What’s New at the Nursery

Potatoes, Onions & Garlic

For those of you who are anxious to start planting early this spring, we have a great selection of Potatoes, Onions & Garlic.  A good rule of thumb is you can plant potatoes and onions directly in the garden after St. Patrick’s Day, but with our unpredictable Colorado weather it is important to keep an eye on them. Use mulch, Season Extenders, or cover with row covers to help protect veggies from low temperatures. Garlic bulbs can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked.  Shop early to find the best available selection and store your potatoes, onions and garlic in a cool, dry environment until you’re ready to plant. Please note that some varieties are already in stock with others expected to arrive throughout the month of March.  Please call to check availability on your favorite varieties.

Potatoes

Potato plants are not grown from seed, so to produce a potato plant you will need seed potatoes, which are potatoes that have been carefully screened for common viruses and stored for planting. Seed potatoes can be planted whole or cut into pieces with at least one eye per piece.  Those with more eyes will grow to produce a larger quantity of potatoes that are smaller in size while those with fewer eyes will produce fewer potatoes that are larger in size.  For planting, choose a sunny spot with loose well-draining soil, so that the roots and tubers can develop. For a fun alternative planting method try planting potatoes in bloem BAGZ.

Here are some delicious varieties to consider (many more varieties will become available as we move into spring):

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes: This is a smooth, round, yellow-skinned potato with pink around the eyes. Yukon Gold have great flavor for baking, boiling or salads.
  • Russet Burbank Potato: This potato has dark russet skin and flaky white flesh. It is a perfect light, fluffy baked potato and is also excellent as fries or hash browns.
  • Viking Purple Potato: This Heirloom has large, smooth dark purple skin and pure white flesh that make it great for mashing. It is a high-yielding potato developed at North Dakota State University.
  • Dark Red Norland Potato: This Heirloom has an almost burgundy skin with white flesh. This high yield potato keeps well and is great for potato salad.

Onions

Onion sets and plants are the fastest, easiest way to grow full-size onions in a single season. For planting, choose a very sunny location with 8 hours or more of direct sun per day with fertile soil that drains well. Onions are heavy feeders and benefit greatly from an application of a nitrogen-rich fertilizer such as El Primero Organic Garden Fertilizer (21-4-4) locally made by Alpha One.

You’ll cry tears of joy after tasting one of these savory varieties:

  • Red Candy Apple Onion: This onion features a large, flattened red globe and is the type of red onion you’ll find in an Italian restaurant or salad bar. There is limited storage capacity with this one.
  • Copra Onion: This is a very sweet storage onion that can be stored for up to a year. It produces a beautiful, hard 3” onion that cooks love.
  • Ailsa Craig Exhibition Onion: This globe-shaped, yellow onion is very sweet and very large. Ailsa Craig can potentially grow up to 8” across and up to 6 lbs. They have a storage life of 1-2 months.
  • Walla Walla Onion: This onion has pale yellow scales with white interior and is the sweetest of the long day varieties. They can be stored for one month.

Garlic

Garlic grows from individual cloves broken off from the whole bulb.  It is easy to grow and requires very little space in the garden. While the ideal time to plant garlic is in the fall, it can still be planted successfully in early spring. Garlic should be planted in a fertile, well-drained soil, avoiding areas where water can collect around the roots.  The cloves should be planted 1-2 inches into the ground with the pointed end up. Give your meals some bite with one of these wonderful varieties:

  • Silver Rose Garlic:Silver Rose Garlic produces rose-colored cloves in very smooth bright-white bulbs. Frequently planted in the spring, this is a fast growing garlic that produces 12-15 cloves per bulb.
  • Early Italian Purple Garlic:This bulb is large and white-skinned with purple stripes and numerous small cloves. Early Italian Purple Garlic adapts to summer heat better than the Italian Late variety.
  • Inchelium Red Garlic: This large 3” bulb produces 8-20 cloves with mild, but lasting flavor with a hint of hot.  The dense cloves store well and the flavor gets stronger in storage.

