Caring for Santolina

The care information provided in this section represents the kind of practical advice is available for all the plants in this web site if you subscribe to the monthly customized newsletter Yardener’s Advisor.

Watering Santolina
Santolinas are basically arid climate plants. They are able to do without supplemental watering in most areas. In fact they need little or no water in areas with cool summers. If they are over watered they are likely to grow leggy and lose their attractive compact habit. Also, excess water may promote disease in these plants. However, in periods of prolonged drought water them well every 10 days to 2 weeks. For information on products see the file on Choosing Watering Equipment

Santolinas seem to prefer soils that are not very rich. Ordinary garden soil offers them more than adequate nutrition and does not need to be enriched. They do not respond well to fertilization. It causes them to overgrow and become leggy and prone to disease and pest problems. For more information see the file for Fertilizers

Consider Plant Growth Activators
There are on the market a growing number of products that will help your plants become healthier, more drought resistant, more disease resistant, and even more insect resistant. These products are generally easy to use and not terribly expensive. If you want to give your plants some oomph, check out New Technology In Plant Growth Activators

Winter Protection: In the most northern reaches of their range, santolinas may die back in the winter. However, their roots are still alive. Cover them with evergreen boughs or the organic mulch that is spread on the other ornamental plantings in the yard. This will insulate the soil somewhat from fluctuating winter temperatures that alternately freeze and thaw the soil and disturb plant roots. Clear the protection away early in the spring so the soil can warm and dry out quickly. For more information see the file on Using Mulch

Santolinas benefit from clipping and pruning. This can be done at almost any time during the growing season if you do not want flowers. Otherwise, wait until after the plants have flowered, then cut off the stems and clip back any leggy branches to maintain a compact habit for each plant. Santolinas used as ground covers may be mowed with a rotary mower set at 5 or 6 inches. This encourages the plants to grow more dense.

Staking Santolina
These tough plants need very little attention. When they are in bloom, it may be worthwhile to stake their flower stalks to support them in rainy or windy weather. When the flowers are spent, cut off the dying blooms promptly to keep the plant looking attractive. For more information see the file Staking Flowers

While most homeowners prefer to purchase additional plants at the garden center or nursery, santolinas are particularly easy to duplicate at home by rooting stem cuttings. Cut a 3 or 4 inch length of tender new growth at the end of a stem. Strip the foliage off of the lower inch or two and insert the cutting into a shallow container of damp, sandy soil. It will develop roots in a week or two and can be planted in the yard shortly thereafter. Do this almost anytime during the growing season.

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