAMMOND, La. – Since the debut of a landscape horticulture research and extension program at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station nine years ago, gardens supporting the research at the station continue to expand.
(Distributed 07/10/15) HAMMOND, La. – Summer is not the most enjoyable time to work in the yard in Louisiana, but rose bushes need attention to ensure good performance through the summer and into early fall.
(Distributed 07/02/15) HAMMOND, La. – Several years ago the LSU AgCenter developed a program called Louisiana Yards and Neighborhoods to inform home gardeners about sustainable landscaping and home horticulture practices.
(Distributed 06/24/15) HAMMOND, La. – One of the most popular non-woody perennials in Louisiana is the purple coneflower. The scientific name of this plant is Echinacea purpurea. It is native to an area from the Midwest into the southeastern United States.
(Distributed 06/19/15) HAMMOND, La. – If you’re looking for some great summer color for your landscape beds from now through our first killing frost this fall, the Butterfly series of pentas will give you that, and maybe even more.
(Distributed 06/12/15) HAMMOND, La. – An abundance of hibiscus varieties do well in Louisiana.Many of us are very familiar with the tropical hibiscuses Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. We see them frequently. They’re typically not cold-hardy for the majority of the state.
(Distributed 06/05/15) HAMMOND, La. – With rain following a cold winter, early spring growth was not good on crape myrtles this year. But we are seeing very nice blooms on these great summer-flowering landscape trees as we approach their peak performance time of late June through July.
(Distributed 05/29/15) HAMMOND, La. – If you like the flowering habit of shade-loving impatiens, you’ll be excited to know more about the impatiens that boldly go when no impatiens have gone before – into full sun.
(Distributed 05/22/15) HAMMOND, La. – The past ten years have seen increased interest in growing olive trees in the southeastern United States. In Louisiana, a number of individuals and businesses have planted a few olive trees. In addition to culinary and processing quality of the fruit, olives can be long-lived trees with finely textured
(Distributed 05/15/15) HAMMOND, La. – Daylilies are one of the most popular flowering plants for late spring and early summer Louisiana landscapes. They have reached peak bloom about three weeks early this spring because of the lack of significant cold weather in February and March.
(Distributed 05/08/15) HAMMOND, La. – Roses are completing their initial spring bloom across Louisiana, and one group of roses is getting a good deal of attention.
(Distributed 05/01/15) HAMMOND, La. – With spring in full swing, it’s time for another Louisiana Super Plant announcement from the LSU AgCenter.
(Distributed 04/24/15) HAMMOND, La. – Home gardeners have long enjoyed zinnias, one of our most popular warm-season bedding plants. New zinnia varieties have been introduced regularly over the past few years.
(Distributed 04/17/15) HAMMOND, La. – Every few years, a new variety of bedding plant comes along that takes the country by storm. Greenhouse growers instantly fall in love; retailers cannot sell enough once they get it on the shelves; and home gardeners go crazy when they truly realize how great of a new plant it is.
(Distributed 04/02/15) HAMMOND, La. – Early April is here, and that signifies the peak flowering season for azaleas across the state. Some years, flowering is earlier; some years, flowers come later.
(Distributed 03/27/15) HAMMOND, La. – Our spring- and summer-flowering trees and shrubs are growing and preparing for another great bloom season. One of favorite landscape plants for late spring and summer is the popular and loved crape myrtle.
(Distributed 03/20/15) HAMMOND, La. – The National Garden Bureau has named 2015 the “Year of the Gaillardia.”
(Distributed 03/13/15) HAMMOND, La. – As we transition from late winter to early spring in the landscape, many gardeners start thinking about weather conditions, last frost and freeze dates and consider whether it’s safe to plant this plant or that plant in the landscape.
(Distributed 03/06/15) HAMMOND, La. – Beneath the mighty, majestic live oaks surrounded by gardenias, Southern magnolias, azaleas and sweet olives stands the camellia – what many in the South may refer to as “the queen of the garden.”
(Distributed 02/17/15) HAMMOND, La. – Have you noticed that Southerners have a love affair with the live oak (Quercus virginiana)? And rightly so! Noted for its strength and longevity, this stately tree was one of the major tree species that survived the wind and flooding of Hurricane Katrina.
(Distributed 02/20/15) HAMMOND, La. – Landscapes around the state are in various stages of their spring awakening, but it’s still February.
