December 2012 Gardening Calendar
This is an occasional column available to all users. Watch for Calvin Finch's weekly column, South Texas Gardener, every week in the Wilson County News. Subscribe today! https://wilsoncountynews.com/subscribe-today.php?
It is not too late to plant cyclamen, primula and petunias for winter color. Primula and cyclamen do best in the shade. Plant pansies and their cousins, the violas and johnny jump-ups, in the sun.
If you receive a dish of forced paperwhites as a holiday gift, move them to the flower garden or shrub border after you are finished with them in the house. If you don’t like the fragrance, that may mean you transplant them to the garden immediately!
Paperwhites naturalize in the South Texas landscape. Select a spot where they will get full or partial sun and plant them so the bulbs are covered. Do not remove the leaves until they brown naturally. As long as they are green, they are producing nutrients for the bulbs so that they can regrow next winter.
Paperwhites can even be planted in the lawn under deciduous trees if you are willing to let the foliage brown each year before mowing. Paperwhites provide green foliage and bloom in December or January each year. They are also deer-proof!
In the vegetable garden, plant onions (look for the new Texas Legend variety) and spinach transplants. If the tomatoes have made it through November, be ready to remove all full-sized fruit before the next freeze forecast. They will ripen in the house.
Consider a live holiday tree in a container. After you use it for the holidays, it can be planted in the landscape in full sun. Among those varieties that are sheared for use in the house and that can be planted outside, deodar cedar, Aleppo pine, Italian stone pine and Japanese black pine are most likely to prosper. Arizona cypress is usually not sheared, but it sometimes has an attractive enough natural shape to serve as a holiday tree and then can be planted outside.
The Virginia pine and loblolly pine are acid-loving trees that won’t last in the landscape. Afghan pine (P. eldarcia) likes alkaline soil but is susceptible to a killing fungal dieback.
Sheared rosemary makes a good holiday tree for apartments or other locations requiring a small plant. They can then be placed outside in a container or in the ground in full sun.
December is a good month for planting other trees and shrubs, as well. Do not give specific trees and shrubs for holiday gifts unless you know for sure what the recipients want and need for their landscape. A better gift is a gift certificate from your gardener’s favorite nursery. With a gift certificate, they can select their own plants and pick up the gift when they have time to plant it.
If tulips are one of your favorite flowers, locate some pre-chilled bulbs at the nursery or buy them on the internet. They should be planted on or about January 1. Plant them in a sheltered location to protect them from the wind. They can be planted in morning sun.
You may also still be able to find bluebonnet transplants. Plant them in full sun for April blooms. Watch for caterpillars, and do not overwater them.
The American goldfinches should arrive this month. Attract them with thistle seed. Cardinals like safflower seed or sunflower seed. Suet blocks will attract the insect eaters including wrens, woodpeckers, blue jays, starlings and even some warblers.
Calvin Finch Ph.D. is a Horticulturist and Director with Texas A&M Water Conservation and Technology Center.
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)