the show

Xeriscape = Grow Green Sustainability

air date: May 12, 2018

“Xeriscape” does not mean “zero-scape!” Simply, it’s designing with water-thrifty plants and water-conserving techniques. Dick Peterson, rainwater harvesting consultant and member of the Garden Club of Austin hits the basic tips to grow green. On tour, the Williamson County Master Gardeners have you covered from food to flowers that handle Texas tough conditions. Daphne inspects a viewer’s orange tree started from seed and how to encourage flowers. Plant of the Week is warm weather globe amaranth, a favorite for butterflies and dried flower arrangements indoors. Herb n’ Cowgirl Ann McCormick goes for foliage with fragrance: scented geraniums.


Episode Segments

On Tour

EarthKind food, flower and herb gardens: Williamson County Master Gardeners

Not sure what to plant and how to do it? In Georgetown, Williamson County Master Gardeners demonstrate raised bed ideas, herbs, vegetables, roses and perennials for pollinators.  Practicing EarthKind techniques, they show how to grow organically while conserving water.

Watch more "On Tour" videos on YouTube →

Question of the Week

Orange tree in container doesn’t fruit or flower.

Thanks to Regina DosReis for this great question about an orange tree that she started from seeds that a friend gave her.

Once it grew, she planted the seedling in a clay pot on the northeast side of her house and it’s now about three years old. But it’s never flowered to produce oranges. Regina also notes that a neighbor’s tree shades her orange most of the time.


What can she do to get her orange tree to flower?  

We reached out to AgriLife Extension fruit specialist Monte Nesbitt for some insight, and he confirmed our suspicions that the leggy growth is partially due to the lack of sunlight, but also notes that seedling trees, as opposed to grafted ones, just naturally have a leggy growth habit.

Another issue that Monte points out with the genetics of seedling citrus trees is juvenility, which is the inability of trees to flower and produce fruit before a certain age. For citrus, that can be anywhere from five to eight years, which is one reason that we graft trees: buds from more mature trees, of flowering age, may be grafted onto younger rootstock, and the tree will flower and produce fruit immediately.

The container is also an issue.  It’s simply too small for the tree and is inhibiting root growth, which in turn will inhibit overall growth, which Monte says will also increase the time to maturity, thus delaying fruit production even longer.

He suggests planting the tree in the ground and fertilizing regularly, making sure that the tree will receive a full day of sun in its new location. Also, be sure to plant in the warmest spot of the yard, where the tree can be protected from hard freezes.

You could also transplant it to a much larger container.

Find out more from A&M about growing citrus, fruits and nuts.

Watch more Question of the Week videos on YouTube →

Plant of the Week

Globe Amaranth

Globe Amaranth

Warm weather annual

Globe amaranth is a super easy warm weather annual to grow from seeds or transplants. If you sow from seed, keep the soil evenly moist (watering lightly every day) until they’re up and growing. If you get a late start or can’t nurture seeds until germination, go for thrifty six-packs or 4” transplants. Blooming until frost, there are many colors and heights, so pick what pleases your color scheme and space. You can even grow them in containers. Globe amaranth loves the bright sun and thrive thrives in heat. Soil with good drainage is best, but globe amaranth will tolerate clay soil if you don’t overwater. They really stand out when planted in masses (which also grab butterfly attention) but avoid overcrowding. Check the variety for mature width and height and give them a little breathing room. The globe-shaped flowers attract all kinds of butterflies and skippers. Cut a few to include in long-lasting arrangements, potpourri bowls and wreaths. If you want to save seeds, collect dried flowers before the first frost. When they brown in winter, pull them up and add to the compost pile.