Category Archives: Flowers

Tulips for Harris County

Tulips are a great sign that spring is coming, but growing them in Houston can be a challenge. If you grew up in the Northeast or Midwest tulips were a mainstay in the spring landscape.  We planted five varieties to see how they would perform under our growing conditions (Table 1). Table 1. Tulip varieties evaluated Variety Color Type World Favorite Scarlet red with yellow edging Darwin Hybrid World Peace Magenta petals edged in gold Darwin Hybrid Passionale Deep purple Triumph Van Eijk Dark pink Darwin Hybrid Onno… Read More →

Top Performers-2014 Harris County Flower Trials

Our plant trials grew in 2014 to 74 varieties evaluating both seed and vegetatively propagated annuals. Some of the species we tested were lantana, coleus, pentas and hybrid impatiens. The trials were planted in early June, and evaluated for flower production, leaf color, uniformity of habit and flower, resistance to insects and diseases and overall appearance.   COLEUS (Solenostemon scutellariodes) Redhead – This vegetative annual has the “WOW” factor with bright red foliage that appeared to glow in the landscape. It performed well in either direct sun or… Read More →

Crape Myrtle Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew attacks many different species of plants including crape myrtle, phlox, roses, rock rose, honeysuckle, snapdragons and zinnias to name a few. It causes a white powdery covering to form on leaves and stems and can cause severe distortion of new growth and stunting of plants when conditions are favorable for its development. Powdery mildew is most prevalent in mild weather conditions, and high humidity. Crowding of plants minimizes air movement and can increase problems with this disease. The best management strategy is to avoid it with… Read More →

Lobularia-A Great Plant for Harris County

  If you like Alyssum which performs extremely well during the winter/early spring, but are disappointed that it quickly melts away when our heat and humidity sets in then Lobularia  (Lobularia hybrida) may be the answer. Lobularia hybrida is essentially a hybrid alyssum and is starting to make a name for itself in the industry. In our trials last summer, its performance rating was 4.69 / 5.0 when judged for flower production, uniformity of habit, resistance to insects and diseases and appearance. We evaluated the Stream Series™ from… Read More →

Trial Results 2013 – Pentas

If you like pentas (Pentas lanceolata) then we have some information that will be of interest.  This summer we trialed 17 varieties in our test gardens at Bear Creek and the Precinct 2 Genoa Friendship Garden. Pentas are great annuals for the summer. They attract butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects, and are a great source of nectar for bees.  They perform best in full sun and tolerate high heat and humidity once established. They produce clusters of star shaped flowers in colors of white, pink, red, violet and… Read More →

Protecting Plants from Frosts & Freezes

A hard freeze is forecast for tonight. How do you protect your plants? What works and what doesn’t? Check out our new publication: Extending the Growing Season – Protecting Plants from Frosts and Freezes Your plants will thank you!

Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

Every year gardeners lose numerous plants to insect pests. However, there are practices a gardener can employ to decrease pest pressure.  Nature has natural enemies and their diet consists of the pests that ravage your tomatoes, cucumbers and begonias. Start with good horticultural practices in your garden. Prepare the planting site properly. Start with healthy plants. A stressed plant is a vulnerable plant so maintain the proper moisture and fertility. Use mulch to conserve water, reduce the weed population and to help improve the soil. A diversified planting… Read More →

Integrated Approach to Greenhouse Pest Control

The use of beneficial insects to help control greenhouse pests continues to increase. Growers are continually looking for ways to efficiently and effectively control their pest problems. Integrated pest management (IPM) uses biological control agents as an alternative to, or in conjunction with compatible pesticides. Greenhouse pests reside in an ideal environment in which to live and breed; and an abundant supply of plant material on which to feed. Such conditions can result in rapid multiplication of pests which, until now, has required regular and routine spray programs…. Read More →

How many state flowers does Texas have?

Texas roadsides become tourist attractions and photography studios this time of the year as bluebonnets put on their annual show. Ask any Texan what is the state flower and they will tell you, “the bluebonnet!” But if you’ve thought of our state as having but one state flower, think again. Texas actually has five state flower species. According to former Extension Horticulturist Dr. Jerry Parsons, Extension Horticulturist Dr. Steve George and former Extension Horticulture Agent Greg Grant here’s how it happened: In the spring of 1901, the Texas… Read More →