UCCE Master Gardeners of San Bernardino County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of San Bernardino County

Posts Tagged: janet hartin

Thanksgiving or Christmas cactus? Are they the same species?

With only a few short weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas and two very similarly looking plants, you may be wondering whether the gift a loved one gave you for Christmas is a Thanksgiving cactus or a Christmas cactus. (Many sold in local nurseries and large box stores this past Christmas season were actually Thanksgiving cactus (S. truncata), pictured below). While both are native to tropical regions of Brazil, host a wide array of flowers ranging from the more traditional pink hues to newer hybrids showing off white, red, yellow, and purple, they have different bloom periods. The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii), blooms about a month after the Thanksgiving cactus.



The Christmas cactus also has slightly different projections on its leaves, which are more scalloped and less pointed that the projections on the Thanksgiving cactus. Is yours still not in flower and not in the holiday spirit? Both species require cool temperatures and longer nights for about a month in advance of their flowering period. Both plants bloom optimally when grown outdoors when cool night temperatures dip`into the 50s and shorter nights reduce daytime light to 10 -12 hours in a 24 hour cycle. They can also be grown indoors in pots if kept in a cool dark area with no light between 5 pm and 8 am. During daytime, they prefer bright, indirect light. Full sun can cause the leaf segments to turn dark red. Both species require good drainage but, even though they are in the cactus family don't let this fool you! They need adequate moisture - particularly during boom- and cannot make it through long, dry periods without supplemental water. Unlike most houseplants, they prefer to feel snug in their pots, almost to the point of enjoying being slightly pot-bound.

Happiest of holidays however you choose to safely celebrate them this year!


Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 10:46 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Invasive Plants: Don't Encourage 'Bad Neighbors'

What do ice cream, potato chips, Scotch and Spanish Broom, and Tree of Heaven have in common? While they're all tempting to indulge in, less is more. In fact, plants such as Scotch, Spanish Broom, Tree of Heaven, Pampas Grass, Green Fountain Grass, and dozens of plants are all considered invasive plants in California. Simply put, they should not be planted. There are some great alternative plants that are better choices listed at the end of this blog.

Truth be told, I admit to falling madly in love with the Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum) shrubs adorning Highway 18 on my drive from San Bernardino to Lake Arrowhead in early spring 1984 right after my job interview for my current position. Being a “wet behind the ears” recently hatched graduate student from the Midwest I was truly in awe of their lovely yellow blooms and vowed to plant one if I got the chance to move to California. Fortunately, I found out very soon that, while the plantings were made on purpose, they were a mistake and needed to be removed due to their invasive nature.

While they were ‘recruited' from Europe and had what seemed like a perfect resumé (fast growth, lovely yellow flowers, adaptability to poor infertile soil and disease and insect-resistance), they didn't play well with others, a fatal flaw. In California, they were aggressive and crowded out native plantings. Fires only exacerbated the situation. After the 2003 burns, the Spanish Broom populations exploded, obliterating any remaining natives and taking an even larger area hostage. In summer 2010, the San Bernardino National Forest removed the plants in a costly but necessary $500,000 project under a partnership with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Constant monitoring continues in the San Bernardino Mountains and other areas of the state to prevent its reestablishment which is challenging due to its ability to quickly resprout, seed longevity, and effective dispersal. It has definitely earned its ‘noxious weed' label!

This is just one example of the problems posed by invasive plants. In effect, they grow too well! They outcompete desirable plants in our gardens, lawns, and other urban and natural areas for water, nutrients, and space. They also shade sun-requiring plants. Threatened and endangered plant species and other California native plants are particularly vulnerable to their encroachment. (In most cases, invasive plants are non-native species.) Interestingly, our beloved state flower, the California poppy, is an invasive plant in New Zealand, Hawaii and other locations outside of California.



