Caring for a Variety of Plants

‘Sweet Autumn’ Clematis

Clematis terniflora — common name: ‘Sweet Autumn’ Clematis

  • Late-flowering clematis
  • Vigorous, prolific vines — can grow from 15 to 20 feet
  • An abundance of star-shaped white, fragrant, flowers in late spring, early fall. The flowers smell like vanilla.
  • Self-seeds abundantly.
  • Deciduous vine — drops its leaves in the winter
  • Sun to partial sun — grows fairly well in partial shade as long as it has its tops in the sun
  • Roots prefer a cool shade area, tops in the sun


  • Water regularly the first year
  • Plants are prone to tangle. They should be pruned back hard after the first year of growth to encourage branching — cut back to a pair of strong buds about 12 inches from the ground.
  • They also need support — trellis, arbors, etc.

Milky Way Dogwood

The Milky Way Dogwood doesn’t bloom until two years after it’s planted.

Cornus kousa var. Chinensis ‘Milky Way’ – Milky Way Dogwood

  • Kousa is a good substitute for the native dogwood in many urban landscape situations. One reason is that it is resistant to the organism that causes dogwood anthracnose.
  • Showy white flowers in late spring. The Milky Way Dogwood has an even greater flower and fruit production. The star-shaped flowers appear after the foliage and provide almost a ‘milky way’ effect.
  • All dogwoods produce clusters of green fruit that eventually turn red — birds love the fruit, which resembles raspberries.
  • Upright, vase-shaped when young, but branches start to branch out with age. The dark-green foliage turns red in the fall.
  • Resists drought better than other dogwoods.
  • Older bark develops an exfoliating character, revealing a mix of gray-tan and mahogany brown.
  • Do not panic. The Kousa doesn’t bloom for a couple of years after it’s planted.
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • It can grow 20 to 30 feet high
  • Zones 5 to 8


  • It is considered a low-maintenance tree — water well until established, but do not overwater.
  • These are trees — not shrubs— so no hard pruning is necessary. It may be desirable to remove — or limb up — some lower branches to reveal the bark.
  • Prune when dormant.

Royal Star Magnolia

The Royal Star Magnolia can grow up to 12 feet tall.

Magnolia x stellata ‘Royal Star’ – Royal Star Magnolia

  • A sense, oval to rounded form; can be left as a large shrub or pruned into a small tree
  • ‘Royal Star’ has pink buds that open to white blossoms, 3 to 4 inches, that bloom early before foliage develops
  • Oblong dark green leaves that often turn yellow in the autumn
  • Can grow 10 to 12 feet high
  • Zones 4 to 8


  • Fertilize with an acid-based fertilizer after flowering and again in June.
  • Prune lightly directly after flowering if needed. This allows the plants to produce new growth and buds for next year’s show. 
  • Pick up flower petals that fall to the ground — it aids with insect and disease control.

Diablo Ninebark

The Diablo Ninebark is adaptable to all conditions.

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’ – Diablo Ninebark (Sometimes called Purpleleaf Ninebark)

  • Recognized for its midnight plum-colored foliage
  • Deciduous, so it drops its leaves in winter
  • In June-July, it produces pretty white flowers — that resemble those of the spirea
  • Exfoliating bark
  • It needs sun for better foliage color but it’s adaptable to all conditions
  • Older plants are drought-tolerant
  • Grows 6 to 10 feet tall — and as wide
  • Zones 2 to 7


  • Water regularly until established
  • Can be pruned to the ground in the winter to reduce the size or rejuvenate the plant

Weigela ‘Midnight Wine’

The Weigela ‘Midnight Wine’ is a low-maintenance plant.

Weigela ‘Midnight Wine’

  • New cultivar — a dwarf version of ‘Wine and Roses’
  • Dark metallic burgundy-purple foliage and pink flowers that bloom in the spring and fall.
  • Full sun for best foliage color
  • Neat, easy-to-care-for plant
  • 18 to 24 inches high — and 24 to 26 inches wide

Florida French Lace Weigela

The Florida French Lace Weigela has scarlet red flowers and can grow up to six feet tall.

