There will be something for everyone at Master Gardener
Spring Plant Sale

March 16, 2012

by Lupe Cook,
Victoria County Master Gardener

edited by Charla Borchers Leon,
Victoria County Master Gardener
Gardeners' Dirt
Similar in colors to Moses-in-the-boat, the lady-in-the-boat plant does well trailing from a hanging basket with indirect bright light. It produces white bracts on small green leaves with fuzzy, maroon undersides.
Donkey Ear Kalanchoe
The donkey ear kalanchoe has leaves in the shape of a donkey's ear and produces pink/white cluster blooms on a stalk that resemble a chandelier and are known to attract hummingbirds. It can go for long periods of time with very little attention. Look for this easy plant at next week's sale.
Moses-in-the-Boat with Donkey Ears Queen's Tears Bromeliad
Moses-in-the-boat derives its common name from the tiny white flowers or bracts growing in lance-shaped leaves that resemble a boat. Green with purple undersides, this plant does well inside with bright light or as groundcover out-of-doors. It is shown here (left and front) in a plant grouping with the donkey ear succulent to its right.
The Queen's tears bromeliad is a 12-inch dark green plant that will be featured in next week's sale. It has long pink stems with pendulous pink cluster flowers. Also known as the friendship plant, it flourishes in partial shade to bright, indirect light with moderate temperature.
Warm weather is just around the corner and, as gardeners, we all get spring fever, ready to prepare our flowerbeds to replace or add new plants.

Oh, and don't forget the weeds of which I'm sure everyone has their share in their gardens. You pull them out today - and it seems like they grow back overnight.

The Master Gardeners can provide remedies for both settings.

Plants propagated, grown by Master Gardeners

On March 24, the Victoria County Master Gardeners will have our much-anticipated spring plant sale with a great selection of plants.

Our greenhouse committee has worked diligently in propagating plants, and Master Gardeners also grow plants for the sale.

Resource information

If you have questions about plants, check with our plant information table or with our knowledgeable Master Gardeners on the sale floor. Stop by the book and seed-ball table; we have very informative gardening books and our very own Master Gardener cookbook.

Featured plants likely available

While we try our best to have various and desired quantities of numerous plants, we also focus on providing several as featured plants at our sales.

Queen's tears bromeliad (Bellbergia nutans) is a 12-inch plant that is dark green on the outside of the stem with cream-colored spots on the light green interior of the vase. It is a durable plant often withstanding periods of neglect. It needs partial shade to bright, indirect light with moderate temperature. Its pendulous flower clusters on long pink stems is the attraction to this plant.

Moses-in-the-boat (Tradescantia spathacea), is a popular houseplant or can be used for groundcover. It prefers bright light and well-drained, moist soil. It blooms small white, petal flowers that are called bracts. The bracts grow in the leaf axils, nestled in dark green, lance-shaped leaves with purplish-red undersides, giving the plant its common name of a baby flower in a boat. It is also known as the oyster plant with the bract resembling the treasure inside the shell.

Lady-in-the-boat (Rhoeo discolor) is in the same genus as Moses-in-the-boat. It prefers indirect bright light and the soil should be dry before watering. While some varieties do not bloom, others produce small, white bracts on dark green, small leaves with fuzzy, maroon undersides. Fertilize every two months. It is a great specimen for hanging baskets.

Container vs. garden plants

Have limited space for plants? Try planting in containers rather than in the garden.

Begonias, an old-time favorite, require low maintenance and will do well in either location. Try the bleeding heart, a clerodendrum, which has the outstanding attraction of heart-shaped flowers from which a little "drop of blood" dangles from the bottom.

Cast iron is a classic plant dating back to the Victorian era. It can take neglect and abuse, which certainly lives up to its name and can grow in a container just as well as in a garden bed.

Scented geraniums are fragrant with lovely blooms and grow well in the garden or in containers. We expect these container plant suggestions and more.

For bulb plant lovers

Irises are carefree plants that bloom dependably and multiply annually with their fan-like foliage and spectacular flowers. For those interested in bulbs, check-out the bulb table at the sale for blue iris and butterfly iris.

Also likely available will be daylilies and cannas.

Herbs that savor

We will have a variety of basil that gives that taste bud flavor for all your cooking needs.

"Hot and Spicy" oregano is a must for every kitchen.

One of my favorite herbs is the Vicks plant (Plectranthus tomentosa), with its ovate, light green leaves covered with tiny fuzz hairs that smell like the medicated rub. Do an Internet search on this plant, and you will be surprised what it can be used for.

For succulent, cacti collectors

I'm a succulent and cacti collector and am always looking for the one I don't have and just have to buy.

The donkey ear succulent has a long stem that produces the awesome cluster of flowers that resembles a pink chandelier.

Dragon fruit is a nocturnal exotic plant that blooms beautiful orchid-like flowers.

Sempervivium is the botanical name for the unique little hens-and chicks succulents that are easy to care for. You may see all of these at the sale.


In the shrub category we plan to have a large selection of plants for color and nectar. Here's a few on the list: althea, brugmansia, cigar and Mexican giant cigar plants, duranta, Porter weed, pride of Barbados, Turk's cap, autumn cassia and butterfly bush plants.

Look for more plant varieties in next week's article - and again next Saturday. There should be something for everyone's spring fever at the Master Gardener plant sale.

WHEN - 8 a.m.-2 p.m. or until plants sell out,
Saturday, March 24

WHERE - Master Gardener VEG Pavilion;
The pavilion is located next to Victoria Educational Gardens
(VEG) across from the tower at Victoria Regional Airport.
Signs will be placed on U.S. Highway 59 at the entrance to the airport.
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or vcmga@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.