You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Platycodon, Texas balloon flower
Q. I saw a flower called Platycodon at my favorite nursery the other day. The nurseryman said it was a native perennial that did well in our area. Why isn’t it used more often?
A. It is a good question. Platycodon is an excellent flower for summer blooms. It does take several years for it to become established. Platycodon is also called balloon flower. Texas balloon flower resembles dwarf ruellia in that it is a low-growing plant that produces a blue tubular flower. Its flower, however, is more sky blue than purple blue, and it does not really serve as a groundcover. Use it as a low-growing border in sun or shade or in clumps in the garden. The name balloon flower is justified by the balloon shape that the flower assumes before it opens up. It appears that deer eat balloon flowers.
Q. When should we plant tomatoes for the fall? What varieties do you recommend?
A. Plant tomatoes now for fall production. I recommend Tycoon, because it is tomato yellow wilt virus-resistant and a heat-setter. Also consider Solar Fire, Heatwave, Surefire, 444, Celebrity, Phoenix, and Cherry Surprise.
Q. Is there still time to plant a Bermuda grass lawn by seed?
A. Yes, if you have access to water so you can water three times per day the first week, two times per day in week two, and once per day in week three. The irrigation doesn’t have to be deep until the lawn is established. After three weeks, you can water two times per week.
Q. Our live oak dropped its leaves but now, after the rain, is releafing. Is it a reaction to the drought? Should we be irrigating the trees?
A. Live oaks are very drought-tolerant, but can be affected by drought if they are close to other trees and/or stressed in other ways. Trees subjected to construction damage or in parking lots are often stressed. It helps to provide a deep watering for stressed trees every month if it does not rain. Run the hose on the drip line for several hours.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s project director of regional initiatives and special projects. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Bull Classic Dec. 5 (November 25, 2015)
Davidson: Reduce antibiotic use, dispel beef myths (November 25, 2015)
EPA proposes changes to pesticide applicator rules (November 25, 2015)
Farm Bureau responds to beef cancer claims (November 25, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (November 25, 2015)
Livestock disaster funding available (November 25, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (November 25, 2015)
Llama competitors shine in state, national shows (November 25, 2015)
Plan to attend grazing lands conference (November 25, 2015)
Plant cool weather veggies (November 25, 2015)
Rancher’s Choice bull sale Dec. 5 (November 25, 2015)
Skills team places sixth (November 25, 2015)
TPWD announces annual trout stocking (November 25, 2015)
All Breed Bull Sale Nov. 21 in Nixon (November 18, 2015)
Clean Water Rule continues to make waves in Congress (November 18, 2015)
Conservation Service: Tips for planting winter pastures (November 18, 2015)
County committee elections begin (November 18, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (November 18, 2015)
Here’s the beef: Patterson wins FFA national title (November 18, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (November 18, 2015)
Moczygemba: Angus group CEO (November 18, 2015)
Onion recommendations (November 18, 2015)
A river runs through it: River changes spark border dispute (November 11, 2015)
Cold-sensitive oriental hibiscus (November 11, 2015)
Gov. Abbott: EPA’s Clean Power Plan is ‘power grab’ (November 11, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (November 11, 2015)
Knowles winner of mule deer hunt package (November 11, 2015)
Letter: A war on Texas: Bureau of Land Management vs. Texas ranchers (November 11, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (November 11, 2015)
Palo Alto College hosts FFA leadership conference (November 11, 2015)
Rodeo athletes place in Hallettsville contest (November 11, 2015)
‘Old Iron’ club show canceled! (November 11, 2015)
Antique Farm Equipment Demonstration and Field Day, Nov. 14 (November 4, 2015)
Cattlemen’s seminar Nov. 14 in Kosciusko (November 4, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (November 4, 2015)
Impacts of rural land loss (November 4, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (November 4, 2015)
Rain can be blessing, curse for farmers (November 4, 2015)
Ranch Rodeo fun in Nixon (November 4, 2015)
Ranching event set for Nov. 11 in Panna Maria (November 4, 2015)
Tips for spraying broccoli, cabbage (November 4, 2015)
Wet winter, spring is good news for hunters (November 4, 2015)
November 2015 Gardening Calendar (November 1, 2015)