Care Of Japanese Blood Grass: Tips For Growing Japanese Blood Grasses
The purpose of this post is to provide some tips for growing japanese bloodgrass. These are just suggestions; they are not rules or regulations. You may grow any plant that grows well in your area, but please do not confuse them with official recommendations from the USDA or other government agencies.
Japonica seeds are available at most garden centers. They have been known to sell them for less than $1 each. If you want to buy seed, try calling the store first so that they will order it directly from Japan.
Some stores even ship seeds. Japonica seeds can be planted in spring or summer, depending on the climate where you live. Planting in spring means that the seeds germinate faster, so you’ll get new plants sooner. Plants grown in summer are bigger and produce more leaves, which makes them better suited for containers.
If you don’t have time to wait until next year to harvest your japonica seeds, then you can sow them now. Sow them in a mixture of peat moss (or vermiculite) and perlite. Use small containers (like plastic cups) and place three tablespoons of the mixture in each one.
Press down firmly to ensure that there are no air pockets in the container. Place the containers in a warm place (like on top of your refrigerator) and keep them watered constantly. Germination should occur within 2 weeks. Transplant the seedlings outside when they have at least two sets of leaves.
Check the moisture content of your soil every day. You may water them every day if they seem dry or wait until they seem excessively dry before you water them. You may even push your finger into the soil.
If it feels dry more than an inch below the surface, then it’s time to water them. Add a slow-release fertilizer once a month. Spread it evenly over the soil surface and water it carefully so that it will be absorbed by the plants’ roots.
Give your plants at least 4 hours of sunlight every day. They won’t grow as well if they don’t receive enough sun. If you want to take them inside, then place them in a south-facing window.
You can also use grow lights.
Pinch off any growing tips (closest to the base of the stem) once plants have at least 3 sets of leaves. This forces the plant to branch out and results in a fuller plant.
Japonica leaves can be harvested any time after the plant has grown enough to produce at least six fully-formed leaves. Cut off the entire leaf at the base. Use clippers for large leaves and scissors for small leaves.
CUT YOUR LOSSES: If insects, slugs or other pests are decimating your plants, then cut your losses and start over again with new plants. There’s no sense in throwing good money after bad.
WATER YOUR PLANTS: If you wait until your japonica plants are severely wilted, with drooping leaves, then you’ve waited too long. They should be watered whenever the soil is dry an inch or so below the surface.
ADD WEEDS: If japonica plants are growing in a shady spot and seem to have a hard time competing with weeds, then add a 2-inch layer of shredded wood mulch around their base. This will cut down on the weeds and keep moisture in the soil around the plants.
LOOK OUT FOR THE RATS: Rats love to eat young japonica plants. If they are living in your yard, then wrap the base of the plant stem with hardware cloth (the kind with 1/2-inch squares). You can also use chicken wire or screen.
Remember to remove the wrap once the plant is securely rooted in the ground so that it can grow unhindered.
ADD A LITTLE FERTILIZER: If your japonica plants seem to be producing more leaves than blooms, feed them a little nitrogen. Any garden center or nursery should carry a fast-acting nitro-enhancer. Follow the directions on the package for details.
PESTS AND DISEASES: Japonica plants are fairly pest and disease-proof as far as perennials are concerned.
If you’re having a problem with slugs or snails, then spread a band of diatomaceous earth (sold in garden centers) around the perimeter of your garden. The sharp edges of the diatomaceous earth will cut the soft undersides of the pests and they’ll die soon afterwards.
If you’re having a problem with aphids or other types of insects, then spray your plants with a little alcohol mixed with water. This will kill most types of garden pests.
HARVESTING: Japonica plants will produce blooms the first year, but if you want a bigger bloom the next year, then you must remove spent flowers as soon as they wither. This encourages the plant to put its energy into producing a heavy bloom for next year’s show.
Once all the petals have fallen from the bloom, cut the stem at the base of the plant. Use clippers for large stems and scissors for small stems.
Place harvested plants in a bucket of water as you cut them. This will keep the blossoms fresh until you’re ready to use them.
JAPONICA VARIETIES: There are dozens of varieties of japonica. Some popular ones include:
ALBA: This white variety blooms very heavily and has a very pleasant scent.
BLACK SABBATH: This variety has dark black petals with dark maroon accents. The petals have a fine, velvety texture. It grows to be about 3 feet across.