(Distributed 01/13/15) HAMMOND, La. – Roses continue to be popular in our residential landscapes, so home gardeners would be well served to increase their knowledge and awareness of recommended management practices for roses. Proper care at the proper time goes a long way to enjoying landscape success.
(Distributed 02/06/15) HAMMOND, La. – One of the most widely planted landscape shrubs in Louisiana is the azalea. Dwarf, intermediate and the larger-growing Southern Indica varieties are common in our landscapes.
(Distributed 01/30/15) HAMMOND, La. – Winter and early spring are when many gardeners prune plants, which is the correct time for most plants in the home landscape.
(Distributed 01/23/15) HAMMOND, La. – New plants make gardening exciting. About five years ago, a new sweet alyssum variety started appearing in trial gardens and garden centers around the country. These are now well-established in the greenhouse trade and have added a great cool-season-to-warm-season transitional plant to the retail marketplace.
(Distributed 01/16/15) HAMMOND, La. – One of the most widely planted landscape shrubs in Louisiana is the gardenia. Many times from the late fall through winter, you may see gardenias with yellow foliage and “poor-looking” growth. This is more of an “end-of-the-growing-season” look when old leaves are being lost and new foliage is preparing for spring emergence.
(Distributed 01/09/15) HAMMOND, La. – Now is a great time to plant a tree in Louisiana. We observe Louisiana Arbor Day this year on Friday, Jan. 16.
(Distributed 01/02/15) HAMMOND, La. – Eight vegetables and four flowers have been named All-America Selection (AAS) winners for the 2015 gardening season. Each year, the best of the best in new flowers, bedding plants and vegetables receive this national recognition.
(Distributed 04/25/14) HAMMOND, La. – We all crave color in our landscapes. Beds full of annual and perennial flowering plants are often the primary source of landscape color, but they require a lot of work to keep them looking nice.
(Distributed 04/17/14) HAMMOND, La. – Buddleia, known by most home gardeners as butterfly bush, is becoming an increasingly popular plant in the home landscape. Mostly because this perennial is highly favored by butterflies as a nectar plant.
(Distributed 04/11/14) HAMMOND, La. – Azalea blooms were outstanding this spring, even though the flowers were about two to three weeks later than normal and the cold weather this winter limited the early bloom. In the end, however, many plants bloomed in unison beginning in mid-March. Flowers are continuing now, and bloom on some varieties will stretch through May.
(Distributed 04/04/14) HAMMOND, La. – In the continuing program of identifying Louisiana Super Plants, the LSU AgCenter has identified the Kauai series torenia as a Louisiana Super Plant for spring 2014. These are improved from some of the older seeded varieties and have been proven great in landscape trials the last three years at the LSU AgCenter.
(Distributed 09/28/12) Shrubs make up the main background plants for most home landscapes. Many home gardeners plant shrubs during spring because that is when most of us think about gardening and that is when garden centers have the best availability. But, fall is the best time to add shrubs to the landscape.
(Distributed 09/14/12) With fall approaching and football season getting into full swing, garden mums become one of the popular plants available for home landscapes. These plants are also known as chrysanthemums, and some folks in north Louisiana and other parts of the state refer to this popular plant as “pinks.”
News Release Distributed 06/22/12By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings Many coreopsis are available for our landscapes in Louisiana. Coreopsis, sometimes called tickseed, are herbaceous perennial flowers. Sometimes we treat these as annuals in Louisiana, and sometimes we treat them as perennials. The larger-flowered varieties are usually most popular with home gardeners. Popular coreopsis varieties on the market include Jethro Tull, Sunfire, Early Sunrise, Rising Sun, Corey Yellow and Sunray. Flowers on all of these are some shade of golden yellow. Some varieties have more of a semi-double to double flower form, which is characteristic of the Early Sunrise variety. A variegated form of Early Sunrise is called Tequila Sunrise. These plants do well in a sunny, well-drained landscape bed. They do best planted in late winter through early spring or even in fall. You can often find a nice selection of coreopsis in bloom at garden centers in late spring. Their typical peak blooming times are May through July, but they still provide some additional flowers through late summer and fall. Plants prefer limited irrigation and perform best when we have less-than-average rainfall. Over-watering or excessive rainfall can lead to root rot and other disease problems, so we recommend preparing beds to maximize drainage. Fertilize at planting with a slow-release fertilizer. You also can use liquid feed as needed during the growing season to keep plants at their best. Plants can be divided every two to three years. This is best done early when new growth begins in early spring or when growth slows later in the fall. For best flowering, you can lightly remove old flowers as they fade. This will bring on additional blooms and slow seed pod development. Sometimes coreopsis will lightly reseed themselves in a landscape bed. Anytime your coreopsis totally finishes a flowering cycle, cut the entire plant back one-third to one-half. A new flower cycle should commence in three to four weeks if growing conditions are favorable. Coreopsis have few insect problems. They are a nectar and larval plant for butterflies, so they’re recommended for butterfly gardens. Coreopsis have long been favorites with gardeners across the South. Use them combined with annual warm-season flowers or in a perennial planting with buddleia, rudbeckias, salvia, coneflowers, lantanas, shasta daisies, verbenas or other hardy favorites. Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse or www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.
