Category Archives: Gardening

Dealing With Summer Heat and Drought

Because plants require moisture to grow and thrive, your garden will probably suffer during periods of low rainfall and intense heat. Insufficient soil moisture will result in smaller flowers and fruit, stunted plant growth, decreased root development and increased plant disease and insect damage. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to minimize the impact of drought on your garden.

Save Your Soil

Soil is like a sponge that holds and releases all the ingredients that your plants need to survive. Soils that drains quickly, such as sandy or rocky soil, will speed up and increase the effects of drought as water flows away from plant roots. The best way to correct this problem is to amend your soil with organic matter. Amending your soil adds to its moisture retaining ability, adds nutrients essential for plant health and increases soil aeration for ease of root growth. Good choices include:

  • compost
  • composted manure
  • composted or shredded leaf litter
  • mushroom soil
  • dried grass clippings
  • earthworm castings

First, amend soil immediately around plants, in landscaping beds and in the garden, but aim to amend all your soil and lawn eventually to improve its condition and drought-resistance.

Choose Drought-Tolerant Plants

Drought-tolerant plants are adapted to grow well in regions of low rainfall. These plants require minimal water to survive. When planting, try to group plants with the same water requirements together in an area best suited to their tolerance. Plants best adapted to dry conditions include:

  • locally native plants
  • plants with deep taproots
  • plants covered with hair
  • tiny leaved plants
  • succulents and cacti

Swapping out just a few water-hogging plants for more drought-tolerant options in your landscape can have a remarkable impact on saving water and still having a lush garden.

Use Drought-Friendly Watering Techniques

During a drought, you will need to water your garden, flowerbeds and lawn more thoughtfully to keep them well-watered but without waste or excess evaporation. The best way to water a garden is by drip irrigation or a soaker hose. Soaker hoses allow deep watering without runoff. Moisture goes directly into the soil where every precious drop can be absorbed by plant roots. With conventional overhead watering methods, about 35 percent of the water used is wasted due to evaporation. Time saving tip: Install a timing device with a moisture sensor to automatically turn your irrigation system on and off as required relative to any rainfall.

Sprinklers should be used primarily for lawns. Newly seeded or sodded areas must be watered daily during the summer months until established, then frequently through the first growing season. Rain gauges are good for checking the amount of rainfall or for sprinkler placement. Lawn Tip: Do not cut lawns shorter than 3” in the summer. This will shade the soil surface to allow the soil to remain cooler. Also, use a mulching mower to return moist clippings to the soil.

Containers and hanging baskets should be checked for watering every day. Watering wands are used for watering containers and hanging baskets, as they give a gentle spray without splashing the soil. Container Tip: When planting your pots and hanging baskets, incorporate moisture retaining polymers into the soil. When the soil starts to dry it will pull from this reserve.

Make Use of Mulch

After watering, you will want to conserve as much soil moisture as possible. Place at least 2-4 inches of mulch on the soil surface in the planting bed. Mulches help prevent soil moisture evaporation and reduce surface runoff, as well as minimizing weeds that would compete for any available moisture. Ideal mulches include:

  • wood chips
  • shredded bark
  • pine needles
  • grass clippings
  • decorative rocks
  • synthetic mulches

With some thoughtfulness about your plants’ watering needs and how to meet those needs, it’s easy to deal with drought conditions without sacrificing your plants.

How to Choose a Japanese Maple Tree

Are you awed by Japanese Maple trees? Have you come into the garden center to pick one? Did the varieties overwhelm you? Let us make it easier for you by explaining Japanese maple differences. Then, when you come in, you’ll know exactly what you want.

The native species of Japanese maple (native to Japan and other South Pacific Islands), Acer palmatum, grows moderately to a 20′ by 20′ multi-trunked tree. The leaves have 5-9 finely cut lobes giving them a more delicate look than other maples. Red spring leaves turn to green in the summer and blaze with yellow, orange and red in the fall. All do best with protection from drying winds and hot overhead afternoon sun. During their centuries of use in gardens around the world, gardeners have discovered and propagated those selections with unusual growth habits and bark patterns, as well as leaf color and shape. With hundreds of Japanese maple varieties available at garden centers, we feel a little simplification is in order.

  • Leaf Shape
    The variation Dissectum or Laceleaf Japanese Maple has leaves are deeply cut and finely lobed giving a lace cutout look. These varieties generally grow best in shady locations as the leaves easily burn or scorch. The leaves of non-Dissectum varieties are much less lacy. They resemble the leaves of native maples but are smaller and more deeply cut.  These are the two ends of the leaf-shape spectrum.  Many varieties lie somewhere in between.
  • Leaf Color
    The leaf color of different Japanese maples also varies. Many have red spring growth changing to green in the summer. However, some retain the red through the growing season. Some varieties have variegated leaves with white, cream, gold or pink. Variegated leaves burn easily in the sun but can revert to all green in too much shade. Green leaves tolerate more sun than red. Autumn is when Japanese maples really put on a show with a riot of blazing colors.
  • Tree Form
    Non-Dissectum varieties grow more quickly into upright forms. Some varieties remain less than 10′ tall but others can grow to 25′ tall by 20′ wide. Laceleaf (Dissectum) maples slowly develop a weeping form approximately 8-10′ tall and 8-12′ wide. However, ‘Seiryu’ is an exception, growing into an upright form.
 

