Flowers have traditionally been used in many types of cooking: European, Asian, East Indian, Victorian English, and Middle Eastern. Early American settlers also used flowers as food. Today, there is a renewed interest in edible flowers for their taste, color, and fragrance. Many herbal flowers have the same flavor as their leaves, though others, such as chamomile and lavender blossoms, have a subtler flavor.
Establishing and maintaining quality annual color beds requires a plan to prevent and control weeds. Weeds compete with ornamental plants for water, light, and nutrients, reducing aesthetic quality and plant growth. To minimize these problems, this publication presents a weed management program that should be developed and implemented prior to planting.
The term perennial is frequently used by gardeners to refer to herbaceous perennial flowers. Most herbaceous perennials grow and flower for several years. Some perennials are short-lived – surviving for only three or four years. In the fall, the tops of herbaceous perennials (leaves, stems, and flowers) die down to the ground while the root system persists through the winter. In the spring, the plant grows new leaves from its crown or roots. Plants that grow from bulbs and bulb-like structures are also herbaceous perennials but are often classified separately as flowering bulbs.
Annual flowers offer the gardener a chance to experiment with color, height, texture, and form. Besides providing a massive display of color, annuals are useful for filling spaces where perennial flowers have died, to cover areas where spring-flowering bulbs have died back, and to fill planters, window boxes, and hanging baskets. Annual flowers bloom more quickly and for a longer period than any other group of plants. They are easy to grow, sturdy, and relatively inexpensive.
New Guinea impatiens have steadily increased in popularity since their introduction into the United States in 1972. Today's varieties offer a wide range of flower colors as well as variegated foliage types. The versatility of this plant allows for its sale as bedding plants, 4 inch potted plants, and up to 12 inch hanging baskets. This factsheet offers advice on growing impatiens.
For healthy, aesthetic plants, the soil must serve as a reservoir for water, oxygen, and nutrients. While this sounds very straightforward, providing these three essentials can be quite challenging. This leaflet describes the steps to take to ensure these essentials are met in the proper amounts.
Each of us are subjected to stresses and pressures every day in our home, work, and living environment; plants are no different. Unfortunately, there is no "stressless" environment, and there is no totally stress-resistant bedding plant. Each site has its stress level and each plant has its tolerance level. There are steps that can be taken to reduce or avoid stress in the landscape. However, no program can prevent all problems, and the key to successful landscape color using bedding plants is to match the particular site with specific plant species.
Use of bedding plant color beds continues to increase. A recent indicates that over 15% of the flowering bedding plants produced in this country are utilized by commercial landscapers. However, success with color beds requires planning, proper bed preparation, and an intensive maintenance program--all of which are outlined in this publication.
There are a number of popular bedding plants used in the landscape today; some deserving the attention they get, others not-so-deserving. This publication offers a chart with some under-utilized bedding plants in North Carolina, including characteristics such as temperature and light preferences.
Poinsettias are the traditional Christmas plant because of their colorful bracts. The bracts are actually modified leaves and the yellow cyathia in the center of the bracts are the true flowers. Plant breeders have introduced many new cultivars over the past few years and there are more than 100 cultivars currently available. The array of colors range from red, pink, white, salmon, to bicolors. With these new, longer lasting cultivars being available, it is possible for a properly cared for poinsettia to remain beautiful in the home for 2 to 3 months.
Summer and fall flowering bulbs provide another dimension to gardening. They add beauty and interest to the landscape and, since most of them are tender, they offer a unique challenge to the gardener. There are a large number of different types of bulbs, offering variations in forms, fragrances, colors, and lasting brilliance which many summer annuals cannot achieve.
Causing spring-flowering bulbs like hyacinths to flower by other than naturally occurring conditions is called forcing. This practice is carried out world-wide by commercial flower growers. With planning and effort, any homeowner can have a steady supply of bulb flowers from late December through April. Forcing bulbs is a rewarding challenge to those interested in the growth and development of plants.
Peonies are long-lived, perennial flowers that produce large flowers in the spring. Colors include black, coral, cream, crimson, pink, purple, rose, scarlet, white, and yellow. By planting early, mid-season, and late flowering cultivars, you can have peonies flowering for 6 to 8 weeks. Two types of peonies are grown in North Carolina: garden peonies (Paeonia valbiflora or Paeonia officinalis) and tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa). This leaflet covers the planting, care and maintenance and potential problems associated with growing peonies in North Carolina.
Garden mums are a traditional fall crop and are fairly easy to grow. They also can be profitable. This factsheet discusses some of the cultural guidelines to follow in growing garden mums.
Annual sunflower is a native of North America with an original range from the Great Plains to the West Coast. Pot sunflowers have been popular in Europe for a number of years. Pot sunflowers are a quick crop to produce and offer an opportunity for growers to capitalize on the current consumer demand for the plant.
Dahlias, are a popular addition to the landscape because they have a wide height range (1 to 6 feet) and a variety of flower shapes and sizes (2 to 12 inches). Color range includes orange, pink, purple, red, scarlet, yellow, and white. Some flowers are striped or tipped with a different color. Dahlias begin blooming in early summer and continue to frost. Flower production may slow with high summer temperatures and moisture stress.
Bearded iris is a hardy, long-lived perennial that requires a minimum of maintenance. The flowers have six petals; three upright petals (called standards) and three hanging petals (called falls). A fuzzy line or beard runs down the middle of each fall. Flowers come in many colors including blue, pink, purple, reddish, white, yellow, and bi-colors. This leaflet offers some information on growing irises for the home garden.
