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Do you know of a flower call Amerantus? And if so do you know where I can get it?

Amaranthus, a member of the Amaranth family, has several different species that bear flowers. Plants can be grown from seed; check specialty seed catalogs like Johnny's Select Seed for availability.

I live in Daytona Beach where amaryllis can be planted in the ground. I bought some rather expensive bulbs which I planted in pots and had beautiful flowers. Then I planted them in the ground. The first season they had wonderful flowers, but now it's been 3 years and not a flower to be seen. what do I do?

Amaryllis needs a resting/dormant period between flowerings. To do this, allow the foliage to mature - the foliage will produce the food that is stored by the bulb needed for reflowering. Once the foliage has matured, gradually start to reduce the amount of watering - this will force the leaves to turn yellow and die back. Once the leaves have yellowed, cut them back to within an inch or two of the top of the bulb. Keep the area dry. In 3 months or so, start to water your bulbs, bringing them out of dormancy. You can also start to fertilize at this time. Flowering should occur in 6-8 weeks. If this is difficult, try potting the bulbs up, force and sink in the ground when you want them to bloom. Be sure to grow them in full to partial sun for best blooming.

I had my amaryllis out in the garden this summer. they all bloomed beautifully. i brought them in for the winter. Do I let them rest or do i put them in dirt and have them start to grow again? I don't want to loose the bulbs over the winter. thanks for your help.

Amaryllis need to rest between flowerings. I leave my bulbs in the pot. After the foliage has matured, I cut it back and store the bulb in the pot in a frost-free area - a closet in my basement. After 2-3 months, I bring the pot out, place in a warm sunny window and start to water and liquid feed. In 6-8 weeks, my bulbs are flowering again. You can also remove the bulbs from the soil and store. Then follow the above time frame.

I bought two beauty berry bushes last fall and planted them both in full sun. All summer they didn't grow much but they did get leaves covering the stems. They never bloomed or produced berries. Is this something that they will do next year or is there something I should do to get them to produce berries. When should they be pruned?

Beautyberry, Callicarpa dichotoma, is a wonderful fall berry-bearing shrub that is best planted in full sun or light shade in well-drained soil areas of the landscape. Any pruning should be done in the early spring as flowers and berries are formed on new growth. Plants can be pruned back hard, 12-18” above the ground in the spring before bud break. Most areas of the United States experienced severe drought conditions this year. Always make sure that plants are receiving adequate water if Mother Nature doesn’t provide

Do you have any tips on harvesting bittersweet; best time , drying etc?

Bittersweet is typically harvested in the early fall. Once you cut the bittersweet and move it to a warm area, the capsule literally explodes open, showing its bright orange seed. I harvest bittersweet that grows wild in the woods behind my house in the early fall. Once I have removed the leaves, I use the branches for various purposes. Many branches have interesting twists which make for instant arrangements in vases. With a little coaxing, I have made wreaths from bittersweet. A word of caution, when the seeds are really dry, the slightest movement can cause the seeds to drop - which can be messy if inside the home. I replace my bittersweet each year - it gets dusty and starts to shed

I live close to Knosville TN and recently purchased the following: Phlox Paniculata (roots), Dracunculus vulgaris (bulbs) and Asiatic Lily "stones" (bulbs). The temps are dipping into the 40's at night. Do I need to refergerate the above before planting? At what depth should I plant? Do I need to apply bulb fertalizer or do anything other than planting in good soil?

Now is the time to plant! To determine the planting depth of bulbs, here is the rule of thumb: 3 times the diameter of the bulb. A bulb two inches in diameter would be planted 6 inches deep. In very cold climates, perhaps 4 - 5 times the diameter of the bulb. The phlox roots should be planted 4-6 inches deep. Dracunculus prefers to be planted in sun and deep(6-8 inches) in well-drained soil, preferably one rich with humus.The plants do not need refrigeration - Mother Nature will do that for them. As far as fertilizing bulbs, use a complete fertilizer next spring right after flowering. Phlox can also be fertilized in the early spring.

How do I start cannas from seed?

Cannas can be grown from seed. To grow: the seed needs to break dormancy by soaking in warm water overnight. Another option is to nick the seed coat with a nail file or knife. Once done, sow seed in a well-drained starter mix and keep in warm temperatures of 70 degrees in the fall or spring

I was given a Coffee Plant and I would like information on the care of this plant. I had never heard of one before this. I don't know the scientific name for it. Can you help?

Coffee plant, Coffea arabica, is grown as a houseplant in all but tropical areas of the world. This is the species of Coffea that produces the coffee bean. Coffee plants need a minimum of 4 hours a day of bright light, more is preferred. Keep the soil barely moist and fertilize during the growing season - March through October. Always follow the label directions for rates of application. This unusual houseplant produces fragrant white flowers, followed by red berries. Young plants will not flower and bear fruit until they are at least 3 plus years old.