News Release Distributed 06/14/12By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings What’s the most popular summer-blooming tree in Louisiana? Crape myrtles. Pretty easy question. Louisianians plant many crape myrtles in their landscapes every year. The lovely, long-lasting blooms make them attractive. Most years, crape myrtles start blooming between mid-May and early June. Flowering continues for 90-120 days depending on the variety. You may sometimes see crape myrtles not blooming well. “Why?” you might ask. Here are some factors to consider: – New growth. How much new growth did your crape myrtles have this spring? Crape myrtles need to have new growth each spring in order to produce summer flowers. These flowers come on current-season growth, so late winter/early spring fertilization can aid crape myrtle flowering in the summer. It is not too late to fertilize this year if you haven’t yet. – Shade. Crape myrtles require eight hours of direct sun daily to bloom well. Crape myrtles planted in areas that receive less than six hours of direct sun do not get enough sunlight for adequate bloom development. – Variety. Some varieties don’t flower as vigorously as others. Hybrid crape myrtles usually flower first. Natchez, Tuscarora, Basham’s Party Pink and Muskogee are the easiest-flowering varieties. The semi-dwarf varieties such as Tonto, Acoma and Sioux follow a week or two later. – Insects. Heavy infestations of aphids decrease flowering. This is the most common insect problem on crape myrtles. Ever feel like you’re being “rained” on under the canopy of a crape myrtle? That “rain” is actually bodily fluid being excreted from aphids. White flies and other insect also can cause problems for crape myrtles. – Improper pruning. Drastic pruning or pruning after new spring growth can delay summer flowering. Drastic pruning, in fact, may promote excessive growth and less flowering. Sometimes the “crape murder” method of pruning can initiate too much growth at the expense of flowering. – Too much fertilizer. Excessive fertilization, especially high amounts of nitrogen, in conjunction with other factors, primarily improper pruning, can eliminate or delay flowering. – Leaf spot. Foliar diseases decrease plant vigor and flowering, especially in the absence of new growth in spring. The main cause of leaf spot in crape myrtles is the fungus Cercospora, and it’s bad this year. Long term, this disease is not detrimental to the plant. Using fungicides for control has not been very effective because they would have to be applied repeatedly throughout the growing season, and getting adequate coverage on larger trees is difficult. – Wet soil. Crape myrtles need well-drained areas to grow well. Lichens growing on bark is common on crape myrtles growing in shady areas accompanied by poorly drained soils and low levels of native soil fertility. So, that’s the list. Consider these reasons if your crape myrtles are not performing to their potential. Hopefully, your crape myrtles will bloom and bloom some more for you this summer. Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse or www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.
