Growing Acid Loving Plants
This is making me home sick. I'm an old boy from Tennessee and we used to have these dogwoods growing all over the Southeastern United States and even around Houston you can get away with growing them every now and then.
And, of course, the beautiful azaleas out here at the San Antonio Botanical Center look good, but you should never ever plant a dogwood in your landscape. You can get away with the azalea if you are willing to go through extreme measures to do it. Now by extreme measures we mean dig out a 3x3 area, throw away all the soil, put in that hole 2/3 sphagnum peat, and 1/3 washed sand. You need washed sand, not regular sand, but washed sand. This will create an acid medium that these acid loving plants can grow in.
If you try to plant a gardenia, azalea, or even a dogwood in the soil that we have that sucker will die before you get it out of the pot that you bought it in. So be sure if you are going to plant some of these beauties that you do something to modify your soil. Don't get fooled, probably the best thing to do is go out to the botanical center, look at it, and then do without it.
This is Jerry Parsons Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service the Weekend Gardener.
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