Scion – July 2023

Liana Benavides, BCMG President

We are being invaded!

Welcome to Summer! I hope everyone’s gardens have benefitted from all the rain we had and that your harvests have been plentiful. At this year’s annual TMGA Conference, I watched a presentation given by Ashley Morgan-Olvera, M.S from Sam Houston State University. Her presentation was about invasive worms that are making their way across Texas. These “invaders” have the potential to cause “economic or environmental harm or harm to human health”.

Hammerhead Flatworm (Photographer: C. Neff
Source: Texas Invasives citizen report)

You may have heard about the infamous “Hammerhead Worms”. They are a type of flatworm native to Vietnam.  They entered the US through potted plants that made their way to Pennsylvania in 1901. These earthworm predators were first spotted in our state in the Houston area back in the 1980s.  They have since become well established in Central & North Texas and sightings are still being reported. If you see one of these in your garden, do not handle it with your bare hands as they secrete a neurotoxin that can trigger skin irritation and allergic reactions.  Be vigilant about keeping an eye on your compost piles and check all potted plants that you purchase before you plant or re-pot in your home gardens.

Ms. Morgan-Olvera also taught us about Asian Jumping Worms, aka “Snake Worms”, “Crazy Worms”, or “Alabama Jumpers”. These worms will consume all organic matter & nutrients from the soil which is detrimental to plants. Once the soil has been stripped of all its good material, it will be unable to hold moisture or deliver nutrients to plants and it will simply erode. These worms will slither like snakes if they are disturbed, and that is a great way to identify them.

Unfortunately, many bait shops sell these to fishermen. These worms do not die in the water and if a fish doesn’t make them their next meal, they may very well find their way to land and begin their destructive behavior.

Those are just 2 worms that Ms. Morgan-Olvera covered in her presentation. Our help is needed to keep track of where these worms continue to spread. You can visit the Texas Invasives website to learn more. If you have sighted an invasive worm on your property, send an email with a photo and location to [email protected].

Something exciting will be happening over the next 2 months! BCMG will be giving presentations in SA Public Library branches all over the city.  Find out more about this series below. We think you’ll really “Dig it!”. In the meantime, please keep yourselves cool & hydrated as you tackle your garden tasks this month! Heat stroke is no joke. Remember, as always, BCMG is here to help you with all your gardening needs. We are just a phone call or a click away.

*Information about the invasive worms was from “Texas Gardens Beware, Invasive Worms Are Encroaching” by Ashley Morgan-Olvera, M.S., Sam Houston State University and

In the Garden…with Bexar County Master Gardeners

Marsha Krassner, Principal Editor “In the Garden”

Borage (photo from University of Maryland Extension)

Borage, aka Starflower:  An Annual Herb

By Barbara Bresler, Bexar County Master Gardener

Giant Grey Striped Sunflower

The Beauty of Sunflowers in a Texas Garden

By Yvonne Lopez, Bexar County Master Gardener Intern

An organic mulch in a garden bed

The Magnificence of Mulch

by William “Bill” Swantner, Bexar County Master Gardener

BCMG News!

Families hard at work in the garden

Children’s Vegetable Garden Spring Session 2023

By Tom Neckar, Bexar County Master Gardener Intern

Texas A&M AgrilLife Extension News!

Ignite gardens with newest Texas Superstar – the firecracker plant

Texas-tough, versatile plant provides pops of flaming colors

Homeowners looking to add a touch of fiery brilliance to their garden should look no further than the firecracker plant, named the newest Texas Superstar.

Fiery red tubular blooms of the firecracker plant.
The firecracker plant’s blooms provide fiery bursts of color all season long. Their tubular shape are also attractive to hummingbirds. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Mike Arnold)

The firecracker plant comes from the vibrant landscapes of Mexico and Guatemala, said Greg Grant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist, Smith County, and Texas Superstar executive board member. This showy, tender plant has a delicate, wispy appearance, and the pops of color are a show-stealer in a wide range of landscape uses.

Despite its delicate looks, the firecracker plant is a vigorous and versatile addition to any environment, Grant said. In Texas, it thrives as an annual or container plant in the northern third of the state, a tender perennial in the middle third, and a long-lived, evergreen perennial in the lower third.

Gardening Education Opportunities

The BCMG Calendar has many new and interesting programs open to the public. Click Here for this month’s offerings.

Join San Antonio Public Library and Bexar County Master Gardeners for “Dig it!”

Grow your mind as you hear from local experts on a variety of summer gardening topics and have an opportunity to ask questions. Let’s dig it!

Helpful Resources

Ask a Master Gardener

Question of the month: When is the best time to plant Pride of Barbados here in San Antonio?


Answer: These can be planted just about any time.  Now is a good time as the plant is widely available. It is a good choice for our area as it’s a Texas Super Star plant that is very easy to grow in alkaline to acidic, well-drained soils. It is extremely heat and drought tolerant once established and doesn’t mind the humidity. It also attracts bees and butterflies. In San Antonio, Bexar County, it blooms almost all year long.

Answer by Art Vazquez, BCMG

Master Gardeners are available to help you with your gardening questions. We provide unbiased, research-based, locally relevant gardening information. Free service. You can reach us:

By phone: 210-631-0400 (Ask to speak to a Master Gardener)

Mon-Fri 9 am – Noon, 1-4 pm (Closed on county holidays)

Or Submit A Question Online

The phones and the Hotline are being operated from Master Gardener home telephones; hotline calls are being directed by the AgriLife Extension receptionist.

WOAI Lawn and Garden Show

Call in to Live Radio on Saturday mornings, with your gardening questions for David.
Call in: 210-737-1200 or 1-800-383-9624 on Saturdays from 7 am to 10pm

Or just listen to the show, and learn from everyone else’s questions!

WOAI 1200 AM – Lawn and Garden Show
Host: David Rodriguez, Bexar County AgriLife Extension Horticulturist.

Past shows are archived here, for easy listening on your computer, tablet or phone, anytime! Listen on your phone while you drive!

Do you need help choosing plants for your landscaping needs?

Click here for options highly recommended by Texas A&M AgriLife

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