Know How

Improve the structure of your soil with the best soil amendments in Long Island, NY

Olsen's Nursery isn't just a great place to shop for landscaping upgrades and gorgeous local plants - we make it a point to provide all the information you need to keep your thumb as green as your lawn or garden! Our Know-How section is always being updates as we ourselves learn of new techniques, products and ideas. A truly stellar landscape begins by making smarter decisions, so get the info you need here at Olsen's Nursery!

Seed Starting Basics

Here on Long Island, the last frost of the year comes on May 15 on average. Although that may seem like a long way away in the beginning of February, it's right around the corner in terms of planting spring vegetables.

Many vegetables can be sown directly outside once things are warm enough. Lettuce, radishes and snow peas are some of the earliest vegetables that can go in to the ground, some as early as mid-march, depending on the variety. However, some seeds need to be started indoors with enough lead time so that they are strong and healthy when they are ready to go outside.
Seed Starting Basics
Below is a quick glance at what is needed to start seeds indoors:
  • Seed starting soil – This is a light, soft soil that is ideal for tiny rootlets to get started in. Regular potting soil can be heavy, and hold on the too much water, letting seeds rot instead of germinating.
  • Pots or a tray - You'll need something to contain your seeds that allows water to drain.
  • Bright light - Unless you have an excellent south facing window, you will need supplemental light to help your seeds grow well. Late winter sunlight is not sufficient and seeds grown only using that will often be leggy and weak, not surviving the transplanting process.
  • Seeds - The heart of your project!
On the topic of starting seeds indoors, choosing the right seeds depends on how soon before that final thaw date May 15th you begin planting.

Between February 15th and March 1st (10-12 weeks before avg. final frost):
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Cabbage
Between March 15th and April 1st (6-8 weeks before avg. final frost):
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplants
  • Peppers (Hot or Sweet)
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce
Between April 15th and May 1st (2-4 weeks before avg. final frost):
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • Winter Squash
Around May 15th (our last average frost):
  • Melons
  • Okra
Some plants take longer to get started than others, while some go in to the ground earlier so planning your seed starting is important. For example, parsley, broccoli, and cabbage can be transplanted outdoors as early as 4-6 weeks before out last frost date, while tomatoes, peppers and eggplants should wait until all danger of frost is past at around Mother’s Day. If it’s May 1st, it’s probably too late to start tomato seeds, but still plenty of time for some of the others!

But what about carrots, beets and the others? When do you sow them inside?

You don’t have to. The root vegetables in particular do best when directly sown outside, so that you are not disturbing their roots by transplanting them. Always default to the dates you see on the seed packet, but some of the seeds you can plant directly outdoors are:
  • Carrots (2 weeks before last frost date)
  • Beets (2 weeks before last frost date)
  • Peas (2-4 weeks before last frost date)
  • Radishes (2 weeks before last frost date)
  • Green Onions (2 weeks before last frost date)
  • Spinach and Arugula (2-4 weeks before last frost date)
  • Corn (1 week after last frost date)
  • Beans (2-4 weeks after last frost date)
Some of the seeds that you can start indoors to get a head start on can also be sown directly outside once the soil is warm enough. These include:
  • Lettuce (2-4 weeks before last frost date)
  • Swiss Chard and Kale (2 -4weeks before last frost date)
  • Summer and Winter Squash (1-2 weeks after last frost date)
  • Cucumbers (1-2 weeks after last frost date)
  • Melons (1-2 weeks after last frost date)
  • Basil (2 weeks after last frost date)

Seed starting is a rewarding and money-saving alternative to buying pre-grown vegetable starts in May. It is also better for certain vegetables (like carrots especially) than trying to transplant them. You don’t have to do everything you like to grow, but give one a chance this year. We bet you’ll love it!

Helleborus

Although they are known by the common name of Lenten Rose, Helleborus are in no way related to those summer flowering blossoms. That being said, for an early spring landscape, devoid of colour, a Helleborus is the perfect spring-time panacea to seasonal doldrums.
Helleborus
Known as Lenten Roses because they frequently begin blooming some time during the season of Lent, Helleborus are one of the earliest blooming perennials on Long Island. Under-planted and under-utilized, they are hardy, disease resistant, and tolerate a wide range of soil and sun situations. These evergreen perennials will give you flowers usually from mid-March through early May, essentially until the weather starts to grow hot.

Ideal growing conditions for Helleborus are in an area of moist, partial shade. But they also tolerate a sunny local, given protection from drought and drying winds. They can tolerate a little bit of drought, provided they receive shade during the hottest part of the day. You will know if your Helleborus is receiving either too much sun, or not enough water, because their glossy, evergreen leaves will start to burn around the edges. A particularly bad winter (like this last one) may also cause some browning. Old or burned leaves can be removed to improve the beauty of the plant in late winter, though be careful not to remove the rising flower buds at this time.

Helleborus are excellent in a mixed-shade garden, where they offer flowers at a time when no one else is yet awakening, and low, evergreen foliage the rest of the season. Try planting with small hostas, primrose, ferns and even dwarf Japanese hollies or a ’Cavatine’ dwarf andromeda for a full-season garden bed in a tough shade location. Long lived and easy to care for, Helleborus are a perfect addition to any garden!

The Benefits of Mulch

A lot of people think mulch is just there to make your garden beds look good. And while it definately does that, that’s not the primary reason to use mulch in your landscape.

