Lawn & Garden Tips
In the Garden
Christmas in the garden. Deck your garden out in red and white blooms for the Christmas season. Cool-season flowers to plant now are Cyclamen, Pansies, Violas, Snapdragons, Alyssum, Senecio Angel Wings, Geraniums and more! For more color and textures also add in Ornamental Cabbage & Kale, Helleborus and more.
Roses are sleeping which is the best time to plant them. In the middle of the month, start adding dormant roses to your landscape.
Camellia season. Now is the time when camellia sasanqua's shine in the garden with flowers in tones of red, pink and white with contrasting yellow stamens. Once they're done blooming towards the end of the month fertilize them with Dr. Earth Acid-Lovers fertilizer to keep the plant healthy and strong. Mix and match camellias for different bloom colors and heights; an Armstrong Associate can help you find the best camellia varieties for your landscape. When planting camellias remember they are an acid-loving shrub so use a planting mix like Dr. Earth® Acid-Lovers Planting Mix.
Succulents transition right into winter and are a great waterwise option. Add in color changing succulents that transform into vivid colors with the cooler temps both in the landscape and in pots.
Plant interesting winter shrubs with berries. Now is a great time to plant some shrubs with berries for a pop of color in the landscape and for cutting for winter arrangements. Some favorites include heavenly bamboo, hollies, persimmon, pomegranate and pyracantha.
- Planting perennials is still great this month. It gives them plenty of time to establish before the hot months. While perennials come back, they typically last for a few years and it's best to replace them with young, vigorous plants. The average life span varies; here's a quick guide:
- Delphinium 1-2 years
- Foxglove 1-2 years
- Lavender 3-5 years
- Penstemon 3 years
- Scabiosa 2-3 years
- Verbena 2-3 years
- Plant now; enjoy in spring. Now is the time to plant many of your favorite bulbs in the garden or pots that you'll enjoy come spring. Bulbs to plant now include ranunculus, freesia, daffodils, and gladiolus. You can also plant amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs early in the month for blooms in 4-6 weeks. Wait until January to plant tulips, hyacinth, crocus and alliums.
- Keep your garden blooming & healthy. Keep your flowers blooming and your shrubs healthy by continuing your fertilizing routine. An organic, granular fertilizer like Dr. Earth or Down to Earth are great choices; they slow-release nutrients as the plants need them and won't burn your plants. Plus, they are safe to use around people and pets.
- Keep the garden watered. The cooler weather means you can cut back on watering. However, it's also the season for Santa Ana winds that quickly dry the soil so adjust watering as needed.
- Cut back perennials. Some spring and summer blooming perennials can be cut back to keep the garden clean and the plants healthy. Perennials to cut back now include achillea, columbine, heuchera, coreopsis, daylilies, gaillardia, stachys, penstemon, rudbeckia, Russian sage, salvia, scabiosa, shasta daisies, and veronica.
- Remove cool-season weeds from beds and borders.
- Lettuce, Kale, Spinach & Leafy Greens: Keep planting leafy green seasons to always have a fresh harvest. Do successive plantings of all your favorite greens including lettuce, spinach, kale, and chard. Leafy grows grow quickly and can be planted from a starter plant or even seed. Plant in the garden or a pot and place in full sun.
- Berry Season: It's a great time to plant raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries and more. Start planting mid-month and continue planting into January. It's also time to prune cane berries; prune off the canes that produced fruit this year leaving behind new canes that did not produce fruit. These new canes will bear fruit this spring.
- Herbs: Take holiday meals from good to great with home-grown, fresh herbs. Plant herbs in the garden in an area that receives at least 6 hours of sun or even indoors in a very sunny window. Some of the most loved herbs for the holidays include rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and parsley.
- Basil: Your basil is likely spindly now. It's time to pull it and plant more next month.
- Root Vegetables: Hearty and full of nutrients, now is the time to plant all the root vegetables including carrots, beets, radishes, and turnips. To get the biggest, best crop plant in the garden in full sun (area that receives 6 or more hours of sunlight).
