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Rooting Mint Cuttings


“When dealing with mint clippings, what is the best way to keep them alive and well until they root and can be planted directly in soil?” Question from Jacquelynn  of Torrington, Wyoming 
Answer: You are lucky! Mint is one of the easiest herbs to root. Start by choosing the healthiest stem tips and clip them off to a length of about 6 inches. Then rinse them […]

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Best Low-Light House Plants for Cats


“What are the best low-light house plants that are cat safe?” Question from Margaret of Houston, Texas
Each of these eight beautiful house plants grow well in shade or filtered sunlight, and according to the ASPCA, all are non-toxic to cats.
Cast Iron Plant
Non-Toxic House Plants for Cats
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior, full to part shade, 1-3 feet): This bold-leaved […]

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Best Perennial Herbs for Zone 7 Gardens in Texas


“Are  there any herbs that will overwinter in zone 7b?” Question from Deb of Alvarado, Texas
Answer: Yes! There are many perennial herbs that will thrive in your northeast Texas location. I understand that your summers are hot and muggy and your winters are chilly and windy. For your home, I would opt for perennial herbs adapted to Mediterranean climates. These include the following:
Chives
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Best Time to Transplant Roses in Georgia


“What is the best time to transplant roses in Georgia?” Question from Jacqueline of Statham, Georgia
Answer: The best transplant window in your USDA Hardiness Zones 7-8 location is from November to February, when your roses are largely dormant. Choose a mild winter day when the soil is warm enough to dig. Here are the steps needed to transplant your roses:
Steps for Transplanting Roses

For easier transplant, […]

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Deer-Resistant Chrysanthemums for Northern California?


“Loved your article on hardy mums!  Living in NoCal, I have a lot of deer.  Do you know of any deer resistant mums?  Also mums that can tolerate some shade?” Question from Jeanene of Willits, California
Answer: Classic garden mums (Chyranthemum x morifolium) are not reliably deer resistant, but some mum relatives are both resistant as well as being well-adapted to your growing area. This includes […]

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Beating Squash Vine Borers


“The last couple of years that we have planted zucchini, a worm of some sort has eaten to roots and caused the plants to die. We try to use as little chemicals as possible but don’t know what else to do. We have tried 7 dust, diatomaceous earth and this year we even tilled several times before planting but yet our plants still died because […]

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Best Full-Spectrum LED Lights for Indoor Growing


“What are the best LED grow lights for indoor growing of herbs and vegetables?” Question from Terrance of Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Answer: It is essential that LED lights be labeled as “full-spectrum” for indoor growing. Without going into too much detail, LEDs must provide light at the wavelengths needed for full plant health, growth, and flower and fruit production. This is because plant chlorophyll gathers light […]

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Fruit Tree Troubles in Texas


“I planted a banana tree early this year, and it just seems not to be growing. And my cherry tree seems to be dying, and why is it supposed to be in full sun or half shade? It’s in full sun. And my pomegranate tree bloomed but didn’t produce fruit.” Questions from Carol of Joaquin, Texas
Answers: It sounds like you are having lots of fruit […]

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Growing Strawberries Indoors or Out in Florida


“I really like to grow strawberries, but it’s so difficult here in Florida, finding the right time of year and location in our yard plus dealing with pests. Can they be grown inside?” Question from Lisa of Bradenton, Florida
Answer: Don’t totally give up on growing strawberries outdoors. When grown outdoors in Florida, strawberries are grown as annuals and planted in fall for spring yields.
Outdoor Strawberries […]

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Giant Crane Fly


“What is this giant insect? Does it bite? It’s almost 3 inches across!” Question from Mary of Delaware
Answer: Even though it looks like a giant mosquito, this insect is harmless. It is called a giant crane fly (Tipula abdominalis), and it does not bite, sting, or damage plants in any way. Giant crane flies are attracted to night light, so they are often seen around […]

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