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Pre lit trees, the decorator favorite!

Nov 19, 2015 2:05:41 PM

pre lit trees

Faux Fir Trees: Quality, Brilliance, Value

Our trees are gorgeous, durable, sophisticated, realistic and unique.
Light strands unobtrusively extend a light to almost every tip,
giving you a brilliantly lit tree without unseemly wires.
The decorator favorite. The Bryce Canyon Pine is the perfect tree.
Available in 4 sizes: 6.5’| 7.5’| 9’| 12’

Posted By Gina DeMatteis


 A good place to start would be identifying what exactly a fungus gnat is before we look at what a fungus gnat does.

Fungus gnats are an insect belonging to the fly family Diptera. They are a dark, delicate looking fly very similar in appearance to a mosquito and are often mistaken to be black fly or midges. Adult fungus gnats primarily are a nuisance. Because fungus gnats are attracted to lights you may first notice them flying near windows indoors or around potted plants resting on soil and leaves. Adult fungus gnats will not bite people or animals. The females, however, cause the real trouble when they deposit their eggs into soil or other damp organic material.  The eggs will spawn larvae with a shiny black head and an elongated whitish to clear legless body that will damage plants. The larvae’s preferred food source is fungi but when that food source runs out they will feed on roots which leads to stunted plant growth and diminished health in affected plants.


How to deal with an infestation?

 A highly effective way to kill larvae without extending risk to pets, birds, or wildlife, Mosquito Bits contains a highly selective, biological larvicide recommended safe for greenhouses and home gardens.


mosquito bites 


Another method is to eliminate the gnats before they have an opportunity to lay their eggs. Safer Brand Houseplant Sticky Stakes control fungus gnats, whiteflies and other insects by attracting and then trapping insects hiding in houseplants.

“The yellow color of the trap as well as the glue will attract the gnats, whiteflies, aphids and other insects on your potted plants. Shake the plant gently. The insects hidden on the leaves will fly to the trap.”



sticky stakes

Written by Francis Felice, Garden Supply Manager


Posted in Gardening Tips By Gina DeMatteis

Winter Interest

Oct 26, 2015 1:46:24 PM

Cedrus  Winter Interest  

One of the biggest misconceptions in the gardening world is the idea that your garden goes away in the winter months.  While it’s true that all our plants go dormant, or die back at the end of autumn, it is not true that the garden ceases to be a fixture of your landscape.  Green isn’t the only color you are stuck with when using evergreens, many conifers change color in the cold weather, offering more seasonality.  Using an evergreen is a classic choice to keep color going, but there are also many deciduous plants that are just as showy, if not more.  Woody plants aren’t the only choice in many cases, many perennial plants sport evergreen features as well.

Evergreens with Alternate Looks - Don’t limit yourself to green, green is a background color, green is not your showstopper.  Expand your palette with yellows, blues, bronzes, and reds.  Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Golden Mop' stays a bright yellow most of the year, the coloring is muted slightly in the winter.  Thuja occidentalis 'Rheingold' also offers vibrant tones of yellow.  Blue is also easy to add, with a Colorado blue spruce, which comes in many sizes and shapes with all the cultivars available.  Groundcover junipers like Juniperus Squamata ‘Blue Star’ and Juniperus Horizontalis ‘Blue Rug’ also offer more subtle pops of color.  Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ or Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar is fairly ubiquitous in our area, and for good reason, nothing else in your garden will look quite like a mature tree of this type.   For a bright red flare, look no further than Nandina ‘Firepower’ or ‘Gulf Stream’, you’ll find shockingly red foliage that lasts all winter, but will fall off and replace itself in early spring.

Deciduous Shrubs and Trees - Using the color, texture and shape provided by the bark and branching of your shrubs and trees can create great highlights against an evergreen hedge or border.  Trees like Paperbark Maple (Acer Griseum) or River Birch (Betula Nigra) evoke a woodland feel.  To bring some color in, use a Red-twig or Osier Dogwood (Cornus Alba/Sericea), you can find these in Red and Yellow varieties that also sport handsome flowers, foliage and berries at other points in the year.  Weeping Japanese Maples also offer striking silhouettes when all their foliage has fallen, they also offer an uncommon shape to accentuate any holiday lighting.  Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') is likely one of the most unusual looking shrubs you may have ever seen, it features extremely contorted branches, made more visible after leaf drop, which may remind you of the Brothers Grimm darker fairy tales, or a good Tim Burton film.  Take the birds into account when planting too, native plants like American Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana), Winter Berry Holly (Ilex Verticillata), or Blue Muffin Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) offer color to us, and nourishment to the creatures we share our gardens with.

