Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Give Indoor Plants an Outdoor Shower
Pull your indoor plants outside for a shower and a good drench to remove built-up salts from the pots. Find a shady area on your patio or lawn to set the indoor plants. No sun please, they will burn easily. Wash all the foliage on both sides of the leaves, and soak the pots thoroughly several times. Allow the plants to dry naturally during the day and return them to their regular homes before nightfall.
Change Fertilizer for Cymbidiums
Cymbidium orchids need to have the "big switch" now. Change from high-nitrogen fertilizer to a bloom-inducing product -- 15-30-15 or 0-10-10 -- to help them set flower spikes for next spring. Follow label directions for best results.
Summer is hard on ferns of all kinds. Remove faded fronds at the base, rake under plants and fertilize with liquid fish. It's ok to remove all the foliage from Maidenhair ferns from time to time. Just don't overwater while they are "naked."
Coreopsis is probably the hardest working perennial in your garden. Its sunny blooms attract all kinds of insect pests, including the dreaded cucumber beetles. Impervious to attack, the flowers can't do their job if the plant has gone to seed. Use shears to crop off the faded blooms, more will follow soon. Add a touch of low-nitrogen fertilizer to encourage repeat bloom for the rest of the summer.
Plant Something New
Why not try something new in your garden? It's almost fall planting time, but late summer is a good time to add perennials to your existing collection. They should be available in 4-inch pots at your nursery now. My recommendations are: calceolaria, astilbe, gaura, banksia, and sedum 'Autum Joy'.