Caladiums are grown for their long-lasting, colorful foliage. Color combinations include various shades of red, pink, white, green, and yellow-green, with prominently colored midribs and contrasting margins. There are two basic types of caladium cultivars: fancy- and strap-leaved.
Two hydrangea species are native to the southeastern United States -- Hydrangea arborescens and Hydrangea quercifolia. Both are bold-textured, deciduous shrubs which produce small, fertile flowers. Many selections are considered more garden-worthy than the native species because they display large, sterile florets.
Geraniums require an adequate supply of the essential nutrients and a slightly acidic pH. This leaflet covers some of the basic considerations for fertilizing zonal, ivy, and regal geraniums.
Most garden asters are cultivated varieties of the fall-blooming wildflower, Aster novi-belgii, or Michaelmas daisy. They are native to the United States and can be seen blooming along roadsides during the fall. From the wild types, Danish breeders have selected for new colors and compact shape. As a floriculture crop, they can be grown for cut flowers, an indoor pot crop in four-inch or 6-inch pots, or an outdoor perennial in 6-inch pots or larger. This leaflet covers the commercial production requirements for perennial garden asters.
Pansies have become the most popular annual for mid-fall to late-spring color in the Southeast. Intensive breeding programs that have selected for unique flower colors, large flower size, greater flower number, and temperature tolerance have led to many new and exciting cultivars to select from for use in the landscape. This leaflet was written to give growers production advice for pansies.
The Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a true bulb that originated in the tropical areas of South America. Thus, it is a tender bulb. It performs best when grown under warm (70 to 75 °F) temperatures for 9 to 10 months to promote flowering and vegetative growth, followed by 2 to 3 months of either cool (55°F) dry storage or cool (55°F) growing conditions. The use of one of the latter conditions is required to promote reflowering of the bulb.
"Paperwhite" Narcissus is one of the easiest flower bulbs for homeowners to force. Commercially, several types are available. Some cultivars (varieties) have pure white flowers while others have white perianths with light yellow cups. Paperwhites originate in the Mediterranean and are tender bulbs. Thus, they can be grown outside only in Climatic zones 8 to 11. Unless one lives in one of these zones, forced bulbs should be discarded.
Causing spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils (Narcissus) to flower by other than naturally occurring conditions is called "forcing." This practice is carried out by commercial growers the world over. With a little care and effort, homeowners can have a steady supply of daffodils (Narcissus) from late December through April. Forcing bulbs should be a challenge to those who are interested in plants.
The florists' hydrangea has been an important greenhouse crop for many years. Its popularity and production have both been increasing in the past few years. This leaflet outlines procedures for the greenhouse forcing of dormant, pre-cooled hydrangeas.
Many greenhouse-grown floricultural crops tend to grow taller than desired and require height control measures to prevent excessive internodal elongation. This leaflet is designed to introduce commercial growers to the alternatives available for height control and suggest appropriate methods for different situations.
Geraniums are among the most popular flowering plants. Outdoors, they are used as annual bedding plants, in hanging baskets, in pots and in window boxes. Indoors, they are cultured as houseplants in sunny locations. Common geraniums are actually members of the genus Pelargonium, while members of the genus Geranium include native wildflowers and herbaceous perennials.
This publication lists the references used in parts 1-4 of the Postharvest Handling and Cooling of Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, and Flowers for Small Farms series.
Field heat should be removed from fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers as quickly as possible after harvest. Each commodity should be maintained at its lowest safe temperature.
At times, it is necessary to transport or store different commodities together. In such mixed loads, it is very important to combine only those commodities that are compatible with respect to their requirements for: Temperature, Relative humidity, Atmosphere; oxygen and carbon dioxide, Protection from odors, Protection from physiologically active gases, such as ethylene.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers must be in excellent condition and have excellent quality if maximum shelf life is desired. The best possible quality of any commodity exists at the moment of harvest. From that point on, quality cannot be improved, only maintained. Remember that shelf life begins at harvest.
Sooner or later most home gardeners think about growing roses. Landscape uses are quite varied because of the many different types of roses. They can be mass planted in beds, used as specimen or trained plants, planted as screens or hedges, or located near fences or arbors and allowed to climb. Several miniature cultivars can even be used as a ground cover or as edging material. Roses are available in almost any color imaginable and are suited to a number of sites.
The use of wildflowers in the landscape has increased since Lady Bird Johnson first promoted them in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Wildflowers were further popularized by the "Meadow in a Can" seed collections that were marketed in the early 1980s. A number of books have been written that describe methods for planning and planting wildflowers, however, few recommendations are available regarding maintenance and long-term weed management. In wildflower plantings, weed management is a complex system that requires knowledge of the specific wildflowers and weeds, environmental conditions, and control methods. Therefore, the objective of this leaflet is to discuss weed management strategies that can be applied to the planning, establishment, maintenance and renovation stages of a naturalized wildflower planting.
This publication offers guidelines on planning a garden and buying bulbs, as well as planting planting techniques to ensure healthy flowers.
Every nurseryman should know how to prune trees and the reason for the various pruning practices. Many landscape problems can be avoided if correct pruning is performed, while the tree is growing in the nursery. Incorrect pruning practices or lack of pruning diminish the quality of the plant material.
The North Carolina Agricultural Research Service tested selected tulip and daffodil (Narcissus spp.) cultivars for four years. Trials were conducted in three climate zones so that results could be extrapolated to most of the United States. This publication for gardeners explains how to prepare the site for planting, how to select the right cultivars, how to fertilize and provides the trial results for spring-flowering bulbs.