 

Originally published on March 1, 2017. Updated on March 1, 2019.

Spring-planted Bulbs

Spring-planted bulbs produce dramatic garden color with minimal effort and are a great addition to your summer garden.  Not to be confused with “Fall Bulbs” which are planted in fall but flower in spring, “Spring Bulbs” are also known as “Summer Flowering Bulbs.”  Spring-planted bulbs are tender and will not survive cold ground temperatures and should generally be planted around the last frost date or when you plant your vegetable garden. Because they are not cold hardy, spring bulbs should be dug up, stored and then replanted every year or grown as annuals.  To get a quick start on growing your summer flowering bulbs, pot them indoors 1-2 months before planting time and transplant them outside and into your garden after our last frost (average of May 15).

Fort Collins Nursery currently has all of these great varieties in stock: Dahlia, Canna, Elephant Ear, Amaryllis, Gladiolus, Eremus, Crocosmia, Lily and more.

 

Originally published on March 1, 2017. Updated on March 1, 2019.

Cool Season Veggies

Late March is a great time to start planting cool season vegetables. Cool season crops prefer cool daytime temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees, and down to 40 degrees at night.

Semi-Hardy vegetables such as beets, carrots, cauliflower, parsley, parsnips, potatoes and Swiss chard are less tolerant of a frost, and may need some additional protection. Using mulch, Season Extenders and covering with row covers will help protect veggies from low temperatures. The most cold-hardy, such as broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, lettuce, peas, radish, spinach and turnips, can withstand a frost.

Cool-season crops will stop producing when temperatures are high in the summertime, but keep in mind you can plant another round of crops in late summer for a fall harvest!

We have an extensive selection of cool season veggie seeds from great companies like Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., Beauty Beyond Belief, Botanical InterestsRenee’s Garden, Seed Savers Exchange, and Territorial Seed Company.

Cool season starters like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and various greens will also be available in our greenhouse later in the month of March.

 

Originally published on March 2, 2018. Updated on March 1, 2019.

Fruit Trees

Fruit trees are a great addition to any home landscape.  They provide privacy and shade, look beautiful, and can produce large quantities of delicious, edible fruit. Did you know a single mature apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year? Fruit trees are some of the best options for long-term, sustainable, and low maintenance growing and can continue to produce fruit for decades.  Fort Collins Nursery has one of the largest selections of fruit trees in the region with over 80 varieties of fruit trees including apple, cherry, plum, peach, pear, crabapple and mulberry.  Our trees are picked for their ability to grow and thrive in our Northern Colorado environment.  With so many fruit trees to choose from, here are a few ideas to get you started:

Honeycrisp Apples

Malus ‘Honeycrisp’

Available on either standard or semi-dwarf root stock, this tree produces a large crop of crisp, sweet fruit that can be over 3” in diameter and ripens in September.  Honeycrisp apples are sweet, firm, and tart, making them perfect for eating right off the tree. Honeycrisp trees are known for their hardiness, however some protection from our strong winds is a must. These mid to late season bloomers are not self-pollinating so you’ll need another apple variety nearby in order for it to produce fruit.

  • Height: 
    Standard 15-20 ft.
    Semi-dwarf 12-16 ft
  • Width:
    Standard 15-20 ft.
    Semi-dwarf 12-16 ft
  • Water: Moderate
  • Bloom: Mid-Season
  • Zones: 3-6

Honeycrisp apples were introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1991. They have since been crossed with other apple varieties, creating wonderful hybrids that are also available at Fort Collins Nursery including Sweet Sixteen, Kindercrisp, Frostbite, and Snow Sweet.

Semi-Dwarf KinderKrisp Apples

Malus ‘KinderKrisp’

Like its parent Honeycrisp, this early ripening apple features exceptional flavor and crisp, fine texture but with much smaller fruit. The apples taste best when fresh from the tree and are perfect for lunch boxes and afternoon snacks. The tree flowers early in the season and the fruit ripens in late August.  KinderKrisp trees require a pollinator so you’ll need another apple variety nearby in order for it to produce fruit.

