garden calendars

Our gardening calendars are great tools to help you know when to pot, plant, and prune your way to an even more beautiful garden.  Select a month below and enjoy.  As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

January
May
September
February
June
October
March
July
November
April
August
December

January

  • Garden Color: For cool weather color, plant cyclamen, dianthus, calendula, alyssum, pansies, violas, snapdragon, stock, and poppies.
  • Vegetables: There is still time to plant cool weather vegetables from seed, including lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, cabbage, carrots, and radishes. Start tomatoes from seed indoors.
  • Spring Planting: Prepare vegetable and flower beds for spring planting by amending soil now with Black Gold Soil Builder compost and soil sulphur.
  • Pruning: After leaves have dropped, prune deciduous trees and shrubs by cutting out (a) diseased or dead branches, (b) branches that detract from the desired shape of the plant, (c) branches that are growing inward, (d) any branches that are in your way. Always know WHY you are pruning!
  • Roses: Prune back existing roses by one half to two thirds. Water twice a week. Do not feed until February. Ask about the date of our Rose Care and Pruning Clinic.
  • Clean-up: This is a great month for clean-up of gardens and landscapes. Remove leaf and branch debris from around plants to discourage future pests and diseases, rake fallen leaves, and remove weeds.
  • Watering: Continue slow, deep, and less frequent watering of established trees and shrubs. Most established trees and shrubs will need irrigation every 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Cold Weather: Continue to cover frost sensitive plants with frost cloth on evenings when we have frost warnings. Remain vigilant about covering over the next two months, as the traditional last date for frost is March 15. (and we’ve had snow in mid April)
  • Lawns: Keep your winter lawn looking beautiful with regular applications of Four Seasons Lawn Food.
  • Weeds: Begin to control next year’s weeds with applications of Amaze preemergent granules. Consult one of our Garden Wizards for more information.
  • Native Bees: See our amazing display of Greg Corman’s Native Bee Nest Sculptures.
  • Citrus and Stone Fruits: Apply season long Fruit, Citrus & Vegetable Insect Control by Bayer Advanced. Kills insects such as thrip and prevents new infestations.

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February

  • Begin feeding established roses with El Toro Flower and Vegetable Food or Magnum Rose Food (for potted roses). Add Epsom salts. Deep water three times a week. A good selection of ready-to-plant roses are available in our Garden Center.
  • Plant cool weather annuals such as pansies, violas, snapdragons, geraniums, gerbera daisies, ranunculus, and petunias.
  • Feed established citrus with El Toro Citrus Food.
  • There is still time to plant cool weather vegetables from seed, such as carrots, peas, radishes, and spinach. Start spring vegetables, such as cucumbers, peppers, and summer squash, from seed indoors.
  • Tomato starts are available for planting this month. Be sure to cover new plants if there is a danger of frost.
  • Most established trees and shrubs should be receiving irrigation about every two weeks. Water slowly and deeply.
  • Be prepared to cover frost sensitive plants on nights when there is a frost warning.
  • Prune deciduous trees and shrubs (if not done in January) before new growth begins, while plants are still dormant.
  • Apply a pre-emergent such as Amaze by Greenlight, to prevent early spring weeds.
  • Start regular feeding of established irises with GrowMore Organic Flower & Bloom fertilizer.
  • Purchase Geraniums toward end of the month for containers. Keep in full sun until it’s really hot, then move them to a shaded area for the summer months.
  • Cut back and divide chrysanthemums. Back to Top

