What to do in your garden in November

Kim Nelson,  – November 9, 2004


Bulbs for indoor display. Try this technique for forcingbulbs into late-winter bloom indoors: Refrigerate bulbs ofdaffodils, hyacinths, paperwhite narcissus, and tulips for eightweeks, then plant them in containers of potting soil mixed with aspoonful of controlled-release fertilizer. Space so the bulbs arejust touching with tips protruding from the soil; water gently.Place the containers in a cool, low-light location for one week.Then take them into a warm, well-lit room to bloom.

Bulbs for outdoor beds. Plant bulbs that require minimalwinter chill and water. Good choices include Crocus ancyrensis ‘Golden Bunch’, C. chrysanthus ‘Advance’ and ‘Gypsy Girl’, and C. vernus ‘Pickwick’ and ‘Yellow Mammoth’. Otherpossibilities include Afghani iris (I. cycloglossa), all I. reticulata varieties, rain lily (Zephyranthes), Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’, and spring star flower (Ipheion uniflorum ‘Wisley Blue’). All are available fromHigh Country Gardens in Santa Fe ( www.highcountrygardens.comor 800/925-9387).

Cool-season flowers. Sunset climate zones 10-13: Sow seeds of clarkia,nasturtiums, and sweet peas. Set out transplants of ageratum,calendula, candytuft, coreopsis, dianthus, English daisies,foxgloves, larkspur, lobelia, pansies, petunias, scabiosa,snapdragons, and sweet alyssum.

Cool-season vegetables. Zones 10-13: Sow seeds of beets,carrots, kale, leeks, parsnips, peas, radishes, rutabagas, saladgreens, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnips. Set out transplants ofasparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, andcauliflower.

Landscape plants. Zones 10-13: Through midmonth set outspring-blooming perennials such as autumn sage (Salvia greggii), bush morning glory (Convolvulus cneorum), globe mallow (Sphaeralcea species), Mexican evening primrose, penstemons,red justicia (J. candicans), and verbena. It’s also a good time to plantfrost-hardy, woody shrubs and trees, including acacia, creosotebush, hop bush, mesquite, Mexican buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa), palo verde, Texas mountain laurel, andwoolly butterfly bush.

Succulents. Zones 11-13: Transplant cold-hardy or nativesucculents such as agave, desert spoon, and yucca.


Adjust irrigation systems. As temperatures cool, water needsdecrease. Adapt to this change by increasing the number of daysbetween irrigations, but maintain the length of each wateringcycle.

Care for roses. Zones 10-13: Remove spent blossoms,fertilize for the last time this year, and apply a 4-inch layer ofcompost around plants.

Prepare for frost. If frost is forecast, move containerplants to protected locations under trees or overhanging roofs.Water most tender landscape plants so they’ll be well hydrated andthus better able to tolerate cold. Do not water cactus andsucculents, but cover their tips with a frost blanket or heavyburlap. To protect young citrus trees, hang a lightbulb or a stringof warming Christmas lights in the center of the canopy, then coverwith frost blanket or old sheets.

Prune herbs. Zones 11-13: Prune marjoram, oregano, rosemary,and thyme to remove woody stems and encourage fresh new growth.