Garden Checklist for September 2001

By Dr. William C. Welch, Landscape Horticulturist
Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University


  • Rejuvenate heat-stressed geraniums and begonias for the fall season by lightly pruning, fertilizing and watering.

  • Caladiums require plenty of water this time of year if they are to remain lush and attractive until fall. Fertilize with ammonium sulfate at the rate of l/3 to l/2 pound per 100 square feet of bed area, and water thoroughly.

  • Donít allow plants with green fruit or berries to suffer from lack of moisture. Hollies will frequently drop their fruit under drought conditions.

  • Remove weak, unproductive growth and old seed heads from crape myrtles and roses to stimulate new growth for fall beauty.

  • Prune out dead or diseased wood from trees and shrubs. Hold off on major pruning until mid-winter. Pruning now may stimulate tender new growth prior to frost.

  • Sow seeds of snapdragons, pinks, pansies and other winter flowers in flats for planting outside during mid-to-late fall.

  • Prepare the beds for spring-flowering bulbs as soon as possible. Itís important to cultivate the soil and add generous amounts of organic matter to improve water drainage. Bulbs will rot without proper drainage.

  • Continue a disease spray schedule on roses as blackspot and mildew can be extremely damaging in September and October.

  • Christmas cactus can be made to flower by supplying 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness and cool nights (55 º F) for a month starting in mid-October. Keep plants on the dry side for a month prior to the treatment.

  • Plan to plant wildflowers in early September and October. Check supplies now and order seed for planting in open sunny areas. Consider bluebonnet, Indian paintbrush, coneflower, fire-wheel, black-eyed Susan, evening primrose and many others. Soils should be lightly cultivated prior to planting.

  • Divide spring flowering perennials such as iris, Shasta daisy, gaillardia, cannas, daylilies, violets, liriope and ajuga.