What Grows When
Daylilies are still blooming, tigridias also. It's wet and rainy, in fact too wet for some things to be really happy. Let your geraniums dry out between waterings, if possible, and herbs, too. At the viveros, you will find dahlias, gazanias, larkspur, lobelia and monarda. You may have to protect some things from too much water, particularly new seedlings in flower and vegetable gardens. And it's still quite hot. Keep up with the garden pests and beware of diseases like powdery mildew. Flower seeds to think about planting are asters, balloon flower, cone flower, lobelia and freesia. You can still plant Swiss chard, peppers, eggplant, leeks and okra. Container gardening gives you an opportunity to add more interest to your patios and terraces and also to move things out of heavy rains and hot sun. With the heavy rains, fertilizers leach out of the soil very quickly. Compost helps. That magnificent orange tree that is blooming everywhere now and into September and might be making you sneeze, is the Flame Tree, called Galeana here in Ajijic.
Still warm and rainy. The viveros have marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, phlox, cleome and kniphofia (red hot poker), as well as other goodies like cyclamen and penta. You can still plant the hot weather veggies as it won't be cold until late October and most take 60 to 90 days to mature. Start asparagus seeds in individual containers for ease in later transplanting. You can plant artichokes, both Globe and Jerusalem anytime from July to November. Do plant celosia, snapdragon, phlox, petunia and stock seeds now. Also Gloriosa lily, which is easy to grow and is an exotic, climbing lily-type flower. Last chance to prune your poinsettias for Christmas bloom. Keep up with weeds, fertilizer and pest control and deadheading. Cut back your herbs. They'll just keep growing. Freeze or dry what herbs you don't use. Find at the hardware stores or order what ever veggie seeds you will be starting in September. Your gardening friends are excellent sources of seeds and cuttings. Put garden clippings and non-oily, non-meat kitchen waste into the compost pile. The garden pests are out in full force. Keep an eye out for them and deal with problems at once, before they get out of hand.
The rains are beginning to taper off. At the viveros, look for Moluccella, (Bells of Ireland). It may be hard to find, so consider starting it from seed. It has unusual, green flowers, which when cut fresh, will dry and last for years. Also at the viveros: ageratum (in pink, blue and white), kalanchoe, chrysanthemums, the familiar annuals: zinnias, marigolds, cosmos and sunflowers and all of the plants that do well all year round. Morning glories are blooming now and some iris will bloom for a second time. Also fall flowering bulbs. Now is the time to put members of the cabbage family into your veggie garden and also lettuce, peas and spinach. Don't forget to try arugula for your salads, pasta and pizzas. It's great with goat cheese. Flower seeds to start now are amaranthus, baby's breath, columbine and alstroemeria. You may have to begin a regular watering schedule towards the end of the month. Water deeply once or twice a week to promote deep root growth. Let the soil around established plants dry out between watering. Keep pruning, deadheading and fertilizing, especially if you use a liquid. On the mountains, the "Rosa Panal", a small tree with reddish bark and many, many, small yellow blossoms is in flower. Its local name comes from the word for honeycomb.
Sometimes the rains continue into October, but it's cooler now and time for plants that don't like really hot weather. Nights are wonderful and balmy. The wild flowers are in bloom along the roadsides, at their peak in mid-October in Tapalpa and Mazamitla. The viveros have gerberas, fuchsias, petunias, pansies, asters, arcotis and calendulas. Plant sweet peas, stock, nasturtium, larkspur, yarrow and viola seeds now for cool weather bloom. Set out gladiola corms. Also plant root vegetables and members of the cabbage family, if you have not already, and of course more lettuce and peas. Try some Cape gooseberry. It re-seeds and does very well here. Divide Shasta daisies and start cuttings of chrysanthemums for next year. Prune, deadhead and clean up all plants in the garden, especially geraniums, which tend to become leggy and messy looking.
Cool in the daytime and sometimes cold at night. Save some of your fireplace ashes for the compost pile, but not too much. Look for snapdragons, stocks, fuchsias, poinsettias, pansies, petunias and phlox at the viveros. Sweet peas may begin blooming. Snapdragons will re-seed, but not with the same vibrant colors. You can still plant lettuce, peas, kohl rabi, spinach and Swiss chard (the rainbow variety is wonderful to look at and good to eat). Start dahlia, alyssum, mallow and poppy (Papaver) seeds now. Mist fuchsias and water garden regularly, keeping in mind that the native plants know how to deal with the dry seasons. Most orchids can take more sun now. Order seed catalogues for next year and begin planning. You will learn so much from them. Now is a very good time to get the garden cleaned up really well. You can fill in bare spots with blooming plants from the viveros and plant sellers.
Cold in the mornings and at night, but warm in the afternoons. Force amaryllis bulbs (Hippeastrum), which you will find at some viveros, for Christmas bloom. Viveros will have poinsettias, Christmas cactus, cineraria, fuchsias, petunias, pansies and snapdragons. You can still plant cool weather veggies now. Some of the more tender plants may need to be protected from cold night winds. The birds-of-paradise may stop blooming, but they'll come back as soon as it begins to warm up. Many plants will be going into a dormant period and this is a good time to prune them, before they start putting out new growth as the weather warms. Don't over-water them at this time and fertilize less or not at all. The garden pests are feeling the chill too, but keep an eye out for them. As our ground never freezes, they are with us all year. Start really thinking about what you want to grow or change in your garden next year. It's a good idea to do a written plan with a sketch. Seed catalogs are wonderful sources of inspiration, as are gardening books, both general and specific.