A wide number of things can be used as mulch. Woodchips are the most common, but there are plastic and rubber mulches, gravel, even straw or pine needles. But for this, we’ll talk specifically about the benefits of wood mulch. Mulch should be applied when the soil has already been wet down, and laid in a layer 2-3 inches thick for best results.
The Benefits of Mulch
Using mulch in the landscape offers a number of benefits, including:
  • Conserves moisture - Any new planting should be mulched to conserve moisture for new plants. Existing beds also benefit from this action, but new plantings are the most vulnerable to water stress. Wood mulch slows evaporation of water from the soil, leaving it available for longer for your plants. Running a soaker hose under your mulch is a great way to get water right where your plants need it and keep most of it from being lost to evaporation. 
  • Smothers weeds - A thick layer of mulch will help smother unwanted weeds. All existing weeds should ideally be removed from a planting bed before mulching. Mulch will prevent existing weed seeds and weak perennial weeds from being able to grow. New weed seeds may blow or drop in to the bed and sprout on top of the mulch, but they are much easier to remove when they are noticed. 
  • Prevents erosion - Mulch keeps top soil from running off in the rain. It also prevents the leaching of nutrients like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus from the soil, meaning less fertilizer will be needed to keep plants looking their best.
  • Feeds the soil - Wood mulch, as well as pine needles or straw, eventually decompose. While that may be seen on the surface as a draw back, it actually improves the soil it covers over time, adding additional organic matter. The organic matter in the soil is what holds water and nutrients, making them available to your plants. 
  • Regulates soil temperatures - In the summer, mulch shades the soil and help keeps it cool, while in the winter it insulates and modulates extremes of cold. This is especially good for shallow rooted plants like Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Leyland Cypresses, as well as marginally hardy plants like Loropetalum, Camellias, Rosemary and Figs. 
  • Looks great - Garden beds covered in a neat layer of mulch look nicer than those with bare soil. They look neat and well cared for. 
The kind of wood mulch you choose is largely personal. Undyed brown mulch is a cost-effective option that still offers all of the benefits. Naturally dyed red or black mulch give a more polished appearance. Cedar mulch breaks down more slowly and is unattractive to certain insects. Pine bark mulch is perfect for areas with acid loving shrubs like azaleas, pines, rhododendrons and hollies. 

Mulch is more than just an extra add on, and it is certainly more than for appearances only. Do your plants a favor and apply a generous layer. They’ll thank you for it!

Comprehensive Rose Care

The myrtle and the rose, the rose,
The sunshine and the swallow,
The dream that comes, the wish that goes
The memories that follow!

-"O Gather Me the Rose" by William Ernest Henley
Comprehensive Rose Care

General Rose Care

Roses do well in 6 hours of sun a day or more, while 8 hours or more is best. While some roses, like Rosa rugosa, can tolerate the partial shade areas of our yard, for real rose success, make certain to offer these plants as much light as possible. Roses planted in the shade with be leggy, reach toward the light, flower poorly, and be more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Water deeply when the top inch of soil is dry, at the base of the plant. Do not water the top; getting the foliage and flowers wet encourages fungus like Black Spot and Powdery Mildew. While easy to treat when caught early, not watering from the top of the plant is a great way to prevent serious problems. 

Mulch roses to conserve moisture, moderate root temperature in winter and summer and to keep weeds to a minimum. 

To keep reblooming roses in flower all season long, they do require more fertilizer than other, shorter blooming shrubs. An all purpose fertilizer can be used, but there are also fertilizers like Rose-Tone, by Espoma, and Rose and Flower Care, by Bayer, that are specifically formulated for roses. Making sure your fertilizer contains iron, magnesium and other trace minerals will keep these heavy flowering beauties at their best. 

To promote the best flowering, deadheading (removing spent flowers) can greatly increase the blossoms your roses. Hybrid teas require more deadheading for continued flowering, while Landscape and Knock-Out roses require less. Consider the amount of time you want to put in to working on your roses when choosing the type you will plant.

Planting 

Roses can be planted at any time, though roses planted in the summer may need extra monitoring. 

Dig a hole about twice as wide, but no deeper than the root ball. Amend the soil with up to 1/3rd additional compost or well rotted manure. Loosen up the roots around the edges of the root ball carefully before settling in to the hole. A cup of bone meal added to the backfill soil offers good calcium and phosphorus, necessary for flowering. 

Water deeply once planted and every 2-3 days after that for the first 3-4 weeks. For the rest of the season, water twice a week, depending on the weather. Generally, roses are not drought tolerant and require about an inch of water a week. Mulch to retain moisture and prevent weeds. A soaker hose can be a great tool, especially if you are growing multiple rose bushes. Do not rely on a sprinkler system to water your roses. 

Pruning and Deadheading 

If pruning roses that only bloom once, be sure to prune them as soon as they are done flowering. Repeat blooming roses can be pruned in spring, when they are first starting to push growth or autumn on Long Island. 

Use sharp, curved shears to make angled cuts slightly above leaf buds if possible. Disinfect your pruners between bushes if all are healthy, or between cuts if there have been disease issues in the past. 

Remove weak or crossing branches to open up the interior of the rose bush. Remove broken or otherwise unhealthy branches (canker, etc) if needed. As you prune, keep in mind you want your plants to grow with an open center, so air can flow freely through the plant. Unless necessary because of disease, do not remove more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the existing growth. 

Deadheading keeps your roses looking neat and often increases flowering by refocusing the plants energy from hips to more buds. Deadheading can be done during the whole flowering season by clipping off spent flowers. If no flower buds already exist beneath it, cut back the stem to the next point where five leaves grow together on the leaflet. 

Common Pests and Diseases of Roses and Treatment

Even disease-resistant roses can have problems with certain pests and diseases, especially here on Long Island. No rose is ‘disease proof’, though some types are more prone than others. Look for resistant varieties, especially if you are new to rose care, or have a chronic problem with a particular disease in your area. Treat roses early, before the damage gets too severe for best results. Neem Oil is a great, all purpose treatment for many of the pests and diseases that affect roses, and is an excellent tool to keep on hand. Don't forget to clean up old foliage, either in season or in autumn clean up to help prevent a recurrence. 

DoNOTfertilize sick roses! 

Aphids, Mites and Thrips - all are small (in the case of mites and thrips, very small) insect infestations that can cause big problems. Stunted growth in leaves and flowers, curled, speckled/stipled or deformed leaves, deformed, streaked or weak flowers, and webbing beneath the leaves are all signs of damage. Can be treated with insecticidal soap, horticultural oil or neem oil. 

Scale or Mealy bugs - may look like hard scales or fuzzy white splotches on the stems. Can cause whole stem die back if left untreated. Can be difficult to control and will require multiple rounds of oils or a systemic treatment for severe infestations. 

Japanese and Oriental Beetles - Often night feeding, they will devour the blooms and skeletonize the leaves of rose bushes and other desirable food sources. Even treating grubs in your lawn may not prevent feeding by traveling beetles in summer. Neem oil can be used as a preventative when hot weather starts, and every three weeks there after if you know there are a lot of beetles in your area. 