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March

  • Instant color from our most beautiful ever selection of Bougainvillea. Take a stroll through our “park” and enjoy the multicolored selections of this easy to grow vine or bush. Check out the Bambino selection of smaller growing Bougainvillea. Rather than worrying about it freezing consider it an annual. Get nine months of beauty for as little as ten cents a day!
  • Garden Color: Annuals and perennials for spring and summer color are now available. For sunny areas select from petunias, pansies geraniums, gerbera daisies, marigolds, alyssum, lobelia, snapdragons, verbena, stock, nasturtium, dianthus, scabiosa, salvia (many varieties), gazania, ageratum, and hollyhocks. Begonias, dahlias, and caladium are nice alternatives for shady areas.
  • Not just your old fashioned Petunia: New and better petunia hybrids come out every year. New names, new colors, new growing habits. We’ll be happy to show them to you.
  • Vegetables: Plant tomato, pepper, and eggplant starts. Plant seeds of squash, melons, cucumbers, and watermelon.
  • Grafted Tomatoes: You won’t want to miss out on the new Grafted Tomatoes that promise more fruit and longer harvest season (not here yet, but soon). Call for availability.
  • Herbs: Plant cilantro and parsley for early harvest, before the summer heat arrives. Basil, chive, oregano, sage, and thyme may be planted this month.
  • Citrus: Select from our Patio Perfect Dwarf Citrus (arrival within the next two weeks), keeping in mind that there is still a possibility of frost during the first half of the month, so be prepared to cover in the event that temperatures dip into the 30’s.
  • Irrigation: Closely monitor irrigation of established trees and shrubs. Be prepared to increase frequency of irrigation as temperatures warm up. Continue to water slowly and deeply.
  • Pruning: Evergreen trees and shrubs can now be pruned. Be sure to remove all clippings, and water deeply after pruning. Do not prune frost damage from frost tender plants until new growth appears.
  • Weed Control: Apply a pre-emergent such as Amaze by Greenlight if you did not do so last month. This will help prevent weeds from popping up. As weeds do emerge spray with Hi-Yield Killz-All.
  • Roses: Feed established roses with El Toro Flower and Vegetable Food or Magnum Rose Food (for potted roses). Add Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulfate). Spray young buds with a systemic insecticide such as Bonide Systemic Insecticide to prevent thrips and aphids. Deep water three times a week.

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April

  • Garden Wizards: Our staff of Garden Wizards is always here to help you be more successful.
  • Annuals in Bloom: Plant spring and summer blooming annuals such as geraniums, gerbera daisies, marigolds, petunias, carnations, cosmos, lobelia, alyssum, million bells, verbena and periwinkle.
  • Citrus: This is a great month to plant citrus.
  • Blooming Perennials: Plant spring blooming perennials such as African daisies (osteospermum), Buddleia davidii (butterfly bush), gallardia, guara, delphinium, and lavender.
  • Tomatoes: Ask about new grafted tomatoes for a longer harvest.
  • Frost Sensitive Plants: Great time to select and enjoy plants such as bougainvillea, lantana, and hibiscus.
  • Pruning: Prune frost damage from plants once new growth appears.
  • Leaves Dropping: It is normal for evergreen trees and shrubs to drop older yellow foliage in preparation for new spring growth.
  • Irrigation: Established trees and shrubs may need weekly irrigation by the end of the month. Water thoroughly and deeply.
  • Plants in Pots:  May need daily watering as temperatures warm up.
  • Yellow Leaves: Iron chlorosis may be detected on plants such as citrus, roses, and gardenias. Foliage will appear yellow with bright green veins. Treat affected plants with chelated iron. Bring in a sample for accurate diagnosis.
  • Garden Insects: Keep an eye out for aphids and spider mites. Try washing them off with a heavy blast of water. If this fails consult one of our Garden Wizards.
  • Grow your own food from our healthy selection:
  • *Apples, Peaches and Plums
  • *Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Limes and Kumquats
  • *Table Grapes – red and white seedless
  • *Pomegranates
  • *Figs – Mission, Black Jack and Brown Turkey
  • *Artichokes, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Squash, Peppers, Cantaloupe and Strawberries
  • *Tomatoes – Heirloom, Grafted and Traditional
  • *Herbs – Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and more