It's cold at night and in the early mornings, but warms up nicely in the afternoon. Every few years there are January rains, called Cabanuelas, but don't count on it. At the viveros, look for pansies, petunias, stocks and bergenia. For the flower garden, from seed try Brugmansia (syn. Datura) (Angel's Trumpet), corydalis for its attractive foliage, michauxia with its exuberant, white flowers and Lady's mantle for future flower arranging. You may want to prune your roses and do the first pruning on the poinsettias late in the month. Continue watering when necessary, remembering that the native plants know it's the dry season.
It is still cold at night, but warmer in the morning. Pruning now will bring back many plants that are looking a little sad, encouraging new growth. Plants that bloom year round are beginning to look happier. Look for iris, heliotrope, pentas, primrose and snapdragons at the viveros. Now is the time to put radishes, carrots, Swiss chard, kohl rabi, leeks, and beans (wax, runner and bush) in the garden. For flower growers, start morning glory, evening primrose, liatris, clarkia and tuberous begonias in pots. If you have asparagus, the crop should be ready for picking now. It's an excellent time to get the garden cleaned up and ready for the hot, dry months and the new things you will be planting. Don't forget to deadhead and water and keep up with your compost.
March is still cool at night and can be windy, with no rain until mid-June. It's beginning to be hot in the afternoons. You will find iris, lantana, daylilies, gerberas, lobelia and acanthus at the viveros, as well as many more year 'round blooming plants. Those glorious purple trees that are in bloom now are Jacarandas. The seeds of flowers that do best in the hot, dry season, such as calendulas and salvias, should be in. New Zealand spinach does so well you can almost watch it grow. It has a very earthy taste. Start begonias, impatiens, periwinkle, rock cress and passion flower vine. Cut snapdragons back sharply after blooming and new growth will appear. Remember to water well after you fertilize. If you are using a liquid fertilizer, such as Miracle-gro or MirAcid (for acid loving plants) use 15 ml. (1 tablespoon) per 4 I. (1 gal.) of water, every two weeks. Mist fuchsias and orchids regularly.
Hotter and drier from now through the middle of June when the rainy season begins. The viveros now will have lantana, portulaca and baby's breath. Don't forget Aztec lily, agapanthus and daylilies, which are things that also do well all year 'round. Start forget-me-nots, nemesia for borders and containers, and Osteospermum (Star of the Veldt), with its long blooming and colorful daisy-like flowers. Time to start eggplant, pepper and tomato seeds in flats or pots for later transplanting, as well as to put lettuce seeds into the garden. Remember that you have to protect your young seedlings from the intense heat and sun and to water them faithfully until the rains begin. Digging compost and animal manure into your garden soil will help to improve the texture and ability to hold water, as well as furnish valuable nutrients. Good soil looks and feels like chocolate cake crumbs. Deadhead and water regularly. Pruning is an on-going process here and encourages new growth. New growth will begin with the rains. It's a good time to consider cacti and succulents.
This month is hotter and drier still. Extra water needed and maybe some shelter during the hottest time of day for you and your garden. Portulaca thrives, lantana, geraniums, pentas too; look for them at the viveros, but it's too hot for pansies, petunias and primrose (which are iffy here anyway). The Reina de la Noche blooms in May. Start cucumbers and squashes, eggplant too, but remember they need lots of water (moist, well-drained soil). You could also put in sweet corn now, but most people wait until the rains begin. Plant seeds for gaillardia, coreopsis, coleus and cleome. Cut back ageratum, alyssum and petunias after blooming and geraniums too, removing the shaggy growth. They will all look better for it. Be careful not to prune new growth of plants that bloom on the new growth (most do). Don't forget to mist your orchids regularly.
With the beginning of the rains in mid-June, the viveros will have dahlias, all types of begonias, impatiens and verbenas. Also rudbeckia and flor amarilla. It's a good time to put in ferns. Maiden hair ferns are quite sensitive (be careful with pesticides), but staghorns, kept moist and out of direct sun, will be very happy. All types of lilies will be blooming now. It's very busy time in the garden. Some flower seeds to plant in June are cosmos, marigolds, sunflowers and zinnias. Disbud dahlias for larger blooms. Stake tall plants before the rains begin. They will grow so quickly. Plant beans, beets, peppers, okra, sweet corn and tomatoes. If your garden is small, plant tomatoes and peppers in pots. They will be fine. Just remember to water them frequently, as the soil in pots dries out faster. If you have not been spraying for pests, now is a good time to start. Many Mexican gardeners swear by a mixture of shaved Lirio soap, dissolved in water with a pack of El Faro cigarettes, as an effective spray for most insects, especially white fly. Strain the mixture before putting it through your sprayer. Weeds are growing faster now, too. Keep up with them. Don't forget to plant some herbs. Divide and replant iris. Keep deadheading regularly.