- Avocados: Tis the season to harvest late season avocado varieties like 'Fuerte', 'Pinkeron' and 'Zutano'. Pick your avocados and let them ripen indoors. Be sure to remove any leaf litter around avocados (don't worry; this is normal) and apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch since their roots like to be cool.
- Tangerines: Many tangerine varieties are ready to eat! You can test to see if they are ready by picking a couple and tasting them. If they are sweet & juicy pick some more. No need to worry if you see some yellow leaves; this is normal in cooler winter months.
- Citrus: You may notice your citrus getting some yellow leaves or dropping leaves. Don't worry; this is normal as it gets cooler and all you need to do is remove the leaf debris to prevent pest and fungal issues.
- Deciduous Fruit Trees: It's the time of year that apples, peaches, apricots, pears, and plums drop all or most of their foliage; no need to worry. Around Thanksgiving is the perfect time to apply all natural Bonide Copper Fungicide to prevent issues like brown rot, apple scab or peach leaf curl.
In the Home
- Real or Life-Like Christmas Trees. The center of Christmas festivities is the beloved Christmas tree. When selecting a real Christmas tree find one that will fit your space, look good and equally as important a fresh Christmas tree. Here are a few real Christmas tree tips. A high-quality life-like Christmas tree will have guests guessing if it's real or faux. Life-like Christmas trees last for years and are perfect to extend the season.
- Time to Deck the Halls. Have fun decking your halls with life-like or real wreaths for the front door, garland for the mantel and more. Armstrong has everything you need to deck your halls for Christmas.
- It's poinsettia season! Whether you're decorating your home for Christmas or need a hostess give Armstrong poinsettias are perfect. If you've only seen red, white, and pink poinsettias you're missing out. Choose from poinsettias in all different shades of pink, varieties, gold tones and more along with uniquely shaped bracts (aka leaves).
- Amaryllis & Paperwhites for the holidays. It takes 4-6 weeks for these Christmas bulbs to bloom so it's best to plant first thing in the month for blooms past the holidays or grab plants already producing foliage and/or flowers.
- Up the light. The shorter days may mean your houseplants need to be moved to a brighter area. Here are some signs your houseplant is asking for more light: its looking sparse or leggy, producing smaller leaves, or the leaves (or leaf tips) are browning.
- Trip them up. Keep your houseplants nice and tidy; using a sharp pruner trim off any yellow or brown leaves. Be sure to clean your pruners between plants with alcohol to reduce the spread of bacteria.
- Reduce watering Warm homes and moving air (that's your AC) mean houseplants dry out faster. Signs that houseplants are receiving too much water include yellowing leaves, squishy leaves or brown edges or spots on the leaves. Also, if you start seeing pests in the soil that's a sign it's receiving too much water.
- Now is the time to prevent weeds. Apply DuraTurf Crabgrass & Weed Preventer for Lawns & Ornamental Beds now to prevent grassy and broadleaf weeds.
- Rake leaves from the lawn and garden beds to prevent pests and diseases.
- Lower lawn mower blades for cool-season lawns (such as Marathon and fescue type grass) for fall and winter.
- Feed your cool-season lawn. As the weather cools, these lawns want to grow more actively, so they need nutrients to support that growth. Apply Bonide Premium Lawn Food.
- Reduce watering. As the weather cools reduce your watering frequency and potentially time. Remember to water wisely being sure to water between 5-9am and water until just before you see runoff. This time of you watering twice a week is most appropriate.
- If your lawn is overgrown now is the time to dethatch or aerate your lawn.
Keep your bird feeders full. With less flowers in bloom, it's more important than ever to keep your bird feeder full.
Enjoy birds with your coffee. Place at least one bird feeder where it'll be visible from where you enjoy your morning coffee or tea. Watching and connecting with nature can help reduce stress and be a form of meditation.