Non-Invasive Alternatives

As urban gardeners, we can all greatly reduce the impact of the encroachment of invasive plants in our urban environments. Please don't plant invasive sane remove plantings on your property to stop their spread. Below are some great resources to learn more about invasive plants and find viable replacements:

California Invasive Plant Council: https://www.cal-ipc.org/

Don't Plant a Pest: https://www.cal-ipc.org/solutions/prevention/landscaping/dpp/

Invasive Plants of Southern California:https://www.cal-ipc.org/solutions/prevention/landscaping/dpp/?region=socal

PlantRight: https://plantright.org/about-invasive-plants/plant





Posted on Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 7:42 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

Halloween Plants that will Scare the BOO out of you!

It's a scary time of year! Plants are amazing life forms, coming in a wide array of forms, shapes, and colors. Here are some of my favorite Halloween plants that are sure to scare the living daylights out of you!

Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda)

Doll's eyes plants are not only poisonous but host eyeball-like berries that are highly toxic to humans but don't harm most birds. Unless you're visiting friends or relatives or vacationing in the Midwest or Northeast USA you may never set your own orbs on this plant!

Devil's Claw or Ram's Horn (Proboscidea louisianica)

This unfriendly looking species is native to the South Central USA and sports a unique horn-shaped pod. In addition to its attention-grabbing visual appeal, pigments contained in the pod are used for black dyes by several Native American tribes.

Bleeding Tooth Fungus (Hydellum peckii)

This startling-looking fungus oozes fake blood through minute pores. (The red goo is actually a result of guttation that forces water into the roots during osmosis.) Fortunately for Southern Californian's, it is found mostly in the Pacific Northwest and Europe living peaceably in a symbiosis with conifers.

White Ghosts or Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora)

Photo credit: Jay Sturner / Flickr

These eye-catching specimens have bright white droopy flowers reminiscent of ghosts found in spooky dark, dank basements. They hide in shady spots and live in a symbiotic relationship with a fungus in their roots providing food.

Happy Fall!

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 9:18 AM

Drought Update........How to Save Your Plants Under Drought and Water Restrictions......and Use Graywater!

California is in the midst of the worst drought in decades.  But you can save your valued trees and landscape plants by following a few simple principles.  Watering mature trees deeply just once during mid-summer will keep most species alive, especially if there is a three inch layer of mulch on the top of the soil to keep evaporation down.   Be sure to water outward toward the dripline of the tree rather than near the trunk. Keep weeds out of your garden; they will win the water fight. Don't fertilize your landscape during the drought and avoid ripping out your current landscape in the middle of summer to replace it with a drought tolerant one; young plants require more water than established landscapes, and more frequent irrigations.  For more information on how to reduce water use in your landscape and garden and to learn more about using graywater from your washing machine to irrigate your landscape click on this link.   http://cesanbernardino.ucanr.edu/Drought_Resources/   Janet Hartin, Environmental Horticulture Advisor, University of California ANR Cooperative Extension, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Los Angeles Counties.

Register Today for the Dec. 11, 2013 Turf and Landscape Institute in Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Register today for the December 11, 2013 Turf and Landscape Institute at the Etiwanda Gardens Conference Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California.  This is the largest University of California Cooperative Extension educational  event offered annually in Southern California and is open to all arborists, landscapers, irrigation professionals, and other 'green industry' personnel interested in receiving objective timely information on topics covering arboriculture, and sustainable landscaping, and we even have a session in Spanish stressing irrigation management practices and principles.

Questions?  jshartin@ucdavis.edu, 951.313.2023

 Choose from Three All-Day Educational Sessions:

 -        Sustainable Landscape Management

-         Arboriculture

-         IPM/Irrigation Fundamentals (in Spanish)


To Register online and View the Entire Program: http://cesanbernardino.ucdavis.edu 

($75 each when 3 or more register together before or on Dec. 6 or $85 for a single registration)

To host a table-top trade show booth, contact Janet Hartin at jshartin@ucdavis.edu or 951.313.2023.
 Booths are $250 and includes 2 entrances into conference. 

Webmaster Email: magoneill@ucanr.edu