News Release Distributed 06/08/12By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings One of the most popular non-woody perennials in Louisiana is the purple coneflower. The scientific name of this plant is Echinacea purpurea. It is native to an area from the Midwest into the southeastern United States. Coneflowers have long been favorites with gardeners across the South. You can use them in a perennial planting with buddleia, rudbeckias, salvia, coreopsis, lantanas, Shasta daisies, verbenas or other hardy favorites. Butterflies love purple coneflowers, too. Purple coneflowers are drought-tolerant, tough and long-lived. Flowering usually starts in late April or early May, and most coneflowers re-bloom through summer and fall. If you’re looking for a plant to enhance your landscape, new selections of this old garden plant are making it highly desirable for our Louisiana landscapes. Flower petals in coneflowers have typically been in the soft lavender to purple color ranges. Now white forms are available. Magnus is a popular variety that was the Perennial Plant of the Year in 1998. This selection has vibrant, rose-purple flowers. Bravado is a variety with 4- to 5-inch fragrant flowers. White Swan is a white-flowering form. With hybridization of coneflower species, a whole new group of coneflowers, called the Big Sky series, has added to the color range. The Big Sky coneflowers come in shades of oranges, reds and yellows. These plants originated from Itsaul Plants in Georgia and are being marketed by the Novalis “Plants That Work” program. The varieties Twilight (rose-red flowers), Harvest Moon (earthy-gold flowers), Sundown (russet-orange flowers), Sunrise (citron-yellow flowers) and Sunset (orange flowers) comprise the series collection. These varieties have been available at garden centers in Louisiana the past three years, but they are not as reliably perennial as we would like to see. New in the purple coneflower world is the seed-propagated PowWow series. PowWow Wild Berry is an All-America Selection winner from 2011. In addition, a white version is called PowWow White. These have performed nicely in LSU AgCenter trials. Also new are the vegetatively propagated Sombraro series and the double-flower series Doublescoop. A new purple coneflower that will be an All-America Selection winner in 2013 is Cheyenne Spirit. You can do several things to help coneflowers perform ideally. These plants prefer a mostly sunny location with well-drained soil. You can buy coneflowers at the garden center in 4-inch pots or quart or one-gallon containers. A light application of a slow-release fertilizer is recommended at planting and once or twice annually thereafter. Mulch with pine straw or a similar material. Remove old flowers to encourage quick re-bloom. Coneflowers are reliably perennial in Louisiana. Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse or www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.
News Release Distributed 06/01/12By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings Spring bloom on roses is just about completed. Roses in most home landscapes have their best bloom performance at first flowering in the spring (mid-April) and at the fall bloom in October. We are now rapidly approaching the summer months. Rose bushes will not necessarily look their best during summer. This is especially true as we get to July and August. We should be thinking now about how to maintain our roses through summer to enjoy them to their fullest. Most gardeners now are planting landscape or shrub roses in abundance. This includes the popular Knock Out varieties. However, many home gardeners in Louisiana still enjoy growing the traditional modern roses like hybrid tea, floribunda and grandiflora varieties. During summer, flower colors on roses are less intense and blooms are smaller. Petal count will decrease. A Knock Out rose with 10-12 petals in midspring may only have five to six petals in late summer. You can also see petal count reduction on hybrid tea roses. They typically have 40-50 petals per flower, but petal numbers are not quite as high in summer, and flower size is smaller. Also, flower pigmentation is not as good during summer due to the high temperatures and unfavorable growing conditions. Heat stress was common on all roses last summer with exceptionally high temperatures and drought conditions from May through September. Heat stress can be identified by flower performance, but also just by an overall reduced, almost stagnant, growth rate and pale green foliage. Leaf crinkling can occur when heat stress is severe. Roses need disease management from now through the end of summer for good flowering and performance into fall. Normally, the varieties with high to moderate susceptibility to blackspot disease need to continue to be sprayed with fungicide on a 10-to-14-day schedule. Even though it is hotter than ideal for the blackspot fungus to reproduce as fast in summer, the disease inoculum from spring will still be present. You may see foliage burn due to fungicide application during summer. Fertilizer should probably not be applied during the middle of summer, but a light application may be of value in some situations. Irrigation also needs to be maintained during droughty periods. Apply water to the mulched, root zone area around the plants. Avoid getting water on the plant foliage. Do not prune roses in June and July other than taking off old flowers as they fade. If you continually “deadhead” roses during summer, you’ll need to do less pruning later. The recommended late-summer pruning of modern rose varieties such as hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora and shrub roses should be completed by early September in south Louisiana. Bloom will return on the pruned bushes 40-45 days after pruning. Other rose gardening work that needs to be done during summer includes: – Watch roses for insect pests. Spider mites, aphids, thrips and cucumber beetles are usually the main problem insects on roses. Some can be easily controlled; some are more difficult to control. Monitor your plants weekly for insect infestations. – Clear debris from rose beds and pull any weeds that may be present. Add pre-emergent granular herbicide such as Preen or Amaze for summer weed control. – Add new mulch if you did not refresh the bed earlier in the year (pine straw is an excellent material). Even if you did add mulch earlier in the season, a new application on top of the older mulch may be beneficial. Three inches of pine straw is ideal. Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse or www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.