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What Are the Best Container-Garden Plants for Shade?

Impatiens are classic potted flowers for shade!
“I’m in a complex where we can only plant in containers outside…and there’s a lot of shade to complicate matters…any idea for some plants that would do well contained without a lot of sun?  Thank you…also someone told me the ivy I did plant in a pot can be brought inside for a houseplant when it gets too cold […]

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Can I Grow Peonies Down South?

‘Coral Charm’ is a peony that grows better down South, and it is one of my favorites!
“I live in south Georgia and I would love to plant peonies, but I was told by a local nursery that they can’t survive here because we don’t have cold enough winters for them to reset, is this true?” Question from Ladonna of Naylor, Georgia
Answer: It is partially true. […]

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How Can I Keep Plants Cool During Scorching Heatwaves?

Move potted plants to cooler locations during the most dangerous periods of a heatwave.
“It has been hotter than it’s ever been on record. How can I protect my plants from the severe heat?” Angie of Walla Walla, Washington
Answer: It’s scary when you live in an area that typically has mild summer temperatures, and you unexpectedly experience super high heat. Your tender plants are as used […]

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What Are Some Good Online Nurseries for Garden Succulents?


“Do you have any recommendations for mail-order succulents supply sources for gardens?” Bob from New Mexico
Answer: There are several mail-order companies that I turn to for succulents for the garden. These include the following companies.
Good Online Succulent Nurseries

Mountain Crest Gardens – They have both tender and hardy succulents for sale.
Cold Hardy Cactus – The Cactus Man specializes in hardy cacti and succulents, and he […]

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When Do You Pinch Dahlias for Fuller Growth?


“How and when do you pinch dahlias to encourage fuller growth?” Question from April of Dresden, Tennessee
Answer: Once your dahlias are close to their final height (which depends on the variety) and have ample foliage, you can pinch or trim them back to encourage fuller growth, more branching, and […]

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How Do I Keep Peonies From Drooping?


“My peonies are more luxurious than ever this year. However, after the 1st rain, they tend to fall over. I have each bush encased in an upside-down tomato cage, but they still tend to droop, as the flowers are so heavy.  Any suggestions to make this stop from happening every year and any ideas on how to make the glorious blossoms last longer?  Many […]

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How Do You Keep Bigleaf Hydrangea Flowers Blue?


“What’s the best way to ensure that my blue [bigleaf] hydrangea stays blue?” Question from Gaye of Saint Peters, Missouri
Answer: It all has to do with soil pH. There are two hydrangeas that have flowers whose color changes depending on whether the soil is acidic (3.5-6.8), alkaline (7.2-10), or neutral ( around 7). These are bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5-11) and Japanese mountain […]

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What Garden Companion Plants Control Insect Pests?


“What’s the best flower to control unwanted bugs in your veggie garden?” Question from Sylvia of Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Answer: Some commonly recommended companion plantings are ineffective, while others are supported by research. Most of the research surrounds vegetable crops and companion plants that reduce the number of insect pests that attack these crops. Companions fall under two categories:

Trap crops: These plantings attract insect pests, luring […]

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What Is the Best Time of Day to Water Plants?


“What time of day should I water my plants?” question from Courtney of Roebling, New Jersey
Answer: It really depends on where you live and what your soil and climate are like. In a very dry region, I’d suggest watering in the evening and possibly again in the morning, depending on the time of year and the severity of drought. But, where you live in […]

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Do Old Coffee Grounds And Tea Leaves Help Gardens?

 

“Are sprinkling used coffee grounds around flowerbeds or tree and shrubs a good idea?  We have our neighbor dogs and cats issues. Thanks!” Misty from South Carolina
Answer: It’s a question that I asked myself some time ago because my grandmother’s favorite amendments for roses were old tea leaves and coffee grounds. Both organic materials, derived from plant leaves and seeds, are slightly acidic and […]

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