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May

  • Roses: Feed established roses with El Toro Flower and Vegetable Food or Magnum Rose Food (for potted roses). Add Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Increase deep watering to every other day. Mulch your roses to help retain moisture.
  • Summer Annuals: Plant summer annuals such as calibrachoa, celosia, cosmos, golden fleece, marigolds, nierembergia, Wave and Fantasy petunias, periwinkle, and sweet potato vine. For shady areas, plant begonias, caladium, dahlias, impatiens, and pink splash.
  • Summer Veggies: Plant summer vegetables such as peppers, watermelon, eggplant, and squash. Try one of the new grafted tomatoes which seem to do well during our summer heat.
  • Summer Perennials: This is a great month to plant native and desert adapted perennials.
  • Flowering Cactus: Many cactus are flowering right now. In the nursery, the Trichocereus are in full bloom. Come in and enjoy their beauty. This is also an excellent time to select and plant new cactus.
  • Citrus: Citrus fruit drop is normal this month, as it is nature’s way of removing excess fruit that the tree cannot handle. There is no reason for concern if you are watering properly. Fruit that reach the size of a quarter generally stay on the tree.
  • Citrus: Still time to feed established citrus (generally recommended on or about Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day) with El Toro Citrus Food of Growmore Organic Citrus and Avocado.
  • Leaf Cutter Bees: Evidence of leaf cutter bees will appear on the new growth of plants such as bougainvillea and roses. You will notice perfect semi-circles cut out of the foliage. The insect uses the new foliage for nest making material, and does not actually ingest any portion of the plant, so it does not make sense to spray the plant with insecticide. The affected plant may look unsightly for awhile, but no permanent damage will be done.
  • Irrigation: You will probably need to increase the frequency of irrigation on established trees and shrubs to about once a week. Continue to water slowly and deeply
  • What to watch for: Spider mites (looks like dust of leaves of your plants); bee swarms; caterpillars on grapes and Texas Mountain Laurel.
  • Agaves are highly susceptible to the agave snout-nosed weevil that hides inside the stems and chews away at the soft tissue. Treat now with Monterrey Once-A-Year Insect Control.

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June

  • Water, Water, Water: June is the toughest month of the year with its scorching heat and lack of humidity. Some plants seem to just want to dry up and blow away. So this is a month to carefully monitor your plants.  Check them in the morning and again in the evening.
  • Wilt: Plants must have enough water but not too much. Most plants will need more water than in May. Plants wilting in the morning (as opposed to the afternoon) need more water. When plants wilt in the afternoon it often means, not that more water is needed, but that the roots are simply unable to take up enough water to cool the leaves. So if your wilted plants are no longer wilting by the morning your watering schedule is probably OK.
  • Best Summer Color: Year in and year out customers purchase more Periwinkle (Vinca) than any other flower. Why? Because it takes the heat, keeps its shiny green leaves and blooms non-stop. Some people are bored using the same flower every year but there’s a reason it is the top seller every year. Each year there are new colors and varieties. The most popular addition being the trailing Periwinkle that acts like a ground cover and is great for pots.
  • Shade Annuals: Enjoy begonias, caladium, dahlias, impatiens, and pink splash.
  • Seed Gardening: Still time to sow seeds for your color garden (Cosmos, Sunflowers, Tithonia, Zinnias), and food garden (Cucumber, Eggplant, Pumpkin, Squash, Watermelon).
  • Herbs: Plant summer herbs (Basil, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme).
  • Plant Something: Trees, shrubs and vines planted now need some extra attention, but will benefit from a full summer of growth and root development.
  • Pruning: Prune out dead branches, or branches that compromise the growth or shape of trees or shrubs, but avoid any severe pruning at this time.
  • Cacti: Water established non-native cacti once a week. Established native cactus such as prickly pear and ocotillo should be watered at least once a month (saguaro cactus should not need any supplemental water, unless recently planted). Container cacti may need watering up to twice a week.
  • Roses: Feed established roses at half strength. Add Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) at half strength. Increase deep watering to every day. Mulch your roses to help retain moisture. Apply chelated iron to roses exhibiting an iron deficiency (yellow leaves with bright green veins). Keep an eye out for spider mites. Distorted buds are a sign of thrip damage. It is important to treat buds at a very early stage, before the damage is visible. Consult one of our Garden Wizards for more information.
  • Lawns: Feed regularly. Mow slightly on the high side so the grass blades shade each other.

