Return to the Alabama Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Posted by thasser Gulf Coast (My Page) on
Mon, May 20, 13 at 9:57

Hi Everyone,

I have been doing some research and it seems like this is one of the top gardening/horticulture sites on the web. Being from the great state of Alabama I know many friends who went to Auburn (we can't all be perfect :)) who have told me some information about my back yard but I NEED MAJOR HELP.

My Story in a nutshell:
I graduated Engineering from UA and moved back to the coast, where my heart is, to pursue a career. I got married and bought a house (no kids but two big dogs) and this is what I have inherited.

The previous home owner took great pride in his gardening but for the last 12 years of his life he left the yard to grow wild having higher priorities. I found about 2-300 pictures of the yard in its former glory, and man, it looked good. I am set on restoring this to its former beauty and then some!

So far from this last blooming period, I saw 3, maybe 4 different types of azaleas. I know I have Camellias, Gardenias, Azaleas, some odd type of exotic looking flower and a Fig Tree, that I know of. The problem is, these plants look more like a tree than a bush (minus the exotic). So, here is where I am going to start (And if you are still reading thank you!):

Question 1) I have no idea what this flower in the attached picture is, anybody?
Question 2) When can I trim these plants mentioned above out? Azalea & Camelia mainly, the gardenia plants were actually "rescued" by me, they were about dead when I moved in.

And yes, that is an azalea behind these mystery plants.

This post was edited by thasser on Mon, May 20, 13 at 10:41


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Another Shot of the red "mystery" flower.


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

From looking at the seed pod, it appears to be a Canna Lily. Full sun plant. Comes in Roll Tide Red.


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

And here is their yellow cousin. (1/2)


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Yellow Cousin #2/2


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

And lastly the stock/flower developing. Thanks for the quick reply already @bulzi, the Crimson color is always a plus! RTR!

This post was edited by thasser on Mon, May 20, 13 at 11:50


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Camellias, azaleas, gardenias and figs all get big. :) If they are too big for their spot, you will have to decide if you want to cut back hard and train them small or pull them out and plant something else.

I suggest you go to the ACES site and download the gardening calendar to figure out the best times to prune everything in your area. The Mobile Botanical Garden probably has a gardening calendar as well.

Keep posting mystery photos!


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

So the balls forming off of the stock are actually seeds? Can I replant them or should I prune them? And my next mystery plant may be a bit more difficult!


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

@alabamanichole I really like the azaleas, camelias, and fig trees so I will most likely keep them. By cut back hard do you mean basically cutting/sawing them back down to the size I want them and wait til next spring for them to start growing leaves again?

The gardenias are like children again, out of 3, 2 had no leaves and 1 was in bad shape (They had been growing in pots for a LONG time, 6+ years). The one still holding on to it's leaves was transplanted around March and 1 of the 2 bare ones died, the other being covered in green now and ready to go back into the ground! Is it too late to move it into the ground? I have had the pot it is growing in the the same spot I will be planting it or the last week... Thanks for the help guys!

p.s. Next mystery flower/odd bushy plant should be up by 1/1:30!


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

You probably don't want to cut azaleas back to the ground, but if they are reasonably healthy they'll survive even that. What you probably want to do it called rejuvenation pruning, and that's generally done after blooming is finished so they have time to recover before cold weather sets in.

I'll have to let someone else answer about camellias.

I would not cut back figs that hard. They like to be cut back about 25% each year, but are fine if you don't as you can probably tell! They also root like crazy and grow fast when happy. So your best approach depends on how big it is now and how big you want it to be. If you want it do be a LOT smaller, you might be better off pulling it out and rooting a new one. If you just want to clean it up and it's large and mature, I would read up on fig pruning. They are forgiving but you want to be sure you are setting them up to grow the way you way, which is open in the middle and with the main trunks laying down on the ground or nearly so and curving upward.

Realistically, you can't keep a healthy fig under more than about 12' unless you bonsai it in a pot. (If you do cut it back, consider gifting other gardeners with cuttings to start their own fruit trees.)

Gardenias planted now will need TLC all year, but they will if you leave them in pots, too... so take your pick. If they are in really bad shape, they just may not be worth saving versus new healthy shrubs.


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Thanks for all the advice. I trimmed back the fig tree about 10% before it started to bloom this year but when the next bloom is done I will push it back some more. It is about 9' -10' tall. It also sounds like now would be a good time to prune back the azaleas, they have all bloomed and are just vegetating now so that can be this week/weekends job!

On a new note, I have my next mystery plant, I literally have no idea where to begin with this one besides the picture. I transplanted it about one month ago in April after plowing out a big bunch of weeds and these flower-looking "things" came out! Let me know what yall think!


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Last pic appears to be a Aechmea (Bromeliad). Family thereof. Some of them also have Roll Tide Red flowers.


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

thasser, alabamaicole is a walking Garden Book of knowledge as is this web site.

There is also a Bible plant book called " the Southern Living GARDEN BOOK" that would be a great investment for anyone serious about gardening. You can pick it up at almost any home improvement box store.


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Would it help any better if I could zoom in on the leaves or the flowers it makes? I would assume the flowers because each plants flowers are part of what make them so unique. Well, here is a close up on the flower anyway, I will look into Aechmea, maybe this guy wanted an all Crimson back yard.... I think I could deal with that!! Thanks for the help again!


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Last Picture. @bulzi Thanks for the suggestion on the book - I will get that book on my next trip to the hardware store. I love all the flowers but am trying to put some fruits and veggies out there too. Already have Tomatoes planted and a very young lemon tree out there too, but for now I need to get the flower situation under control. Thanks again.


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

@bulzi - w/r to the Mystery Plant #2, I looked up the Aechmea (Bromeliad) and see lots of similarities, the only difference being my plant canot support its flowers! Do you think this is a sign of bad health or that it is a different animal altogether?


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

I do think it is a Bromeliad. Did not know them to grow out side. Location, location ,location and you are way down there. The plant may be in a protected area. Their flowers are known (on that variety) to come out and as weeks go by - droop. You can see a different variety in grocery stores etc., with a a long single spike flower straight up. Some have purple leaves. I would go with the computer to see the different ones and maybe add more cousins to buddy with this one.

Oh, by the way, I known a guy that WILL NOT have an orange flowering plant in his yard. ME ? , I love them all - never - found a trash plant yet. I do have a hit list tho.

All in all you are having fun....you will learn where those water pipes are as you go. Don't forget your field lines and septic( if you have one) when planting those trees.

Take a hammock break when needed. Your pictures are great.


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Your plant looks like Bromeliad Friendship Plant. I have them growing outside for 6 to 7 years. The red flowers always hangs down.


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

Plantman , good to know that the Bromeliad shown does well here. Next time that I go back home I will look for what I left behind. Should have tons of it by now. I sat it out side the hot house when I came up here three and a half years ago . Multiplies like crazy, uh? I find a surprise every time I go back.

Do you have any other Bromelaids that may be grown out side here in zone 7b / 8?


 o
RE: Young New Homeowner with lots of Questions!

That is the only one I have tried outside. I had so many that I just tried, they are all I have left I don't know where the others went.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Alabama Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here