  • Height: 12-15 ft.
  • Width: 12-15 ft.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Bloom: White/ Early Spring
  • Zones: 4-7

Bali Cherry

Prunus avium

The Bali Cherry is a hardy, semi-sweet cherry that was discovered in Edmonton, Alberta. Its deep, dark red fruit reaches 1” in diameter. The fruit ripens in August and is great for baking and fresh eating, although not considered a sweet cherry. Bali Cherry trees perform well at high elevations and are self-fertile and will produce fruit on their own.

  • Height: 10-15 ft.
  • Width: 10-15 ft.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Bloom: Spring
  • Zones: 3-8

Green Gage Plum

Prunus domestica

This old-fashioned European Plum has been an American favorite for many years because of its great taste and usefulness in the kitchen. Their yellow-green fruit has a juicy, sweet flavor and is considered by many to be the best flavored of any plum variety. They are great for canning, cooking or eating fresh off the tree. Green Gage plums are partially self-fertile and will produce some fruit on their own. Planting with another variety of European plum will yield even greater crops.

  • Height: 10-15 ft.
  • Width: 10-15 ft.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Bloom: White/ Spring
  • Zones: 4-7

 

Originally published on March 2, 2018. Updated on March 1, 2019.

Spring Nursery Stock

Each fall we release tons of fresh new perennials, shrubs, and trees into our inventory throughout the month of September. Many of them were grown right here at the nursery by our wonderful production team.  All of this remaining stock is tucked away for the winter and protected from the harsh elements.

Fast forward to spring…

All of this robust stock has hardened off and is now adapted to our climate.  This means all our wonderful perennials, shrubs, and trees can be planted as soon as the ground has thawed out enough to dig.  Throughout the month of March, many of our little beauties will make their way from the Quonsets to the nursery blocks.  You can be confident that the plants you bring home are strong, healthy, and ready to go immediately into the ground without the muss and fuss of acclimating them.

Our spring nursery stock features many specialty plants that are limited in availability so shop early for the best selection.

Orchids

Orchids have captivated mankind for thousands of years and there are many reasons we still love them today.  Their flowers bloom in many interesting colors and forms, from simple and elegant to complex and exotic. Their aesthetic beauty makes people happy and creates a calming, stress free environment wherever they are found. What usually begins as a curious fascination with orchids often turns into an outright obsession and many amateur growers have turned into passionate collectors.

There is a common perception that orchids are difficult to grow but most orchids are not quite as intimidating as you might think.   Orchids grow in the same conditions as many common houseplants and are usually no more difficult to care for.  With a few simple tips you’ll be growing beautiful orchids in your home in no time.

Orchids like bright light but not direct light so keep them near a sunny window or under a grow light.  Not getting enough light is the number one reason orchids fail to bloom.

Overwatering is one of the most common way of killing orchids but you don’t want to let them get too dry either. In general, orchids can be watered every 4-7 days during warmer weather and every 7-10 days during cool weather. Keep in mind that orchids’ needs vary significantly from one variety to the next, so check with one of our expert staff to ensure your watering schedule is right for your particular orchid.

Keep to a regular fertilizing schedule with an orchid fertilizer.  Fort Collins Nursery carries bags of specially designed orchid fertilizer as well as orchid potting mix and potting media to keep your orchids well-fed and happy.

Don’t repot orchids while in bloom unless absolutely necessary. A flower that is repotted while blooming is likely to drop its flowers, sometimes almost immediately.

Don’t water orchids with ice cubes- Remember, these are tropical plants and the ice is too cold and can shock the roots.

Fort Collins Nursery always has a great selection of orchids in stock including the following varieties:

 

Phalaeonopsis

Phalaeonopsis, also known as the ‘Moth Orchid’, is the most commonly found orchid at retail due to its ease of production, easily recognizable for their arching sprays of blooms.  They are also one of the easiest orchids to grow in the home and therefore a great starter variety for beginner growers. A mature Phalaenopsis is loaded with large flowers that typically bloom for 1-3 months each year.  