Laceleaf (Dissectum)

Non-Dissectum

Location Requires more shade Tolerates less shade
Size Smaller 10-25′ tall depending upon variety
Tree Form Weeping Upright
Leaf Shape Lacy, fine cut Lobed
Leaf Color Red, green Red, green, variegated

Now that you have identified a suitable planting location and the type of Japanese maple you prefer, come see us and let our friendly staff show you the varieties that meet your requirements.  Japanese Maple Varieties that we typically keep in stock:

Variety Exposure 10 Yr Height Growth Habit Spring color Summer color Fall color Leaf type
Bihou Sun to part sun 7 ft Upright Yellow/Green Green Orange/Yellow Non-Dissectum
Bloodgood Sun to part sun 12 ft Upright Red Red Bright Red Non-Dissectum
Crimson Queen Sun to part sun 5 ft Weeping Red Red Bright Red Dissectum (Laceleaf)
Emperor I Sun to part sun 8 ft Upright Red Red Bright Red Non-Dissectum
Kurenai jishi Sun to part sun 3 ft Dwarf Brown/Red Brown/Red Yellow/Red Non-Dissectum
Moonfire Sun to part sun 8 ft Upright Red Red Bright Red Non-Dissectum
Oshio Beni Sun to part sun 15 ft Upright Orange-red Bronze-green Scarlet Non-dissectum
Peaches & Cream Part sun 8 ft Upright Cream/Rose Green/Rose Yellow Non-Dissectum
Pixie (Dwf Bloodgood) Sun to part sun 6-10 ft Upright Red Red Bright Red Non-dissectum
Purple Ghost Sun to part sun 8 ft Upright Red Red Orange/Red Non-Dissectum
Red Dragon Sun to part sun 4 ft Weeping Red Red Bright Red Dissectum (Laceleaf)
Rhode Island Red Sun to part sun 6 ft Upright Red Red Bright Red Non-Dissectum
Sango Kaku Sun to part sun 10 ft Upright Green Green Yellow/Orange Non-Dissectum
Seiryu Sun to part sun 10 ft Upright Green Green Orange Dissectum (Laceleaf)
Shishigashira Sun to part sun 6 ft Dwarf Green Green Orange Non-Dissectum
Skeeters Broom (Dwf Bloodgood) Sun to part sun 4-6 ft Upright Red Red Bright Red Dissectum (Laceleaf)
Tamuke yama Sun to part sun 5 ft Weeping Red Red Bright Red Dissectum (Laceleaf)
Source: Maplestone Ornamentals

Crape Myrtles

No yard or landscape should be without a crape myrtle, or two, or three or… many! How wonderful to have something that blooms so profusely during that time of year when most other plants are looking tired and worn from the summer heat and drought. The versatility of this plant makes it suitable for many types of yards and many uses, and once established, they will go on to add charm and delight to the landscape for many years.

About Crape Myrtles

Crape myrtles bloom in late summer and can be found in flower colors of pinks, lilac, white, reds and purples. Requiring very little maintenance once established, crape myrtles need a full sun location to thrive and they do not like wet feet. Keep these needs in mind when selecting a site to plant them. They will require some supplemental watering for the first year or so to get off to a good start and develop good roots. Crape myrtles are also pretty much pest-free, except for aphids on occasion and these are easily controlled with an insecticidal soap spray. Some varieties are more susceptible to powdery mildew than others but most of the newer varieties are more resistant to this fungus problem.

Planting Crape Myrtles

Although tolerant of a wide range of soil qualities, crape myrtles grow poorly in wet locations so be sure to select a well-drained planting site. Late spring to early summer is the best time to select and plant your new crape myrtles while they are actively growing and can settle in quickly. Plant at or slightly above ground level, spreading the roots out slightly and using mulch to protect and shelter the roots after planting. They do prefer a slightly acid soil.

Crape Myrtle Types

Crape myrtles can be found in shrub, multi-stem tree and single trunk tree forms. For best results select a cultivar whose growth characteristics and ultimate mature size fit your intended use. Planting a shrub- or tree-like crape myrtle in an area of limited space will require yearly pruning to keep it from outgrowing its place.  Severe pruning distorts the beauty of the  Single- or multi-stemmed tree-form crape myrtles are ideal as flowering specimen trees or as small, flowering shade trees near patios, walkways and entrances.

Pruning Crape Myrtles

If you plant a cultivar whose growth characteristics and ultimate mature size fit your intended use, little pruning will be required.  Don’t plant a variety that grows 25 feet tall, if you want a tree that will max out at 15 feet tall.

If adequate room is provided, little pruning is required except to maintain shape or remove any dead or crossing branches. Remove any suckers or water sprouts to maintain tree forms and elegance. Blossoms are produced on new growth so you can prune anytime the plants are dormant through the winter.  For Wingard’s own “How To” video on pruning crape myrtles, click here.

With so much to love about these plants, there’s no reason not to add one to your yard this year! And next year, and the year after that, and the year after that…

Top 10 Ways to Add Curb Appeal to your Home

Top 10 Ways to Add Curb Appeal to your Home

Top 10 Ways to Add Curb Appeal to your Home

A well-kept home is a joy to behold.

