planting this late...

terratoma(7a)July 27, 2014

Found some great buys on butterfly weed recently. Plants are healthy and were just beginning to bloom at the nursery. I'm not interested in getting a lot of blooms during the remainder of the summer. My interest lies in the plants getting a good start in developing strong and healthy roots once they're in the ground.
Given the lateness of the season, should I hold off on fertilizing?
Also, I've heard/read that cutting the blooms and foliage back by about a third when transplanting is beneficial to the plant when planting this late in the season. True?

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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

Don't fertilize, as these plants tend to do wonderfully on just rainfall and native soil, as it is.
Cutting back a third should not harm the plant and the suggestion seems to make sense to me.
And, even while Winter sets in, some roots growth will continue until the soil is near freezing.
Another factor is how fertilizer can encourage growth that is unprepared for the rigors of Winter.
If you plant Asclepias tuberosa, the Butterfly Weed, don't be discouraged if it does not show up early next Spring and keep the area reserved for it. They are notoriously late in emerging from the ground, each Spring.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 12:45AM
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The most important thing with planting mid-season is water, not fertilizer. I have an extensive perennial garden and never fertilize anything I've planted. In healthy soil they just don't need it.

Once in the ground, the plants know what to do.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:51AM
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I wouldn't cut back if you think you can water adequately. There's no reason to....and just means less food to be stored by the plant, and an impetus to try to grow more greenery. Leave it, unless you don't think you can water to keep up with it while it's acclimating and settling in. You can remove the flowers, it will help some. It WILL need supplemental water (if you're in a drought like we are at least).

I've been watering a spring planted asclepias since May, it's not secure yet....but will not water next year. They do fine...once well and deep rooted.

This post was edited by dbarron on Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 7:01

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:00AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i increased success to near 100% when i realized that just because i buy it... does not mean its the best time to plant it ... and august is rarely the best planting time for most of us ....

and that is why i used to ended up with dozens of pots in full shade .. waiting for September planting.. when days are WARM.. rather than blistering hot.. and nights are cool.. a recovery period ...

obviously.. somewhere like the PNW.. it doesnt matter... but i really does matter in the midwest.. especially in my sand ... you dont mention where you are ...

and.. fall is root growing time .... for a lot of plants.. storing energy for next year.. so i would leave as much green on the plant as i could.. to facilitate photosynthesis ...

and one thing for absolute sure./... i would not expect.. a plant.. to look pretty for the rest of the year... that is for next year ... i would be planting a future.. not worried about how ugly it gets for the rest of this year ...

good luck


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:23AM
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Ken, you're right...for someone experienced. Asclepias tuberosa is notoriously difficult to keep in pots for amateurs...due to A) it doesn't like pots, due to root system structure B) drainage and watering issues that novices are liable to experience.

I'd think that the plants survival till fall would be positively affected by getting them in the ground, where it's much much harder to water them to death. But that's my take...and based on assumptions of course.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 12:15PM
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I would plant them and keep them shaded (perhaps with a chair) and be sure to keep the previously potted rootball watered. I'd try to avoid overwatering the surrounding soil though. I try to use a small watering can and focus in the root ball at first. Of course, you don't want the surrounding soil to totally dry out either. It is a delicate balance.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:50PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

phlowerpower, one thing that works really well is to take an empty 1/2 gallon plastic water/milk jug and punch a hole with a thumbtack about an inch from the bottom. Fill with water and set right near the base of the plant.

The water will slowly steam out from the hole and the only thing you'll be watering is the roots.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:44PM
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If plants are stocky and look healthy, they don't need cutting back when planting. There's plenty of growing season left in zone 7a and given a congenial location they have abundant time to establish before cold weather arrives.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:59PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Or if all else fails, keep it on the driveway for another two weeks, plant it out in a dry meadow area, forget to water it enough that it completely shrivels and dies, mow it down end of august cause all the grass is dead too .... And it still blooms the next year! They're tough, but if you plant now just make sure there's good contact between the roots and the new soil, even to the point where you're washing potting soil off the rootball as you fill in with garden soil.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:18PM
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I just planted several perennials out on my dry hillside. First, you need to make sure the butterfly weed is hardened off to your conditions. I had my plants in full sun for over two weeks, keeping them watered but making sure they could take the intense heat and sunlight.

I dug the holes, amending the rubbishy soil with some compost. Everything was in the ground before it got hot, around 10am here. I watered slowly and deeply for a couple of hours. I will follow up with extra water over the next week or two, gradually tapering off if all goes well. I plant only xeric plants, so they should all be adapted to dry conditions. No fertilizer, no trimming back, no shade, nothing.

Some will die, probably because of transplant shock, but that's a risk any time. Our first frost date is November, so there's plenty of time to establish decent roots.

I will be planting out for at least another two months. By end of September, that will be it. I planted into October last year which is pushing the limit. The shrubs and tree made it, but I was probably lucky we didn't have an early freeze.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:36PM
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Thanks for the watering tip a2z. I have a leaky watering can I sometimes use in that way , but hadn't thought of tying it out on milk jugs.

I just planted a few seedlings but for now I am able to check in them twice a day so I feel pretty good about keeping them watered as needed. We have been enjoying ridiculously cool weather lately too !

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:51PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

This is the time of year that Texas gardeners stop planting. Nurseries look quiet and all but the truly addicted, crazy and ignorant are at the swimming pool/lake/ riverside like smart people. I am breaking the rules this year and killing plants with abandon by sticking them out in the brutal sunshine. What is in me?! I try to do it like Jadiete suggests.(Texans go to New Mexico to cool off, so it is HOT HOT HOT here).This morning, I am now thinking of killing that black widow in the large empty large terra-cotta. It is a triple digit day today. I must be crazy. What plant should I kill today.

I did buy a Erythrina herbacea this weekend and I need to buy some expanded clay and compost to break up some "Red Death" clay on the westside of my shop. I am a little scared of putting it out there right now..Theplant is resting under an oak. The pile of pots slated for fall planting is growing in leaps and bounds.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:12AM
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I killed an Erythrina once by doing this very'll work...I can tell you.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:23AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

The other option is waiting till fall. I have killed 2 beautiful silver lavenders by doing the waiting thing. I have been doing a perfect storm of rooting and germinating so fall is busy this year.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:52AM
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Last fall for my birthday, my daughter gave me several daylilies. I very seldom plant anything this late but bulbs. thought I might overwinter them in pots, but finally decided to plant in the ground. They all lived and all bloomed but one! I'm still amazed. Especially since we had one of the coldest winters in years.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:29AM
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