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How Do I Start Paw Paw Seeds?


“I want to start and grow paw paw seeds. Can you give me your recommendation on a planting mix? I’m planting seeds in 4×14 containers. They’ll be in the containers for two years in the shade in hot Texas conditions before I plant them in the orchard. Pawpaws are considered tropical. The nursery that sells paw paw seed said I might want to add […]

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When Should I Trim Tropical Hibiscus?


“When is the best time to trim tropical Hibiscus?” Question from Jane of Tampa, Florida
Answer: You can prune these evergreen tropicals at any time to manage plant size, encourage denser growth, and induce more flowering, but pruning is best done in late winter when they are blooming very little.
These tropical Chinese shrubs flower on new wood, and pruning encourages the development of new wood, […]

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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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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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