Curb appeal is that undefinable something that draws you to a home at a glance. It is a combination of visual charm, good upkeep, and attention to detail. And often will be the thing that makes you the envy of the neighborhood.

Here are 10 ways you can add great curb appeal to your home:

  1. Surround your property with fencing

Fencing for your yard is needed to keep wildlife from eating the nasturtiums, but it also provides a quiet oasis to enjoy the beauty of your outdoor space. Fencing can be six-foot high cedar that blocks traffic noise, or it can be white wicker that is only tall enough to delineate the perimeter of your property.

  1. Don’t leave your landscape in the dark

Think about accent lighting highlighting your prize plantings. Patio lights can be judiciously used to make your gazebo comfortable for a late evening get together with friends. Insect zapper lights get mixed reviews since they can be noisy as the insects are incinerated. They also tend to have a harsh brightness that is annoying to some. On the positive side, outlining pathways with small lights prevents stumbles in the twilight.

  1. Lawn furniture

Spending a lot of time just relaxing and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of a flower garden can be done from a gazebo with sturdy and comfortable garden furniture. Tables, chairs, lounges, and footstools are obvious choices for furniture in the garden area. A grill or barbecue unit located nearby means guests can enjoy the space while grilling fresh produce from the garden. Corn on the cob from the vegetable garden can’t get any fresher.

  1. Plan garden beds

Many gardens would be beautifully accessorized by adding carefully chosen raised garden beds. Look at the style of your house and design the garden plots for pansies or potatoes in garden beds that enhance the look of the house. For example, if your house is split level suburban, why not add a couple split level beds.

Few projects add as much charm and color to a house as flowers in window boxes.

Build your own window box or buy one from a garden center. Use a plastic liner to prolong the life of the planter and simplify fall cleanup. Easier yet, arrange container gardens in pots and planters on the front stoop or along the walkway.

  1. Simple changes make the biggest impact – the $10 idea!

If your mailbox is old, replacing it will instantly change your curb appeal for the better. Mailboxes are relatively inexpensive, and there are many ways that you can make yours look better. If you don’t really want to part with your old mailbox, you could just give it a fresh coat of paint.

A fresh coat of paint on garage doors will instantly make your exterior look better. Garage doors tend to get dirty and faded from all the up and down movement and should probably be repainted every few years.

Replacing hardware on your mailbox, house numbers, doorbell, door knocker, entry light and door handle will make a huge improvement to the look and feel of your home.

Get a little daring, and paint the front door red or blue.

  1. Make pathways interesting

A planned landscape that has permanent beds can also have interesting and decorative pathways.  Think about using colored aquarium pebbles with a seashell motif for edging. Try pathways that meander according to your planned beds rather than sticking to straight lines. Maybe you would like to have a yellow brick road as a pathway in your garden.

  1. Choose colorful or whimsical containers

If a large garden is too much to manage in your free time, or if you are working in limited space, think about establishing your garden in unusual containers. Or, such containers can be simply an interesting accessory to the real garden. Colorful ceramic pots in large sizes and shapes can be placed randomly amongst the flower beds to hold herbs or a salad or two. An old claw-footed bathtub or a little red wagon both make great containers for garden plants.

Even add a bit of your own personality with a garden flag that offers a warm welcome to your visitors and can be changed out with the seasons.  

  1. Add Color

You can add color to the plants that you choose or by the containers you pick for spots of color.  Look for ways to make color spots show up even better by putting them against contrasting background of other plants, walls or trellises.

Plant a tulip border in the fall that will bloom in the spring. Dig a flowerbed by the mailbox and plant some pansies. Place a brightly colored bench or Adirondack chair on the front porch. 

  1. Delight the wee folk

Adding whimsical statuary or ornaments to your garden plots can be fun and useful as well.  Garden gnomes, leprechauns and perhaps even a fairy or too can be an adventure to undertake with your child or grandchild. A ceramic frog by a garden pond is a common sight around gardens, but have you ever seen a dragonfly or a small fire-breathing dragon. Choose a copper weather vane or a birdhouse decorated like a fairytale castle.

  1. Five senses

A well-planned landscape with carefully chosen accessories will be a delight to all five senses. You see the beautiful colors in the plants, flowers, and accessories. You feel the texture of the earth as well as the crisp vegetables that are picked for culinary enjoyment. You can smell the perfume of the flowers and trees. Tasting fresh produce from the garden is a bonanza for your taste buds.  Finally, your sense of hearing is able to pick up the sound of the wind in a set of wind chimes.  Wind chimes are decorative and can sound melodic or mournful, tinkling or hearty. 

Plan your garden accessories to appeal to each, and every human sense and your garden will be a place where your spirit is uplifted.

Take a trip to your favorite local award-winning Lexington, SC garden center, Wingard’s Market for everything you need to make your garden have the best curb appeal of the neighborhood!

For more tips and ideas for adding curb appeal to your home watch Wingard’s TV “Curb Appeal” videos here.

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offering professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

Tips for Spring Gardening

Tips for Spring Gardening

It happens every year.

