Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Mexican Bush Sage

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Oct 6, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Mexican Bush Sage


Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) is an evergreen shrub for sun with fuzzy, elongated, grey-green leaves. In fact, everything about it is sort of fuzzy, especially it's stunning violet flower bracts which are borne most heavily in the fall. The actual flower is small and white, far less eye-catching than the velvety bracts which envelop them. Because it's the bract as opposed to the the flower which attracts the most attention, they hold their color very well over the course of their spring-through-fall bloom season. 

JennieSalvialeucantha-500224-editedEventually reaching 6' high and wide, Mexican Bush Sage is best suited to the back of the flower bed, where it will dutifully provide forage for hummingbirds and bees without using a lot of water. Like most woody perennials, this sage benefits from being pruned to shape it in late winter-early spring. Other than that, it is about as low maintenance as you could hope for in a plant.

In addition to the standard version pictured here, there is a dwarf variety known as 'Santa Barbara' which reaches a far more manageable 4' high and wide. There is also a pink and white flowered variety, and a variety called 'Midnight' where the both the flower and the bract are a deep, beautiful purple.

It's Jennie's pick-of-the-week because:

"Those bright purple flowers turn heads, and it's so easy to grow. I love this plant!"


Looking for less thirsty perennials?   Drought Tolerant Plants

Topics: Fall Shrubs, Waterwise, Fall Flowers, pollinators

Pest Alert- The Bagrada Bug

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Oct 5, 2015 9:10:52 AM

Bagrada bugs (Bagrada hilaris) are a type of stink bug and rapidly spreading invasive pests. They are native to Africa, and were most likely introduced to the U.S. via the Port of Long Beach in 2008. Since then, they've migrated eastward and have been found in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.


Bagrada_Bug-903670-edited-458765-editedDescription: Bearing a strong resemblance to Harlequin Bugs, The Bagrada bug is only 1/3 to 1/4 of the size, with adults reaching 5-7mm. Nymphs start out small, round and red-colored, then black with red marking. Adults are shield-shaped and black, with symmetrical orange markings. 

Host Plants: Members of the mustard family Brassicaceae, including crops such as arugula, Asian greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radish, cabbage and turnip. It has also been known to feed on grasses such as corn, and Bermuda grass as well as ornamental plants such as candytuft and sweet alyssum. It prefers to feed on brassicauceous weeds, and usually seeks out the plants listed above when the mustard weeds die back in late summer.

Damage: They have sucking mouth parts, which they use to pierce plant tissue. The resulting damage presents as discolored, irregular blotches on leaves and stems. They can also cause wilting, stunting, tip dieback and can kill seedlings. 

Control: Bagrada bugs, like other stink bugs, can be difficult to control by chemical methods alone. Insecticidal soaps can help suppress nymphs, while pyrethrin-based insecticides are somewhat effective at controlling adults. They are easier to eradicate if caught early, so monitoring is important. To prevent a possible infestation, clear your garden of weeds, especially those in the mustard family. They are heat-loving, so when monitoring for them be sure to inspect plants when temperatures are above 75°F. If found, hand-pick and destroy. 

Bagrada bugs have no natural enemies in this country, so they are spreading rampantly. The best way to control them is to practice IPM and keep a close eye on your garden for unfamiliar insects before the populations get out of hand. If you think you've identified this pest in a county where it was previously unreported, contact your local UC Cooperative Extension office. 

Intro to IPM

For more pest control tips, check out our 3 Part Pest SOS series.

For more information on the Bagrada bug, check out the UC Davis IPM Pest Notes



Topics: Pest Prevention

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Lion's Tail

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Sep 26, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Lion's Tail


Lion's Tail (Leonotis leonurus) is a perennial shrub native to South Africa. It's bright green foliage and upright growth habit is topped by stalks punctuated with whorls of unusual, fuzzy orange tubular flowers in late summer. Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators are especially fond of these showy flower clusters.

Elvia_Leonotis-430267-editedGenerally reaching 4-6' high and wide, Lion's Tail produces lanky herbaceous growth off of a woody base, and should be pruned back each winter to keep it looking neat. It also responds well to summer pruning, and will flush out beautifully if pinched back on occasion. Despite its African origins, Lion's Tail is surprisingly cold tolerant, and will withstand temperatures down to 20-25°F. It will grow in a wide range of soils, as long as drainage is adequate, and requires little water when established. 

It's Elvia's pick-of-the-week because:

"The flower is so bright and beautiful, there's nothing else like it. Plus, it makes the hummingbirds happy."






