“What caused my grown crepe myrtle to die? it was doing fine for many years, then just died. I cut down the branches [last spring] hoping it would revive, but it did not. I have several crepe mytles and never had one die before. Question from Sandy of Wake Forest, North Carolina
Answer: Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) are usually quite trouble-free, but there are some […]
“My Christmas cactus hasn’t bloomed in 2 years. It gets light from the sliding glass door on the south side of the house with a patio and garage, so it does not directly get light. Any suggestions?” Question from Victoria of Adrian, Michigan
Answer: There are several reasons why a Christmas or holiday cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi and S. truncata) may fail to bloom. Here are […]
What Are Some Everblooming Flowers for Northern California?
“I live in Northern CA– in the Bay Area. What are the flowers I can plant that will bloom year-round?” Question from Floredia of Vallejo, California
Answer: You live in USDA Hardiness Zone 9b. Thankfully, there are lots of everblooming garden plants that continue to look pretty year-round. Here are some suggestions for your zone and mild, arid climate.
“I just planted my daffodils. Now, when will they start to come up, in the spring? Also, can I just leave them in the ground so that they will come up again the following year?” Question from Bev of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Answer: It seems like a question that answers itself, but it is not. Truly, it depends. There are different daffodils that emerge and flower […]
How and When Should You Prune Cape Jasmine?
“When should an overgrown (8′ high) Cape Jasmine bush (we call them gardenias) be pruned? How severely can it be trimmed back? Thank you!” Question from Ann of Wake County, North Carolina
Answer: You have one happy Cape jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides, Zones 7-11)! You can take a couple of pruning approaches, but avoid pruning in fall. Spring is a […]
“When is the best/latest date I can cut back roses?” Question from Joseph or Milwaukie, Oregon
Answer: Late winter is an excellent time to prune reblooming roses, but you can also safely prune them at other times–including now. I recommend that you read our blog about pruning roses in spring (click here to view it). I also encourage you to watch our rose-pruning video with […]
Can I Use Black Walnut Leaves for Compost?
“I have several black walnut trees in my yard. Would it be alright to use the leaves in the compost? Question from Raymond of Holt, Michigan
Answer: I would not recommend it. As you surely know, black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) excrete the toxin, juglone, which is deadly to quite a few ornamental plants. The toxin helps reduce competition, […]
Why Are the Leaves on My Potted Lemon Tree Disfigured?
“Ever since I started my lemon tree from seed, its leaves appear cut around the edges. I’m not overwatering. Today I gave it Jobe’s Organics Fruit & Citrus fertilizer and treated with Bonide Systemic Insect Control, both of these being used for the first time, as I haven’t done anything but water and mist it since […]
What is the Best Soil for Fiddle-Leaf Fig?
“I’m trying to keep my poor fiddle-leaf fig alive. Can you recommend a potting soil for this house plant?” Question from Ann of Mesa, Arizona
Answer: This African-native fig (Ficus lyrata) naturally exists in lowland tropical rain forests where the soil drains well but is also somewhat loamy and remains evenly moist. The plants also grow best in potting […]
“Squirrels have stolen all my tomatoes for the last 3 years. Is there any option other than putting up fencing?” Question from Barbara of Portage, Michigan
Answer: Squirrels tend to steal fruit when they are thirsty as well as hungry, and there are several proactive things that you can do to keep them away. Fences do not work due to the acrobatic nature of squirrels. […]
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