Weigela florida ‘Brigela’ – Florida French Lace Weigela

  • A new variegated variety with leaves that are a combination of dark green with a thick, lime-green margin; deep scarlet red flowers.
  • A new selection from Andre Briant of France released in the U.S. in the spring of 1999.
  • Height, 4 to 6; 4 feet spread
  • Zones 4 or 5 to 8


  • All are happy in full sun especially shrubs with dark plum foliage — they need the sun to keep their color.
  • They love good drainage.
  • Fertilize in spring
  • Prune after flowering to retain shape of young branches and prune old growth to the ground. The dwarf variety requires little or no pruning

Magic Carpet Spirea

The Magic Carpet Spirea is a small shrub that’s cold hardy.

Spiraea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’ – Magic Carpet Spirea

  • Beautiful pink flowers with light-green foliage, tipped with red
  • Russet red fall color
  • Widely adaptable soil
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Small shrub — 1.5 feet high by a 2-foot spread
  • Cold hardy –30 to –20F
  • Zones 3 to 8


  • Regular watering is needed until established.
  • Annually, cut the entire plant back 1/2 to 2/3rd — late fall to early spring when the plant is dormant.
  • Then, remove any large, old canes as close to the ground as possible, which will stimulate new sprouts to develop.

Rubidor Weigela

The Rubidor Weigela is easy to grow.

Weigela florida ‘Rubidor’ – Rubidor Weigela

  • Bright neon-green foliage with cranberry red flowers
  • Easy to grow
  • Sun to partial shade
  • Cold hardiness –30 to –20F
  • 46 to 60 inches — width about the same
  • Zones 4 to 8


  • All are happy in full sun especially shrubs with dark plum foliage — they need the sun to keep their color.
  • They love good drainage.
  • Fertilize in spring
  • Prune after flowering to retain shape of young branches and prune old growth to the ground. The dwarf variety requires little or no pruning.

Sonic Salmon New Guinea Impatiens

The Sonic Salmon New Guinea Impatiens can tolerate the sun more than regular impatiens.

Impatiens x hawkerii — Sonic Salmon New Guinea Impatiens

  • Coral blooms
  • More sun-tolerant than regular impatiens
  • Larger, more dramatic, leaves and flowers than regular impatiens

Impatiens walleriana — White and pink impatiens (Other common names: Busy Lizzie, touch-me-not, and snapweed

  • So popular that some growers say that impatiens account for 25 percent of sales
  • A huge array of colors and several heights
  • Bloom non-stop from spring to the first frost
  • They do not do well in full sun — they are shade plants

Coleus x hybridus — Coleus mix

  • An annual that’s grown for its beautiful foliage rather than its flowers.
  • Wide range of vibrant colors — deep purple, pink, burgundy
  • Prefers rich, well-drained soil
  • Loves shade

Caladium bicolor — sometimes called Elephant’s Ears

  • Again, another annual grown for its beautiful heart-shaped leaves, which are variegated combinations of pink, chartreuse, green, burgundy, red, rose
  • Sometimes the tubers can be overwintered and replanted in the spring.
  • Greenish white flowers in the spring
  • Too much sun will scorch the beautiful leaves
  • Grown as bulbs with tubers
  • Partial to full shade, well-drained soil

General care for annuals:

  • Fertilize once every two weeks to once a month
  • Water regular — keep the soil moist, but not soggy, all season
  • Pinching or removing the leaves will promote growth

Meilland Star Roses Traviata Romantica

The Meilland Star Roses Traviata Romantica is disease-resistant and has blooms that smell like apples.

Meilland Star Roses Traviata® Romantica®

  • A breed of roses that are bred to be hardy, notably disease resistant and lush.
  • ‘Traviata’ is the newest of the Romantica series. It has clear, vibrant red double flowers
  • The blossoms are supposed to smell like apples.


  • There’s really very little care to these roses, but they do love to be fertilized every month from mid-to-late spring until early fall.
  • In the winter, mulch well.
  • Remove the mulch in the spring and prune away the dead brown branches.
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