Outdoor Flowers and Foliage

Sunflowers don’t inhibit other plants

Q: I was told that sunflowers produce toxins in the soil they grow in. Will these gentle giants destroy my surroundings plants? I have had sunflowers in my garden many times and have not noticed a problem with growth of...

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Glyphosate (Roundup) damage to angel trumpet

When John S. asked about the tiny leaves on his angel trumpet, I told him it sure looked like the damage that glyphosate causes on azalea, rose and crapemyrtle. A few days later he replied that he had sprayed Roundup...

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When Is The Best Time To Trim A Snowball Bush?

Q: When is the best time of year to trim a snowball bush? My bush is ten feet tall and I want it shorter.  A: The best time to prune snowball bush, Viburnum macrocephalum, is after it finishes blooming and...

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Is There A Way To Change Flower Color On Oakleaf And Tree Hydrangeas?

Q: Is there a way to change flower color on oakleaf and tree hydrangeas?  A: No, the old-fashioned bigleaf hydrangea is the only one that responds to soil pH to change flower color. Oakleaf hydrangea flowers are white when they...

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Can I Leave Caladiums Among Tulips And Daffodils?

Q: I have an area where I want to put caladiums amongst tulips and daffodils. Can I leave them in the ground all year and expect a nice show?  A: Caladiums rarely survive winter cold in the ground outdoors. I...

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My Witchhazel Never Flowers

Q: I have a spring-blooming witchhazel. It looks healthy but never flowers. I pruned it late fall to see if that might stimulate something.  A: If you pruned it in the fall, that’s the whole problem. Some witchhazels bloom in...

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Rose Sawfly – Most Leaves Damaged and Brown

Q: Any idea what might be wrong with this rose bush? The leaves are very brown and look dead. A: You have rose sawfly damage. Your damage is pretty severe but I can’t think of anything else that would give...

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Phone Apps To Identify Flowers

Q: I use Google Lens to photograph and identify flowers. Are there other apps that do this on a smartphone?  A: I have used both PlantSnap (plantsnap.com) and GardenAnswers (mygardenanswers.com). I like PlantSnap better; it correctly identified ‘Limelight’ hydrangea and...

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Is It Better To Separate Stella d Oro Daylilies In Spring Or Fall?

Q: Is it better to separate Stella d Oro daylilies in spring or fall? A: In my experience, you can divide daylilies successfully every day of the year…but the best time is in spring, before they bloom. Repeat-blooming daylilies like...

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Pruning Azaleas

Q: I know when and how to prune old-fashioned azaleas but I don’t know how to prune the kind that also bloom in the fall. Any tips?  A: Reblooming azaleas (Encore, Bloom-a-Thon, etc.) are hybrid plants. They incorporate several different...

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Do You Need To Prune The Leaves Of Hibiscus Plants?

Q: I have three hibiscus plants. They have very large red flowers. Do you prune them back to the ground or will I get new growth from the old stems?  A: It sounds like you probably have Hibiscus moscheutos, sometimes...

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After My Daffodils Are Spent, Can I Cut The Existing Foliage?

Q: After my daffodils are spent, can I cut the existing foliage? A: You can cut off the stem that has a flower on it but don’t remove the other green leaves. They will spend the time between now and...

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How Do Flowering Quince Do So Well In The Cold?

Q: What can you tell me about the climate where flowering quince originated? Mine was looking great before the severe cold and it came through fine, along with my camellia. How do they do so well in cold weather?  A:...

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When Should I Apply Fertilizer To My Daffodil Foliage?

Q: My daffodil foliage is 10″ high and flower buds are emerging. Is now the time to apply fertilizer?  A: It’s best to fertilize when foliage is 1″-2″ tall or about six weeks before flowering. An alternative is to use...

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Can I Transplant “Baby” Nandinas?

Q: I have “baby” nandinas and a friend wants some of them. When can I dig them for her to plant in her yard.  A: If it is 12″-20″ tall, I think a small nandina can be transplanted anytime. They...

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Can I Prune Hydrangeas When The Buds Are Swollen?

Q: Can I prune hydrangeas now even when the buds are swollen?  A: If you prune a common mophead hydrangea now, you’ll remove bloom buds. Exceptions would be the reblooming varieties like ‘Endless Summer’ and ‘Penny...

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Should I Trim Back My Lenten Rose?

Q: Should I trim back the long leggy branches on my Lenten rose? They look healthy.  A: Even though they are green and healthy in early spring, those tall leaves will get big black spots by early summer, turn completely...

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If My Azaleas Were Cut Back Will It Effect Future Blooms?

Q: I have (had) beautiful azaleas around my house. However, I hired a new yard man who cut them way back! Will this affect blooms this year? A: I am sad to say the answer is very likely yes, you...

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