Cattleya

Cattleya orchids are often called the ‘Queen of orchids.’ They are known for large, showy, and sometimes fragrant flowers.  They generally bloom once a year and the blooms can last anywhere from one to three weeks. Due to their ease of growth and sheer beauty, cattleyas are the most hybridized of all orchid varieties.

 

Paphiopedilum

Paphiopedilum, or ‘Lady Slippers’, are one the showiest orchid varieties. Lady Slippers get their name from the flower’s distinct slipper-shaped bloom pouch that is used for insect pollination. Paphiopedilum blooms are long-lasting and plants typically stay in bloom for about 6-8 weeks. Their exotic flowers come in many different sizes, shapes, and stunning color patterns.

 

Dendrobium

Dendrobium is one of the most diverse genus of orchids with over 1,200 species and hybrids. They like as much bright light as you can give them and they prefer to be potted into little pots with their roots crowded into a tight space.  In the United States, the Dendrobium is second most popular orchid variety and they are loved for their colorful, showy flowers.  Dendrobiums long-lasting sprays of flowers remain in bloom for two to four weeks and can bloom several times throughout the year. Dendrobiums benefit from a rest period where they are kept cooler and drier when not in a growth phase.

 

Oncidium

Oncidium orchids are also known as dancing lady or dancing dolls. They have large sprays of flowers with many beautiful blooms that look like little flowing dresses. Oncidiums can be a little trickier to grow than some of the other orchid variety due to their susceptibility to root rot. The most common oncidiums however grow well under normal indoor conditions and are worth the extra care.


Originally published on October 3, 2018.  

Bird & Insect Houses

Fort Collins Nursery has a wide variety of supplies to help attract birds and insects that are beneficial to your garden.  Pollinators like bees and butterflies fertilize our flowers and help them bloom while pest-eating ladybugs and lacewings rid your garden of unwanted guests.  Plus, we receive additional benefits of having a backyard ecosystem full of life, movement, sound and color while bringing us closer to nature.  We have a large selection of bird and insect houses that are decorative as well as functional and encourage our little friends to visit or take up permanent residence in our gardens.  Homes are specifically designed for many different species including birds, lady bugs, bees, and butterflies!

Originally published on May 31, 2016. Updated on Feb. 1, 2019.

Down To Earth™ Fertilizer

Down To Earth™ features a complete line of natural and organic fertilizers, soil amendments, composts and potting media. They work with the microorganisms, fungi and organic matter in the soil to feed plants and stimulate growth. Their natural fertilizers are carefully blended from the best sources of organic nutrients in ideal proportions without the use of synthetics, growth stimulants or low quality fillers like poultry waste. You can be confident that you are giving your garden the best product available, whether it’s a multi-purpose blend or a specialized soil amendment.

 

Originally published on Feb 1, 2017. Updated on Feb. 1, 2019.

Seeds

Get an early start on your garden by planting seeds this winter.  Seeds are less expensive than starter plants and come in hundreds of varieties not typically available as starts.  Perhaps more importantly, growing from seed gives a sense of accomplishment and something to do over these long winter months!

Fort Collins Nursery has a huge selection of flower, herb, and vegetable seeds available.  You’ll find all your favorite varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., Beauty Beyond Belief, Botanical Interests, Renee’s Garden, Seed Savers Exchange, and Territorial Seed Company in stock all winter long.  

Looking for something different to plant this year? Check out hundreds of interesting varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.  who specialize in rare and hard to find seeds from around the world, including Berkeley Tie-Dye Green Tomato, Scarlet Kale, Chinese Red Meat Radish, Blue Potatoes and Missouri Pipe Corn.  

Looking to support a great cause by simply purchasing your seeds?  Check out the extensive catalog from Seed Savers Exchange, a non profit 501(c)(3) status) organization dedicated to saving and sharing seeds. Seed Savers maintain a collection of more than 20,000 heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable, herb and plant varieties.