Lion's Tail is one of many options for flower arrangements that are sure to be conversation topics.
Grow a Cut Flower Garden

Fall is officially here! For planting inspiration, check out some of our upcoming workshops Workshop Calendar

Topics: Flowers, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Hummingbirds

Our Plant-Pick-of-the-Week: Mediterranean Carpet

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Sep 14, 2015 4:05:13 PM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Mediterranean Carpet


Teucrium cossonii majoricum AKA Fruity Teucrium or Mediterranean Carpet is an evergreen perennial with a low, mounded growth habit. It's soft silvery-green foliage smells pleasantly fruity, some liken it to pineapple. It hails from the Mediterranean, where it grows well in full hot sun in rocky, poor soil. Reaching only about 4-6" high by 2-3' wide, Mediterranean Carpet is the perfect small scale groundcover for filling in nooks & crannies in the garden. It requires no pruning, but benefits from the occasional deadheading in order to get the most out of it's extremely long spring-through-fall bloom season. 


With the demand for low-maintenance low-water and beautiful perennials on the rise, Mediterranean carpet is earning a great reputation among California gardeners. When it's in bloom, which is more often than not, it's foliage is nearly obscured by petite mauve flower clusters.

A boon to a variety of pollinators, Mediterranean Carpet is truly a worthwhile perennial to try as a container "spiller" nestled among drought tolerant perennials or even filling in those awkward spaces between shrubs. 

It's Mel's pick-of-the-week because:

"It's always nice to fall in love with a plant I've never seen before. Water-wise, beautiful and it smells good too!"







Thinking about re-vamping your garden with water-wise rockstars?
Check out some of our exciting workshops this Fall!

Workshop Calendar


Topics: Waterwise, Fragrant Plants, Low maintenance, pollinators

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: California Fuchsia

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Sep 4, 2015 10:02:41 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: California Fuchsia


California Fuchsia (once botanically known as Zauschneria, recently reclassified as Epilobium) is probably the most recognizable California native perennial besides the famous CA poppy. It's no wonder- the flowers are such a vivid red-orange that they're highly visible from yards away. Thanks to this perennial's dazzling blossom, many new cultivars are being sold each year, which is great news for water-conscious gardeners, hummingbirds and native pollinators too!

NickCaliforniaFuchsia-349991-editedThere are many new varieties of California Fuchsia on the market that vary widely in size, but they generally reach 1-2' high with a spreading habit 4-6' wide. They grow in areas with very poor soil and little water, so don't make the mistake of "loving them to death" with rich soil, plenty of fertilizer and regular irrigation. If you place your California Fuchsia in full sun and give it barely any attention, it will be far happier than if you pamper it like a prima donna.

If you're inspired to give this fuss-free beauty a try, remember that fall is the best time to plant, especially when it comes to native plants. This is because the cool weather allows the plant to establish an extensive root system and adapt to your soil before the weather gets hot again. It's Nick's pick-of-the-week because:

"California Fuchsia is easy to grow, very drought tolerant, and a hummingbird magnet! It's a great pop of color in the dead heat of summer when most other plants are bloomed-out."

Yearning for more un-thirsty plants?

  Drought Tolerant Plants


Topics: California Native Plants, Flowers in the Heat, Low Water Plants, Hummingbirds, Low maintenance, pollinators

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Princess Flower

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 27, 2015 9:28:20 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Princess Flower


Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana) is a semi-evergreen shrub native to Brazil. It has velvety medium-green leaves and vivid, electric purple flowers which are well suited to its royal namesake. In our climate it flourishes in the heat of summer, boasting a very long bloom season spring through fall. Given its tropical origins, it's no surprise that Princess Flowers are sensitive when it comes to frost. Hardy to 25-30°F, they must be protected in the winter. This love for heat and cold intolerance make this noble shrub best suited for enclosed courtyards, near pools or in containers.


Due to our chilly winters, Princess Flower usually only reaches 6-7ft high and wide in the Sacramento area. However, if it is in a protected area where it is particularly happy, it might eventually reach 15ft, making it an ideal candidate to train into a small tree. It's deeply saturated blue-violet blossoms adorned with elegant, curly stamens are irresistible to butterflies, making Princess Flower a wonderful addition to a tropical-themed pollinator garden.  


It's Linda's pick-of-the-week because:

"I love how versatile it is, you can prune to shape it any way you want. The velvety foliage tinged with red and those unbelievable purple flowers look so luxurious!"





Want to create your own tropical Pollinator Paradise? Here's some inspiration...
Canna 'Tropicanna Black'


Topics: Tropicals, Shrubs, Container Ideas, Summer, Summer Flowers, Butterflies

Fairy Gardening for Beginners

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 18, 2015 1:59:39 PM

Are you inspired by small spaces? Fairy gardening is a great way to capture the essence of a full-blown garden on a miniature scale and make fun summer containers! 