Tips for Spring Gardening

One day it’s gloomy, bleak, and cold, and the next it’s warm and sunny. With the sunshine, you start thinking about spring gardening, but you didn’t prepare as you should have.

What do you do? It’s easy.

Spring gardening can be a fun and relaxing activity, especially if it’s done correctly. By following these simple tips, you will make the most out of spring gardening.

  • The first step to spring gardening is sharpening your tools. Start early and sharpen all your tools, such as shovels, hoes, and pruning shears, to a fine edge. We carry any easy to use sharpening tool in the Wingard’s Market Gift Shop. You may even want to splurge on buying a second, well-sharpened blade for your lawnmower. That way you will have a spare if the one currently on your lawnmower needs to be sharpened. A sharp mower blade is critical if you want to have a beautiful lawn. Dull blades can injure your grass and allow the disease to creep in, which can be costly in the long run to correct.
  • If you plan to put in a new lawn or plant bed, or if you had problems getting things to grow properly last year, you may want to get your soil tested. A soil test will tell you exactly what type of nutrients are needed to assure your yard looks the best it can. (We carry Clemson Extention Soil Test bags here at Wingard’s)
  • A helpful tip for spring gardening, especially if you need a little help getting your yard into shape, is using our landscape design services early, before the rush starts. The later in the season you call, the longer your wait time for an appointment.
  • Make arrangements early to buy sod or for sod delivery, if you plan to put in a new lawn. You should choose only moist rolls. Any that have dry roots or yellowed turf is no good.
  • Keeping a journal is a great way to keep track of plants during spring gardening. You can write down what was a success last year, what was a failure, and what plants should be moved with the change of seasons. It will prove not only useful this year but also next year when you may not remember all of the small details. Keeping informational plant tags comes in handy, when you want to replace or add more of a particular variety.
  • A definite must is throwing away any outdated chemicals. Follow the instructions on the label. Also, check to make sure those you are keeping are stored where children and pets cannot get to them.
  • Tilling the soil where you plan to begin your spring gardening is essential. Handfuls of the soil should easily crumble. Add soil amendments:  Wingard’s Soil Conditioner for clay soil, and Wingard’s Premium Potting Mix for sandy soil.  The additional composted organic matter will enrich your sandy soil, which is devoid of nutrients.  At Wingard’s, we recommend Stout Ollie, a made- in South Carolina compost consisting of plant material from the cotton ginning process, fish trimmings from the Santee Cooper lakes and cow manure from the manufacturer’s own herd.
  • Lastly, while engaging in spring gardening, you have to remember to prune. Generally, you prune spring-blooming shrubs immediately after the flowers fade. 

Now that you know what to do, your spring gardening won’t be so much of a chore, but more of a pleasure and a chance to get out and enjoy that spring sunshine.

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offering professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

cold weather damage

How to Spot Cold Weather Damage on Your Plants

cold weather damage

Are your outside plants looking a little sad? 

Don’t give up hope on them just yet!  We have a list of tips and ideas to guide you through taking care of those plants that have been damaged by the cold snap we’ve experienced.  Typically, temperatures falling below freezing will quickly damage or even kill many types of plants. However, with prompt care, many of these cold damaged plants can be rescued.

Here in the Midlands, the January cold snap, especially following the warm November and December have affected plants that are generally cold hardy. 

tree and shrucb foodTake a walk through your yard and look for these signs on your camellias, tea olives, hollies, and podocarpus: 

  • If leaves that are typically green in the winter have turned brown, resist the temptation to “fix” them.  Don’t do anything right now. 
  • Wait until the weather warms up and then fertilize after April 1 with a general tree and shrub fertilizer. 
  • Wait until after new growth appears to prune away dead branches.
  • Camellia buds may drop without opening into full flowers.  There is nothing you can do about that.  Next year protect your camellias with a blanket and Christmas tree lights if you want to preserve the buds during a hard freeze.

Sometimes plants such as azaleas, pittosporum, hollies, gardenias, and mimosa trees won’t make their damage seen until the heat kicks in about June.  

  • If you see branches beginning to yellow and die out this summer, look closely at the bark on the dying branches.  If you see that the bark has split, this is due to the sap freezing in January. 
  • When the plant tries to function in the summer, it can’t get enough water and nutrients up its stems, so it dies back. 
  • If the affected areas are just some of the limbs, you can cut out the dead material and let the plant recover.
  • If the primary trunk is affected, the plant may not survive.

Plants that are rated Zone 8 & higher such as lomandra breeze grass, oleander, bottle brush, lantana, and angel trumpets may have been severely damaged during the January freeze.

  • Fertilize with a general tree and shrub fertilizer after April 1. 
  • Wait until the weather warms up and look for new growth pushing out.  If you get new growth, the plant survived. 
  • Cut back dead plant material and wait for the plant to recover through the summer. 
  • If you don’t see new growth by June, dig it up, throw it away and plant a new one. 

palm tree food Sago Palms

  • If the cold got to your Zone 8+ Sago Palms, they may look particularly dead and unattractive right now.  Don’t do anything. 
  • Fertilize with a palm tree fertilizer after April 1.  We recommend Carl Pool Palm Food. Or if you have had problems with scale on your Palms in the past, use Fertilome Palm Tree Food with Systemic Insecticide.
  • New growth will appear out of the center of the palm in late May early June. 
  • Wait until after the new growth appears before you cut off the brown fronds.