We are happy to save you money by covering shipping costs for special order seeds that we do not already have in stock from any of the companies we carry.  

  1. Browse the Baker Creek, Beauty Beyond Belief, Botanical Interests, Renee’s Garden,  Seed Savers or Territorial Seed online store.
  2. Put together your list (Please specify which catalog  you are ordering from)
  3. Email that list to scott@fortcollinsnursery.com
  4. We’ll let you know when your seeds are in and ready for you to pick up.

We also have all the seed starting supplies you need to get your seeds ready for spring including seed trays, heating mats, mini greenhouses, grow lights and potting and planting mix.

 

Originally published on January 5, 2016. Updated on February 1, 2019.

Citrus Plants

Citrus_NLTake a stroll through the Fort Collins Nursery greenhouse this time of year and you will be struck by the intoxicatingly sweet aroma of our flowering citrus plants.  Citrus are popular because of their delicious edible fruit and fragrant flowers.  Although native to more tropical environments, citrus do well in indoor containers and are surprisingly easy to care for.   Depending on the variety, citrus can grow 6-25’ tall but can be kept smaller with periodic pruning, making them ideal for houseplants. They prefer full sunlight and moist, well-drained soil.   Stop by and check out our selection that includes lemons, limes, kumquats, oranges, and tangerines.  Here are several varieties worth considering:

Calamondin Orange

  • Features: Calamondin orange trees are fantastic plants that are loaded with fragrant flowers followed by a heavy fruit set. The trees produce small, juicy and sour oranges that are thin skinned and have many seeds.  Calamondin oranges are great for making preserves and jellies and for flavoring beverages and cooking recipes.
  • Light: Bright light, can be in full sun outside during the summer.
  • Watering: Evenly moist, well-drained soil.
  • Temperature: Prefers warmer temperatures but tolerate as low as 30°F for short periods.
  • Repotting:  Repot every one to two years to replenish nutrients in the soil.
  • Ease of Care: Easy.

Meyer Lemon

  • Features: Compact trees flower in late winter and produce many thin skinned, sweet, juicy lemons. This very popular lemon tree is ideal for growing in containers and is great for juices, fruit salads, desserts, preserves, and with fish.
  • Light:  Bright light, can be in full sun outside during summer.
  • Water:  Evenly moist, well-drained soil.
  • Temperature:  Prefers warmer temperatures, but will tolerate as low as 35°F for short periods.
  • Fertilizer: Use fertilizer specific for citrus.
  • Repotting:  Repot every 1-2 years to replenish nutrients in the soil.

Persian Lime

  • Features:  Persian lime tree have great smelling white flowers that typically bloom twice a year. The tree produces a thicker skinned and seedless fruit that is 2.5” long and 2” in diameter. The plant height and width are limited by the container size. Also known as seedless lime, Persian limes are great for cocktails, limeade, and cooking recipes.
  • Light: Bright light, full sun outside in summer.
  • Water: Evenly moist, well-drained soil.
  • Temperature: Prefers warmer temperatures, but tolerate as low as 35°F for short periods.
  • Fertilizer: Use fertilizer specific for citrus.
  • Repotting: Repot every 1-2 years to replenish nutrients in the soil.
  • Ease of Care: Easy.

Cocktail Citrus

  • Features: Cocktail trees are a unique approach to growing citrus.  A Meyer Lemon and a Key Lime growing in the same container!  The lemon produces many thin skinned, sweet, juicy lemons.  The lime is small and juicy, with a sweet-tart flavor.  Cocktail Citrus are great for those short on space.
  • Light:  Bright light, can be in full sun outside during the summer.
  • Water:  Evenly moist, well-drained soil.
  • Temperature:  Prefers warmer temperatures, but will tolerate as low as 35°F for short periods.
  • Repotting:  Repot every one to two years to replenish nutrients in the soil.
  • Ease of Care:  Easy.

 

Originally published on January 5, 2016. Updated on Dec. 28, 2018.