Mostly Evergreen Perennials – If you have a shade garden, you will find an additional benefit from many shade loving perennials.  Certain ferns are considered evergreen, Christmas and Tassel fern are both in the genus Polystichum, and their hardy foliage will help spruce up the barren garden beds, or forest floor.  Many ferns will keep their fertile fronds upright throughout the winter, offering little promises of spring.  Cinnamon fern has better color with its orange fronds; Ostrich fern is a drab dark brown, but still plenty interesting.  Lenten Rose (Helleborus) are a year round champ, flowers in late winter that persist most of the year, and evergreen foliage that withstands the harshest of winter weather.  Most of the foliage will end up looking tattered by winter’s end, but a quick trim will refresh your perennials for the spring emergence.  For the sunny garden, look no further than your wide assortment of perennial grasses.  Schizachyrium Scoparium, Miscanthus Sinensis, Andropogon Gerardii, the list is shockingly long and it’s very hard to go wrong with tall stalks of bronze/brown grass that accentuate the winter winds.


Written by Patrick Gravel, Perennials Manager

Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Bonsai Plants

Oct 23, 2015 9:36:31 AM


bonsai Bonsai 

No one knows exactly when the cultivation of miniature trees first originated;  but  the art  of creating and maintaining bonsai reappeared in China in the third century and was made popular among the Japanese nobility between the 10th and 12th centuries. It was not until the 18th century that bonsai reached all levels of society, appearing in Europe toward the end of the century.


When purchasing a bonsai, one must consider the commitment in time that it will take to keep the plant healthy.  They need food and water and the proper light to thrive.  Bonsai are broken down into two catagories--indoor and outdoor.  Outdoor bonsai such as juniper. maple, spruce, pine or yew need cold weather dormancy to survive.  Ideally they should be planted outside in a protected area or kept in an unheated garage with windows during the winter months.  Indoor bonsai include bougainvillea, ficus, fuchsia, serissa, Brazilian raintree and portulacaria afra (jade tree).  They each have different light and water requirements so be sure to choose a plant based on the lighting available in the area that you wish to keep the plant.


Take note of the water requirements for the species of bonsai when purchasing.  Some need to stay moist , while others would rather dry down a bit.  If the plant is watered too often, it can drown;  conversely a plant that is allowed to dry completely can damage the fine feeding roots.  The best way to water bonsai is to use a fine spray,  let the water drain and repeat, or place the plant in a tray of room temperature water until the plant soaks up the amount of water that it needs,  then let it drain.  For indoor bonsai,  water the plant approximately once or twice a week, ideally with water that has been allowed to sit for several days which allows the chlorine to evaporate.  Outdoor bonsai will need much more frequent watering in the summer--probably more than once a day--and less during dormancy.


Bonsai trees respond best to slow- acting fertilizers with a composition of 50% nitrates, 30% phosphate and 20% potash.  In general,  bonsai should be fertilized during the spring and summer months.  Follow the directions on the container for frequency and dilute to 50% strength if using houseplant or garden fertilizers.


Bonsai plants need to be pruned often to maintain their shape and a pleasing appearance. This is part of the appeal of owning a bonsai tree.  The frequency of repotting depends on the variety, age of the plant and size of pot.  However, the best time to repot any plant is during the early spring, before the growing season.


Written by Robin Katzen, Greenhouse Manager

Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Amaryllis Bulbs

Oct 19, 2015 1:26:49 PM


Popular for their 6-10 inch trumpet shaped flowers born on 1-2 foot stalks, Amaryllis are simple care houseplants that add a burst of color to your Winter mosaic. Although red is the most commonly seen color, Amaryllis also come in varieties of pink, salmon, bicolor and rose. These bulbs are easy to grow and very gratifying once their exuberant blooms begin to take shape.
Whether you’re giving an amaryllis as a gift or lucky enough to have received one, here is what you should do to take care of it…

Plant your Amaryllis bulbs in good potting soil, water regularly and provide bright, indirect sunlight. Remember to rotate the pot periodically to make sure the stalk grows straight as they tend to lean towards the light.  Blooms will begin to appear 4-6 weeks after planting.

Being a principal houseplant of the holidays,  be sure to plant Nov 1st - Nov 15th for Christmas blooms.

