Question: I want to start my own Begonia tubers. When should this begin?
Begonia tubers can be purchased from mid-Februaury through April at the garden centre. Start with clean equipment and a soiless mix. Your tubers are placed concave side up either in trays or pots, depending on their size. Cover slightly, 1/4 inch, with soiless mix and water till the mix is damp. Allow the containers to dry slightly between waterings as too much moisture will rot your tubers. Begonias need a warm location to germinate, not sunny as this will dry them out. It may take 2-3 weeks before you see top growth but do not despair the root system will grow during this time period.
Question: I suspect my Majesty Palm has spider mite. How do I treat this and will it travel to my other house plants?
Spider mite is a common indoor problem during the winter months. Dry, hot conditions in our homes will cause this culprit to quickly muliply.First, your plant needs the correct placement, too close to a heat source or in too much sun can cause and increase this condition. If you can take your plant to the shower and wash the foliage throughly. Misting is another option, put down a drop cloth to protect your furnishings and floors. Water is a definite deterent to spider mite so try to have moist air around the plant. Insecticidal soap or Trounce can be sprayed after washing to control any remaining mites. This process should be repeated every 7-10 days until the problem is under control. Prune off any dead or diseased foliage as this is a harbor for problems. Check your other plants for webbing, spotty leaves and unsanitary conditions.
Question: What causes damping off in seedlings and how can it be prevented?
Seedlings may fail to emerge or collaspe before the first leaves unfold. Various fungi cause damping off in many conditions; sanitation and proper enviromental sites can determine your success. Be sure your planting equipment is very clean or new, use a soiless mix for seed starting, good air circulation and the proper temperature will aid in avoiding this problem. A soil drench of a fungicide such as Damp-Off will help to prevent this problem. These products are available at the garden centre.
Question: What does "hardening off " mean?
This process is done to gradually introduce your tender greenhouse grown plants to the (sometimes-wicked) outdoor climate. Setting the plants outside for a few hours on a warm afternoon and bringing them back indoors overnight is the first step. Increase the time outdoors as the weather allows until all danger of frost is past. This frost-free period varies from zone to zone and from year to year.
Question: When should I prune my apple tree?
Apple (Malus) trees should be pruned in late winter or early when the ground is still frozen but the air is warm. When pruning fruit trees donot over prune especially young trees. Attend our pruning seminar to get expert advice.
Question: My amaryllis was glorious this past Christmas season. What do I do with it now?
The success with amaryllis has been outstanding. First if you haven't done so cut down the old flower stalk leaving just a 2" stub attached to the plant, it will dry up and then it can be removed. Keep your amaryllis in a brightly lit area but not full sun, water when the soil is dry 2-3" down taking care not to overwater and begin fertilizing half strength with 20-20-20. Group it in with your houseplants then it will get the attention it deserves. It can be moved outdoors in the spring when all danger of frost is past and transplant in to a slightly larger pot with fresh soil.