Gardening editor Doug Oster gets asked a lot of questions. A lot. And he doesn’t mind offering gardening advice. But rather than just limiting those answers to the person who asked, we thought it might be a good idea to share that wealth of knowledge with everybody.
There are three ways to send in your questions:
- Email email@example.com
- Submit your question on our “Your Garden” section of our site
- Send us a message on Facebook.
(The questions may be lightly edited for grammar/clarity/etc.)
Question 1: Canna lilies
John: In regards to canna lilies, after cutting off the stalks, do I leave the tubers in the ground for a few weeks like I do with dahlias?
Doug: You can pull them after cutting the stalks. We leave the dahlias in the ground a couple of weeks so they form eyes. You don’t have to worry about that with cannas.
Question 2: Elephant ears
Kimberly: A friend gave me two small elephant ears. They are in the basement drying up. Never thought about it as a houseplant. At this point, should I let them stay dry for spring or hurry up and put them in a pot?
Doug: It’s up to you. If you do decide to store them, put them in something like vermiculite just so they don’t get too dry. I love them as houseplants. I’ve got a huge one that I used to take in and out. Now I just leave it inside year round and it’s happy.
Question 3: Daffodils and garlic
Liz: Can I plant daffodils with my garlic?
Doug: They both can be planted at the same time. If you want them in the same bed, just give them enough space to do their thing. You’ll be pulling the garlic in July and the daffs will stay.
Question 4: Protecting plants
Holly: When is the best time to cover the potted perennials with burlap for winter?
Doug: I don’t like to cover them with something like that. You can mulch them once the foliage dies back. I do use burlap around some shrubs like hydrangeas as a windbreak, hopefully to keep the buds from freezing in the winter.
Question 5: Orchid transplant
Dan: I was wondering if I could save an orchid I transplanted but didn’t like the new pot and lost all its leaves. There are still small air roots. Do you use organic indoor year round or just certain times of the year?
Doug: When you transplanted, did you put the plant into an orchid mix as opposed to a standard planting mix? Orchids need drainage and don’t like to be over-watered. Get a feel for how much moisture is in the mix by lifting the pot. The plant needs water, but not a lot. There’s no reason to fertilize until we get to the other side of the season, late February or March.
Yes, I always use organic methods, inside or outside.
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Early garlic, pencil holly, hydrangeas and tree locations
Bellflowers, sweet potato vine, deer/garlic and more
Lemon tree, Knockout roses, soil repair and more
Butterfly weed, tomato seeds, rose bushes and more
Roses, Japanese beetles, planting garlic and more
Artillery fungus, heliotropes, crown gall and more
Skunks, pawpaws and a memorial tree
Mushrooms, harlequin bugs, fall planting and more
Beautyberry, nematodes, tomatoes and more
Pokeweed, bug identification and voles/moles
Caterpillars, mystery flower, onions and more
Seeds, leaf gall, bulb sale and more
Praying mantis, tomato issues, crabgrass and shrubs
Dogwood relocation, tomato issues and garlic soup recipe
Canada thistle, compost, bolting parsley and more
Blossom end rot, bees, butterfly weeds and more
Mystery bugs, lavender plants and watermelons
Strawberry plants, cool-weather crops, pumpkins and more
Tomato issues, zucchini struggles, lilacs and more
Hosta seeds, garlic, Alternaria leaf blight and more
Moving a hydrangea, hibiscus and succulents
Lilies, Brussels sprouts and septoria leaf spot
Garlic harvest, cucumber beetles, spindly tomatoes and more
Bladdernut, fungus gnats, rose black spot and more
Poison ivy, black-eyed Susans and container mix
Cucumber beetles, hot pepper plants and planting potatoes
Zebra grass, pale vegetables and yellow nutsedge
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