THE GREENHOUSE SHOW

The good and bad of garden catalogs

Jan 7, 2022, 4:29 PM | Updated: 4:30 pm
subscription boxes for home - home maintenance...
Photo: Adobe Stock

The Good and The Bad of Garden Catalogs

One of my favorite things is getting plant catalogs in the dead of winter. I enjoy seeing all of the wonderful plants. I have noticed that other gardeners also love these catalogs but are sometimes disappointed when the plants they ordered fail. As with most things research is needed when ordering for later success. Below is a list about positive aspects of catalogs as well as things to be cautious about. Even though I am referencing catalogs, the same holds true for ordering plants online.

Benefit

Gardening catalogs have a wide selection of plants that are often not very available locally. This especially goes for perennials, annuals, and vegetables. Further, some things I order include short season peanuts or sweet potatoes.

Caution

The caution about the huge selection is that you really need to be aware of whether the plant will survive locally or be willing to risk the plant doing poorly in your yard. To offset this, research ahead of time the plants you are interested in.

Benefit

Most catalogs use the USDA Cold Hardiness Zones as a standardized way to determine cold hardiness for their customers. What zone you are in is determined by tracking the average low temperature in a given area over a rolling twenty-year period. For example, Nephi, UT, is considered to be USDA Zone 5 or 6. In zone 5, the average low varies from -10 F to -20 F in a given year. Zone 6 has an average low from -10 F to 0 F.

Caution

Because these are average lows, it will likely get colder. And so, a Zone 6 plant such as the English laurel, is periodically damaged in Zone 6 when we have cold winters because it does not tolerate temperatures much below 0 F to -5 F. Another aspect to consider is that cold hardiness is not the only determining factor for whether a plant will thrive in our climate.

Benefit

The arid west is unique from the rest of the country. This allows many beautiful plants that may struggle in wetter climates to thrive here. Some include red yucca, many species of hummingbird mint, blanket flower, and sedums. These are often more available from regional specialty companies such as High Country Gardens. But they are worth trying.

Caution

Our unique region includes high pH soils (aka alkaline soils). The challenge is that many common landscape plants develop nutrient deficiencies such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Alkaline soil causes these nutrients to not be as water soluble. Therefore, the nutrients are not absorbed by roots in sufficient amounts to keep the plant healthy. Landscape plant species that commonly suffer from this include dogwood trees, red oaks, red maple, silver maple, Autumn Blaze maple, sugar maple, rhododendrons/azaleas, and others.

Benefit

Many catalogs list plants that grow quickly. If you have areas of the landscape that need a fast-growing hedge, an empty area that could be filled by a groundcover, they can be an advantage. Faster growing hedge plants include dwarf blue arctic willow, various privets, and red twig dogwood. Groundcovers that fill in relatively quickly include vinca minor and plumbago for shaded areas. For sunnier areas, creeping jenny, creeping potentilla, and ajuga are great.

Caution

There are many considerations when planting fast growing landscape species. For example, they can be difficult to contain in a specific area. Another especially includes fast-growing trees. These can overwhelm smaller yards, become messy and are short lived due to being susceptible to dozens of pests and diseases. To make matters worse, these ultra-fast-growing trees are often planted too closely to buildings and may eventually damage buildings from both the roots and falling limbs. Trees that fit this description include cottonwoods, poplars, Siberian elms, as well as weeping and globe willows. As you drive through more established neighborhoods, it is common to see a mature cottonwood or willow tree with a canopy that reaches from the middle of the street over the top of the house in the yard it was planted. If they need to be removed, it costs thousands of dollars.

 

Tune into the KSL Greenhouse Show for more! Every Saturday from 8 – 11AM. 102.7 FM, 1160 AM, www.kslnewsradio.com/listen

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

The Greenhouse Show

Here are some of the many easy houseplants that beginning gardeners will be able to care for and he...
Michelle Lee

Easy houseplants for beginning gardeners or pros

There are many easy houseplants that are perfect for people who are just beginning to practice their green thumb.
7 days ago
Peter Johnston

The five best plants to spruce up your winter lawn

SALT LAKE CITY– Utah’s snowstorms don’t have to mean the end of a colorful garden. Utah’s snowstorms have opened up space for winterized plants to thrive. Professor JayDee Gunnell from Utah State University joins Maria and Taun to share the plants that will make your garden “pop” all winter. The Conifers Of course this Christmas […]
7 days ago
Green plants growing in rectangular soil bed...
Michelle Lee

Choosing what seeds to plant in your garden

SALT LAKE CITY – Sheriden Hansen, extension assistant professor and horticulturist at the Utah State University Botanical Center, joined Maria and Taun on the KSL Greenhouse Show to discuss how she decides what seeds to plant in her garden. “There’s usually a story associated with some of the plants that I select,” Sheriden said. She […]
14 days ago
Plant catalogs offer various plant options, such as vegetables and flowers. However, you should do ...
Michelle Lee

What to know about plant catalogs

Now is a great time to start thinking about what to plant for this coming season. Last week at the KSL Greenhouse show, Taun and Maria went over how to read plant catalogs.
21 days ago
(Jan Canty)...
Michelle Lee

A beautiful waterwise garden in the backyard

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s time to escape into a beautiful backyard garden. A couple weeks ago, Maria and Taun toured Andrea Simondi’s waterwise garden in Spanish Fork, Utah. Andrea has interest in waterwise gardening, so she has her own right in her backyard. Her waterwise garden is massive and has a wide variety of […]
1 month ago
FILE: Gardener tends to their soil. (Adobe Stock)...
Michelle Lee

What is the master gardener program in Utah?

Michael Caron, Extension Assistant Professor at USU, joined the KSL Greenhouse show to talk about the Master Gardener Program.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
The good and bad of garden catalogs