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How Do I Protect My Potted Hydrangea in Winter?


“What am I supposed to do with my potted hydrangea in the winter? It’s too big to move around. I did cover it with leaves and pine needles. It lost all its leaves. Is that normal?” Question from Kriss of Steilacoom, Washington.
Answer: Most hydrangeas are deciduous, which means they drop their leaves in winter. Potted specimens are most often big leaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), particularly […]

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Can I Grow Palm Trees in Georgia?


“Can I grow Palm trees in Georgia?” Question from Debbie of Norcross, Georgia
Answer: Yes! There are several palms and palmettos that will grow well in your USDA Hardiness Zone 7 to 8 location. Most won’t reach the grand heights of palms grown in truly tropical regions, but all will add interest to your landscape. I opted to include palms in my list rather than scrubby […]

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How Do You Start Raspberries from Canes?


How do you start raspberries from canes? Question from Deborah of Los Lunas, New Mexico
Answer: Raspberries are one of the easiest fruits to propagate from canes or cuttings because they readily root, even without the help of rooting hormone. In fact, if you let canes naturally weep to the ground in your garden, they will root as they touch the ground. In time a single […]

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What are the Best Fast-Growing Trees for South Carolina?


“What are the best trees to plant that will live great in South Carolina and grow fast?” Question from Donna of Newberry, South Carolina
Answer: What a great question! I always like to stick with regional natives or varieties of natives that are well-adapted to an area, in addition to being attractive and fast growing. Trees are real long-term investments, so you want to get your […]

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What’s the Best Soil for Fruit Containers?


“Hello. What is the best soil that you have available to grow citrus trees and blackberries in containers? I’m looking for the soil ph to be around 6.0.” Question from Jerrold of Pearland, Texas
Answer: For container gardening, we recommend either Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix or Black Gold Waterhold Cocoblend Potting Mix. Both are fertile, water holding, and have a pH around 6.0. They […]

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When Will My Lemon Tree Set Fruit?


“I have a lemon tree that’s five, or six, years old. I was wondering how old they have to be to produce fruit, and if there has to be two of them, or is cross-pollination not necessary?” Question from Royce of Texas
Answer: A lemon tree should be fruitful by five years of age. Most lemons are self-fruitful and do not require cross-pollination, but they do […]

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Can You Suggest Native Winter Shrubs that Feed Birds?

American cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) is one of several great native shrubs for birds.
“What native bushes (VA) can I plant that will provide winter food for wild birds?” Question from Dagmar of Virginia
Answer: The fruits and nuts of many Mid-Atlantic native shrubs feed birds in winter. Some of the best for fruit include winterberries (Ilex verticillata), beautyberries (Callicarpa americana), American cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) and witherod […]

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Can I Overwinter My False Cypress in Pots?

Image by Jessie Keith
“I bought 10 Lemon Threadbranch Cypress shrubs and didn’t get them planted.  How can I overwinter them in zone 7 so I don’t lose them?” Question from Marilynn of Wilmington, Delaware
Answer: You are in luck! Lemon thread false cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Lemon Thread’) shrubs are very hardy, surviving up to USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8. They should be able to withstand your Mid-Atlantic winter […]

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When Can You Start Pruning Lilacs?


“How long should you let your lilac bush grow after planting before starting to trim and shape it the way you want?” Question from Traci of Ithaca, Michigan
Answer: It all depends on your size preference for your lilac. Aside from pruning off dead or damaged branches or spent blooms, you can select prune your lilac to meet the desired height and to remove unwanted suckers […]

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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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