Black Spot - Fungal disease that causes black spots on the leaves. Treatment with Neem oil will not remove existing damage, but regular treatment will prevent new damage. Treat preventively for susceptible varieties or plants that have struggled with it in the past. Be extra careful to not water the leaves unnecessarily, as this can lead to spreading this disease as the spores splash. 

Powdery Mildew/Downy Mildew - Characterized by white or grey powdery or fuzzy coating on leaves and/or flowers. This fungal disease proliferates in hot, wet environments. Because our summers are hot and humid, this can be a particular problem here. Treat with Neem oil to prevent further damage. Once new growth starts, prune off and dispose of the affected foliage and retreat.

Rust - Another fungal disease. Presents with red, orange or brown spots on the top of the leaves with orange pustules of spores beneath the leaves. Treat with Neem oil and then again in 3 weeks. 

Cankers - These present as small yellowish or reddish spots that may turn brown on bark slowly increasing in size. The tissue within the infection begins to dry out and shrink, presenting a shriveled appearance. If the disease infects only part of the stem, growth above the canker will continue. If it girdles the stem, however, growth will cease and the stem will die. Prune affected canes back to healthy wood, disinfecting pruners with each cut. 

Salt Damage - Roses planted near the street where winter plowing occurs or along walkways that are salted may present with limp new growth, light brown new growth and dry margins around the leaves. Plant more resistant varieties like R. rugosa or other dune style roses in areas this may be a problem. While not labeled as such, we have found Knock-Out Roses to be moderately tolerant of salt. 

Frost Damage - late frost can kill off new growth and buds, especially if early spring was particularly warm. Do not fertilize until new growth starts again. Prune off damages growth once the extent of it is clear.

Low Maintenance Roses to Get You Started 

Knock Out Roses - These roses come in red, pink, yellow, white and ‘rainbow’, making their colour choices wide and varied enough for any garden. Knock-Out roses are disease resistant and start blooming as early as May, frequently blooming in to October. These are easily the longest blooming, and lowest maintenance rose available on the market. Knock Out Roses grow 3-4 feet tall and wide, but can be easily kept pruned to smaller dimensions if desired. 

Drift and Carpet Roses - Drift and Carpet roses cover a variety of types and colors. They tend to have smaller, but more abundant flowers than some of their cousins. Best planted in groups for spectacular color from June until frost, these roses are low maintenance in that they require less fertilizer and irrigation than some of the larger flowering varieties. Great for borders, very little pruning required. 

Climbing - Meant to be planted along a fence or trellis, many climbing roses add true elegance to the garden once established. Early care involves tying or weaving them to the object they are meant to climb, but once in place, these roses really take off. Generally pest and disease resistant, care is needed to keep them from becoming too overgrown. Some climbing roses only flower once, others will re-flower over the season. 

Rugosa - Tolerant of salt, wind and partial shade, R. Rugosa are tough roses. Heavily fragrant, they flower boldly once in June and then sporadically after that. They are a great rose for wildlife or foraging, as they supply large, red hips in the autumn.

Other Types of Roses 

Floribunda - Floribunda roses are ideal for borders or containers. With a cluster of flowers topping each stem, Floridbunda roses provide an almost constant show of color, and bloom more freely than hybrid teas and grandifloras. Flowers are smallish, but prolific. Previously called hybrid polyanthas. 

Hybrid Tea Roses - Some of the most difficult roses to grow on Long Island. Hybrid Teas Roses are tall, elegant plants producing the classic long-stem rose. They produce individual blossoms and flower repeatedly during the season. Hybrid Tea Roses are a Cultivar Group of roses, created by cross-breeding two different types of roses. They have special pruning requirements to showcase the long stems and blossoms. 

Grandiflora - Grandiflora roses blend the best traits of hybrid teas and floribundas. They produce the same elegantly shaped blooms as hybrid teas, but in long-stemmed clusters that continually repeat, like floribundas. The plants tend to be tall (up to 7 feet), hardy, and moderately disease-resistant. 

English Style Roses (David Austin, Star, etc) - One of the biggest challenges for late 20th-century rose breeders was restoring fragrance while improving vigor of new rose introductions. English-style roses provide a lush, romantic solution. The flowers are densely filled with petals, much like antique roses, and most possess a strong fragrance that harkens back to old-fashioned tea roses. Yet their growth habits, health, and, most of all, their tendency to repeat bloom, are an improvement on their ancestors. English roses are a good choice for cutting gardens. They do best in drier climates than Long Island, however, and can struggle with black spot and other fungal diseases. 

Miniature Roses - Usually less than two feet tall, miniature roses are sometimes grown as house plants and almost always in pots. Though occasionally fickle, they make a lovely gift. 

Old Garden Roses - The old garden roses (also known as antique or heritage roses) consist of rose classes that existed prior to 1867, the date of the first hybrid tea, La France. The classes include the species (wild) roses, albas, bourbons, centifolias, damasks, eglantines, gallicas, mosses, noisettes, portlands, teas, etc. They come in every growth and bloom pattern and color imaginable. They can range from 1 foot to over 50 feet in height. About half of the old garden roses have good to excellent repeat bloom. Difficult to find in nurseries, online retailers may suit you better.

How to Plant a Butterfly Garden

The importance of pollinators in the ecosystem is a complicated, but irrefutable fact. Around 75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators for fertilization. As humans, we need pollinators, like butterflies and bees, for the food we eat. Without pollinators, that peach in your hand or the tomato growing in your garden wouldn’t be possible. Thinking about pollinators for one week of the year seems hardly adequate, when you consider that over 1,000 plants that we grow and use as people require pollinators, and in the US alone, pollination by honey bees and other insects produces over $20 Million worth of products annually!
How to Plant a Butterfly Garden
A good way to keep these pollinators in mind, all season long, is by planting things that they like. Butterflies are an important and lovely part of our pollinator chain, and planting for them is easy when you choose the right plants.

Butterflies require two different categories of plants. - Nectar plants feed the adult butterflies. Host plants feed the caterpillars, and are places adult butterflies can lay their eggs. While you can plant a garden with only things that will attract adult butterflies, by choosing host plants as well, you help their entire lifecycle. While different butterflies prefer different plants, a wide range of plants attract a number of different butterflies.

