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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 Prune Bay Leaf?


“How do you prune a Bay Leaf plant?” Question from Mark or Warren, Ohio
Answer: Whether potted or grown in-ground in a Mediterranean climate, spring is the best time to prune back a bay laurel. Start by removing branches with unhealthy leaves. Then prune to shape by either shearing stem tips or cutting small or overgrown stems back to the main stem. Shearing stem tips […]

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How Do You Plant Cyclamen?


What is the best way to plant Cyclamen? Question from Melba of Texas
Answer: It depends on whether you are planting tender, greenhouse-grown Cyclamen in pots or hardy Cyclamen in the ground. I’ll cover the planting details for both and how to get them to bloom beautifully.
Potted Cyclamen
Cyclamen grow best in well-drained potting mix that is kept just moist, never wet. Water them just from […]

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What is the Best Soil for Replanting Cacti?


“What kind of soil do you use to replant cacti?” Question from Joy of Hemet, California.
Answer: Most true cacti grow best in nutrient-poor soils that drain fast, whether grown in-ground or in pots.
In-Ground Cacti
If dividing and replanting your cacti in a dryland garden, remember that they need ground […]

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Help! My Potting Soil is Too Dry to Soak Up Water.


“Have been using your Black Gold Cactus Mix and Perlite for about a year now.  I am growing primarily succulents.  When I started, I experimented with many different kinds of soil and your soil mixed with perlite gave me the best results.  In Hawaii, my climate is hot and humid.  I have noticed lately that the soil is becoming hydrophobic.  Is there any solution to […]

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Can Air-Purifying Chrysanthemums be Grown Indoors?


“If mums clean the air of toxins so well, how can you benefit if it is an outdoor plant? Can it survive inside?” Question from Ruth of Windsor Mill, Maryland

Answer: Great question! It is true that NASA conducted a study of air-purifying plants (see the study here) and found chrysanthemums to be one of the best for air purification. Out of almost 30 plants studied, […]

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Can You Identify this House Plant?


“Do you have any idea what kind of house plant this is?” Question from Donna of Cape May, New Jersey

Answer: Yes! It’s a variegated rubber tree (Ficus elastica ‘Variegata’). It grows best in a great potting mix, like Black Gold All Purpose Potting Mix. Give it bright indirect light or partial shade. Water its soil regularly from spring to fall and reduce watering in winter. […]

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What’s the Best Soil for Fruit Containers?


“Hello. What is the best soil that you have available to grow citrus trees and blackberries in containers? I’m looking for the soil ph to be around 6.0.” Question from Jerrold of Pearland, Texas
Answer: For container gardening, we recommend either Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix or Black Gold Waterhold Cocoblend Potting Mix. Both are fertile, water holding, and have a pH around 6.0. They […]

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Help! I Have Fungus Gnats


I’ve been using your organic potting soil for both outdoor and indoor planting for the past 8 months.  Over the past 3 months, my house has been inundated by fungus gnats.  I have tried everything written in the literature to get rid of them.  Yesterday, I ran out of your potting soil and began researching potting soil on the web.  While still recommended, I read […]

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When Will My Lemon Tree Set Fruit?


“I have a lemon tree that’s five, or six, years old. I was wondering how old they have to be to produce fruit, and if there has to be two of them, or is cross-pollination not necessary?” Question from Royce of Texas
Answer: A lemon tree should be fruitful by five years of age. Most lemons are self-fruitful and do not require cross-pollination, but they do […]

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