I am trying to get information on the pink and white confederate rose-- in the hibiscus family. I also am trying to find where to purchase them if you could be of and help i would really appreciate it.

The confederate rose is in the mallow/malvaceae family - latin name: Hibiscus mutabilis. I would suggest a garden center or nursery in your area may be able to order it for you. Here's some general information about the Confederate rose: a deciduous shrub that is hardy in zones 7 - 10. Plant in full sun in moist, well-drained soil. Blooms on current season's growth, so best to prune in the early spring just before bud break. Flowers are white and pink. A red variety also exists.

Should I cut the berries off my crepe myrtle? Will it promote a fuller bloom?

You can remove the spent flowers from crepe myrtle after flowering. This will prevent berries from forming. Berries that will be dry over the winter months can be removed, as well. This will not have a bearing on flower size.

Hi I've just discovered your web site and can use some help. We've moved to the country and as much as I like to watch the deer they're hard on my plants. I would like to know what kind of preannuals deer won't eat and what can I do about moles? I also like greenery more than I do flowers.

Plants like hosta(grown for their foliage) are prone to deer browsing. Here are some perennials that are reported to be resistant to deer browsing. Achillea millefolium, commonly known as yarrow; Aconitum carmichaelii or Monkshood; Aquilegia or Columbine; Asclepias tuberose or butterfly milkweed; Aster novi-belgi or New York Aster; Echinacea purpurea or purple coneflower; Digitalis or foxglove; Helenium autumnale or Sneezeweed; Helleborus; Monarda didyma or beebalm; Poppy; Solidago hybrids or Goldenrod; Stachys byzantina or lamb's ears; Yucca filamentosa or Adam's Needle. This is just a partial list. When you go to purchase these or any plants, make sure that you are buying plants that are hardy in your area. A knowledgeable staff person at the garden center can tell you your hardiness zone. As far as the moles, they are feeding on grubs, probably in the turfgrass areas around your home. To eliminate the moles, you must eliminate the grubs. While you're at the garden center, ask them about control options for next year. Once cold weather arrives, turf grubs move deeper into the soil, so chemical methods are not a good option.

I live in Michigan. Do I need to dig up my elephant ear bulb? The plant has already frosted. Next year could I dig it early and bring it inside to grow over the winter?

You will need to dig the elephant ear bulb now that a frost has killed back the foliage. Carefully lift the bulb from the soil and remove any excess soil from it. The bulb should be stored in a frost-free location - perhaps a garage or basement. Store the bulb in a flat/crate or open box filled with vermiculite or peat moss. Check the bulb periodically for any signs of rot. If so, discard. Replant the bulb next spring. To get an early jump on the season, start the bulb indoors in a warm, sunny location. After ALL danger of frost has passed, plant outdoors

I live in L A and have one or the other or both of these grasses in my front and back lawns. They look healthy but the front lawn is getting very "thick". Should I leave it or try to remove the undergrowth. Also, I would also like to know what to do about fertilizing it now.

It would be best to bring a sample of the grasses to a local garden center for ID. It could be that the turf has built up a thatch layer that now needs to be mechanically removed. Generally a sample that is one square foot in size should be adequate for identification and diagnosis. The sample can be plugged back into your lawn.

I need information on how to plant and grown Oriental Poppies in zone 5 (Indiana). Should I buy seed, plants, take divisions from a friends and how and when should I do this?

Oriental poppy, Papaver orientale, is a clump forming perennial hardy in zones 2-7. It likes cold weather. Warmer climes do not offer ideal growing conditions. Typically, oriental poppies are propagated by division in the early spring. To grow, oriental poppies do best in full sun. Soil should be fertile and well-drained. These poppies bloom earlier in the gardening season than many perennials and annuals, so plant in a border where the yellowing, disappearing foliage of the poppies can be disguised and filled in by other foliage/flowers for the remainder of the season. Do this to avoid bare gaps in the garden.

How do I winter over hanging pots of geraniums?

Geraniums need to come inside before a frost. An easy way to overwinter geraniums is to treat them as houseplants. Place the pots in a bright sunny location with temperatures between 50-60 degrees. Not enough sun will cause them to stretch and become leggy. Keep the soil barely moist. Stop any fertilizing and let the geranium have a rest period. Start fertilizing again in late winter. Follow label directions for how to use the fertilizer. The increased day length at that time will be appreciated by your plants. In early spring cut back any leggy growth. This should stimulate new growth that should produce flowers. If the plant needs repotting do so then. If you reuse the same pot, clean the pot and add some fresh potting soil. If you need a larger pot, do not jump more than 2 inches in pot size - an overgrown 8" basket would go to a 10" basket. Place plant outside after all danger of frost.