When choosing a location for your butterfly garden, here are a few things to keep in mind:

How much sun does the spot get? - Many butterfly specific plants grow best in full sun to partial sun, i.e. at least 5 hours of direct sun or more. Unless otherwise noted, the plants below need good sun in order to thrive. If the only location you have is a shady spot, look for the few choices on the list that note partial shade for best results.

How close is a water source? - Besides the plants, butterflies like a source of water. This can be as simple as a bird bath that is refilled with clean water every other day, as elaborate as a small pond.

Is there shelter? - Butterflies like areas where they feel protected. Some larger shrubs, even if they don’t offer food or a place to lay eggs, can be beneficial for butterflies to rest during storms or take shelter from predators.


Choosing plants from the following list can be a challenge. While all attract butterflies, each has a different look and habit in the garden. Planting varieties en-mass, to create large bursts of color, can create a very vibrant and attractive garden. Mixing more choices together will offer a more wild look, like a meadow. The choice is yours when designing your garden. Always, choose plants that will thrive in the spot you have chosen, and that will make you happy to have in your garden as well.

Nectar Plants

  • Achillea – Also known as Yarrow. Blooming from mid-spring to early summer, it flowers in yellows, whites and pinks. Does well in dry situations. Full sun.
  • Asters – Usually available in white, pinks and purples, most Asters bloom in late summer and autumn. Full sun to partial shade.
  • Bergamot – Also known as Bee Balm. Flowers in summer in pinks and reds. In the mint family, so it can spread. Full sun to partial shade.
  • Black Eyed Susan – Long flowering in late summer. Full sun.
  • Butterfly Weed – Also known as Swamp Weed and Milk Weed. Butterfly weed is the most important plant for Monarch butterflies, as it is necessary for their caterpillars. But it is also a good choice as a nectar plant for a variety of other butterflies as well. Pink or orange flowers come in early to mid summer. Full sun to partial shade.
  • Cardinal flower – Red arching stems of flowers in July and August. Tolerates moist ground. Full sun.
  • Cosmos – Coming in shades of pink, purple and white, this summer Annual can be easily started from seed. If allowed to set its own seed, it can return year after year in your garden from seed, if the soil in the area is left undisturbed. Full sun.
  • Delphinium – Also known as Larkspur, these tall, classic English garden flowers create a bold statement when the flower in late spring and early summer. Usually available in purples, blues and white. Full sun.
  • Echinacea – Also known as Cone Flower. Tall and short varieties available in many colours. Long flowering from late June until August, with repeat flowering if deadheaded. Full sun to partial shade.
  • Garden Phlox – Mid to late summer blooming in pinks, purples and whites. Full sun.
  • Joe Pye Weed – Tall, colony forming perennial with dusky purple flowers in mid to late summer. Full sun.
  • Lamium – Also known as Dead Nettle. This low growing ground cover comes with variegated foliage and late spring, early summer flowers in whites, pinks and purples. Partial Sun to Full Shade. Nectar and Host plant.
  • Lantana – This flowering annual comes in a wide range of colours and growth habits. Full sun.
  • Liatris – Also known as Gayfeather. Tall spikes of purple or white flowers in mid to late summer. Full sun.
  • Marigolds – Like Cosmos, marigolds will self seed in the garden if left undisturbed and not dead-headed. Easy to grow from seed, or available in inexpensive flats, these bright yellow and orange flowers and cheerful and easy to grow. Full sun.
  • Mint - Allowing this culinary herb to go to flower will attract butterflies. Plant in pots or somewhere it’s sprawling nature is acceptable. Sun to partial shade.
  • Oregano – This garden herb, when allowed to go to flower, is a favorite of swallowtail butterflies. Full sun to partial shade.
  • Oriental Lilies – Short blooming in late spring and early summer, these showy perennials come in reds, oranges, pinks and yellows. Full sun.
  • Sage – Garden sage can be grown for culinary use, though allowing it to go to flower will attract butterflies. Full sun.
  • Salvia - Both perennial and annual salvia is wonderful for butterflies. Perennial salvia flowers in late May through June, and will bloom again if cut back. Annual salvia will bloom all summer. Full sun.
  • Scabiosa – A low growing perennial, it flowers from mid-spring until late summer in pale blue or pink, provided it is deadheaded occasionally. Full sun.
  • Sedum – Tall sedum varieties like ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Brilliant’ are excellent late summer, early autumn bloomers for butterflies. Flowering in shades of red and pink, these plants like it on the drier side, so be careful not to over water. Full sun.
  • Zinnia – This bright annual flower can be purchased as starts or easily grown from seed. Will flower all summer. Full sun.

Shrubs and for nectar, host and shelter

  • Abelia – Long flowering in pink or white, this handsome shrub is often overlooked in the landscape. Full sun to partial shade.Apple and Crab Apple – Handsome flowering trees don’t need to be sprayed if they are planted for butterflies. Small varieties of crab apples can be sited in most yards. Full sun.
  • Butterfly Bush – This shrub is available in regular and dwarf forms in a variety of colors. Flowers for most of the summer. Full sun.
  • Lilac – Larger and dwarf varieties are available. Normally blooming in May, some white flowering lilac trees bloom later. Full sun.
  • Mountain Laurel – Evergreen, Mountain Laurels bloom in June in shades of white and pink. One of the few choices that will tolerate partial to full shade.
  • Privet – These semi-evergreen shrubs has tiny white flowers in June. They can be kept trimmed to reasonable sizes, and tolerate a wide range of situations. Full sun to partial shade.
  • Willow – Though large trees can be planted, smaller shrubs like the variegated Nishiki Willow will do just fine as well, and not take up as much yard space. Full sun to partial shade.

Host Plants 

These will get EATEN! That’s okay, that’s what they are there for. Plant them toward the back if the holey look of the foliage will bother you.
  • Butterfly Weed – Also known as Swamp Weed and Milk Weed. Butterfly weed is the most important plant for Monarch butterflies, as it is necessary for their caterpillars. They cannot complete their life cycle without it. But it is also a good choice as a nectar plant for a variety of other butterflies as well. Pink or orange flowers come in early to mid summer. Full sun to partial shade.
  • Clover – Allowing white and red clover a place in your yard is ideal for butterflies and their caterpillars.
  • Dill, Parsley, Fennel and Carrot – These culinary plants are host plants for swallow tail butterflies. Plant a few extra and allow the caterpillars to munch on them!
  • Hollyhock – These tall, stately classics bloom in mid to late summer in a variety of colours. They are a favorite of certain types of skipper butterflies.
  • Lamium – Also known as Dead Nettle. This low growing ground cover comes with variegated foliage and late spring, early summer flowers in whites, pinks and purples. Partial Sun to Full Shade. Nectar and Host plant.
  • Sunflowers – Annual sunflowers are host plants for Painted Lady, Checkerspot and other butterflies. 

