This is the perfect time to plant your chilled bulbs for spring. They should be in the ground before the first frost, so plant now while the soil is still easy to work. Iris, daylilies, and gladiolas should also be planted at this time, although they are not “true” bulbs, but rhizomes, tubers, and corms, respectively. Yet all of these like bulbs require the cooler soil of winter to generate healthy new growth in spring.
Transform your landscape with the addition of fresh, colorful blooms! Pansies are by far the most popular Winter color. The “Matrix” Pansy has been outstanding for our Texas weather. It will not “stretch” during bouts of warm temperatures and is bred to grow out, not up. This compact grower offers shorter stems to support large colorful blooms. Dianthus (also known as “Pinks”), Snapdragons, Cyclamen, Violas, and the fragrant Alyssum are also good choices for cold-tolerant annuals. Ornamental Cabbage and Kale provide interesting texture in the landscape as well as color. For best effect, limit your planting to two or three colors per bed.
The key to growing beautiful annual flowers is soil preparation. Remember to add 2 to 3 inches of mulch to all beds to reduce moisture loss, prevent weeds from germinating, and insulate the soil from the cold.
Using the same colorful annuals will add a splash of color to your patio containers. Fill your container with fresh potting soil, plant food, and your choice of these beautiful annuals to brighten your winter. Keep them watered as necessary and remove faded flowers to encourage repeat blooming.
Please remember the birds! Texas is a haven for birds. No other state in the United States has more species within its boundaries. There are currently over 620 species documented in Texas, which is almost 75 percent of all bird species recorded in the continental United States. To attract the widest variety of wild birds, you should consider placing a wide variety of bird feeders and food around your yard.