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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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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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Are Sunflower Leaves and Petals Toxic?


“Are the petals and leaves of garden sunflower blooms toxic to eat?” Question from Caroline from Evansville, Indiana
Answer: Stick to the seeds when it comes to eating sunflowers. The flowers and leaf and stem hairs contain a mixed bag of chemicals called sesquiterpene lactones that commonly cause bad reactions in humans–both on the skin or if ingested. In fact, they commonly cause dermal allergies, […]

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Evergreens for Shade and Clay


“What are some good smaller evergreens for areas that are a little shady and have clay soil? I’m in zone 6 Thanks!” Question from Erin of Kirkwood, Missouri
Answer: Whenever someone asks about evergreens for partial shade, I always turn to one of my favorite coniferous evergreens, Siberian cypress (Microbiota decussata, shown above). It only grows to a maximum of 2 feet high but slowly […]

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Best Soil for Roses


“What is the best combination of soil/amendments when building a rose garden flower bed?” Question from Nancy of Denton, Texas
Answer: It’s an excellent question. A great part of successful rose growing is getting the soil right. The best soil for roses should have a good balance of porosity and water-holding ability in addition to a slightly acid pH between 6.5 to 7. Basically, roses […]

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Easy Flowers for New Gardeners


“I’m a first time [flower] gardener… do you have any pointers for me?” Question from Desiree of Vanceboro, North Carolina
Answer: What flowers you plant will depend on your garden’s light, soil, and whether you want to grow in containers or in-ground beds. Either way, the best advice for new flower gardeners is to stick with tried-and-true, easy-to-grow flowering annuals (live one year) and perennials (live […]

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