The above list is not all inclusive – there are so many butterflies and so many things that they like. But most of the above plants are preferred my multiple types of butterflies and make solid choices when no particular species is being targeted.

If you only have room for a few butterfly plants though, some are better than others. Butterfly Weed, Butterfly Bush, Echinacea and Asters are the best perennial choices for a small butterfly garden, and they will fill that space with flowers from late June until September, the prime butterfly season here on Long Island. Adding in a few annuals that are easy to grow from seed like Marigold, Sunflowers and Cosmos offers additional nectar and host plants without breaking the bank.

A butterfly garden is a joy to watch all season. Try a small one. We promise you’ll be hooked!

Fertilizer 101

What is NPK?

NPK is the abbreviation that stands for the elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These nutrients are the three most important chemicals that plants need to thrive.

What do the numbers mean? - Usually represented by a number like 10-10-10, they are the percentage by weight of the three nutrients. The numbers are always given in the same sequence, NPK, with the first number percentage nitrogen, the second phosphorus, and the third potassium. Fertilizers with different numbers, but the same ratios are equivalent, but have different strengths. Two pounds of 5-10-5 fertilizer has the nutrients as one pound of 10-20-10. Fertilizers that contain all three of these elements are considered ‘complete’. A zero in any of these spots means that a fertilizer does not contain that nutrient. A 4-12-0 fertilizer contains nitrogen and phosphorus, but no potassium.

Nitrogen for Foliage Growth - Nitrogen is needed by all plants and is easily washed out of the soil. It stimulates shoot and leaf growth, and regular application is particularly important for green, leafy plants like grasses, lettuce, and foliage plants. Too much nitrogen, however, can cause other types of growth (such as flowers, fruit and roots) to slow down, and even stop. It can also cause fast growth, but weaken a plant, making it more prone to disease or pests. A low nitrogen fertilizer can be used to encourage flowering and fruiting over foliage growth. Nitrogen is absorbed or washed from the soil within a few weeks of application, and should usually be applied every month during the growing season. Signs of nitrogen deficiency: old leaves turn yellow, slow or no growth, small new leaves.

Phosphorus for Root and Flower Growth - Phosphorus binds with other elements in the soil to form stable compounds. This means it does not leech out of the soil as quickly as nitrogen does, and therefore does not need to be applied in quantity as often as nitrogen does, especially for established plantings and tree. Phosphorus can usually be applied once a year, or when putting in new plantings and trees, and will remain in the soil. Signs of phosphorus deficiency: leaves are dull green or grayish, purple foliage on otherwise green plants, short stems, few flowers, small fruit.

Potassium (Potash) for Overall Plant Health - Potassium is more soluble in water than phosphorus, but does not leech out of the soil as quickly as nitrogen does. A single application can last several months. It helps with root growth, disease resistance, and temperature tolerance. Signs of potassium deficiency: Older leaves crinkle and curl upward, leaves turn yellow and scorch begins on leaf edges and progresses in toward veins, shoots die back late season.

Organic vs. Non-Organic - The primary difference between organic and inorganic fertilizers is where the raw materials are sources from. Organic fertilizers use naturally occurring ingredients (either animal or plant based, ‘organic’ refers to from materials that were once living), like bone meal, as a nutrient source. Inorganic fertilizers use synthetic chemicals or mineral, like ammonium nitrate, to supply the nutrients. Typically (but not always) organic fertilizers are slow release, while inorganic are released more quickly. Nutrient content varies from fertilizer to fertilizer, but an organic and an inorganic fertilizer with the same NPK numbers will have equivalent nutrient amounts

Fertilizer Applications - Fertilizers come in several different forms. Most commonly they come in granules that are meant to be scattered on the soil. Watering will dissolve them in to the soil. Others are liquids or soluble crystals meant to be dissolved in water. These can be applied while watering, either with a watering can, a hose attachment, or through an automatic watering system. Some come in solid chunks or bricks. These are always slow release forms, and are placed individually above the root zone of the plants.Follow the directions on the fertilizer package for specific application instructions.

Secondary Nutrients and pH - Calcium, magnesium and sulfur are considered secondary nutrients. Secondary nutrients are no less important than NPK, but seldom need to be added in quantity to soils. Calcium (in the form of lime) is often added to make soil less acidic, while sulfur is used to make soil more acidic. If there is a concern about soil pH, have the soil tested before adding these amendments. There are fertilizers that are mildly acidic, meant for acid loving plants like azaleas, and can be chosen with those specific plants in mind.

Always follow package instructions for application amounts compared to the size of the area you want to fertilize. More than the recommended amount is NOT necessarily better! If in doubt, err on the side of caution and use less.

New Pollinator Week

Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by the Pollinator Partnership.

Six years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. The growing concern for pollinators is a sign of progress, but it is vital that we continue to maximize our collective effort.
New Pollinator Week
The above is from the Pollinator Partnership National Pollinator Week website. And I guess the question we can ask ourselves is…. why? Why is this important? Why should we care?

It’s a simple answer really. Pollinators are important. Like, *really* important. As in, the human race would not be able to survive without them. Does that seem a little dramatic? Well, perhaps it is. Pollinators like bees, butterflies, birds, bats, beetles and even some types of flies are vital to every terrestrial ecosystem on the planet earth. They transfer pollen from plant to plant, allowing so much of our flora to cross breed and create fruit and seeds. While there are plenty of plants that rely on the wind to pollinate their flowers, 75% of plants rely on these wide and varied pollinators to get the job done.

And I don’t just mean wild plants here. I also mean our food. In the US alone, the produce that comes from pollinator dependent crops was estimated at over 20 billion dollars worth of product. That’s a lot of bees working really hard. Without pollinators, we can say good bye to things like apples, strawberries, blueberries, chocolate, melons, vanilla, peaches, figs, tomatoes, pumpkins and almonds.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of a world without chocolate is one I’m not sure I can handle. I think I have to sit down for a minute.

