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Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Instructions for the Home Gardener

Propagation by stem cuttings is the most commonly used method to propagate many woody ornamental plants. Stem cuttings of many favorite shrubs are quite easy to root. Typically, stem cuttings of tree species are more difficult to root. However, cuttings from trees such as crape myrtles, some elms, and birches can be rooted.

Plant Propagation by Layering

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Instructions for the Home Gardener

Stems that are still attached to their parent plant may form roots where they come in contact with a rooting medium. This method of vegetative propagation is generally successful, because water stress is minimized and carbohydrate and mineral nutrient levels are high. The development of roots on a stem while the stem is still attached to the parent plant is called layering. A layer is the rooted stem following detachment (removal) from the parent plant.

Plant Propagation by Leaf, Cane, and Root Cuttings

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Instructions for the Home Gardener

Some, but not all, plants can be propagated from just a leaf or a section of a leaf. Leaf cuttings of most plants will not generate a new plant; they usually produce only a few roots or just decay. Because leaf cuttings do not include an axillary bud, they can be used only for plants that are capable of forming adventitious buds. Leaf cuttings are used almost exclusively for propagating some indoor plants. There are several types of leaf cuttings.

Growing Herbs for the Home Gardener

By: Ervin Evans, Larry Bass Horticulture Information Leaflets

An herb is any plant used whole or in part as an ingredient for health, flavor, or fragrance. Herbs can be used to make teas; perk up cooked foods such as meats, vegetables, sauces, and soups; or to add flavor to vinegars, butters, dips, or mustards. Many herbs are grown for their fragrance and are used in potpourris, sachets, and nosegays; or to scent bath water, candles, oils, or perfumes. More than 25% of our modern drugs contain plant extracts as active ingredients, and researchers continue to isolate valuable new medicines from plants and confirm the benefits of those used in traditional folk medicine.

Growing Annual Flowers

By: Ervin Evans Horticulture Information Leaflets

Annual flowers offer the gardener a chance to experiment with color, height, texture, and form. Besides providing a massive display of color, annuals are useful for filling spaces where perennial flowers have died, to cover areas where spring-flowering bulbs have died back, and to fill planters, window boxes, and hanging baskets. Annual flowers bloom more quickly and for a longer period than any other group of plants. They are easy to grow, sturdy, and relatively inexpensive.

Starting Plants from Seeds

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Horticulture Information Leaflets

Growing your own transplants from seeds indoors can give you a head start on the growing season. In some cases, it may be the only way to obtain plants of a new or special cultivar (variety) that is not widely available through garden centers. To obtain vigorous plants, start with high-quality seed from a reliable source. Select cultivars which provide the plant size, color (flower, foliage, or fruit), and growth habit you want. Choose cultivars adapted to your area. Many vegetable and flower cultivars are hybrids. They may cost more than open pollinated types, but they usually have more vigor, more uniformity, and better growth than non-hybrids.

Peonies for the Home Landscape

By: Ervin Evans Horticulture Information Leaflets

Peonies are long-lived, perennial flowers that produce large flowers in the spring. Colors include black, coral, cream, crimson, pink, purple, rose, scarlet, white, and yellow. Two types of peonies are grown in North Carolina: garden peonies (Paeonia valbiflora or Paeonia officinalis) and tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa). This leaflet covers the planting, care and maintenance and potential problems associated with growing peonies in North Carolina.

Overcoming Seed Dormancy: Trees and Shrubs

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Horticulture Information Leaflets

Seed dormancy is nature's way of setting a time clock that allows seeds to initiate germination when conditions are normally favorable for germination and survival of the seedlings. For example, dogwoods produce mature seeds in the fall, but conditions are not suitable for seedling survival at that time. Thus, dogwoods have developed a mechanism that keeps the seeds dormant until spring when conditions are favorable for germination, as well as, seedling growth and survival.

Growing Perennial Flowers

By: Ervin Evans Horticulture Information Leaflets

The term perennial is frequently used by gardeners to refer to herbaceous perennial flowers. Most herbaceous perennials grow and flower for several years. Some perennials are short-lived – surviving for only three or four years. In the fall, the tops of herbaceous perennials (leaves, stems, and flowers) die down to the ground while the root system persists through the winter. In the spring, the plant grows new leaves from its crown or roots. Plants that grow from bulbs and bulb-like structures are also herbaceous perennials but are often classified separately as flowering bulbs.

A Gardener's Guide to Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs

By: Ervin Evans

This publication provides basic information on the nutrient needs of trees and shrubs, types of fertilizers to apply and recommended methods and times of application.

Bearded Iris for the Home Landscape

By: Ervin Evans Horticulture Information Leaflets

Bearded iris is a hardy, long-lived perennial that requires a minimum of maintenance. The flowers have six petals; three upright petals (called standards) and three hanging petals (called falls). A fuzzy line or beard runs down the middle of each fall. Flowers come in many colors including blue, pink, purple, reddish, white, yellow, and bi-colors. This leaflet offers some information on growing irises for the home garden.

Caladiums for the Home Landscape

By: Ervin Evans, Lucy Bradley Horticulture Information Leaflets

Caladiums are grown for their long-lasting, colorful foliage. Color combinations include various shades of red, pink, white, green, and yellow-green, with prominently colored midribs and contrasting margins. There are two basic types of caladium cultivars: fancy- and strap-leaved.

Dahlias for the Home Landscape

By: Ervin Evans Horticulture Information Leaflets

Dahlias, are a popular addition to the landscape because they have a wide height range (1 to 6 feet) and a variety of flower shapes and sizes (2 to 12 inches). Color range includes orange, pink, purple, red, scarlet, yellow, and white. Some flowers are striped or tipped with a different color. Dahlias begin blooming in early summer and continue to frost. Flower production may slow with high summer temperatures and moisture stress.

Mulching Trees and Shrubs

By: Ervin Evans Horticulture Information Leaflets

Mulching trees and shrubs is a good method to reduce landscape maintenance and keep plants healthy. Mulch helps conserve moisture - 10 to 25 percent reduction in soil moisture loss from evaporation. Mulches help keep the soil well aerated by reducing soil compaction that results when raindrops hit the soil. They also reduce water runoff and soil erosion. Mulches prevent soil and possible fungi from splashing on the foliage - thus reducing the likelihood of soil-borne diseases. They help maintain a more uniform soil temperature (warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer) and promote the growth of soil microorganisms and earth worms.

Smooth and Oakleaf Hydrangeas

By: Ervin Evans, Richard Bir Horticulture Information Leaflets

Two hydrangea species are native to the southeastern United States -- Hydrangea arborescens and Hydrangea quercifolia. Both are bold-textured, deciduous shrubs which produce small, fertile flowers. Many selections are considered more garden-worthy than the native species because they display large, sterile florets.