Cobb County Government

Plant sale promises a green year for gardening

Special to CobbLine

The Cobb County 4-H Club is having its annual plant sale. This year’s assortment includes blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, figs, Admiral Semmes azalea, crape myrtles, edgeworthia, hellebores, heuchera, and loropetalum. Prepaid orders will be accepted until Friday, March 2.

The order form is available at or by calling 770-528-4070. Plants may be picked up at Jim Miller Park 9 a.m. to 3 p.m on Saturday, March 10 (one day only). Plants have different requirements and these guidelines will help you make a selection and transplant them successfully.alt

Blueberries for sale.

Blackberries: Blackberries require plenty of sunlight, neutral soil (pH 6.0 – 6.5) and adequate water. Do not plant them in low areas where water stands after a heavy rain. The standard spacing is two feet between plants and 12 feet between rows. Fifteen plants, properly cared for, can supply berries for the average family. Work the soil ahead of time so a drenching rain can firm it. Plant the roots two inches below the soil line.

Do not fertilize at planting time. In April of the first year scatter one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 18 feet of row. In June scatter one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 36 feet of row. Spread the fertilizer evenly over the row in a band two feet wide.

Blueberries: Blueberries prefer sun, acid soil (pH 4.5 – 5.2) and adequate water. The standard spacing is four to five feet between bushes and 10-12 feet between rows. Blueberries require cross pollination so plant more than one variety. Mix ¼ to ½ bushel of moist organic amendment with the soil in each hole. Do not add lime. Transplant to the same depth as the plant grew in the pot. Water with three to five gallons per bush.

Cut the plant back one third at planting and remove flower buds the first year. Mulch with pine straw, chopped pine bark or similar material, keeping it away from the trunk. After new growth begins, spread one ounce of 12-4-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer in a circle 6 inches from the trunk. Make another application in June.

Raspberries: Raspberries produce fruit in early summer. Plant bushes three feet apart in rows six feet apart. Raspberries require full sun to light shade, well drained soil and a pH of 5.0 – 6.5. It is a shallow rooted bush, requiring one to 1½ inches of water per week.

Figs: Celeste figs, a self pollinating, medium size, sweet fruit ripening in July, require at least eight hours of sunshine per day. Figs have a wide-ranging root system and will mature at 15 feet. wide and high. Dig a hole three times as wide as the root ball. Spread one to a half cups of 8-8-8 fertilizer along the canopy of young plants in March, May and June. Water regularly during fruit swelling (July through harvest). Insects and diseases are not a serious problem; birds are the most troublesome pests. Enjoy figs eaten fresh, preserved, dried or canned.

Crape Myrtles: Crape myrtle, admired for the beautiful blooms, exfoliating bark and fall leaf color, may be grown as a bush or shaped to a tree type. Our powdery mildew resistant varieties do best in full sun, and once established, withstand drought. Dig a hole at least two times wider than the root ball. Set the plant in the hole no deeper than it grew originally. Backfill with the soil removed from the hole. Water thoroughly and mulch with three to five inches of pine straw, pine bark or slightly decomposed leaves. Keep mulch away from the trunk.

The plants should be watered thoroughly at planting time and once a week for the first two months. Apply one teaspoon of 8-8-8, 10-10-10, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 fertilizer monthly from March through August to newly planted one gallon plants. Plant height ranges: Arapaho 20 feet, Natchez 20+ feet, Pink Velour 20 feet.

Edgeworthia: Commonly known as Paper Bush, this winter flowering shrub does well in light shade. It’s three to four inches long, narrow dark blue-green leaves are clustered at branch tips. Flower buds covered with silky white hairs appear in late summer after leaf fall and look like white blossoms, and the lightly fragrant, pale yellow blossoms appear in late winter.

Edgeworthia is pest-free. It prefers moist, well-drained soil containing plenty of organic matter. Pliable, bare stems produced freely from the base, with leaves clustered at the tips impart a tropical look. Use as a woodland plant or specimen.

Heuchera: This 12-20 inch high herbaceous perennial, also known as coral bells, is an attractive border plant. It does well in light shade to shade in moist well drained, humus rich soil. Caramel has apricot /caramel foliage with pink blossoms. Plum Pudding has plum-purple leaves with dark purple veining and white flowers.

Azalea: Admiral Semmes is a heat tolerant and mildew resistant hybrid azalea reaching four to five feet in height and width at maturity. Fragrant yellow blossoms appear in early spring. Azaleas like high overhead shade, and organic, acid, well-drained soil.

Loropetalum: Also known as the Chinese fringe flower, it is a compact (three to five feet tall) rounded evergreen shrub. Young leaves are shiny, ruby red. Hot pink fringe flowers appear in spring with sporadic blooms. Plant in sun or dappled shade. in well drained humus rich, slightly acidic soil that is moist but not wet. Keep young plants well watered. This is a low maintenance border or woodland garden shrub.

A free seminar on growing and caring for blueberries, blackberries and raspberries will be 6:30–8 p.m. Thursday, March 1 at the Cobb County Water Lab, 662 South Cobb Drive, Marietta.