With pesticides, loss of habitat, and diseases, the pollinator population in the United States and around the world is in serious jeopardy. And the impact isn’t just on our fruits and veggies. The impact would be devastating to every ecosystem.

So what can we do? 

Pollinator Partnership has a bunch of recommendations and some are as simple as taking a walk:

Watch for pollinators Get connected with nature. Take a walk, experience the landscape and look for pollinators midday in sunny, planted areas. Reduce your impact. 

Reduce or eliminate your pesticide use, increase green spaces, and minimize urbanization. Pollution and climate change affect pollinators, too! 

Plant for pollinators. Create pollinator-friendly habitat with native flowering plants that supply pollinators with nectar, pollen, and homes. For information on what to plant in your area, download a free ecoregional guide online at www.pollinator.org

Tell a friend. Educate your neighbors, schools, and community groups about the importance of pollinators. Host a dinner, a pollinated food cook-off or other event and invite your friends. 

Join the Pollinator Partnership. Go to www.pollinator.org and click on “Get Involved.” Be part of a growing community of pollinator supporters. 

We as gardeners need to be especially mindful of the pollinators that live in the shared outdoors spaces we love to work in. You can create a pollinator-friendly garden habitat in just a few simple steps:

Design your garden so that there is a continuous succession of plants flowering from spring through fall. Check for the species or cultivars best suited to your area and gradually replace lawn grass with flower beds. Plant native to your region using plants that provide nectar for adults plus food for insect larvae, such as milkweed for monarchs. If you do use non-native plants, choose ones that don’t spread easily, since these could become invasive. 

Select old-fashioned varieties of flowers whenever possible. Breeding has caused some modern blooms to lose their fragrance and/or the nectar/pollen needed to attract and feed pollinators. 

Install "houses" for bats and native bees. For example, use wood blocks with holes or small open patches of mud. As little as 12″ across is sufficient for some bees. 

Avoid pesticides, even “natural” ones such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). If you must use them, use the most selective and least toxic ones and apply them at night when most pollinators aren’t active. 

Provide water for butterflies without letting it become a mosquito breeding area. Refill containers daily or bury a shallow plant saucer to its rim in a sunny area, fill it with coarse pine bark or stones and fill to overflowing with water. 

Supply water for all wildlife. A dripping faucet or a suspended milk carton with a pinhole in the bottom is sufficient for some insects. Other wildlife need a small container of water. Keeping water moving with a pump or small pond is a great way to supply for pollinators, without encouraging mosquitoes to breed in your yard. Want to do more?Take Action.Every action, every person, every word out there is one more step in the right direction

Herb Gardening Made Easy

We hear it surprisingly often:

“I love the idea of growing my own food, but I just don’t have the time.”
“We live in a tiny apartment. I don’t have room for a vegetable garden.”
“I want to grow vegetables, but I have a black thumb.”
“We just don’t have enough sun for growing edibles in our yard.”

There is a laundry list of reasons someone might decide not to grow their own food, despite the desire to. And all too often, it comes down to time, space or not knowing where to start. 
Herb Gardening Made Easy
Herbs are a simple solution to all of those problems. Fresh herbs are one of the most expensive products in the produce section of the grocery store, when considered at price per ounce. But inexpensive, small starter plants in a variety of herbs are widely available, frequently costing around the same as a small package of herbs at the grocery store. Many herbs are perennial, meaning they return year after year, requiring a one-time investment on great return. Some of our favorite herbs are annuals, but even the need to plant them every year is minor compared to the ease and high output they will give you. 

Herbs are generally easy to grow, requiring minimal inputs, provided one knows their needs (sun, shade, etc). Most herbs can be grow successfully in the ground or in containers, making them ideal for any yard situation- even an apartment balcony can have a couple pots of your favorite culinary herbs. While some herbs require full sun to thrive, many are tolerant of partial shade, opening up wider areas of a yard for food growing. 

Let’s take a look at some easy to grow annual and perennial herbs that are easy to find at most nurseries:

Annuals (last a single growing season in our Long Island garden):
  • Basil
  • Cilantro/Coriander
  • Dill
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Nasturtium
  • Parsley (biennial, can overwinter sometimes)
  • Summer Savory
Perennials (will come back year after year in our Long Island garden):
  • Catnip
  • Chives and Garlic Chives
  • Fennel
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary (tender, may not return after very bad winters)
  • Sage (tender, may not return after very bad winters)
  • Tarragon, French
  • Thyme
  • Winter Savory

What herbs should I grow? 

Start by thinking about your cooking habits. Do you use a lot of basil and oregano? Or do you prefer lighter sage, tarragon and thyme? Choose herbs that you use the most in your regular cooking, rather than planting exotics that may languish. New and interesting options can be exciting, but for a new herb garden, the most used herbs will also be your most useful herbs.

Also consider how much light the area you would like to grow your herbs gets. All herbs are good in full sun- but what if the spot you want to grow in only gets a couple hours? Few herbs grow in deep shade, but many of the above herbs are tolerant of part shade, and will still produce nicely for you. Shoot for at least three hours of direct sun however, because even these tolerant herbs still need some sun to give you great flavor. 

Good choices if you have more shade than sun include:
  • Chives or Garlic Chives
  • Cilantro/Coriander
  • Lemon Balm
  • Marjoram
  • Mints
  • Oregano
  • Parsley

I have my herbs. Now what?

So you've picked out a trio of Basil, Parsley and Oregano for your Italian nights. Or you have lavender, thyme and savory for that French Stew you like to make. Hopefully, you have chosen a few different herbs that complement your cooking style, and have already decided where you are going to plant them.

In the Ground - Most herbs thrive in any variety of soil conditions, provided that they are neither completely boggy and constantly wet, nor a desiccated desert. If you have nice soil, dark and crumbly with a lot of organic matter, you don’t have to do anything special. But if your soil is very sandy and doesn’t hold moisture well, or very clay and holds moisture too well, you may want to add compost to the soil, as it will help solve both issues, by retaining moisture in sandy soils or improving drainage in clay soils. All purpose stuff that compost! You can purchase a bag of compost or use your own or a neighbors. The herbs aren’t picky. 

