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When Should I Trim Tropical Hibiscus?


“When is the best time to trim tropical Hibiscus?” Question from Jane of Tampa, Florida
Answer: You can prune these evergreen tropicals at any time to manage plant size, encourage denser growth, and induce more flowering, but pruning is best done in late winter when they are blooming very little.
These tropical Chinese shrubs flower on new wood, and pruning encourages the development of new wood, […]

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How and When Should I Plant Milkweed Seeds?


“I have some milkweed seeds and wonder when I should plant them. Should I plant now or wait until spring?” Question from Lynda of West Warwick, Rhode Island
Answer: Start milkweed (Asclepias spp.) seeds indoors in mid to late winter. The seeds of these long-lived perennials can be a little tricky to start because they require a chilling period before they will sprout. (Keep in […]

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Why Are My Tropical Hibiscus Leaves Dropping?


“What are the reasons leaves drop from [tropical] hibiscus?” Question from Brenda of Miami, Florida
Answer: Tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa–sinensis) are lovely shrubs when they are healthy and happy, but they look so dismal when they’re in poor shape–especially when they start dropping their leaves. There are LOTS of problems that can lead to leaf drop. Some of these depend on whether your plants are […]

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What Seed-Grown Plants Attract Honeybees?


“I would like information on ordering flower seeds that would attract honey bees to my garden.” Question from Randy of Bastrop, Texas
Answer: There are loads of garden flowers that are easily grown from seed and especially attractive to bees. Considering your location, your bee plants should also be heat and drought tolerant. Here are a few easy-from-seed plants that will grow well in Bastrop. […]

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I Bought Rose Seeds Online. Are They Good?


“I purchased rose seeds on [online] and didn’t know they were from China till they shipped (rose image above). I’d love it if you could tell me if they are or are not rose seeds. I’m new to roses, and knowing if these are or are not rose seeds will be very helpful. Thank you so much! :)” Question from Bradley of Cleves, Ohio

Answer: […]

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When is the Best Time to Prune Buddleia in California?


“When is the best time to prune Buddleia?” Question from Angie of Fort Bragg, California
Answer: In your coastal Mendocino County location, I would cut your butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.) back when your cool, wet winter hits. Butterfly bush does not look its best when chillier temperatures hit, even though it remains evergreen to semi-evergreen where you live, so prune it back by 1-2 feet […]

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What Potting Mix is Best for Planting Agastache in the Southwest?

Licorice mint is one of the best species for New Mexican gardens. (Image by Jessie Keith)
“I have rooted Agastache cuttings in perlite and seed starting mix, but now they are ready for real pots and soil. What would you suggest for the soil or soil mix?” Question from Melissa of El Prado, New Mexico
Answer: Hyssops or hummingbird mints (Agastache spp.) are fragrant perennials in the […]

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Is Bat Guano Good for Flower Beds?


“I have a large amount of bat dung in our barn and have heard that it is an excellent fertilizer for flowers. Is that true?” Question from Catherine of White Cloud, Michigan
Answer: Bat guano makes an excellent plant fertilizer once it has been composted. Fresh bat guano is rich in nutrients, particularly nitrogen, but it needs to be broken down and mellowed before use. […]

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When is the Best Time to Plant Spring Bulbs?


“When is the best time to plant spring bulbs?” Question from Donna of Smithfield, Pennsylvania
Answer: Fall is the best time to plant bulbs–starting in late September and ending in late November. This is the ideal window, but I have even planted bulbs in December when the soil could be worked, and the flowers appeared as expected in spring. Just don’t wait until the soil […]

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What Bulbs Can I Force in a Vase?


“Other than hyacinths, which bulbs can I force in a hyacinth vase?” Question from Robin of Warner, New Hampshire
Answer: There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing bulbs to force in hyacinth vases. Only certain bulbs can be easily forced, in water, gravel, or soil, during the winter months. And, most require a chilling period before they are forced or sold for […]

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