My partner and myself purchased a home about two years ago. The yard is full of different things that have become over grown. In an attempt to remove some small shrubs i dug up a large number of iris "roots". Some are thick some skiney some are like hands. Not all of them have tips that show new growth coming...will all the roots grow again if replanted? Should I only keep the largest, and toss the rest. I did not find any rot or disease in the roots...and there are lots of them...please advise...

Irises are usually divided in the summer. Since you have them now, I would plant instead of trying to store them. Pick the healthiest ones. Place the roots so the surface is just slightly exposed. Any that show signs of disease should not be planted. Water after planting. Reduce the size of the fans of leaves when you plant, cut back to a third. After the soil freezes, mulch with pine boughs, shredded leaves or the like.

Hi, I am intrested in saving my lantanna plants for next spring and summer, and I have asked different places how to do this. The answer I get is that they take too long to grow from seed and that the best way to go is to purchase them from the nursery. Could you please tell me what you think about this? I would like to know if the little green ball that turns black later is the seed? Because I have been told that the flower petals is the seed. and could you tell me how and what to do so I can have nice lantanna plants for next spring?

Lantana can be grown from seed or semi-ripe cuttings. The seeds are black and should be sown at temperatures of 61-64 degrees. If you start other seeds for the garden, you should be well-equipt to do this. Transplant seedlings to the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Cuttings would be taken in late summer - something to put on your calendar for next year. You could try to overwinter lantana inside the home, as long as a frost hasn't hit your garden. Dig the entire plant and treat as a houseplant - bright sunny window, temperatures not below 55 degrees.

My lirope is turning yellow, then brown and dying. I thought this plant was fool proof. What could be causing this?

Liriope is considered a tough, low maintenance plant, but it does have a few problems, namely root rots, anthracnose and leaf spots. Make sure the drainage in the planting area is good. The soil needs to be moist, but well-drained. To accurately diagnose your problem with liriope, bring a generous sample of the problem to a local garden center. Dead samples reveal nothing; bring a sample that shows a progression of the problem.

Hi! I would like to know how to over-winter my Mandevilla and Diplodemia vines, which are in pots. I have had trouble finding information on overwintering plants like the above and others such as elephant ear and sweetpotato vines (plants that summer outside, but are not winter hardy). Thank you!

Mandevilla and dipladenia can be treated as houseplants during the winter months. Be sure to bring the plants in before frost. Place in them bright sunny locations and keep the soil barely moist. Place outside after all danger of frost has passed in the spring. Elephant ears and sweet potato vines need to have their tubers dug after a frost has blackened the foliage. Carefully lift tubers, cut off the foliage, allow the soil to dry off and store in a frost free, but cool location during the winter. A cool basement or garage is ideal.

hello! I just received a lilac 'sensation' from you a few weeks ago and it was immedately planted...I can't wait for next season! my concern is this, however: we're looking at a hard freeze this weekend possibly in my area and I'm concerned about the little planting. It has already sprouted leaves and taken to it's new environment, but is there anything special I should do to protect it for the winter? It's just a little twig of a thing, I would hate to lose it!

You are smart to think about some extra winter protection. The best way to protect your plant would be to shelter it from wind and exposure. To do this, using burlap, build a box around the plant. Hammer 4 wooden stakes into the ground, use a piece of burlap and staple gun to secure the burlap to each stake. Once the ground has frozen, put a layer of leaves, pine boughs or salt hay/straw in the box. This will prevent the soil from freezing and thawing - definitely not good for the plant. Do not be too hasty in removing the protected covering next spring. Wait for temperatures to moderate, then remove the burlap

Earlier this year while visiting friends on the coast of North Carolina, I was given a pindo palm. So far it's doing fantastic. I need to protect this palm for the winter. How do I do it? I have been told that this palm is planted as far north as Washington, DC, but I cannot prove it. What is the best and safest way to protect this and when should it be done?

Pindo palm, Butia capitata, is hardy in zones 8-11. If you live within zones 8-11, winter protection should not be necessary. Colder zones, like 7, the plant might survive a winter if it was mild and the plant was protected. A mulch applied to the soil after it freezes and a wind barrier could be used. Making an open box around the plant, using burlap as the screen could be used. The box would then be filled with leaves as insulation.

Hi there! My parents live in Clearwater Florida. My dad has had continuing problems finding plants and in particular, flowering plants that grow well in his screened-in lanai. he has been told that he should consider it shady because of the screening. He also has problems with snails. He is most successful with red begonias. I am flying to see them next week and if you could give me any suggestions for him, I would be very grateful. Thank you. Oh yes, they do live on the water and do have a sprinkling system in this area.

