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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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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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What Are The Best Indoor Grow Lights for Succulents?


“Now that the northern hemisphere is transitioning into winter, and I have more succulents than ever, what’s the best indoor grow light for me to invest in? Broad-spectrum? Red/blue lights? I’m confused.” Question from Stacy or Portland, Oregon
Answer: Plants always grow best with sunlight, which is full-spectrum. So, if you have a South-facing window that can accommodate your succulents, start there. Then supplement with […]

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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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How Do I Keep My Evergreen Wreaths and Garlands from Drying Out?


“Every year at the holidays, I hang a live wreath and real pine garland on a fence outside near my patio. I’m wondering if you know of a way to preserve both the wreath and garland so that they last beyond the holiday season without getting brown?  Thank you!” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio
Answer: You have a couple of options, use either evergreen […]

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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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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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I Need Tips for Cold Frame Gardening


“With which of your products does one prep the soil for winter crops in a mini greenhouse, type Cold Frame Mini Green House by Juwel (I just got one)?  It will face South-East.  Any experience growing with this method?  Any easy crop recommendations?” Question from Judy of Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts

Answer: Thank you for your questions. I have gardened in a cold frame and observed […]

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Why Doesn’t Weed and Feed Kill All of My Broadleaf Weeds?


“I put weed and feed (broadleaf weed killer) down, but the plantago weed is still there. Why?” Question from Sandra of Cottage Grove, Minnesota
Answer: There could be several possible reasons. Before covering them, let me give an overview of how most weed and feed lawn herbicides work. Broadleaf weed killers that also feed grasses only kill broadleaf weeds, like dandelions, plantago, and clover, not […]

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