Dig the area a few inches down, working in the compost if needed. Making the soil soft and workable makes it easy for the herbs to put out new roots to take up moisture and nutrients. A small amount of a slow release fertilizer can be worked in just around the roots of the plants. If the area is in full blazing sun, a light top dressing of wood chips or other mulch can help the ground from drying out too fast and help keep down weed competition, but it isn’t necessary if you are going to check more frequently if your herbs need water or weeding. 

In Pots - Pick a pot! Keep it simple and inexpensive, or get as fancy as you like! There is a certain joy in beautiful plants growing in beautiful pots. Small pots can easily hold even a perennial herb plant, though larger pots may be useful for several plants or larger types of herbs, like rosemary and lavender that need a little extra room to stretch their roots. If planting several herbs in a single pot, give the herbs at least a six inch clearance between the next closest herb, so that each plant has room to grow. The more crowded they are, the less each will grow individually. 

For your potted herbs, you will need potting soil. Regular dirt from the garden is generally too heavy and offers the wrong kind of drainage when it’s dug up and put in to a pot. Regular and organic potting mixes are available. Many potting mixes include fertilizer already, so be sure to check your bag. If no fertilizer is included, make sure to mix in a small handful of a slow release fertilizer in to the top few inches of the soil. 

Perennial herbs grown in pots will benefit from being repotted every three years, or if they get too cramped and pot bound. Most are easy to repot, just by removing from the pot, trimming off the outer layer of roots, and returning to the pot with some fresh soil. They can also be moved to larger pots if desired, to allow them to grow larger. 

Watering - Herbs in general prefer to be kept slightly on the dry side. This doesn’t mean they like to dry out completely, just that they do not prefer to be wet all of the time. There is no set timing for watering herbs, although for newly planted herbs, you will want to check on them every day at first until you have a better idea of how quickly they dry out. In general, herbs in pots will dry out faster than herbs growing in the ground. When the soil is mostly dry, but not bone dry, water the herbs deeply. In general, these plants prefer less frequent, but deep waterings. Once established, herbs growing in the ground may need watering as much as once a week, or as little as once a month, depending on the weather. 

Many herbs growing in the ground are very tolerant of slightly dry conditions, and may only need supplemental watering during the hottest, driest months of July and August. Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Chives are all very drought tolerant. More tender herbs like basil, tarragon, summer savory and dill have much less tolerance for dry conditions, and will need to be monitored more closely. Herbs in pots, no matter the type, cannot go for long without water. Most potted herbs will need to be watered every couple of days, but rarely daily if the pot is large enough for them. 

Fertilizing - Those of you who planted your herbs in the ground are in luck – you can get away with fertilizing once a year in the spring at most. If you regularly mulch or add compost to the bed each year, you may be able to fertilize every other year instead, as those products slowly rot, adding nutrients back in to the soil. Herbs in pots are less lucky. They should be fertilized every year at least, and more likely twice a season; once in spring and again in early to midsummer for best production. Choose slow release fertilizers, like Plant-Tone (for organic gardening) or Osmocote. Avoid quick powders that mix with water, these are too strong and we don’t recommend them for most herbs. While they will work, it can stress the plant and force it to grow too much, weakening the plant as well as its flavor in your kitchen. 

Using - Use those herbs! Most herb plants grow best, staying full and bushy, when harvested regularly. Don’t be shy. Clip off the top, new growth, as that is usually the most flavorful. In addition to tasting the best, clipping off the newest growth will encourage more new growth. All of the herbs here can be used fresh, clipped and added straight to your recipe. Generally, a recipe calling for a teaspoon of a dried herb will require a tablespoon of fresh, as dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh. But nothing tastes like fresh herbs. Herbs taste best when harvested in the morning, before the heat of the day- but they are still extremely tasty and useful when harvested five minutes before dinner! 

Annual herbs like basil and dill can be harvested until frost kills them. But most perennial herbs should be left alone by around mid-August, so they can set up their stores of energy for winter. Healthy, strong growing plants can have as much as 75% of their growth for the season harvested at once, and toward the end of the season, this may be appealing, to preserve some of their flavor for the off season. Many of the above herbs can easily be stored by either drying or freezing. 

Drying - Snip off several springs and tie them loosely in a bunch. Hang them somewhere out of direct light, but with good air movement. They will dry over the course of several days, to several weeks, depending on the herb. Herbs are fully dried when they are brittle and crumble between your fingers. Store dried herbs in glass jars in a dark place. A dehydrator, set at a low temperature, can also be used to dry herbs. Dried and stored properly, herbs keep their flavor for six months to a year. Herbs that dry well and keep their flavor with this method include: oregano, thyme, rosemary, lavender, parsley, mint, lemon balm, catnip, marjoram, summer and winter savory, and sage. 

Freezing - Herbs can be frozen easily. Rinse them quickly in cold water, shake off the extra and chop them coarsely. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. Once they are completely frozen, put them in to a small freezer bag and keep in the freezer to use all winter. Or take a large amount and puree them in a food processor with a little water or olive oil. Freeze these in ice cube trays. When frozen, pop them out and store them in a container or freezer bag, removing one or two cubes as needed. Some herbs that work well frozen include; basil, cilantro, chives, garlic chives, summer savory, tarragon, parsley, tarragon, dill, nasturtium, and thyme.

There are many other ways to preserve herbs for future use as well. Try looking in to Herbs Salees (salted herbs) or herb-infused vinegars if you are interested in more Do-it-Yourself style projects. Both are easy and yield incredible results. 

Gardening with herbs is easy, inexpensive, and a great way to get your feet wet in the work of edibles. Even if you never branch out in to tomatoes, apple trees or stranger fruits and vegetables, having fresh basil for tonight’s caprese salad simply can’t be beat

Deer-Resistant Plants

No plant is deerproof. Given enough pressure (high population, food scarcity, etc), deer will eat just about anything. Even without pressure, even resistant plants will be browsed upon occasionally. The list that follows are plants that, on Long Island, are generally not seriously troubled by browsing deer, and that deer seem to dislike. These plants are less likely to be eaten to a stub, and more likely to offer you success in areas where deer are a nuisance.