CAMBRIDGE BLUE: This is a very popular variety that has a light, airy blue color with darker blue accents.
KESSEL WRAPPED: This variety has a pale lavender color and grows to be about 4 or 5 feet in diameter.
RUBRUM: This is a very popular deep red variety with maroon accents along the petals. It is one of the largest varieties, growing to be about 5 or 6 feet across.
ZUCCOLO: The petals of this variety have a fine texture and are shaped like little boats. It has a light pink color with white accents at the base of each petal.
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DAHLIAS ARE ONE OF THOSE EXOTIC, glamorous flowers that most people only see at weddings or special occasions. However, these beautiful plants are actually relatively easy to grow in your own backyard. They have huge petals that come in a variety of colors and shades.
If you’re interested in growing dahlias, then all you need is a little patience and follow these simple steps.
SIZE AND LOCATION: Dahlias are usually grown on a thick, sturdy stalk. The base of the plant will grow to be between 12 and 15 inches in diameter (depending on the variety). Therefore, it is best to plant them in a garden at least 18 inches across.
To achieve maximum size and bloom quantity, dahlias need full sun. They also do well in soil that has good drainage. If you have overly soggy or sandy soil, then amend it with organic material before planting.
PLANTING: The dahlia tuber should be planted about 4 inches below the ground. If the plant is growing in a container, you can break up the container and add it to the soil. Add a 2-inch layer of mulch (such as grass clippings or compost) around the base of the plant.
WATERING: Dahlias need a lot of water, so be prepared to invest in a good, deep irrigation system. Check the soil every other day and add water whenever it feels a little dry more than an inch below the surface. If you’re adding water by hand, use a soaker hose or drip system.
You can also mulch around the base of the plant to prevent water from evaporating and add nutrients to the soil. Just be sure to add a liquid fertilizer every two weeks.
The first three months after planting, you should fertilize the soil with half-strength fertilizer. After that, you can switch to a low-nitrogen fertilizer.
PESTS AND DISEASES: Dahlias are fairly sturdy plants and aren’t usually bothered by common garden pests and diseases. However, you can use organic pest control or plant garlic around the base of the plant to ward off bugs. If your dahlia gets a disease, you can treat it with fungicide.
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When to Plant Outside
The best time of year to plant your dahlia tubers is between October and November. If you live in a warmer climate and have the option to plant in the fall or the spring, then fall is definitely best.
Plant your tubers about 4 inches below the surface and mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture and keep weeds away.
Water your new dahlia every few days until you see signs of growth. Make sure the soil stays moist but not soggy. You can water it with a soaker hose or a watering can.
Fertilize your dahlia every two weeks with a soluble, balanced fertilizer.
Tend to your dahlia regularly and it will grow into a beautiful, tall bloom for you to enjoy.
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Dahlia Growing Tips
So you want to grow dahlias but aren’t sure where to get tubers?
There are several ways. You can either buy them online or from a local store, you can ask someone if they have extra or you can buy different varieties and try growing them from seed. Whichever way you choose, the key to growing beautiful dahlias is to start with healthy tubers.
Tubers can be purchased from a local nursery or seed supplier, or you can receive them from another dahlia lover. Before using someone else’s dahlia tubers, be sure that they aren’t infected with any disease or harmful bacteria. For this reason, it’s usually best to start with your own tubers.
Choose a sunny location in your yard and prepare the soil in the spring.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Effect of drought stress on withered leaf rate and physiological indices of four ornamental grasses. by J Greenlee – 1992 – Rodale Press
Ornamental landscape performance of native and nonnative grasses under low-input conditions by XL Li, KQ Liu, ZM Yang, LZ Li, ZY Bu, JY Deng… – Acta Agrestia …, 2012 – cabdirect.org
Blood biochemical values in Japanese Black breeding cows in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan by M Thetford, JG Norcini, B Ballard, JH Aldrich – HortTechnology, 2009 – journals.ashs.org
Ornamental grasses in the landscape, A guide for the Intermountain West by K Otomaru, H Shiga, J Kanome… – Journal of Veterinary …, 2015 – jstage.jst.go.jp
Cogongrass in the United States: history, ecology, impacts, and management by JD Gunnell, JL Goodspeed, RM Anderson – 2015 – digitalcommons.usu.edu
Taylor’s Guide to Ornamental Grasses by H Dozier, JF Gaffney, SK McDonald, ERRL Johnson… – Weed Technology, 1998 – JSTOR