Sprouting Macadamia Nut Seeds & Loquat Trees
The best soil we found for starting Macadamia Nuts & Loquat Trees is Tree & Shrub Planting Mix with slow release pellets. Fill a pot almost full then carefully place the nut with the root down & fill the pot with the planting mix, pat down the soil around the nut then water. Keep moist until you see the sprout coming up from the soil. Sometimes the nut will actually push itself right out of the soil! If this happens just top again with more planting mix to cover. The young tree should be provided with plenty of light & protected from winds. Macadamias & Loquats dislike frost or sitting in pools of water but otherwise are tough & have few pests. Fruits are produced after 4 to 6 years if grown in a temperate to tropical climate. Grafting can quicken this process but is not necessary in most tropical trees.
Plant in a sunny location & keep moist for the first few weeks until the roots have taken hold. They can be grown as an unusal houseplant when put in a bright sunny location and watered at least 3 times a week. No sunny location inside? Potted cane can be grown with the assistance of a 40-watt grow light. When planted in a row they make a natural privacy barrier & a nice wind break. Sugarcane grown outdoors can reach a height from 4 to 12 feet and may take up to 18 months for a stalk to fully mature. When grown in tropical to sub-tropical climate they will multiply quickly. The number of canes will approximately double each preceding growing season as well as becoming thicker each year. Regularly remove dead leaves and weeds from the soil or the growth of the cane stalk can be stunted. Mature Sugarcane are harvested by cutting level with the soil. This allows the original roots to regrow at least 2 - 3 more times before new ratoons are required. After harvesting be sure to continue the same watering & care as when the plant was actively growing above ground level.
A handy herb & unusal houseplant when grown in a bright sunny location. No sunny location inside? Potted Lemongrass can be grown with the assistance of a grow light. When planted outdoors it is hardy to Zone 9, where it will go dormant in the mild winters, & could eventually reach about 9 foot tall. In colder climates it needs to be taken inside during the winter & it only reaches about 3 foot or so tall. Lemongrass needs plenty of water and full sun for it to do it's very best. When bringing it inside in the fall, cut back to about 8 inches tall. Store in a cool part of the home & reduce the water to a minimum & it will go dormant. Later in the winter the Lemongrass will start to show signs of new growth, move it to a warm sunny window & resume normal watering. Replant in the ground after all danger of frost has passed.
Chayote Plant also known as Merleton, Pear Squash, Vegetable Pear, Chouchoute or Choko
Plant with the large end down so the spout is facing down at a 45° angle. The top must be exposed as covering the whole fruit will cause it to rot. Water regularly, but make sure the soil does not get soggy. Create a raised bed or build up a high mound in your yard by adding garden soil. In warm dry climates the plants can grow for several years & can produce hundreds of fruits. Yields depend on the number of hours in full sun, soil fertility, root competition, and trellising methods. Once temperatures dip below 55° F the immature fruit will die and fall off the vine. Chayotes produce fruit best when trellised horizontal to the ground but will produce more than enough fruit if grown along a vertical fence or even on shrubs and trees. Plant in well-drained sandy-loam soil with a pH of 6.0 - 6.8. Place the Chayote at a high point in your yard do not let it sit in standing water as this will kill it.
Taro, Kalo, or Dasheen
Thrives in USDA zones 9-11 when the air temperature hits & remains at least 77 degrees. Propagated year round for its leaves in greenhouses, outdoors it needs at least 200 frost-free days for the tuber to fully mature.When grown is moist soil, protected from winds, & given some afternoon shade this plant requires very little care, other than regular fertilization. Raw Taro is toxic so always handle the plant with care, once cooked Taro is completely safe to handle & eat. Harvest when the leaves turn yellow & begin to die back. Dig them up the same as you would for a potato & store in a dry cool place. Don't eat them all! Pick out a few good ones to replant for next season! (Please Note: Leaves may at first die off after being replanted but new leaves will soon start to sprout in a week or so to replace them.)
Passion Fruit Rootstocks
Plant in a sunny location near a fence or trellis as they like to climb. Keep moist for the first few weeks until the roots have taken hold. Passion fruit vines require a frost free environment & regular watering is a must for good flower production. The type of soil is not as important as it's draining ability. Passion Fruit Vines are vigorous growers and need regular fertilization for a bountiful harvest.
Plant in a sunny location next to a fence or trellis. Dig a hole & mix compost in with the soil. Place the plant in the hole & fill in with the dirt mixture. keep moist for the first few weeks until the plant is established. As the vines grow tie loosely to the fence or trellis so they do not touch the ground. Trailing vines will reroot when they come in contact with the ground. This plant is drought tolerant & can dry out between waterings. Water regularly when it is flowering & fruiting. Prune after harvest has ended removing all the dead canes as they can start disease in the plant if left on the vine. Prune off all growth that comes up out of the ground where you don't want the bush to spread. If you want it to spread, leave them & they will produce fruit the next year.
Succulents - Blue Century Agave, Nopales, Jade, Pencil Cactus
All succulents are naturally drought tolerant plants due to their ability of storing water in their leaves, stems or roots. They are easy care plants when grown in full sun with a well draining soil mixture. Succulents can not take frost or snow! Frost will kill or damage a succulent in a matter of minutes! Succulents make great container plants so if it freezes in your area plant in a container that you can take in during cold snaps. Our Prickly Pear Cactus requires an extremely well-drained or sandy soil and has a preference for a pH ranging between 6 and 7.5. Protect succulents from heavy winter rains as they prefer to be somewhat waterless during the winter months.
Herbs - African Blue Basil/Pineapple Sage/Peppermint
These herbs grow best in particial shade with regular watering. They are perennials & will grow almost year round when the flowers are kept pruned off & are protected from bad weather. If limbs start to seem lanky (this usually happens in the 2nd or 3rd season) just prune back and the new growth will have leaves much closer together. Do not let these herbs go to seed as the seed is usually infertile and the plant will then die off.