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Past Questions and Answers | January 2012

Question #1

Question:  Where can i find a shooting star hydrandga

  Patty Stetner, Quincy, WA


ANSWER:   An internet search of the term "shooting star hydrandga" reveals that this plant must have been withdrawn from the market as there are no listings for it anywhere. Dave's Garden lists some people who are willing to trade this plant for other offerings. You might try them.

Question #2

Question:  This winter is the very last time I can use my hyacinth protective "hats". I raise hyacinths in glasses and the bulbs are covered with these colorful "dunce" hats. The hyacinth will raise the hat of its own once it starts growing. My grandmother in Germany raised hyacinths this way every winter and so do I, however, I'll need new "hats". Do you know where I can purchase them in USA or Canada? The German amazon company offers them but who offers them in America?

  Margit Merlin, Bellingham, WA


ANSWER:   I was unable to find any such product in the United States. You might try using hats made of newspaper or coffee cans instead.

Question #3

Question:  When heeling-in shrubs for the winter (too late to plant them out) - should I cover the top of the rootball with soil, or just the exposed sides? By top of rootball I mean the flat area that would face the sky if the plant were seated up straight, not leaning over. thank you

  Irene Dickerson, MD


ANSWER:   To heel-in shrubs, simply dig a shallow trench and drop the plant in. Cover the roots up to the top of the rootball. Plant in their permanent homes as soon as possible. Make sure you water them when heeling them in and periodically during the winter. Dormant shrubs do not need as much water as growing shrubs, but they should be watered once a month or so during dormancy.

Question #4

Question:  I know why my large dieffenbachia drips, but I don't know how to remove the spots left on my tile. Any suggestions?

  Monica Phillippe, Makanda, IL


ANSWER:   The sap is poisonous. The tile manufacturer will provide recommendations for removing resinous or sticky substances off of the tile. We cannot recommend a specific product as we have no way of knowing what substances are safe to use on your flooring.

Question #5

Question:  How do I get the ph of soil for different veges, but the question I really need answered at the moment is what ph do I need to plant a banana passionfruit please

  Jan Crisafulli, Redland Bay, Queensland


ANSWER:   This information is usually available on the plant label. In this case, banana passion flowers need a pH between 6.1 and 7.5. The ideal pH would be around 6.5, or close to neutral.

Question #6

Question:  I brought a Tahitian Bridal Veil hanging plant indoors for the winter. Can you give me tips for keeping it alive til next Spring? It looks good right now but it is not blooming anymore. Thank you.

  Barb Lindenmayer, Ottumwa, Iowa


ANSWER:   These plants are tropical and need sun to light shade to thrive. Try putting the plant where it gets more light and it should start blooming again and do well until spring.

Question #7

Question:  I want to plant a leopard tree, i read from previous qs that it has invasive roots. We have a relatively large garden, how close or far should we plant them this tree from a house? I would appreciate you help, Thank you very much. Also if it's not a good choice what could you recommend.

  Meagan Harvey, Cape Town, South Africa


ANSWER:   Brazilian Leopard trees, Caesalpinia ferrea, can grow to 30 meters tall. If you plant one, you will need to plant it where it has room to grow that big. The farther from the house you place it, the better with a tree this big.

Question #8

Question:  When making a compost tea, & it then being rated as concentrated. What is the mixing ratio or do you use it full strength? The blogs I have read on compost tea say that it IS concentrated after steeping 24 hours but I never read where it gives a mixing ratio. Hope you can advise me on this. Thanks so much! T Thomas

  Tina Thomas, Vincent, Alabama


ANSWER:   Compost tea is made by soaking a cloth bag full of manure in a pot of water for at least eight hours. It should then be diluted with two parts water and one part tea before being used to water plants. Any stronger and you risk burning the plants.

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Check Light Availability

Most shrubs can grow in both sun and shade to varying degrees.

Many flowering shrubs, however, tend to need some sun to flower.

Be sure to double check the amount of light you have available to the shrubs you are planning to plant so you are happy with the outcome.

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