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July

After the hot, dry June days the monsoon of July is so welcome, especially by the plants. You will notice that all your plants almost over night begin to look better. The slightly cooler temperatures along with the humidity do wonders.

What to Plant:

  • Summer annuals such as Summer Snapdragon (Angelonia), Aloha Soft Pink Calibrachoa (Million Bells), Celosia (Cockscomb), Blue Lisa Lisianthus, trailing and upright Vince (Periwinkle), Graffiti Rose Pentas, Victoria Blue Salvia and Zinnias. For shady spots, try planting Begonias, Impatiens, Pink Splash, or Coleus.
  • Desert adaptedsummer blooming shrubs including Penstemon Diablo, Summertime Blue Emu Bush, Sierra Red Firecracker Bush, Purple Mexican Petunia, Red and Yellow Bird of Paradise, Lantana Confetti, New Gold and Teenie Genie, St. Elmo’s Red Coral Fountain, and Tecoma Yellow Bells, Solar Flare and Apricot.
  • Most herbs can be planted now, but avoid planting cilantro and parsley, which will bolt in the heat.
  • There is still time to plant summer vegetables such as cucumbers, melons, and squash. Plant peppers now for a fall crop.

 

Roses:

  • Feed established roses with El Toro Flower and Vegetable Food or Magnum Rose Food (for potted roses) at half strength. Add Epsom salts at half strength. Keep faded blooms pruned. Remember that roses need ample irrigation. Deep water every day throughout the hot summer months.

 

Irrigation:

  • Adequate irrigation is extremely important during the hot summer months. The key to proper irrigation is the slow deep soaking of the entire root area of the tree or shrub. Most established trees and shrubs will need weekly irrigation.

 

Watch for….

  • The onset of monsoonal rains will bring more weeds. Consider using a pre-emergent such as Amaze by Greenlight to prevent weeds before they appear.
  • If you are already seeing signs of weeds, spray with an appropriate weed killer such as Kill-Zall by Hi-Yield or Weed-Out with Q by Fertilome, while weeds are still small. Consult one our Garden Wizards for the most appropriate weed killer or pre-emergent for your situation.
  • Watch for cochineal scale on prickly pear cactus, which will appear as fluffy white blobs. Try spraying the affected cacti with hard blasts of water. If this is unsuccessful, treat with Sevin Insecticide.
  • Palo verde beetles emerge from the ground, creating holes around palo verde trees. Treat with Bonide Systemic Insecticide, Monterey Once a Year Insect Control, or Sevin granules. Consult one of our Garden Wizards for the treatment most appropriate to meet your needs.

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August

  • Roses: Feed established roses with El Toro Flower and Vegetable Food or Magnum Rose Food (for potted roses) at half strength. Add Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulfate) at half strength. Continue to deep water every day. Keep faded blooms pruned. Selective pruning of unwanted or dead branches is o.k.
  • Instant Color: Continue to plant summer annuals, especially for instant color and for containers. Popular varieties include celosia, cosmos, lisianthus, periwinkle, salvia, and zinnias.
  • Fruit: Still time to plant Anna and Fuji Apples, Wonderful Pomegranates, Citrus, Santa Rosa Plums, Dwarf Bonanza Peaches, Green and Red Grapes.
  • Vegetables: Prepare vegetable gardens for the fall planting season. Even though we are between seasons, August is a great time to beef up your garden with Black Gold Soil Builder and soil sulphur.
  • Citrus: Feed established citrus with El Toro Citrus Food.
  • Watering: Generally monsoon rains are not a substitute for your regular summer watering schedule. Continue to water established trees and shrubs about once a week. Water slowly and deeply, allowing water to penetrate to the entire root system of your plants.
  • Palms: This is a great month for planting palms, which thrive in our hot climate. The most popular palm is the Mediterranean Fan Palm. The Mexican Blue Palm (Brahea armata) provides a striking contrast to all your green plants.  Also available now is the Mediterranean Fan Palm cerifera with silver-blue foliage.
  • White grubs are often present in the garden at this time of year. They feed on the roots of plants. If you have a plant that is suddenly dying without any apparent explanation, grubs could be the culprit. You can treat for grubs with the insecticide Sevin. For non-edible ornamental plants, you may consider using a systemic such as Bayer Season Long Grub Control.
  • Weeds: Summer rains will bring another crop of weeds. If you pick them by hand be sure and remove the roots. If you leave the roots on perennial weeds, it’s just like you’re pruning them and they will come back with a vengeance. The easy way is to spray with a systemic weed killer such as Killz-All by High Yield. Consult one of our Garden Wizards for the most appropriate weed killer for your situation.

