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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

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            There are many varieties of flowers from which to select at the nurseries right now. Some of those that look best will provide a short, spectacular season of blooms but will decline as soon as hot weather arrives.

            Snapdragons, pansies, cyclamen, primrose, and geraniums are in this category. Expect them to bloom well until early May and then decline quickly as the heat arrives. Dianthus may last a month beyond the other cool weather plants, especially if you deadhead about one-inch off of the plant with your string mower about May 1.

            The geraniums will survive the summer to bloom some next fall and then again in the spring if you move their containers into more and more shade this summer as the temperatures heat up. They will also have to be protected from the cold in the winter.

            Cyclamens can also be summered over; at least that’s what I have been told. So far, I have not been successful. The idea is to place their container on its side in a shady corner of the yard from May through September. The cyclamen are susceptible to rotting in the summer. By laying the container on its side no rain will enter the soil to encourage rotting. I am going to try it again this summer because the cyclamen are so ideal for color in winter shade and so expensive to purchase each year.

            Semperfloren begonias are available now. They are one of the best bedding plants for shade but also perform well in the sun if they are planted early, mulched and watered with drip irrigation. Once hot weather begins there is little growth until autumn; that is why early planting is required. The plants must form a sturdy plant and far ranging root system to remain attractive all summer.

            Petunias are normally thought of as a spring and fall plant in San Antonio. All selections bloom well until June and then, if planted in September, bloom well through December. The new “old fashioned” petunias, however, will bloom through a mild summer and again in the fall. Some ‘Kahunas’ that my wife has in containers bloomed all spring, summer, fall and winter last year, and seem determined to keep blooming this year as well. Other selections that are tough are ‘Laura Bush’ and ‘VIP’. The ‘Laura Bush’ are reseeders. Some San Antonio Rodeo attendees were lucky enough to purchase the pink version of ‘Laura Bush’, the rest of us will have to make due with the violet color that is the “normal” color of the new old-fashioned petunias.

            Lantanas are perennials. They come in many colors and sizes. All do best in full sun where they are generally deer proof, drought tolerant and pest resistant. The exception to the pest-free claim has been damage by lace bugs the last few years on many plantings. The lace bugs suck the juices from the leaves to reduce blooming for awhile and leave the foliage looking faded and dusty. A little shot of orthene at first sign of damage will control the pests or you can just wait for them to recover with time.

            The lavender lantana is a spreading plant that seems to be an exception to the light requirement and hot-blooded nature of lantanas. They can bloom in morning or dappled sun and bloomed all winter in San Antonio in sheltered locations in 2000 and 2001. A white version is also available.

            ‘New Gold’ lantana is much more aggressive than lavender lantana. It will reach two feet tall on a good site and spread four to six feet from one plant. A shallow whisk with the string mower every four to six weeks will keep it blooming all season, except in the hottest temperatures.

            The ‘New Gold’ color is striking, but it is a little hard to find other colors that compliment it. ‘Samantha’ has a lemon colored flower and a variegated leaf that makes it a great part of the perennial border. It is not a true spreader like lavender or ‘New Gold’; instead, it mounds about one foot tall and two feet around. ‘Popcorn’ has a similar growth pattern without the variegated leaf and with an off-white flower.

            ‘Radiance’ and ‘Irene’ produce larger plants. They may reach four feet tall and as wide with bicolor blooms of red and orange, and magenta and yellow, respectively.

            The lantanas freeze down most winters but are root hardy. Prune out the dead tops this time of the year for a long season of growth.