When Should I Prune My Knockout® Roses?

“I live in South Louisiana.  When should I prune my Knockout roses?” Question from Deborah of Saint Amant, Louisiana
Answer: Many growers advocate you that prune shrub roses in late winter or spring before they have leafed out, but some rosarians disagree (see our Black Gold video on pruning hybrid tea roses below.). Either way, I like to prune mine at this time because it’s […]

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What Seeds Should Be Soaked Before Planting?

Which type of seeds should be soaked before planting, and for how long? Question from Lisa of Auburn, Washington
Answer: The seeds of many different plants benefit from presoaking to encourage faster germination. With thousands of seed-grown plants on the market, I cannot speak to every single one, but I can provide some general groups that benefit from presoaking.
When it comes to soaking time, allow […]

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Can I Grow Plants in Pure Compost?

“I have some large compost bins, which produce a lot of compost. Can I plant things in pure compost, or do I need some “dirt” with inorganic materials for the best results?  How much inorganic material do I need?” Question from Naomi or Oakdale, California
Answer: Congratulations on your composting success! Compost is one of the best garden amendments available. You can plant in straight […]

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How Do I Manage Chickweed in the Garden?

“Chickweed is on the attack! Help!” Question from Judy of Louisville, Mississippi
Answer: Winterweeds like chickweed (Stellaria spp.) are such a pain because they sprout and take over our gardens while we are enjoying a respite from outdoor gardening. Sneaky! You will be glad to learn that they are easy to tackle. Here are five good ways to wage war on chickweed.

Mulch beds in fall […]

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How Do I Keep Seedlings from Becoming Long and Leggy?

“I start my seedlings indoors. How do I keep them from shooting up 6 inches with a weak stem before I can get them outdoors?” Question from Jerry of Lead, South Dakota
Answer: This is all about providing lots of high-quality light from start to finish. When light is insufficient, seedlings will reach and stretch towards the source, which results in elongated, leggy shoots and […]

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How Do You Keep Peonies from Flopping in the Spring?

“What is the best way to care for peonies in the spring?  How do you keep the foliage from falling over when it rains?” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio
Answer: Double-flowered peony (Paeonia lactiflora) blooms are so heavy that even the smallest rain can weigh them down to the ground. Thankfully, this problem is easily fixed. General spring care is simple, too.
Start by completely […]

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What Shade Plants Will Grow Beneath White Pines?

‘Cutting Edge’ foamflower is a good shade perennial to grow beneath white pines.
My backyard has lots of huge white pines that I want to landscape around. What plants grow best [beneath pines] in Midwest weather and [like] mostly shade? Question from Karen of Adel, Iowa
Answer: You are looking for shade-loving perennials and small shrubs adapted to slightly acid soils. There are quite a few […]

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Do You Have Container-Gardening Tips for Desert Gardeners?

“I live in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, so I have to garden in containers that can be moved when it gets hot. What is the best thing I can do for plants that are confined in containers in a hot climate like this?” Question from Jacqueline of Casa Grande, Arizona
Answer: Aside from choosing more drought-tolerant plants to grow, there are several other things […]

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How Do I Care for Butterfly Bush in Spring?

Lo & Behold® Purple Haze Butterfly Bush (Image by Proven Winners®)
“What is the care for a butterfly bush in the spring?  Mine is pretty old, and I always trim it back in the spring, but it isn’t yielding as many blossoms.” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio
Answer: Start by pruning your shrub, if you didn’t the previous fall. I recommend that you wait until after […]

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What Time of Year Do You Prune Abutilon?

“What time of year do you prune an Abutilon?” Question from Angie of Fort Bragg, California
Answer: Parlor maples or Indian mallows (Abutilon hybrids) are tropical to subtropical plants that can be pruned to shape at any time. Cultivated forms do, however, bloom on new wood, so late-winter or spring pruning is recommended. Especially if you plan to trim your plant just once a year. […]

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