How much cold will kill a plant is not an easy question to answer. Be sure to look up the cold hardiness for the plant in question before leaving the plant outside. Some plants can survive sub-freezing temperatures for months while others cannot take temperatures below 50 F. (10 C.) for more than a few hours.

palm tree food 8-6-6

Here in the Midlands, we are rated zone 8a.  The average extreme minimum temperature for zone 8a is 10-15 degrees.  Coastal SC is rated zone 8b.  The average extreme minimum temperature for zone 8b is 15-20 degrees.  If a plant is rated hardy for Zone 8-10, it should survive temperatures that fall as low as 10 degrees. However, we have found that some zone 8 plants are hardy to zone 8b but less so for 8a.  In other words, they will survive 15-20 degree temps, but not less than 15-degree temps.  Also, we have found that a plant might survive one night of 14-degree temp, but several nights in a row will do it in.  Also, remember that if a plant is rated hardy for zones 8-10, it likes warmer weather since zone 10 is South Florida.  Zone 8 is its northernmost border of survivability.  So, a zone 8-10 plant would be potentially more susceptible to extreme cold than would a zone 7-9 plant.

While saving frozen plants is possible, freeze damage to plant tissue and other cold injuries can often be prevented. When frost or freezing conditions are expected, you can protect tender plants by covering them with sheets, burlap sacks, or “frost cloth.” These should be removed once the sun returns the following morning. It’s vital as a gardener you watch the weather forecast and protect your plants when needed.

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offering professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

African Violets

African Violets 101

African Violets

In beautiful shades of purple, pink and white, the continuous blooms of African violets will add bursts of color to your windowsill for years to come.

Many gardeners shy away from these little indoor tropical plants, but we’re here to tell you there is no need. With a bit of guidance and proper care, you can easily add them to your collection of houseplants.

As with any other plants, African violets need all of the necessary elements to stay healthy; light, water, soil, food, and air. 

Here is a basic list of what these cheerful indoor plants need to stay healthy:

  • LIGHT: Adequate light is the most critical factor in promoting flowering. Place plants near any window that has bright, but filtered, light.  An east window is best because it gets morning sun.  A thin curtain will be necessary if placing plants in a south or west window.  In order to develop a nice symmetrical form, plants must be turned 1/4 turn every week.
  • African Violet FoodWATER: More violets die from over-watering than from any other single cause. Violet soil should be kept evenly moist and never allowed to become soggy. Water only when the top of the soil is dry to the touch.  Always use tepid water. You can water from the top or bottom, use wicks, or use self-watering  However, about once a month, plants should be watered from the top to flush out accumulated fertilizer salts.  Never allow plants to stand in water and if water gets on the leaves, dry with a paper towel to prevent leaf spotting.
  • SOIL: A potting medium suitable for African violets should be sterilized, and light and airy to allow root penetration. Soil-less mixes are ideal – they contain sphagnum peat, vermiculite, and   We recommend Espoma Organic African Violet Premium Potting Mix.
  • FOOD: Lack of regular feeding is one of the reasons an African violet will not bloom. The best way to feed is to use a dilute fertilizer solution every time you water.  Use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. of fertilizer to one gallon of water.  A balanced fertilizer should be used, such as Bonide Liquid African Violet Plant Food 7-10-7.  It is best to use a fertilizer with a low nitrogen urea content as urea burns the roots. 
  • AIR: Temperature and humidity are important factors. Most violets can tolerate temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees.  Ideal temperatures are 72-75 degrees day-time and 65 degrees night-time.  The preferred humidity range is 40% to 60%.  A humidifier or bowls of water placed near plants can be used to increase your home’s humidity during the heating season.

For continued care, African violets should be repotted once a year.  They tend to like tight pots, so use a new pot that is only slightly larger than the old one. Remove one-third of the old soil and replace it with new and make sure the crown of the plant is just above the soil line and water thoroughly.

If taken care of, your new African violet will reward you with beautiful blooms all year long.

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

Why are my leaves turning yellow?

Why are my leaves turning yellow?

Why are my leaves turning yellow?

Whether you garden indoors or out, a successful gardener needs to learn how to read plants.

It’s important for us to be able to understand the language of a plant and they make it easy for us to know when they’re feeling a bit under the weather.  Both  houseplants and landscape plants will show signs of yellowing leaves when they need some extra TLC (tender loving care.)

Even when their outward signs show us they need some attention, sometimes figuring out what they need is a mystery. There are a number of reasons a plant’s leaves will turn yellow. Among the reasons are overwatering, underwatering, stress caused by temperature changes, soil conditions, lack of proper nutrients, pests, disease, the age of the plant, pot-bound roots and transplant shock. Out of all of those contributing factors, overwatering or underwatering is usually the main culprit.

