Plants use a common ‘language’ for emergency alerts

According to their research, published Sept. 23 in Current Biology, plants actually do have a way of talking to each other. Their messages come embedded in the form of airborne chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which transfer information among plants.

The big finding in the study is what Kessler calls “open-channel communication.” Based on their genotypes, different plants have different smells. But when plants come under attack from pests like the goldenrod leaf beetle, their smells – carried by VOCs – become more similar.

“So they kind of converge on the same language, or the same warning signs, to share the information freely,” Kessler said. “The exchange of information becomes independent of how closely related the plant is to its neighbor.”

The research found that neighboring plants pick up on warning VOCs and prepare for the perceived threat, such as an oncoming insect pest. Said Kessler: “A (VOC) emitted by one plant can be picked up by another plant, and they can either ready their defenses or they may actually directly induce those defenses.”

However, their goodwill toward plant neighbors only works on an if-you-see-something-say-something basis and when, as a result of the communication, pest pressure is equally distributed across the plant population. Plants in populations without herbivores do not freely share information with their neighbors. Instead, they maintain a private channel with their closest kin through VOC emissions that induce resistance – but only in those relatives or plant parts distant from the damage site on the same plant.

“We code our language if we want to keep it private, and that’s exactly what happens there, but on a chemical level,” Kessler said. “That analogy is striking and not what we expected.”

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Insect Herbivory Selects for Volatile-Mediated Plant-Plant Communication

Mexican Abelia

Abelia
Abelia

Full to part sun
Height, width 4′-6′
Average watering, well drained soil
Propagate from soft to semi-hard cuttings

Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds

These photos don’t do the plant justice. More photos and information after it’s had time to settle in

Duranta erecta (Sapphire Showers Blue)

Shrub tree to 15′ tall
full to part sun
tolerates bad soil
flowers white, violet
Low water requirements, drought tolerant
Protect from freezing, will sometimes return from roots in sping — loves heat
Propagate from leaf or soft stem cuttings
Berries toxic to mammals

Native Mexico, South and Central America

Birds love the berries

I just planted this, more info to follow as I see how it does

Ophiopogon japonicus ‘nana’ aka Dwarf Mondo Grass

This makes a great grass replacement for part to full shade areas. I’ve had some growing on the driest parts of the garden, some even in full sun and it just slowly mounds into pom-pom like clumps.

Once a year on a rainy fall day I’ll divide it up and spread it a bit further. It’s great for edging or grass replacement.

One of the nicest things about it is that it is a slow growing plant. It’ll look like you just planted it a year later. If you’d like it to grow faster, just add water

Propagate by division
Prefers shade, will grow in sun
Drought tolerant, will grow if you add water
Slow grower – forms mounds 4″-6″ across, ~ 3″ tall

Houston Garden Club Fall 2019 Plant and Bulb Mart

Bulb & Plant Mart 2019 is October 3-5, 2019

Pre-Orders for Bulbs available online June 15th to September 22nd

Thursday, 10/3/19 5pm-7pm – Early Bird Shopping

Friday, 10/4/19 9am-5pm

Saturday, 10/5/19 9am-2pm

Location: The Church of St. John the Divine, 2450 River Oaks Boulevard, 77019

more info…

The Woodlands Landscaping Solutions Sept 29 2019

22nd Annual Woodlands Landscaping Solutions

Hosted by The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department, come learn how to tap into Nature at this FREE garden event! Learn tips and tools to make your landscape a water-wise and earth-friendly oasis.

Learn from gardening experts
Bring questions and leave inspired

Lauren Simpson will speak on Home Pollinator Gardening
Tom LeRoy will present on proper Lawn Care
Backyard Composting Classes
Montgomery County Master Gardeners
Turf grass specialists
Arborists
Texas Master Naturalists
Entomologists
Visit booths and demonstrations
At a variety of garden and backyard retailers.

Vegetable gardening
Plant Propagation
Drip Irrigation and Rainwater Harvesting
Beekeeping
Plant Clinic
Water-wise resources
Birding Enthusiasts
Various plant and landscaping resources
Plus More
How to improve your home landscape with resources at over 30 booths with area gardening experts and organizations

Plant Sale with Natives, Heirloom Bulbs, Herbs and more
Andy McCarthy performs live on stage
Purchase Rain Barrels and Compost Bins
Food Vendors
Kids Activity
Worms, Worm Castings and Compost for Sale

more info….