Your parents live in a wonderful climate; one that allows them to grow many plants outside that we consider houseplants in colder climes. Several things to consider: the screening used for lanais will make the area shady; but also consider where the lanai is located. Is the exposure north, south, east or west? This, too, will play a role in the amount of light. You'll need to do a little work once you get to Florida in determining exposure and locating the plants. Keep in mind, these are just suggestions and may not be available at a local garden center. Seek a knowledgeable staff person to make other recommendations for you - tell them the exposure and let them steer you to some choices. Select the plant to fit the location! If he is growing red begonias and they are blooming, that tells me there has to be a fair amount of light in the lanai. Flowering plants that do well in Florida include: pentas - for groundcover, containers; Mandevillas - climbing plants of whites or pinks that will require support; gardenias - for groundcover or containers; ixoras - hedges, groundcover and containers; Jasmine (fragrant) - hedges, containers; bougainvillea - when small in containers, but will want to climb so support is needed; dipladenia - for containers; zebra plant - for containers; anthuriums - for containers. Other plants like African violet, lipstick plant, fuchsia, hoya, and streptocarpus can be used and should be readily available. These are just suggestions. Many of these plants will tolerate bright to medium light conditions. Another point, most of these plants will not tolerate a freeze, which can happen in Clearwater. When freezes are predicted, bring plants indoors. As far as the snails, when you're at the local garden center, ask them for a product that can be used to safely rid of these pests. Be sure to read the label thoroughly and follow all directions when using.

I would like to know if a clematis can be cut back in the fall. My trellis has fallen over and broken and the only way to get the clematis off of it appears to be cutting it way back. Please help. I don't want to stunt it's growth for the spring.

When to prune clematis depends on when it blooms. If it blooms on current season's wood - prune in late winter or early spring before bud break. If it blooms on one year old wood, prune sparingly after flowering. Plants that are leggy and tall (which can happen after a number of years), can be cut back heavily. Unfortunately, to rejuvenate these plants, you will sacrifice bloom for that year.

I need to know how to prune miniature roses? When do you prune gardenias? I think the wood is dead?

Mini roses should be pruned when the flowers have finished blooming. Prune back the dead flowers to the first set of 5 leaflets. Gardenia growth that is dead can be pruned off at any time. Dead wood is non-functional, so it's best to remove it when you see it. Otherwise, gardenias aren't really pruned, except if growing out of bounds, then it is better done in the early spring.

I planted a peony tree in a container this summer. Will I have to cut it back this fall?

Tree peonies do not need to pruned back for the winter. If any pruning is to be done, do it after flowering, keeping the natural shape of the plant in mind.

We have a problem with Royal Palms that have been neglected for approximately 5 years, what would your suggestion be? How would you suggest fertilizing to bring them back?

Royal palm, Roystonea regia, can be fertilized with a complete fertilizer according to label directions. For specifics regarding any problems/pests with palms in your area, visit a local garden center or your county Cooperative Extension office. There have been problems associated with palms in the south, a local resource is you best source of advice.

I live in zone 5 (Chicago area). I want to save seeds from lantana, cannas, zinnias, moss roses. I've checked a couple of web sites and they assume I know something about gardening. Can you get real basic? How do I store the seeds?

Here are the basics for saving seeds: collect, clean and store seeds. Collecting is easy - you pick the seeds from your garden and label the plant you collected them from. Seeds should be cleaned and dried after collected. This means removing any plant debris, etc. from the seed. Any moisture around the seed could cause it to rot. To be sure they are dry, spread the seeds out on newspaper or paper towels and allow them to dry for 7-10 days. As soon as the drying stage is over, place seeds in jars, film canisters, glassine envelopes that are tight enough to keep moisture out. Place your labeled containers in the refrigerator. Label should include the type of plant, variety if you know it, when collected, where collected.

I am finding mushrooms in my landscaped area - what should I do about them?

Mushrooms in the landscape are an indication that organic matter is decomposing. As it decomposes it produces mushrooms, aiding in the decomposition process. There’s not much you can do about them, let it take its course. If you feel you want to do something, you can rake them up and dispose of them.

I have a wisteria plant that I've had for three years. All it ever does is get blooms before I get leaves and then after they're gone I get leaves. Is there something special I should do, such as how should I prune them before winter?

Wisteria will bloom before or as it is in leafing. Wisteria should be grown in full sun to light shade in fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Pruning is typically done in late summer to early fall, so wait until the new shoots are fully mature (this year's growth) and early fall color is beginning. Pruning at this time will allow for flower bud development for the following season.