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Small Bites: Cactus Containers & Art of Bonsai

air date: April 29, 2017

Cactus plants are clever, intricate, and fascinating succulents. Darrell Dunten from Living Desert Ranch makes it easy to grow them, even in containers. On tour with the Austin Bonsai Society and Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, discover the ancient art of bonsai and how to care for your own miniature living story. When should we divide our spring-blooming iris? Daphne explains when and why. Love silver leaves, drought tough plants, and pretty color to attract you and bees all spring and summer? Check out native globe mallow, our Plant of the Week. Did you know that many native plants have beneficial, herbal properties? Herbalist Ellen Zimmermann joins Trisha to show how native plants contribute to our health.


Question of the Week

When divide iris?

When should we divide iris? Irises are such easy-going plants that offer structural, drought-tolerant interest all year. So, we can get complacent about these maintenance-free rhizomes until we miss their annual blooms. Overcrowding is a good indicator that it’s time to divide.

Generally, we know to divide plants after they bloom, but what if they don’t bloom?

There are many different types of iris, and each has a slightly different ideal window to divide and transplant, so the first item of business would be to find out which kind you have. German iris (bearded iris) prefer later summer/fall, but Siberian iris prefer spring. Spuria iris are very tolerant. Divide after blooming or when they emerge in late fall.

If you don’t know, go ahead and divide them when you notice that they need it. Iris are fairly forgiving, just make sure that you let them dry and heal quite a bit before replanting.

And if divided in the fall, when we may get cold, rainy weather, consider planting in containers, where you can control the amount of water they get much more easily, and replanting in spring.

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Plant of the Week

Globe Mallow

Globe Mallow

Sphaeralcea ambigua

Native globe mallow is an easy-care, extremely drought-tolerant perennial. Silvery-gray leaves really pop against tiny flowers that range from orange to apricot pink to attract bees and butterflies from late spring to frost. Getting about two feet tall and wide, but perhaps a foot or so larger in ideal conditions, globe mallow thrives in sunny, well-drained areas where it doesn’t get too much water. It can take light shade. Do water in the hottest, driest time of summer. It’s best to avoid mulching with wood near its base. Winter hardy in Central Texas, it benefits from shearing back when temps warm up in spring for a more robust, bushier plant. Sadly, not deer resistant!