Here are the top 7 reasons for yellowing leaves:
  • Overwatering – Too much water is just as harmful as too little. Soil that doesn’t drain well will drown the roots. Without oxygen, the roots will die, and the leaves will turn yellow and fall off. Wait until the plant’s soil begins to dry, then water sufficiently and wait until the soil starts to dry out again before watering. Make sure your container has adequate drainage holes and water less frequently. When repotting an overwatered plant check its roots. Black roots indicate decomposition and a certain death sentence if not taken care of, while white roots are an indication of a healthy plant. When repotting a plant with black roots, trim back all the dark areas leaving only healthy white roots to recover. If there’s a green crusty appearance to the soil surface, this is algae, and it too is an additional symptom of overwatering.
  • Underwatering – If plants do not receive enough water they will drop their leaves to prevent dying. Often times it’s the way the plant is being watered that’s the problem. To encourage the roots to grow deep in the soil, water your plants less, but water them thoroughly to be sure the roots are getting plenty or moisture. Make sure you’re watering your plants properly: wait until the soil begins to dry, then water it fully, and wait until the soil starts to dry out before watering again.
  • Lack of Light – To determine if your yellow leaves are caused by a lack of light check the lower leaves first. If the lower leaves appear to be more faded than yellow, it could be a sign of a light deficiency. Plants need proper light for photosynthesis to occur. Be sure to rotate your pots periodically, so all foliage is exposed to sunlight. If the yellowing begins on the side away from your light source, it might be caused by too little light reaching these back leaves. Research your plants specific light requirements to be satisfied you are providing it what it needs to thrive. Some plants like indirect light, while others require full sun. Plants with too little light will often become leggy as they try to reach toward the light.
  • Temperature – Typically seen more in landscape plants than houseplants, a significant temperature change can leave the tips of your plants looking burned. Most often this occurs in the spring when tender new leaves are affected by a late freeze. If this happens, trim off the burned areas, and allow for new growth. With houseplants, most prefer particular temperature ranges. Some like it cool, around 50-60 F while others prefer in warm around 70-80 F. Some plants will drop their leaves when moved to a new location that has a significant temperature change. Tropical plants do not like colder temperatures, so keep them away from air-conditioner vents.
  • Pests – If the yellow spots on your leaves appear along with tiny critters (be sure to check the undersides of the leaves), then you have an insect problem. First, identify the pest and then treat for that particular insect. Typical bug infestations on plants are caused by one of the following: mites, aphids, mealybugs, thrips, scale, or whiteflies. Repeatedly washing the plants or applying an insecticidal or horticultural soap is one treatment that is often effective as well as environmentally safe.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies – If the top leaves of your plant are yellowing, or there is an unusual pattern of yellowing (i.e. the veins remain dark while the tissue between them turns yellow), it’s most likely a nutrient deficiency.
    • Iron deficiency – This causes yellowing, stunted growth and interveinal chlorosis. You will see it normally in new growth first.  Test your soil and maintain a pH below 7.
    • Potassium deficiency – The leaves, especially older leaves, may have brown spots, yellow edges, yellow veins or brown veins. Add a potassium fertilizer containing potash.
    • Nitrogen deficiency – This causes stunted growth and yellow edges on the tips of the leaves. The veins may be yellow, and sometimes the whole leaf will be pale yellow. Add used coffee grounds to the soil to increase its nitrogen, or apply a balanced fertilizer.
    • Magnesium deficiency – This causes yellowing of the leaves between the veins with the veins remaining green and usually appears on lower leaves first. Treat the plant’s soil with Epsom
    • Calcium deficiency – This will cause crinkled, mottled or distorted leaves and will not allow the tips of the leaves to grow. Add agricultural lime to the soil.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Plant photos by organicagardensupply.com

  • Old Age – Often a plant has just outlived its natural plant life, succumbing to yellowing leaves and aging-out.

Please note that whatever the cause of your plant’s illness, remember it may take weeks or even months for a plant to recover and return to normal growth.

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

shade gardening

Embrace the Shade in your SC Garden

Shade Gardening Made Easy

shade gardening

Unless you’ve lived in the Midlands in July and August there’s no way to describe “hot” other than blistering, all day, bake in the sun heat! As South Carolinians, we’re always on the lookout for a lush, shady hideaway in our gardens. Here at Wingard’s Market, we want to help you make your shade garden the ideal spot to retreat from the hot summer sun.

For many gardener’s shade can be a challenge and while some plants do well in low light, there are many plants to choose from that thrive in shady conditions. The key is to figure out which plants will adapt well to the light level of your landscape.

Over time your gardens will change. Trees and shrubs will mature, water condition and air circulation will change, and hardscape elements will be added. The first factor before choosing your arsenal of shade loving plants it to figure out what degree of shade your garden will have. From there you can go about choosing your favorite shade loving plants.

Classify your level of shade:

  • Morning Shade, Afternoon Sun – This is NOT considered shade!  If this is the only shade you have in your garden, stop reading.  Nothing here applies to you.
  • Morning Sun, Afternoon Shade – An area in your garden that the sun is blocked for much of the day, mainly between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 m. Typically found in established gardens where mature trees block out the sun all but for a very short period of time early or late in the day. North facing exposure can generally be classified as partial shade.
  • Filtered Sun – The sun makes its way through tree limbs for most of the day providing “dappled” light on the ground. The plants that grow in this environment are basically the same as the ones that grow in Morning Sun/Afternoon Shade.
  • Full Shade – An area that is under shade all day with little or no direct sunlight. Typically found in thick tree canopies or in dense trees. Other areas may be under stairways, decks or covered patios positioned on the north side of your home.
    • There are some plants, in our experience, which really do best in full shade. Cast Iron, Edgeworthia, Hosta, Ferns, Aucuba, and Fatsia.  Other shade plants will be fine in full shade, but those listed here actually NEED it.

