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What’s the Best Potting Medium for Orchids?


“Which is the best medium for potting orchids – orchid bark or sphagnum peat moss?” Question from Susan from Pembroke Pines, Florida.
Answer: Good question! It depends on the type of orchid that you are growing and how it naturally grows in the wild.
Epiphytic orchids grow in trees in the tropics and subtropics. Their large roots cling to bark and tree crevices, so these orchids […]

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How Do You Protect Spring Vegetables From Freezing?


“If you plant your veggie garden and the weather calls for freezing what is the best thing to cover your plants with?” Question from Donna or Newberry, South Carolina.
Answer: There are several ways to protect veggies from unexpected spring freezes. Here are the best options:
1. Floating row covers: Frost cloth is readily available at most garden centers or online garden sources, and it will […]

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Why Won’t My Red Spider Lilies Bloom?


“I have red spider lilies that have never bloomed.  How can I get them to bloom?” Question from Teresa of Rincon, Georgia
Answer: Late-summer-blooming red spider lilies (Lycoris radiata) are really lovely with their bare scapes of spidery red flowers. Do yours produce nice, lush foliage early in the season, and have they been in the ground for long? Either way, there are several reasons […]

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Is It Too Late to Prune My Roses?


“I live in Kitsap County, Washington (state); is it too late to prune my roses?” Question from Jennifer of Silverdale, Washington
Answer: It’s not too late! Many gardeners advocate pruning roses when they are dormant, usually in late winter, but you can prune them at any time. Whether you have a shrub rose, climber, or hybrid tea, you can make strategic cuts throughout the growing […]

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What are the Best Perennials for Clay Soils?

Coneflowers of all types grow well in clay soils and look beautiful in summer. (Image by Jessie Keith)
“What are the best perennials for clay-based soils? Thanks!” Question from Trish of Newton, New Jersey
Answer: There are lots of exceptional perennials adapted to clay soils, and many of the best are regional natives. Here are nine perennials that are beautiful, native, and well-adapted to clay soils in […]

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Do Pansies Have Seedlings that Overwinter?

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“Do pansies have seedlings that you can save for the next year?” Question from April of Dresden, Tennessee
Answer: Yes! Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana, USDA Hardiness Zones 7-10) often self sow in the garden, and their seedlings always produce pretty flowers. At least that has been my experience. Down in Tennessee, your pansy seedlings should overwinter in your garden. I live in USDA Hardiness Zone […]

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How Can I Revive My Japanese Sago Palm?


“Any idea what kind of plant this is? It was given to my mom and looks pretty bad. We were also wondering if it’s ok to cut all of the brownish leaves off. Will It come back with new regrowth?” Question from Donna of West Chester, Pennsylvania
Answer: You have a  Japanese Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta). It looks like it is struggling. Definitely remove the brown […]

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How Do You Manage Japanese Beetles?

 “How do you recommend dealing with Japanese beetles?” Question from Debbie of Lapeer, Michigan
Answer: I know that Japanese beetles are a chronic seasonal problem in Michigan, laying in wait to devastate roses, hibiscus, and many other ornamentals in the summer months. These voracious eaters are known to feed on over 300 plant species. They skeletonize leaves and flowers, weakening plants and making beautiful specimens […]

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How Do I Keep Ticks off of My Lawn?


What is the best way of getting rid of ticks? My yard is infested and I have gotten Lyme disease. Question from Kathy of West Rutland, Vermont
Answer: Ticks are the worst and a real worry for people living where Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are a problem. Of course, tiny deer ticks are the carriers of Lyme disease, and they contribute to over 99% of […]

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What Do You Grow in Vermiculite?


“What do you grow in vermiculite?” Question from Sara of Oroville, California
Answer: That’s an excellent question. Vermiculite is one of the most popular growing mix additives. The natural mineral pops up like popcorn when heated. Then it is processed into small pieces for use in potting mix. It provides […]

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