Saturday, August 11, 2001

Feedings keep amaryllis coming back

        Question: When I bought my amaryllis three years ago, the instructions stated not to fertilize it. Does this mean that I should never feed it? If the plant does need some fertilizing, when should this be done?

        Answer: Your bulb may have come with prefertilized soil, in which case no more feed would have been necessary the first season. When carrying over an amaryllis bulb from year to year, regular houseplant food should be applied weekly, beginning as soon as new growth emerges in the fall. When the flower bud shows color, stop fertilizing.


        Question: I have tried numerous methods for rooting cuttings of sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum), and all have been fairly unsuccessful. How can I propagate this plant?

        Answer: The secret to rooting sweet woodruff cuttings lies in providing cool temperatures, shade and an evenly moist medium. In June, before the stems have matured, take cuttings that include two leaf whorls. Place the cuttings in moist sand or perlite for about three weeks, and keep them cool and shaded. Rooting hormones are not necessary.


        Question: When collecting nasturtium seeds (not hybrids) for use next year, is it necessary to wait for the seed pods to brown?


        Answer: Yes. To ensure seed maturity the pods must be brown before harvesting. Immature seeds from green pods will not germinate.


        Question: Would dust from a vacuum cleaner bag be of any benefit spread on or dug into the garden?

        Answer: No. In fact, you might introduce soil borne disease-causing organisms into your garden soil. Much of the dust a cleaner picks up consists of soil particles tracked into the house. Walking over infected soil, picking up particles of this soil on shoes and depositing them in new areas is a common way such micro-organisms are spread.


        Question: What is the proper way to shape a wisteria into tree form? When should it be pruned?

        Answer: To shape a wisteria to either a bush or tree form, trim out all the shoots from the base except for the strongest, which is kept for training. Stake this shoot and don't allow it to branch until it is 6-7 feet tall. Thereafter, prune back side shoots to three or four buds (eyes) each spring. Don't fertilize it. After several years, the main stem or trunk will be strong enough to support the branches and you will not need a stake.

        Contact Tim Morehouse by Web site:; mail: c/o Cincinnati Enquirer. (If writing, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.)



Birdbaths by the flock
Panels of fiberglass finish off basements
- Feedings keep amaryllis coming back
Greenhouses pitch in to grow 'Miracle Mile'
To do this week
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