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 & Outdoors Archives
Are you choosing an outfitter this season? (October 26, 2016)
Cow-calf clinic Oct. 28 (October 26, 2016)
Cutworms on the rise in fall gardens (October 26, 2016)
Eminent domain meeting (October 26, 2016)
Late whooping crane migration expected (October 26, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (October 26, 2016)
Rookie Mayce Marek wins 2016 Texas Youth Rodeo goat tying championship (October 26, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (October 26, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (October 26, 2016)
Fruit-growers conference (October 19, 2016)
Gotthardt earns Watershed Leader award (October 19, 2016)
Hoefelmeyer joins Angus association (October 19, 2016)
Kids and Hunting (October 19, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (October 19, 2016)
Pine picks for Central Texas landscapes (October 19, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (October 19, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (October 19, 2016)
‘Cowman to Cowman’ bull, female sale Oct. 21 (October 19, 2016)
Be generous with the Romas (October 12, 2016)
Big Game Awards to kick off 26th year (October 12, 2016)
Hartmann, Tieken win with Brangus (October 12, 2016)
How times have changed: Cotton picking (October 12, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (October 12, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (October 12, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (October 12, 2016)
Wild hog cook-off, ranch rodeo Oct. 14-15 (October 12, 2016)
Attract deer year-round with food plots (October 5, 2016)
Bowhunting season is here! (October 5, 2016)
Cattlemen receive check-off update (October 5, 2016)
Consider Bowhunting (October 5, 2016)
Discolored leaves won’t damage the soil (October 5, 2016)
Farm, ranch survey assists tax data (October 5, 2016)
Go nuts over these peanut recipes! (October 5, 2016)
Hunters education class Oct. 22 (October 5, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (October 5, 2016)
Meuth, Rodenbeck attend inaugural Texas Youth Cattle Conference (October 5, 2016)
Santa Shootout fund-raiser Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
Skeet-shooting tournament is Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (October 5, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (October 5, 2016)