Friday, July 27, 2018

FAQ: Do you know a particular kind of bug spray that I should use on these plants that won't harm them?

Q. Something is still attacking my liriope plants, and a friend said it definitely looks like some kind of bug is eating them. But I can't see any bugs with my eyes. I put the slug bait around twice, and that has not stopped the problem. Do you know a particular kind of bug spray that I should use on these plants that won't harm them? I'm going to try bug spray once the rains stop. We've had a solid week or more of rain and thunderstorms. I have worked so hard on these plants to keep them alive and doing well. They look beautiful in my front yard. Please let me know what bug spray you would recommend. Many thanks!

A. As a rule, insecticides don't harm plants. There are exceptions. Oil-based formulations might, depending upon the plant. Since you can't identify the beast, you'd do best with a broad-spectrum insecticide. SaferGro PestOut, Ferti-Lome Broad Spectrum Insecticide RTS, Spectracide Triazicide Insect Killer For Lawns & Landscapes might work. They all come in ready-to-use form. There are several high-power broad-spectrum, systemic insecticides that should work without fail. Their disadvantages include cost and higher toxicity.

As with all chemicals, follow label instructions.

I hope this helps.

If you, dear reader, have had particular success with any broad-spectrum insecticide, please let us know in the Comment section. We'd love to hear from you!

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Any chance Boston ivy plants will recover from heat stress?

Q. Hi, I bought some of your [Boston] ivy a couple weeks ago, the weather was hot here at the time and the postal carrier left the box of ivy on our blacktop driveway in the sun when the temps were near 100. Any chance these plants will recover?

A. I'm sorry to hear that the plants were subjected to such stress. If the roots remained viable, there should be good hope for recovery.

Any damaged foliage and stems - blackened, dried and brown - should be removed. They won't recover.

I assume you planted the vines soon after receipt, watered them in properly, etc. At this point, take care not to water too much. Fewer or no leaves means less  or no water take-up, so too much moisture in the soil could contribute to root or stem rot. Let soil dry slightly between watering events. Watch for bud enlargement at the leaf axils. I hope this helps. Keep me posted.


Have any of you readers had an experience such as this? Were you successful in reviving your plants? If so, let us know in the comment section what you did to bring them around.

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Question of Color-Matching

Q. I have phlox that I want to add to. It was sold as 'Crimson Beauty' but your ['Purple Beauty'] plants look like they might be the same color. Do you think they are?

A. I don't think 'Purple Beauty' will be close enough. 'Red Wings', which I also sell, would be closest. Nevertheless, 'Red Wings' and 'Crimson Beauty' will not be exactly alike in color. Petals of 'Crimson Beauty' are also a bit narrower. If you're willing to live with a slight difference, 'Red Wings' might work for you. I don't want to give you the impression that they're the same. I don't want you to be disappointed. Keep in mind that photographs on the web don't always represent their subjects accurately. The only way you can be sure of a match is to purchase more 'Crimson Beauty'.

Okay, readers. Have you had experiences with color-matching similar varieties in your garden? Couldn't get the variety you bought before, so you tried to match with another? Let us know how you tried to solve the problem. Did it work?

We'd love to hear from you in the comment section.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Karen Chapman Reports on Floral Watercolors

Chameleon Calibrachoa. Photo courtesy of National Garden Bureau
Karen Chapman, author of Gardening With Foliage First, visited the California Spring Trials (CAST) as a guest of National Garden Bureau and All-America Selections. She was greatly impressed by emerging trends in flower colors soon to be available to gardeners. What especially caught her eye were "the large number of introductions with a softer yet luscious color palette of vanilla, apricot, coral, and cinnamon, often a harmonious blend of two or more of those shades in a single bloom."
You should read Karens's report on her visit to CAST. See what's in store for you!
Floral Watercolors: discovered at CAST 2018.

What color combinations are you working with in your garden? Anything new? Let us know what you're thinking, what you've tried, what worked and what didn't. We'd love to hear from you in the comment section.
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Monday, July 9, 2018

What is the best season for planting liriope?

Q. Howdy. Have you had customers successfully plant [Liriope] in summer? What is the best season for planting? - Carl from TX

A. Liriope is a very tough critter. Though I could tell you amazing stories, I don't want to give you the impression that it's indestructible. So, I'll simply say that you can plant in summer if you are able to irrigate sufficiently until it has taken root in the soil. Irrigate, then allow the soil to dry briefly between waterings. No soggy soil, nor bone dry. If that's not possible due to travel plans, wait until fall when temperatures have moderated and rainfall is more frequent.

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