Several of our April selections have multiple names, so you might not know it by the one we have selected. If you have experience growing any of these plants, let us know on our Facebook page.
Four O’Clocks are colorful annuals that are quite versatile as a bedding or container plant. About the only thing, they are not suitable for is as a cut flower because as their name suggests their flowers don’t open until late in the afternoon. They are also sometimes known as Mirabilis which refers to the diversity of flower colors that can be found on a single plant. They are easy to plant from seed and are rarely bothered by diseases or pests. They should be planted in full sun but they don’t do well in hot locations which can actually cause their flowers to not open until dusk.
Guernsey Lily is also known as Nerine Lily this bulb produces pretty spider-like blooms in late summer when many other plants have ceased flowering. The blooms come in shades of red or pink and it is used both as a bedding plant and in containers. It prefers sunny spots with soil that is on the dry side and while treated as an annual it can be dug up at the end of the season and stored over the winter to be planted again the following spring. Its blooms are also quite fragrant and it is deer resistant to boot.
Oxalis is also referred to as false shamrock. It requires sunny conditions with soil that drains well. The bulbs are small so they only need to be planted 1 to 1 ½ inch deep and 3 inches apart. It can be used as a bedding plant but I think it looks best when planted in containers where it can spill over the edges of the pot. After they finish blooming the foliage, which is often attractive in its own right, should remain in place to gather strength so the bulb can be stored and planted again next spring. They come in a variety of colors and require little care once they are planted.
Ranunculus have blooms that resemble a rose and are used frequently in floral arrangements and bouquets. The flowers can last for weeks and are particularly well suited for containers. In warmer garden zones they can be planted in the fall for blooms the following spring. In cooler zones, they are planted in the spring for blooms that arrive in time for the cooler temperatures of the fall. Ranunculus are bulbs that should be planted in soil that drains well as they will rot if they are left in standing water. They are treated as perennials in warmer gardens but are best treated as annuals elsewhere.
Sparaxis is also called Harlequin Flower or Wand Flower. It grows 10 to 12 inches tall and comes in colors including red, orange, yellow and white. They are native to South Africa and bloom in early summer. The corms are planted in the spring or in the fall in warmer garden zones. They are similar to Gladiolus and can be lifted in the fall and stored to be planted again the following spring. They prefer sunny conditions with soil that drains well. The one drawback of the plant is that too much water can be lethal. They prefer much drier conditions similar to that found in Southern California.