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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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Why Won’t My Crepe Myrtles Bloom?


“My crepe myrtles don’t bloom. I’ve added “blossom booster,” but still no blooms. Any suggestions?” Question from Carol of Douglasville, Georgia
Answer: How frustrating! You plant one of these glorious flowering shrubs/trees and…no flowers. There are a few possible reasons why yours won’t bloom for you.

Light – One of the most common reasons is too little light. Crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) are sun lovers that […]

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I Am Looking for a Source for Boughton Dome Hebe?


“I am looking for bright dome hebe… can’t find it anywhere. Can you help?” Question from Kate of Brookings, Oregon
Ask a Garden Expert Answer: There are several Dome hebe. This includes ‘Boughton Dome’, ‘Emerald Dome’, ‘Golden Dome, and ‘Pewter Dome’. There is no ‘Bright Dome’ that I know of or
can find. Can you tell me the flower color and appearance of the hebe […]

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How Do I Care For My Butterfly Bush in Fall?


“What’s the best way to care for my butterfly bush, now that all the flowers are gone?  I usually cut it all the way back in the spring, which usually makes for a beautiful bush throughout the summer.  This year, not so much.  It was not very full, although it did grow quite tall.  Should I be doing something to it in the fall?”  […]

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Why Didn’t My Hydrangeas Flower and Why Do They Have Spots?


“My hydrangeas didn’t flower this year and also have “black/brown” spots on the leaves.  Any ideas on what to do?” Question from Debra of Saint Inigoes, Maryland
Answer: Mophead or lacecap hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are prone to fungal leaf diseases when there is excess moisture and the shrubs are poorly aerated. And, there are a couple of reasons why hydrangeas fail to bloom. 
Hydrangea Leaf Fungal […]

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I Need Help Growing Hydrangea in My Central California Garden!


“Some tips please – I planted a Hydrangea, and it lasted just a couple of weeks.  I love the plant and would like to try again. Help!” Question from Rita of Dinuba, California
Answer: Hydrangeas are lovely when they are blooming at their prime, but many can be finicky, especially when it comes to soil and moisture levels. I see that your city has a […]

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What Is the Best Narrow Conifer for Snowy Colorado Landscapes?

Eastern red cedar
“What is a good upright juniper, or other narrow conifer, to plant that stays nice and narrow and tight so snow doesn’t bend the branches down and damage them? My planting area only gets partial sun and is very dry for much of the year. I tried Skyrocket junipers, but they broke under the weight of the snow.” Question from Sharon of Westminster, […]

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My Barbados Cherry Flowers are Dropping Prematurely. Help!


“The flower blooms of my Barbados cherry are pink with yellow but they fall off the whole stem while in bloom. What am I doing or I should ask what I am not doing? I water it a little extra, but they seem to keep falling off.” Question from Carol of Joaquin, Texas.
Answer: It sounds like you are hoping for fruits in addition to […]

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My Gardenias Have Root Mealybugs. Help!


“I have tried growing gardenias, but they always die. When I pull them up there are white bugs all over the roots. What are these and how do I get rid of them?” Question from Sheila of Tampa, Florida.
Answer: There are several pests and diseases that will attack gardenia roots. I am glad that we narrowed yours down to root or ground mealybugs (Rhizoecus […]

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What’s Eating My Empress Tree Leaves?


“I have two baby royal empress trees, something is eating at the leaves. Any tips on how I can kick start these for maxim growth each season?” Question from Lizzy of Ocala, Florida.
Answer: Empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) is a fast-growing tree from China with lovely violet-purple flowers in spring. Surprisingly it does not have any serious known pests here in the United States, but […]

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