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September

September is a transitional month. Will it rain or not? Will it be hot or cool? Either way, there are important things you can do this month to beautify and enhance your garden and landscape.

  • Plant cool weather annuals towards the end of the month. Good early season annuals include calendula, dianthus, petunias, snapdragon, and stock.
  • DO NOT consider planting pansies until your are sure cooler weather is here to stay, often October 15th or later.
  • DO NOT depend on September rains to adequately water your plants.
  • Split citrus fruit can attract vinegar beetles. Remove and discard all damaged fruit.
  • Before you over seed your summer lawn wait until daytime temperatures are in the low 90s and nighttime temperatures are in the 60s.
  • This is a good time to give your summer lawn a last feeding.
  • All your plants want to grow as temperatures cool down so give them a last shot of fertilizer.
  • Cool season vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, radishes, and spinach, may be planted at the end of the month.
  • Sweet Peas are slow growers so this is a good time to get them started from seed.
  • Citrus foliage may look yellow and/or sunburned after the hot summer, but new growth should be healthy. Water every 7-10 days, along with your other established trees and shrubs, until temperatures begin to cool down. Water slowly and deeply, allowing water to penetrate to the entire root system of your plants.
  • Bulbs are becoming available for fall planting. Watch for anemone, bearded iris, daffodils, Dutch iris, hyacinths (pre-chilled), paperwhites, ranunculus, and tulips (need to be chilled 4-6 weeks).When shopping for bulbs, select ones that are of good size, with no soft spots. If you are not planting right away, be sure to store your bulbs in paper bags in a cool, dry area.
  • Divide iris that have been in the ground two years or longer. Foliage of iris not being divided should be cut back to a 6” fan shape.
  • The agave snout-nosed weevil may invade your agaves as the weather cools. Consult our Garden Wizards about preventive measures.
  • Encourage new flowers on your Mexican Bird of Paradise by removing the seed pods.
  • This is the last month to feed your roses (for the remainder of the year) with El Toro Flower and Vegetable Food or Magnum Rose Food (for container grown roses). Feed at full strength. Add Epsom salts at full strength. Continue to water daily. Lightly prune around the 15th.

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October

October is one of the great gardening months of the year. The days become cooler and lower nighttime temperatures bring plants welcome relief from the summer heat. Trees and shrubs offer up fresh growth and the whole landscape suddenly seems alive again!

What to Plant:

  • Cool weather annuals such as alyssum, dianthus, lobelia, petunias, snapdragon, stock, and violas. As it continues to cool down, look for geraniums, pansies, and primrose.
  • Annuals and veggies require a rich soil with high fertility. Always best to add new soil/compost with each new planting season. Consider incorporating some slow release fertilizer into the soil at time of planting.
  • Cool weather vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, and spinach.
  • A wide variety of cool weather vegetables are available and easily grown from seed, including lettuce, mesclun, radishes, peas, and Swiss chard.
  • Cool season herbs.
  • Sweet Pea seeds.
  • Wildflower seeds for spring bloom. African daisies, blue bells, California or Mexican poppies, desert lupine, gaillardia, and penstemon are all good choices for planting now. We also carry some great wildflower seed mixes suitable for planting this month.
  • Trees and shrubs not sensitive to frost. The winter months will allow for the development of a good root system, supporting new spring growth.

