Ask the Gardener: Transplanting rose of Sharon, sedums and more

Posted on: September 24, 2019 | Written By: Doug Oster | Comments

Everybody Gardens 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 askdoug@535mediallc.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.)

rose of sharon

Question 1: Transplanting rose of Sharon

Linda: I planted a rose of Sharon several years ago and now it is surrounded by 20-30 smaller ones. I would like to transplant them. When and how should I attempt to do this?

Doug: As a rose of Sharon lover, I’m excited that you want to transplant those seedlings. This is the perfect time to do the job. Temperatures are cooling, and the days are shorter, which means the plant will want to work on establishing roots instead of top growth or flowers.

First decide where they will go and prepare the soil by turning it over and adding some compost. You can see how I do the job in this video. Now dig up a group of the seedlings, split them up and put them in the new soil. They are almost indestructible, and should catch on easily. Good luck with the project.

Question 2: Overwintering sedums

Natalie: This summer I planted sedums in terra cotta strawberry pots. Is there a way I can overwinter these plants?

Doug: Many sedums are hardy, so if the pot was in a protected spot, they might be fine. If it was me, I’d probably just bring it in and grow them as houseplants.

invasive weed

Question 3: Invasive weed?

Tara: My 87-year-old dad wanted me to ask you if you could tell what type of invasive weed this is and how to remove it?

Doug: You’ve got an interesting question from dad as that’s common milkweed. About 20 years ago we’d call it a weed, now people are trying to grow it as the species is the only host plant for the monarch butterfly. As your dad can testify, once the common variety takes hold, it’s hard to get rid of.

If he can’t stand the plant, the best way to eradicate it is continual top cutting. I know that won’t be easy for someone who is 87, but maybe someone can help. If you cut it to the ground every week, the roots won’t get what they need. We like to joke that you’ll either exhaust the plant or it will exhaust you! If he’s up for keeping it, the variety is a great pollinator plant, not only for monarchs, but other species too.

Question 4: Garlic source

Riccardo: Where is a good place online to buy garlic to plant? I used to buy it from Enon Valley, but they are no longer around, it seems. I know you listed a few places in your book, but I might have loaned your book to someone, because I can’t find it at the moment!

Doug: You should be able to find it locally at any good nursery. If you can’t find it locally, I like Peaceful Valley Farm Supply to purchase online.

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Doug Oster is manager and editor of Everybody Gardens with a passion for gardening and a love of sharing is experiences with other gardeners. You will also find Doug’s gardening contributions in the Tribune-Review each week. He’s an Emmy Award winning producer, television host and writer. Oster is co-host of The Organic Gardeners Radio show every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh. Oster’s Outstanding Documentary Emmy was awarded for Gardens of Pennsylvania, a one hour special he conceived and produced for the PBS affiliate WQED. Doug appears every Thursday morning on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today live at 9 a.m. “Gardening is fun, he says, enjoy every day spent outside tending vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees.”