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Sun Plants

October 22, 2016

QuestionWe have cultivated a space (4X6) this year and have been rewarded by a beautiful stand of “Evolvulus glomeratus Blue Daze”. We have tried for 2 years to move them inside the (garage) to over-winter with no success. This year we would like to leave then outside and apply mulch (straw) for protection from the elements. Your advice and comments will be greatly appreciated.



Evolvulus is a summer annual. In an extremely mild winter it may overwinter in south Arkansas, but I would not imagine that could happen in Rogers ever.  I would try two separate things to attempt to get a start for next year. Right now, dig up one plant and cut it back and pot it up. Put it in the sunniest, but coolest room in your house and don’t overwater, just get it to survive.  The other option is to take some cuttings now.  Cuttings should be three inches with no flowers on them.  Get a pot and fill it with moist potting soil.  Put the cuttings in a container and cover it in plastic.  Put it in a bright spot inside and let them root.  Once rooted, they can be uncovered and grown until you move them outside next spring. These summer annuals don’t like our indoor conditions during the winter months, with overheated houses, with no humidity and low light.  Do your best, but when all else fails, just buy new plants every year.



September 1,  2016

QuestionI planted some Blue daze flowers in my garden this spring.  I am entranced by them.  They have the prettiest blue flowers, and have spread all over my garden.  Will they come back on their own, or must I replant next spring?  Is it possible to pot some up and over-winter them inside?  

                            Blue Daze

  AnswerBlue Daze, or Evolvulus, is a wonderful annual plant for full sun.  Keep it well watered and it will spread like crazy.  It is commonly used in hanging baskets, but does equally well in the ground.  It is not winter-hardy, so you will have to replant next spring, either from your old plants, or from new ones.   You can try digging up a plant or two, and getting it happy in a pot before moving it indoors in mid-October.  Bright light will be important inside.  You may find better vigor with new plants, but give it a try   

(April 2010)

QuestionCould you tell me the real name of the flower that is called cocks comb.  I know this is an old flower but I would like to have some seed to get it started.  Is it annual?  My mother used to grow them but I don't remember a lot about it other than how pretty it was. 

AnswerCockscomb is a common name for the annual Celosia cristata.  They come in several different flower forms—the combs (which you are referring to) , plumes and spikes.  Flower color ranges from red, pink, yellow, orange and white, some having colorful foliage as well.  Size of mature plants also runs the gamut from 4-6 inches to 4-6 feet.  They make a tough, drought tolerant annual which freely reseeds itself, so they often come back annually with very little work.  They make a great cut flower and are often seen in bouquets at farmers markets all summer long.  They are easily grown from seed or plants and thrive all summer long provided they get plenty of sunlight.

(October 2007)

QuestionMy pepper plants had lots of leaves but few blooms. What do I  add  for more blooms for next growing season?


AnswerTwo things to check.  First make sure you have ample sunlight.  Peppers need a minimum of six to eight weeks of sunlight in order to bloom and set fruit.  Peppers are also heavy feeders once they start to set fruit.  Using a lot of nitrogen and organic matter early in the season sometimes can lead to excessive vegetative growth and not enough fruit set.  Check your fertilization rates, get your soil tested and monitor the sunlight.

(April 2007)

QuestionI have three 10" hanging pots that are in full sun all day. I would like to plant some colorful plants (that maybe hang over).  Do you have any suggestions?


AnswerThere are several suggestions.  One that really can take heat and grow non-stop is the ornamental sweet potato vine.  It is a cascading plant that comes in either bright lime green- ‘Margarita’, purplish black – ‘Blackie’; or variegated.  It is quite prolific. You could use it as the cascading plant and use pentas or melampodium as a filler plant, but try not to overcrowd the containers or watering will be more difficult. You can also use some of the trailing lantana or petunias.  If you have ever seen the glorious hanging baskets in downtown Hot Springs, they are all one variety of petunias. Try the Wave or Supertunia varieties.  They all should take the sun.  Make sure you keep up with the nutritional needs of the plants and the daily watering that will be needed as the heat increases this summer.

QuestionCan you tell me if I've killed my Mexican Heather? I pruned it back during the winter, and now I see no signs of life whatsoever. Will it come back anyway this summer? Also, can you recommend some good annuals for this area (LR) that can tolerate the extreme hot/humid conditions we see here in the summer? I've found that most of the annuals I can find at local discount stores are not really suitable for the Arkansas summers, especially impatiens. I've never had any luck with them. It seems that when it starts to get really hot, they die. I usually plant them on the north side of our house in deep shade. 

AnswerMexican heather is really not a perennial in Arkansas. We have had some survive the past two winters, but we haven't had much of a winter. I would consider it an annual, and if you see signs of life in the spring, count yourself lucky. As to other heat loving annuals, there are many. Melampodium, lantana, Mexican heather (as you know), the new petunias, tithonia, Mexican zinnias, and begonias to name a few. Impatiens normally do great in Arkansas, they tolerate heat fine, provided they get some water. Other shade lovers include torenia and the wax leaf begonias, caladiums and coleus.

(March 2010)

QuestionAre you familiar with the plant Royal Queen Iochroma?  My friend and I bought some last year at a nursery in Hot Springs.  Mine didn't do much at all, but hers was covered (maybe 60 blooms) in huge clusters of tubular purple flowers...spectacular!  I am hoping to find it again this year, as I assume it is an annual. 

AnswerThis was a new plant for me, but I did some research and it is one of the Athen's Select plants out of the University of Georgia, and it is on the list of top plants to grow this year. They should do well in Arkansas.  Iochroma cyaneum 'Purple Queen'™ can grow to a height of 3-5'in one season.  While it has a hardiness zone of 7 to 11 they claim it is best treated as an annual.  It does need full sun and responds well to water and fertilization throughout the season.  It looks outstanding—I am going to try to find some this summer too!  Thanks for the heads up.

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