 

Be prepared….

  • Begin to decrease the frequency of irrigation on established trees and shrubs. By the end of the month, you may be down to an irrigation schedule of once every 3-4 weeks.
  • Be especially attentive to frost sensitive plants such as Citrus, Hibiscus, and Bougainvillea. Water less frequently. This will harden-off these plants so less damage may occur when freezing weather hits.
  • Do not feed roses. Deep water every other day. Your rose bushes should continue to bloom until the first heavy frost.
  • Light pruning is ok during October but avoid any heavy pruning (wait until late January).
  • Winter Lawns. Best time to plant is when nighttime temperatures are in the 60s and daytime temperatures are 90 degrees or less.
  • Plan ahead and get your frost cloth now!

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November

  • Time to harden off your plants for winter by reducing how often you water. Water deeply but less frequently.
  • A wide variety of cool weather annuals will be available for winter color, including alyssum, cyclamen, geraniums, lobelia, pansies, snapdragon, stock, and violas.
  • Plant cool weather vegetable starts such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, and Swiss chard. Most cool weather vegetables can still be planted from seed.
  • This is a good time to plant trees and shrubs not sensitive to frost. Roots will grow underground giving you a head start on spring
  • Established trees and shrubs will need a deep irrigation once every three to four weeks.
  • Avoid heavy pruning of deciduous trees and shrubs. Some selective pruning is o.k. Heavy pruning should be done the latter part of January.
  • The first frost usually occurs this month. Be prepared to cover your frost sensitive plants with Easy Gardener frost cloth, which can be left on your plants for two or three days without causing damage.
  • Indoor plants purchased within the last six months may need to be repositioned as sun exposure changes with the season.
  • Do not feed roses. Water three times a week until Thanksgiving. Gradually cut back irrigation after that point.

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December

  • Select Poinsettias, Christmas Cactus, and Amaryllis as gifts or for your home.
  • A good selection of cool weather annuals will continue to be available for immediate and late winter/spring color, including petunias and petunia hybrids, alyssum, cyclamen, geraniums, lobelia, pansies, snapdragons, stock, violas, calendulas, dianthus, Iceland poppies, primrose, venidium, gazania and linaria.
  • RELY ON PANSIES, VIOLAS, AND CYCLAMEN FOR COLOR IN THE DEAD OF WINTER.
  • Healthy cool season vegetables are available in 4″ pots.
  • Still time to plant carrots, lettuce, peas, radishes, and spinach from seed.
  • Established cool weather herbs such as mint, parsley, rosemary, and thyme are available in 4″ pots.
  • Irrigate established trees and shrubs about every three to four weeks.
  • Pruning makes a plant want to put out new growth. Avoid pruning now as any new growth is more susceptible to damage from the cold. In addition, foliage left on the plant can provide some protection from frost.
  • Deciduous trees and shrubs (plants that lose their leaves in winter) are best pruned the middle to end of January.
  • Evergreen trees and shrubs should be pruned when danger of frost has passed, often late February into March and April.
  • THE AVERAGE DATE OF THE LAST KILLING FROST IS ABOUT MARCH 15.
  • Have Frost Cloth handy and be prepared to cover frost sensitive plants on evenings when we have frost warnings. Our Frost Cloth is white and light weight, and can be left on a plant for many days.
  • Harvest grapefruit this month. Begin testing for flavor at the beginning of the month. Fruit left on the tree will continue to ripen. Most grapefruit should be ready for harvest by Christmas.
  • Do not feed roses. Continue to cut back on watering. You should be down to a once a week schedule by the end of the month.

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