Some plants are particularly prone to browsing by deer, and therefore not recommended in areas of heavy deer population. Some of these plants are listed at the bottom of this page. 
Deer-Resistant Plants
There are many commercial and home recipes for deer repellent available. To make the work best for you, repellents need to be applied regularly, and switched between. Deer can and will become accustomed to the scent of a repellent, and the effectiveness of any single product is limited. By switching between products and regular application, the deer do not have a chance to get comfortable around a particular scent. 

More in-depth resources for those dealing with heavy deer pressure HERE.  

Perennials:
  • Achillea (Yarrow)
  • Agastache (Anise Hyssop)
  • Ajuga (Bugle Weed)
  • Alchemilla (Lady’s Mantle)
  • Allium (Ornamental Onion)
  • Amsonia (Star Flower)
  • Aquilegia (Columbine)
  • Artemisia
  • Asclepias (Milkweed, Butterfly weed)
  • Astilbe
  • Baptisia
  • Brunnera (Perennial Forget-Me-Nots)
  • Coreopsis
  • Delphinium (Larkspur)
  • Dianthus (Pinks)
  • Dicentra (Bleeding Hearts)
  • Digitalis (Foxglove)Echinacea (Cone Flower)
  • Galium (Sweet Woodruff)
  • Helleborus
  • Heuchera (Coral Bells)
  • Iris
  • Lamium
  • Lavendula (Lavender)
  • Liatris
  • Ligularia
  • Liriope
  • Monarda (Bee Balm)
  • Nepta (Catmint)
  • Narcissus (Daffodil)
  • Pachysandra
  • Papaver (Poppy)
  • Paeonia (Peony)
  • Perovskia (Russian Sage)
  • Polemonium (Jacob’s Ladder)
  • Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan)
  • Salvia
  • Stachys (Lamb’s Ear)
  • Stoskia (Aster)
  • Thymus (Thyme)
  • Tiarella (Foam Flower)
  • Veronica
  • Vinca (Periwinkle) 

Annuals:
  • Ageratum
  • Cleome
  • Dusty Miller
  • Geranium
  • Lantana
  • Madagascar Vinca
  • Marigold
  • Salvia
  • Straw Flower
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Verbena
  • Vinca Vine 

Shrubs and Vines:
  • Bamboos
  • Berberis (Barberry)
  • Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
  • Buxus (Boxwood)
  • Campis (Trumpet Vine)
  • Callicarpa (Beauty Berry)
  • Caryopteris
  • Chaenomeles (Flowering Quince)
  • ClematisCotinus (Smokebush)
  • Cystis (Scotch Broom)
  • Cotoneaster
  • Deutzia
  • Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon)
  • Ilex (Holly)
  • Juniperus (Juniper)
  • Kerria
  • Leucothoe
  • Ligustrum (Privet)
  • Philadelphus (Mock Orange)
  • Pieris (Andromeda)
  • Pontentilla
  • Pyracantha (Firethorn)
  • Skimmea
  • Spirea
  • Syringa (Lilac)
  • Parthenocissus (Virginia Creeper)
  • Weigela
  • Wisteria
  • Yucca 

Trees:
  • Acer (Maple)
  • Betula (Birch)
  • Cedar (Cryptomeria)
  • Cercis (Redbud)
  • Cornus (Kousa Dogwood)
  • Crataegus (Hawthorn)
  • Fagus (Beech)
  • Fraxinus (Ash)
  • Gingko
  • Hammamelis (Witch Hazel)
  • Liriodendron (Tulip Tree)
  • MagnoliaPicea (Spruce)
  • Pinus (Pine)
  • Quercus (Oak)
  • Sassafras
  • Stewartia 

High Risk Plants to Avoid

Perennial:
  • Alcea (Hollyhock)
  • Campanula (Bellflower)
  • Fragraria (Ornamental Strawberry)
  • Hosta
  • Tulip 

Annual:
  • Caladium
  • Coleus
  • Cosmos
  • Dahlia
  • Impatiens
  • Pansy
  • Petunia 
 
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • Cupressocyparis (Leyland Cypress)
  • Euonymous
  • Prunus (Cherry)
  • Rosa (Roses)
  • Taxus (Yew)
  • Thuja (Arborvitae

Rabbit-Resistant Plants

Remember that no plants are rabbit proof. Like all animals, some rabbits will have different tastes. A plant that goes completely untouched in the yard of a neighbor down the street may be a favorite of the rabbit group living closer to you. Also, as with deer, if a rabbit is hungry enough, they will eat just about anything. Even with resistant plants, tender, early growth can be nibbled on. That being said, there are some plants that rabbits generally avoid and may help prevent future landscape disappointment. 

In areas of heavy rabbit pressure, surrounding new plants with chicken wire for the first season may be helpful. Purchasing larger, more mature plants, instead of smaller, younger plants, can also increase their survivability.
Rabbit-Resistant Plants
Perennials:
  • Yarrow (Achillea)
  • Anise Hyssop (Agastache)
  • Ajuga
  • Allium
  • Amsonia
  • Columbine (Aquilegia)
  • Artemisia
  • Astilbe
  • Baptisia
  • Brunnera
  • Coreopsis
  • Corydalis
  • Larkspur (Delphinium)
  • Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis)
  • Gaillardia
  • Geranium
  • Geum
  • Helleborus
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • Iris
  • Lamium
  • Lavender (Lavendula)
  • Liriope
  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Catmint (Nepta)
  • Daffodil (Narcissus)
  • Pachysandra
  • Poppy (Papaver)
  • Peony (Peonia)
  • Penstemon
  • Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
  • Russian Sage (Perovskia)
  • Salvia
  • Scabiosa
  • Sedum
  • Lamb’s Ear (Stachys)
  • Foam Flower (Tiarella)
  • Thyme
  • Veronica
  • Vinca 

Annuals:
  • Ageratum
  • Canna
  • Cleome
  • Geranium
  • Heliotrope
  • Lantana
  • Marigold
  • Verbena 

Shrubs and Vines:
  • Azalea
  • Barberry (Berberis)
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
  • Boxwood (Buxus)
  • Caryopteris
  • Clematis
  • Cotoneaster
  • English Ivy (Hedera)
  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum)
  • Holly (Ilex)
  • Juniper (Juniperus)
  • Pontentilla
  • Yew (Taxus)
  • Viburnum
  • Wisteria
  • Yucca
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