When planning your enchanted garden, consider:


Your planting container or "vessel" is the backdrop of your fairy garden and can inspire certain themes or settings. For example, large shallow bowls give the illusion of a wide, flat landscape. Plant with a low-growing groundcover and a few small flowers to simulate a miniature meadow or prairie. You can even stack pots within larger pots to give a tiered multi-dimensional effect.Tiered_Pot_1-706191-edited Broken pots can be recycled to create an unusual planting vessel with many tiny nooks for adventuring.

For inspiration, check out Fairy Gardens on our Pintrest page. 

Recycled objects such as old teapots, crates and boots can all be transformed into a fairy playground. Be sure to choose a vessel which drains. If you can't put drainage holes in your container, put a layer of rocks at the bottom about 1-2" thick, a layer of charcoal* and be cautious of over-watering. Charcoal and small pebbles can be found in the Specialty Soils section at all of our locations. 


When selecting plants for your fairy garden, don't just fall for the flowers! Your fairy garden is meant to be appreciated down to the tiniest detail, so be sure to add some plants with interesting foliage color and texture for charming containers.

Check out the 6-pack and mudflat groundcover section of the nursery, which has a great selection of small spreading plants which will fill in quickly.

The following plants are known to be especially appealing to fairies*

Irish or Scotch Moss Elfin Thyme Creeping Wire Vine Creeping Jenny
Pilea Blue or White Star Creeper Australian Violet Dead Nettle
Baby's Tears Hernaria Veronica Australian Astroturf

*Call stores for current availability.


The stones, shells, tchotchkies and treasures you nestle into your miniature landscape are like the "hardscape" of the fairy garden. Try getting an assortment of items which fit a theme and placing them in your container before planting. This will help you get an idea of what plants or containers are best suited to your theme. After the plants fill in around the hardscape, it will look well-established like it's been there for years. 

Shroomies_2-843251-editedAccessories are the most exciting aspect of a fairy garden, because they allow you to express your creativity and individual style. 

Try some of these fun ideas:

  • Use the tiered container set-up to create the appearance of a cascading waterfall.
  • Select some tree seedlings (ask for 'Bonsai Starters'), interplant with moss and finish off with Shroomyz ceramic mushroom stakes to emulate the feel of an ancient forest. 
  • Find some unique succulents and adorn with sand, shells, beach glass and driftwood to create a surreal seascape. 



More unique gardening inspiration...
  Moon Gardens

Topics: What Can I Plant This Season?, Container Ideas, Fairy Gardening, Shroomyz

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Rain Lily

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 18, 2015 10:50:48 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Rain Lily


Rain lilies are sometimes known as "fairy lily" and it's easy to see why. These little bulbs emerge as a petite 1x1' mound of grass-like foliage in the spring, where they look lovely nestled among sunny or partly shady borders. Somewhat reminiscent of Crocus, the flowers are small, funnel-shaped, and usually white or yellow. Rain lilies are the epitome of low maintenance, the only thing they require is well-draining soil. They thrive on neglect and will produce flowers in late summer or autumn, usually after rain, hence the name. Extra bonus: they are deer resistant!


Rain lilies are best used in the landscape as an accent in a border, their tidy growth habit makes them ideal candidates for filling in spaces around taller, summer blooming perennials. Just as the summer perennials are fizzling out, the rain lilies begin to shine, providing the late-summer garden with a pleasant pop of color.

It's Kevin's pick-of-the-week because:

"It's a very easy, low maintenance perennial. The flowers are a nice late summer surprise and the foliage adds textural contrast to a water-wise garden."





More beautiful water-wise plant suggestions... Drought Tolerant Plants

Topics: Sacramento Low Water Plants, Flowers, Low Water Plants

Caring for Trees in a Drought

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 12, 2015 4:39:02 PM

Sacramento is the city of trees, boasting one of the largest urban forests in the nation. With mandatory statewide watering restrictions, many people are wondering how they can keep their trees healthy on a limited watering schedule.

The Sacramento Tree Foundation recently launched a new campaign called Save Our Water & Our Trees to bring awareness to the value of continuing to care for and plant trees even in low water years. California has a Mediterranean climate, and our state will continue to cycle through periods of low water. It is more important now than ever that people plant shade trees and nurture their established trees so they may preserve their countless benefits for generations to come. 


Here are some simple ways to care for trees during low-water years:

  • Trees do best with deep watering, which means very slowly irrigating the soil so that the water percolates down through to where the roots are, as opposed to running off or only saturating the first few inches of soil. To facilitate a slow, deep soaking, try using a drip system with a timer. 
  • Mulching around the tree about 2-3" thick will suppress water-thirsty weeds, cools the soil, and reduces evaporation of water from the soil by up to 70%. To prevent crown rot, be sure to keep the mulch 6" away from the trunk. 
  • If you are planting a new tree or have a tree that is on a slope, try creating a "basin" of raised soil a few feet around the circumference of the trunk so the water is sure to seep down into the root zone where it's needed. 
  • Keep a bucket in the shower to "cold-catch" water as your shower is heating up. You can feel good about using water that would have gone to waste to help save your trees.