Plant bulbs in a sturdy 6-8 inch pot to support what will soon be a top heavy Amaryllis. A lighter weight pot may tip over.
Plant the bulb, pointed end up, in potting soil. Plant the soil around the bulb so approximately 1/3rd of the bulb stays above the soil line.  Once you’ve gone this far, water sparingly until the sprout begins to emerge from the bulb, then water regularly and watch your new holiday tradition  produce its enormous, festive blooms.

Written by Francis Felice. garden Supply Manager

Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Growing Cactus and Succulents

Oct 15, 2015 2:30:21 PM



Growing  cactus and succulent plants is a great way to 
start a garden inside your home.

Needing bright light with some direct sun and less frequent watering than most foliage and flowering plants, these tolerant plants in the succulent family are ideal for adults  just starting to build a collection or children learning how to care for plants.   All  cactus are succulents and are differentiated from other succulents by the aeroles on the body of the plant which grow spines, flowers and offsets.

The word succulent means "juicy” and is an appropriate name for this category of plants as they store water and nutrients in their leaves and stems.  This allows the plants to withstand harsh conditions outside as well as some neglect inside the home. The worst treatment that can befall a succulent is being watered too often or being allowed to sit in standing water.   Good drainage is a must.  Use a good cactus soil or mix regular potting soil with sand to ensure adequate drainage.

Great to display alone, as a grouping or planted together in a shallow container or glass terrarium, the great variety available ensures that most everyone can find a plant or plants that appeal to them. There are 50 or more families considered to be in the succulent category. They need to be watered completely when the soil is dry, fertilized every few weeks in the spring and summer and placed in an area with bright light and some direct sun to thrive.  If you are not lucky enough to have that sunny window, it is still possible to grow succulents.  There are some varities of succulents that can adapt to medium light contitions like  gasteria or some of the haworthias.  Also available are incandescent grow lights which enable succulents to grow anywhere in your home.


Written by Robin Katzen, Greenhouse Manager

Posted in Gardening Tips By Gina DeMatteis

Shot Hole Fungus on Cherry Laurel

Oct 14, 2015 4:16:47 PM

shothole  fungus 

Have you ever noticed little holes on your Skip or Otto Luyken cherry laurels? 


Many people see those holes and think that an insect has been eating them but actually those holes are from a fungus called shot hole fungus.  The reason it is called shot hole is because it looks like the leaf has been shot with a shot gun.  Do not be alarmed!  Shot hole is a very mild disease and usually only an aesthetic problem.   The disease starts out with reddish brown spots on the leaf that become necrotic and eventually fall out.  It’s exacerbated by long periods of overcast and rainy weather. Occasionally it may warrant treatment but usually can be cured through proper sanitation.  Any fallen leaves must be raked up and discarded or destroyed.  With newly planted laurels, be sure not to use overhead irrigation or get the leaves wet while watering because it will splash the fungal spores from leaf to leaf and spread the disease faster.  Improving air circulation by thinning will also help keeping your laurels shot hole free.


If all else fails, chemical treatment will be needed.  Most broad spectrum fungicides will help but Mancozeb is the best for shot hole.  If you want to use an organic fungicide, copper can be used but will work more effectively if used prophylactically.  Don’t forget to read the instructions on the bottle!    Mancozeb should be mixed 3 teaspoons per gallon and copper is mixed 1 ounce per gallon.  Treatments in May or June will keep your laurels looking their best for the rest of the year.


By Jeff Bright Nursery Manager American Plant West


Posted in Gardening Tips By Gina DeMatteis

nursery  Planting Broad Leafed Evergreens in Fall

This time of year one of the questions I get asked the most is “Is fall a good time to plant?” The answer is yes!  Trees and shrubs that are planted in fall will have a much better chance of getting through the following hot, dry summer. 


That being said, there are some types of trees and shrubs that are better suited for fall planting.  Typically deciduous and coniferous trees and shrubs will have a better success than broad leafed evergreens that can suffer from harsh, desiccating winter winds.  Trees and shrubs like Cherry Laurel, Southern Magnolias, Hollies, Rhododendrons and Camellias can still be planted but may need protection if temperatures drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. 


When the temperatures drop that low, frost blankets will be the best way to keep them from being damaged.  Be sure to firmly secure it so wind doesn’t blow it away.  Plants do not need light during the winter because they are dormant so it is best to leave the frost blanket on until temperatures are consistently above freezing.  An extra layer of mulch can also help by keeping the roots from rapidly freezing and thawing but must be removed in the spring.  Lastly there is a product called wilt proof that can be sprayed on the leaves to help hold in moisture.   It may need to be re-applied several times throughout the winter to be effective.


