Jane's Garden 5/4/14: Have flowers blooming every day of the year

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Each year has 12 months, 52 weeks and 365 days. Daylily, Hemerocallis, flowers each last for one day. Daylily plants may have several flowers open on each stem and continue producing flowering stems for three to four weeks from April to May locally. Some selected cultivars are repeat-blooming, such as ‘Yangsy,’ ‘Butterflake,’ and ‘Double Talk.’ Cut off the dying flower stalks and, after a rest, cultivated daylilies will re-bloom.


Most flowering plants bloom for several weeks during their season, then set seeds which will produce future generations of the species. As pollen may have come from a different plant of the same species, the seedling plant may have slightly different characteristics from the parents. Hybrids and cross-bred plants are often sterile.

For example, the annual pink phlox that bloomed along roadsides, in un-mowed fields and moist ditches got pollinated and made seeds from March through April. By hot May, these plants stop flowering, die off and drop their seeds. Wind, birds, animals and lawnmowers help disperse the seeds. The seeds lie dormant through the hot, wet Florida summer. The cold winter prevents germination, but gets phlox seeds ready to germinate.

In February, the seeds get wet with morning fog, dew and occasional showers. As soil warms, the seeds sprout. Within weeks, pretty flowers grace the roadsides and meadows. As long as the site is not mowed before the seed mature, the annual display will continue every spring.

Plants produced from cuttings, divisions, layering, and offsets from bulbs and roots are identical to the parent. The lovely Tasmanian Flax Lily, Dianella tasmanica, with striking, variegated strap-like leaves, becomes a wide clump after several years. The leaves grow less than 30 inches tall. Thin stems arching above the leaves have tiny blue flowers from spring to summer. They are not flashy or large. The variegated, cultivated variety grows offsets fairly quickly. No gardeners grow flax lily from seeds.

To divide flax lily, dig straight down 8 to 12 inches from the base so as not to sever roots. Then lever up the whole clump. Gently shake off the soil, tease the roots apart and snap off to separate individual plantlet bibs.

Immediately plant a group of three to five plantlets in well-drained, humus-rich soil. Do not let roots dry. Let flax lily grow into a large, beautiful garden plant.

Each month, some plant or another blooms. Flowering spans four to eight weeks for most plants. Wise gardeners choose species so there will be something in flower every month: Red Maple, a Camellia and Carolina Jessamine for January; plums, redbud, azaleas and Florida Violets for February; dogwood, Walter’s Viburnum, spiderwort, rain lilies and coral honeysuckle for March; red buckeye, fringe tree, Amaryllis bulbs, coral bean, daylily and Indian Hawthorn for April; tuliptree, gladiolus, roses and repeat-blooming azaleas in May; then magnolias, roses, crape myrtles and oakleaf hydrangeas in June.

Gardeners research to find which plants flower and when they bloom in their garden location and climate zone. Choosing a tree, shrub, vine, herbaceous plant and wildflower for each month will produce flowers at varying heights, with different sizes, shapes and colors. Selecting a wide variety of flowering plants provides nectar, pollen, fruit and seed for wildlife that must coexist with dominant humans.

Insects such as butterflies and bees, reptiles and amphibians such as turtles, lizards and snakes, mammals such as squirrels, possum, deer, foxes, and moles, and birds such as cardinals, bluebirds and hummingbirds will live in gardens if the necessary shelter, food, water, nest sites, nest material and habitat are provided or left intact for them to survive and proliferate.

Gardeners love to grow flowers. Choose wisely to have something in bloom every day of the year.


Jane Weber is a professional gardener and consultant. Semi-retired, she grows thousands of native plants. Visitors are welcome to her Dunnellon, Marion County, garden. For an appointment, call 352-249-6899 or contact JWeber12385@gmail.com.