Things to avoid:

  • Pruning. Unless you are removing branches that are already dead, refrain from doing any heavy pruning on a stressed tree during the summer. Stressed trees send out chemicals which attract insect pests, and pruning wounds make them even more susceptible to infestations.
  • Fertilizing with Synthetics. Unlike organic fertilizers, synthetics cause trees to push a lot of unsustainable water-thirsty growth. 
  • Watering with Sprinklers. Sprinkler systems put out a lot of water very quickly, which is okay for watering shallow-rooted plants such as turf, but less than ideal for trees.
    Unsure of how to begin? come into any Green Acres Nursery & Supply Garden Solutions department and we'll walk you through the steps of retrofitting your sprinkler system to drip. 

How do I know when to water?

The frequency of watering depends on three main factors: your soil's texture, the tree's species and its age. 

1. Soil Texture 

  • If you have dense clay soil, the particles are very small with little space for the water to move through, meaning that you must water very slowly. However, it also dries out very slowly so it's best to water deeply, yet infrequently.
  • If you have sandy soil, the particles are large and therefore water moves through it rapidly. It will also dry out quickly, so you may need to water more frequently. 
  • If you have loamy soil, the particles are medium-sized and tend to allow water to move through at a moderate pace. This is the ideal soil texture, usually people have combinations of all of the soil textures throughout their yard. 

No matter your soil texture, you should always probe your soil at least 6" down to determine how moist it is at that depth before watering. If the soil is crumbly or hard, add water. If it is sticky or moist, do not water. 

More information about how soil's texture affects your watering needs...  Watering 101

2. Tree Species

If you are planting a new tree, consider planting one that will have low or moderate water use once established. All young trees need regular water to develop a healthy, extensive root system. However, a young tree will only need 10-15 gallons per week, which is negligible when you consider all of the benefits that tree will eventually provide. 

Here are some shade trees which are well adapted to the Sacramento region: 


  • Crape Myrtles
  • Chinese Pistache 'Keith Davey'
  • Arbutus 'Marina'


  • Chinese Elm
  • Scarlet Oak
  • Tupelo
  • Ginkgo 'Autumn Gold'
  • Raywood Ash

This is just a small sampling, there are many other trees which are low-water when established that may be the right fit for you. For more information, check out Top 10 Legacy Trees for the Sacramento Region, or come into any Green Acres Nursery & Supply location and we'll help you find what you need. 

3. Tree Age

Young Trees (>5 Years old)

  • Roots are located mostly a few feet around the trunk, to a depth of 12-18"
  • Requires 10-15 gallons of water per week
  • Slowly soak the area around the base of the tree 2-3 times per week with 5 gallons each time

Established Trees (5+ Years old)

  • Roots are located mostly outside of the dripline, or the width of the tree's canopy, to a depth of 1-2'
  • Avoid watering near the trunk, or on the foliage 
  • Expand your watering to accommodate the tree's expanding dripline as it grows


Best Irrigation Methods

  • A garden hose on a slow trickle
  • A soaker hose
  • Irrigation tubing with drip emitters built in (inline tubing)
  • Micro-spray emitters or any other low-flow drip system
  • Deep Drip Tree watering stakes 

More information on irrigation efficiency and other water-saving tips...  #waterwise

Topics: Tree, Irrigation Tips, Drought Tolerant

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Crocosmia

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 10, 2015 8:55:11 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Crocosmia


Crocosmia is a perennial from corm (an underground structure like a bulb) which forms an upright clump of bright green sword-like foliage. In summer, this clump is adorned by tall stalks bearing an inflorescence of funnel-shaped flowers that are adored by hummingbirds. The flowers have a tropical feel, but the plant has incredible cold hardiness, tolerating temperatures as low as -20°F.  It offers all the beauty of a bulb such as Gladiolas, but it's foliage stays relatively neat and tidy spring through fall, making this perennial well-suited to any cut-flower garden or perennial border. 



Reaching about 2-3' tall, Crocosmia will slowly spread over time, resulting in a more impressive show of flowers year after year. Plus, you can divide them in the fall and plant them in other places; it's the plant that keeps on giving!

It's Crissa's pick-of-the-week because:

"The flowers are brilliant and showy. Hummingbirds love them and they're easy to grow!"











For more flowers well-suited for bouquets, check out  Grow a Cut Flower Garden

Topics: Cut Flower Garden, Hummingbirds, Bulbs

Get Digging with Green Acres

Have questions? Drop us a line.

We are here to help you with all of your landscape and gardening needs.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Posts by Topic

see all