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Past Questions and Answers | December 2016

Question #1

Question:  What is the benefit of using spaghnum peat moss in my garden soil? will it help with drainage and add nitrogen?

  Theodore Stratis, Pelham, NY


ANSWER:   The main reason for adding sphagnum peat moss to your garden soil is to help with drainage and keep the soil loose. It has few nutrients, so you will have to fertilize with Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium as if you had not added the sphagnum peat moss.

Question #2

Question:  I am new to Southern Alabama, but not new to my passion for African Violets. I've accumulated a nice collection that "reside" on my patios / screened in porches. My concern is will they withstand the "winter" climate there? Or should I consider moving them elsewhere? I also have Desert Roses, philodendron and some other houseplants out there and all are thriving. I just don't want to do anything to jeopardize that.

Suggestions, please? And THANKS!

  Luanne, Elberta, AL


ANSWER:   African violets need to stay at around 70 degrees F. They can tolerate down to 60 degrees F. If the areas you have your plants get below that, it will injure them. The other plants would appreciate the warmth, too, so if you get cold temperatures, move them inside with the violets. Be sure not to place the violets in a draft or it will injure them.

Question #3

Question:  I have several knockout roses. When is the best time to trim them back?


  Judy, Freeburg, Mo


ANSWER:   You need to prune them in late winter or early spring.

Question #4

Question:  Tell me about winter care of a red calla lily bulb in zone 8-9, please!



ANSWER:   Calla lily bulbs can survive the winter in the ground in zones 8 and higher. You do not have to dig the bulbs up in those zones. After the first frost, cut the foliage off to the ground, then mulch with two to three inches of mulch. This will protect the bulb for the winter. In early spring, remove the mulch and the calla lily bulbs will start growing foliage and blooms again.

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Gardening Tips:

Primula Love Cool Weather

There are many varieties of Primula and they all love cooler temperatures and shade to partial shade areas.

The top three favorites are English Primrose (Primula Polyanthus), Fairy Primrose (P.malacoides), and P.obconica.

They make great woodland plants, bedding or edging plants, and container plants.

They are perennials, and when planted in the correct spot, will last for years.

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