Check out Jeff's instructional video on How to plant a tree and a ball & burlap tree


Written by Jeff Bright, Nursery Manager

Posted in Gardening Tips By Gina DeMatteis

Air Plants

Oct 5, 2015 8:57:07 AM


Tillandsia or Air Plants are in the bromeliad family. They are native to the warmer climates of the  Americas and populate areas from the rainforest to arid desert environments. In its natural environment,  air plants attach themselves to rocks or trees and absorb moisture through their leaves.  In our homes or yards, they need bright filtered light(not direct sun),  good air circulation and adequate water. Most air plants should be watered 2 to 3 times a week by misting or submerging the plant in water then shaking off excess.  To increase growth,  air plants can be fertilized once a month using 1/4 to 1/2 tsp per gallon of water.
Tillandsia do have the capacity to bloom, usually in late winter through mid-summer. The colors vary from white, pink, blue,and  purple to bright yellow, orange and red. Air plants reproduce through seed or offset (pups). They send out pups from between the leaves or from the base of the mother plant and can be separated when the pup is about 1/2 the size of the mature plant or allowed to grow into clumps.
Tillandsia can easily be mounted to a wide variety of surfaces like tree limbs, cork, clay or rocks and also look  great resting in glass containers.  To attach the plant initially, use an  adhesive such as liquid nails or hot glue and floral wire.  Eventually the plant will anchor themselves with their roots.  Use you imagination and have fun designing with air plants!


Written by Robin Katzen, Greenhouse Manager

Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Bringing Plants Indoors

Sep 30, 2015 2:24:35 PM

Now is the time to begin preparation for bringing in your houseplants that have been vacationing outside for the spring and summer. Most tropicals should not be outside when the nighttime temperatures fall below 50 degrees. It is best to begin the transition slowly, acclimating the plants to differences in light, temperature and humidity levels. To do this, start by bringing the plant in at night and gradually over the next 2 weeks increase the amount of time that the plant is kept indoors. Failure to acclimate the plant can result in shock, wilting and leaf loss. Plants that have been outside are used to a lot more sunlight than you can give them inside your home ; so it is important to give them as much sunlight as you can.. even cleaning the windows will help. They also will need less water than they did outside so you will want to decrease the frequency --not the amount of water. Most plants need to be allowed to dry down about 2 to 3 inches before they are watered again.


You may want to consider repotting or pruning the plants before you bring them inside. Be sure to increase the pot size by only two inches in diameter and use potting soil. If you decide to prune, do not cut the plant back more than one third and be sure to prune the roots the same amount as the foliage. Naturally, any dead foliage or branches should be removed.


Be sure to check your plants for small insects and apply the appropriate insecticide. Soaking the plant in a tub of lukewarm water for about fifteen minutes will force unwanted pests out of the soil. Lastly, the plants can benefit from a boost of fertilizer before the winter sets in.


Written by Robin Katzen. Greenhouse Manager


I don't care how small or big they are, insects freak me out. -Unknown

Bringing your outdoor plants inside for the winter?
It goes without saying that you’re probably not interested in bringing a horde of insects inside with them.


Make sure you are checking over the plants thoroughly and treating them for aphids and other leaf dwellers. Even if you aren’t seeing insects keep in mind that eggs and larvae can sometimes go unnoticed and evolve into an infestation further down the road if left untreated.
The type of bug you’re looking for is categorized as a Leaf Dwelling Insect.
Some common leaf dwellers that attack plants include spider mites, whitefly, scale, mealybugs and ants. None of which you want taking up residence in your home.  As daunting as insects can be for some of us, there are some easy solutions to keep the bugs at bay.
The following products are available at both our East and West American Plant stores and can be used separately or in conjunction with each other.

bayerBayer Advanced 2in! Plant Spikes protects and feeds up to 8 weeks without spraying

·2-in-1 formula kills insects while feeding your plants

·Includes convenient easy-to-use applicator

·For indoor and outdoor potted plants

·Treats ten 5" potted plants

·Active: 2.5% Imidacloprid; Fertilizer analysis: 8-11-5 slow-release fertilizer

end allSafer EndAll Insect killer kills insects in all stages of life from eggs to adults.

 1. 32oz ready-to-use spray--just point and spray.
 2. OMRI®-listed and compliant for use in organic gardening.
 3. Use on trees, shrubs, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and houseplants.
 4. Can be used up until the day of harvest.

Written by Francis Felice. garden Supply Manager

Posted By Gina DeMatteis
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