For a complete list of shade loving annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees click here.

Be aware that your light patterns will change with the change of seasons.  Sections of your garden may be in full sun in the winter and in full shade in the summer.  The amount of shade an area gets in the summer is most important in choosing your plants.  Shade plants will generally tolerate full sun in the winter.   Keep a watchful eye on your garden throughout the year as trees, and shrubs mature and your landscape changes.  

As you plan your shade garden keep these few factors in mind:

  • Shaded areas usually lack adequate moisture as the rain is blocked by a canopy of trees, and tree roots absorb most of the water. Shade gardens need regular watering even during rainy periods. For shrubs and trees, a drip system is recommended.
  • The more sun a shade plant gets, the more water it needs.
  • In South Carolina, warm climate shade plants can grow actively all year round so they must be fed a complete fertilizer in early spring and summer.
  • To keep your garden growing for many years, remove low-hanging branches from trees that tend to keep your gardens hidden from view and prevent adequate air flow.
  • If the lack of water is an issue, turn to raised beds or pottery to keep tree roots from stealing all the
  • Most shade plants want some sun (morning or filtered). Flowering plants, especially, need some sun in order to produce flowers.

While summer is now upon us, turn to your shade loving areas to escape the scorching summer sun and enjoy the lush green plants that thrive in our area. Once you’ve discovered all the shade loving beautiful annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs suitable for shade gardening you may never want to fight the sun again.

Stop in and see us and take advantage of the native shade-loving plants we currently have in stock:

  • Trees: Dogwood, Redbud
  • Shrubs: Anise, Coastal Native Azalea, Carolina Allspice, Oakleaf & Annabelle Hydrangeas, Leucothoe
  • Ferns: Cinnamon, Christmas, Ostrich
  • Perennials: Cranesbill Geranium, Heuchera, Columbine

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

Native Plants Garden

Invite Native Plants to Your Garden

Gardening in the Midlands can be a challenge at times. 

Native Plants Garden

We deal with scorching heat, sandy soil, drought-like conditions and do we need to say more about the no-see-ums? However, we have one of the longest growing seasons in the country and have an array of beautiful native plants that flourish in our southern conditions. If you struggle with finding plants that thrive in your garden we encourage you to bring the beauty of native plants to your backyard. Not only will you be adding season-long color, but you’ll be adding wildlife-friendly plants that are perfect for our soil and climate.

What is a native plant?

Simply stated native plants are those that grew here when Columbus discovered America. They are plants that evolved over time and tend to be hardy and well-adapted to the environment in which they thrive.

Plants that grow naturally will require less water and fertilizer than non-native plants.  They are more resistant to insects and disease and are less likely to need pesticides. This is particularly useful for new gardeners since they often require little attention.

Why go native?

As our woodlands and wildlife areas are being converted to commercial and residential growth, we’re losing our native plants. As backyard gardeners, it is our responsibility to preserve our natural plants for future generations.

You can help to restore the availability of native plants by adding a few to your landscape.  In this way, we can all make a difference and help save endangered species one yard at a time.

Not only do native plants produce beautiful flowers, but they also produce fruits, seeds, and nectar that are friendly to wildlife. 

Going native benefits:

  • They couldn’t be easier – Native plants require little attention if planted in an area that best matches their natural habitat. They’re hardy and will adapt well to normal weather extremes. They need less water, little fertilizer, no pesticides and less time to maintain than regular garden plants.
  • They’ll invite wildlife to your backyard – Research shows that wildlife common to your area will prefer native plants over non-native varieties. They provide food and shelter for birds, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other beneficial insects. These native insects and birds will also help keep your yard free of mosquitoes, and other plant-eating bugs.
  • They add a natural beauty to your landscape – While adding native plants to your landscape may never replace the beauty of plants growing in the wild, they can help us blend surrounding development into a more natural setting.

Choosing the right plants

When shopping for native plants, please be aware that most big box stores will not carry plants that are native to the local area.  Generally, local nurseries and garden centers (like ours) will stock plants that thrive in their climate.

Before heading to the Garden Center know the answers to these few question:

  • Where will you be planting, in the sun or shade?
  • Is the area wet or dry?
  • What type of soil does your landscape have? Clay or sand?
  • Where in your garden will you be placing them to determine the correct height?

Once you know the answer to these questions, you’re ready to think about specific plants.

Plan to plant a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, and vines to give wildlife an array of food and shelter choices. Choose plants that you can group together to attract nectar-loving birds and insects, as well as host plants for butterfly larvae.

Creating a native plant garden in your backyard will add natural color and beauty, as well as provide an inviting habitat for native wildlife.  You will find you enjoy your yard so much more when you can watch colorful butterflies flit from plant to plant, listen to birds chirping away in the trees, and appreciate the work of bees as they cross pollinate flowers and vegetables.  Establishing native plants in your landscape is a way to preserve these experiences for future generations, one yard at a time.

