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How Do I Overwinter My Fuchsia Baskets?


“How do I overwinter my fuchsia baskets?” Sherry from Camas, Washington
Answer: What a great question! Large, happy fuchsias are expensive, so it pays to overwinter them. You have two overwintering options:
Bring Your Fuchsia Indoors
Clean your fuchsia before bringing them indoors (click here to read how), and maintain them as house plants through winter. Place them in a spot with bright filtered sunlight. If your home […]

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When Do I Cut Back Orchid Stems After They Bloom?


“Do I need to cut off the stems after my orchid flowers fall off or will new flowers grow on the stems next year?” Question from Bonnie of Young, Arizona
Answer: It depends on the health and blooming stage of the flowering stem. If the stem/s are still green, prune off the spent flowers to about 1-inch above the closest node on towards the bast of […]

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How to Rid an Organic Garden of White Mold


“What is the best way to get rid of white mold in an organic garden? I pulled the plants this summer but I’m curious if there’s something I can do if it happens next year.” Question from Lynda of West Warwick, Rhode Island
Answer: White mold (Sclerotinia spp.) is a real problem, particularly with legumes (plants in the bean family), sunflowers, and many veggies and bedding […]

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Overwintering Calla Lilies


“I am hoping to overwinter my calla lilies in the cool of my basement! Will this work and any advice?” Question from Robin Van Vleet of Warner, New Hampshire
Answer: Excellent question, Robin! Calla lilies (Zantedeschia spp.) originate from southern Africa and naturally tend to bloom from late spring to midsummer, though they can be forced to bloom at other times of the year. Wintertime is […]

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How to Amend Around Mulched Flower Beds


“On an annual rotation, what do I do with my mulch? Do I strip and reapply every year? How do I amend my soil in a flower bed that already has perennials? Do I  just top dress? Or dig around the perennials and mix with native soils?” Question from Tim of Springfield, Pennsylvania
Answer: Good questions! I am assuming that you apply bark mulch, which is […]

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Flowering Shrubs for Minnesota


“What is a good flowering shrub for Zone 4? Question from Sandra Lee of Cottage Grove, Minnesota
Answer: There are so many great flowering shrubs that grow beautifully in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 winters! Here are three super hardy options to try:
1. Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9): There are lots of wonderful varieties of this summer-flowering beauty, and the shrubs grow well in […]

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Useful Plants for Wet Soils


“Getting ready to move to an 8-acre farm in Kansas. The spot we picked for the garden is about 2 acres. It’s all sunny. My question is that about 20% is kinda shady and is always wet. Is there anything that can be planted there? Want something that can grow in the damp soil and kinda shady. It gets sun but not like the rest […]

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How to Avoid Buying Poached Rare Native Plants


“I have read about succulents in California being poached for the house plant market. How can I be sure the plants I buy are not stolen?” Isaac from San Francisco, California
Answer: Plant theft/poaching from federal, state, and private natural lands is not a new thing, even though it is highly illegal. Rare and expensive native orchids, spring wildflowers, carnivorous plants, and herbs (like ginseng) have […]

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I Need Colorful Flowers for Deep Shade

Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’ is colorful and thrives in shade. (Image by Jessie Keith)
“What is the best colorful flower that needs the least amount of sun for Zone 7a?” Question from Kay of New Jersey
Answer: That’s a great question. I will list several brightly colored perennials that grow well in shaded Mid-Atlantic gardens (arranged by bloom time). But, let me know your soil type and whether your […]

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What Are Some Good Southern Plants for Shade?


“Most of my yard is shaded. What are the best plants for me? I am in Georgia.” Question from Lucretia of Elberton, Georgia
Answer: There are lots of great flowers for you to grow in your southern garden. Perennials are the best investment because they return each year. Here are eight great perennials to try that will thrive in your hot summers. It’s nice to plant […]

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