For a complete list of the native plants, that an be found at Wingard’s Market, please visit Native Plants to South Carolina.

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

Tuck Your Garden In

Tuck Your Garden in for a Winter Nap

Tuck Your Garden In

You’ve spent a better part of the last few months reaping what your garden has sowed It’s served you well, and it’s earned some time off.  Before you say goodnight until spring here are a few end of the season tips to help your garden take a long deserved rest.

Nothing makes gardening chores harder than having to do maintenance and cleanup in freezing temperatures, so find the time now before the cold freezing winds and rains come.

Use this as your chore checklist:

  • Gather herbs and flowers for drying.
  • Collect and dry seeds to save for next year.
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs. Our climate is not suitable for tulips. Crocus, daffodils, and hyacinths do much better.
  • Plant trees and shrubs! It is still a good time to plant.
  • After the first hard frost, pull up and discard This also includes the tomatoes and squash plants in your vegetable garden.
  • After the first hard frost, cut back your perennials and mulch them with a heavy layer of leaves or straw. Do not cut back dead stems of lantana until after new growth emerges in the Spring.
  • Pull weeds.
  • Till the soil around any exposed areas and add a layer of compost, leaves or manure and lime.
  • Cover strawberry beds with straw.
  • Remove all dead or diseased canes from your rose bushes.
  • After the first frost, mulch your rose bushes with compost or leaves.
  • Give evergreen shrubs a light pruning only if absolutely necessary. It’s better not to prune until early spring, just before new growth begins to flush.
  • After perennials have quit blooming, divide all crowded
  • Remove any broken limbs from your trees by making a clean cut close to the trunk.
  • Mow your grass as late in the season as the grass grows.
  • Keep up with fallen leaves and don’t let them over winter on your lawn. Mulch them with your lawn mower and add them to your perennial and bulb
  • Bring your “house plants” indoors, before the temperatures start falling below 40 degrees at night. Be sure to spray for insects before bringing them into the house. Even if you don’t see signs of insects, there are probably insect eggs on plants that have been living outdoors, and they will infest your house pretty soon.
  • Now is the time to do a soil test. Your test results will come with recommendations for amendments, which should be applied as soon as possible. Some amendments take a few months to start working and will need to be applied before you plant in the Spring.
  • And don’t forget the birds.  They will be counting on you this winter.  Now is the time to clean out your bird feeders and bird baths and stock up on birdseed.  Keep water in your birdbaths unless temperatures are expected to drop below freezing.

By taking extra time this Fall to properly put your garden to bed, you’ll be sure to have gardening success next spring. And as always time flies and before you know it we’ll start emailing you about Spring annuals and Mother’s Day roses, and you will find yourself with Spring fever all over again!

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

Drying Herbs for Winter Use

Drying Herbs for Winter Use

Drying Herbs for Winter Use

You’ve been tending to your herbs all summer long, and you’ve been enjoying their fresh flavor in all your summertime dishes.  Now it’s time to start planning for winter by drying them to enjoy even longer.

Here are a few harvesting tips to get you started:

  • Herbs that are harvested when their oils are at their peak will have the best flavor when dried.
  • Herbs grown for their foliage should be harvested just before they flower.
  • Harvest herbs that are grown for seeds as the seed pods change color from green to brown to gray, but before they open.
  • Collect herb flowers, such as chamomile, just before full flower.
  • Harvest herb roots, such as chicory and ginseng in the fall after the foliage fades.

To get the best flavor from dried herbs, it’s important to pick the leaves for drying at the correct point in the growing season.

When to harvest:

  • Harvest early in the morning, after the dew dries, but before the heat of the day.
  • Lavender, parsley, and tarragon: Harvest in June and July, just before flowering. Cut back the plants to half their height to encourage a second flowering in the fall.
  • Mint: Harvest in June and July.
  • Thyme, summer savory, and sweet marjoram: Harvest in July and August.
  • Basil and sage: Harvest in August and September.
  • Harvest early and frequently to encourage plants to produce new growth.
  • Chives, basil, mint, parsley, and oregano grow back quickly and benefit from the constant pruning.
“Tender herbs in the mint family – basil, tarragon, lemon balm, and the mints have a high moisture content and will mold quickly if not dried quickly, says Clemson Cooperative Extension Service.”

Preparing your herbs for drying:

If the herbs are clean, do not wet them. Otherwise, rinse dust and dirt from the foliage, shake off the excess water, and spread the herbs out to dry on paper towels or dishcloths until all surface moisture has evaporated. Remove any dead or damaged foliage.

Hang small bunches of them upside down in a dry, cool, place such as a closet.  If you are worried about them dropping leaves, suspend each bunch inside a paper bag ventilated with tears or punched holes. Close the top with a rubber band and place where the air currents will circulate through the bag.

Once the herbs are dry, their flavor is best preserved by keeping them in an airtight tin cans or tightly sealed jars.  Dried herbs should be used within a year.

For a list of over 30 herbs to add to your garden, check out our publication “Basic Guidelines for Growing Herbs.

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions.  Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees.  It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091