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Category Search Results for:
House Plants

144 Total Found

Question: 690-512
How can I start an avocado indoors? Katie, Marquette. MI

Mort's Answer:
Avocados can be hung over water. Take the large seed and suspend it with four toothpicks barely touching the water underneath. Use distilled water for best results. The jar of water should have enough space at the mouth to accommodate the picks and seed. Place the jar in a south facing window. Water should be added as it evaporates to keep the seed and water just touching. Roots should be an inch long before transplanting to a five inch clay pot. The new soil needs to be a third coarse sand and good potting soil.

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Question: 440-3510
I have a bamboo in water that is yellowing. How can I bring back the color in this house plant? Marie, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
The Umbrella plant (not to be confused with schefflera) is not a true bamboo. Cyperus alternifolia is a plant that does better in gravelly soil. This is often sold as bamboo. Mix potting soil with 50% coarse sand with a double pot or large saucer. It takes a lot of water. A true Bambusa is best planted outdoors in a wet area. Pogonatherum paniceum is a minature bamboo that is a grass. P. paniceum is best planted in regular potting soil. Unlike the Umbrella with a few leaves at the top of leafless stems, this grass has many leaves.

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Question: 1357-2816
Is there anything that I can use to get rid of the beetles that are eating the leaves on my peppers? I have been using tweezers to pick them off and putting them in a bucket of soapy water. Sandy, Lebanon, CT

Mort's Answer:
Beetles will move on to their leaves before munching on the peppers. Canola oil would make it difficult for them to hang on, as would olive oil. If it gets to a point where the holes are greater in mass than the remainder of the leaves, you could consider a nerve toxin. Pyrethrins are used on dogs. One spray on the soil under the plants would be enough. I use it in my garden to kill off ticks. I would not recommend any contact insecticide on vegetables. You could continue to pick them off until they or you are ticked off.

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Question: 16-5201
I have some holes in my begonia leaves. I do not see any sign of insects. They are in the shade and get two hours of daily sun. What can I do? Lee, Groton, CT

Mort's Answer:
You probably have slugs. They are nocturnal but you can keep them out until the sun comes out by getting them drunk. Place tuna tins of beer near the plants in the sun just at the surface so that they can swim in it. As the day gets brighter they dry up and die. Another method is to place diatomaceous earth around each plant. This silica compound will cut them until they bled to death. You can also go out there at night with a flashlight and pick them off one by one.

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Question: 17-5201
My Bird of Paradise plant is 40" tall and is 7 years old. It hasnšt boomed yet. What can I do? Julie, Waterford, CT

Mort's Answer:
You are taking too good care of your tropical plant. It needs to have the temper- ature drop in the winter to 40 for at least three weeks. Without the dormancy, you are unlikely to get the flower to set. In southern California and Florida this occurs naturally. As an indoor plant, we need to assimilate the natural environment as closely as possible to insure the plants vigor. I would also recommend that you change to a clay pot, if it isnšt in one. Use a 2˛ larger pot and add one-third coarse sand to the new soil. Within a month after the plant has taken hold in the new soil, you should add a tablespoon of bonemeal to the soil.

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Question: 1068-5213
I have a 25 year old juniper bonsai that is six inches tall and about 10 inches wide. It is in a rectangular flat pot that is three inches deep and the same size as the plant. I plan to keep it indoors. It has green moss on the top of the soil. Any tips? Dave, Cedar Creek, TX

Mort's Answer:
You probably have a pygmy that has been well trained. Keep cutting back the new growth. You need not fertilize in the winter months. Keep it in one place. It can take cool temps for the winter. It will do well outdoors during the summer in a shaded spot. A light liquid fertilizer can be applied in the summer. You may want to root prune it as well. Make clean cuts with sterile pruners each time that you make cuts. That green moss is beneficial.

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Question: 1238-1115
I left my hanging Boston Fern outdoors this fall. I brought it into the house in November. This winter they wilted. Can I cut it back now and will it be revived? Bill, Ledyard, CT

Mort's Answer:
You should cut it back. You can either split it in two or get a two inch larger pot. New soils should be a third coarse sand and sterile potting soil. Clay is preferable but you may want to use plastic for a hanger. You might consider using a small table for the hanging situation. Ferns love moisture and heat. You probably brought the plant indoors too late but it can return to vitality with some TLC.

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Question: 770-2512
I just planted Brussels Sprouts. I am a beginner. Can you give me some advice? John, Taylorville, IL

Mort's Answer:
You could side-dress with 5-10-10 fertilizer. If you can keep the soil moist, the heat of evaporation will cool them this time of year. It is far better to plant them in mid August and go from hot to cool than the opposite. You can pick them through the winter, if planted late summer.

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Question: 375-3410
We just planted 6 inch cactus in soil that is half peat and half sand. When do we fertilize? Joe, Key Largo, FL

Mort's Answer:
There is enough fertility with the peat. In the desert, cacti grow in straight sand. Being able to plant citrus and cacti outdoors makes this New Englander green with envy.

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Question: 775-2612
My 25 year old cactus is not doing that well. I have it in an eight inch pot. Any suggestions? Bob, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
You will need to transplant this gem into a ten inch clay pot. Use good potting soil cut with a third coarse sand. Take the plant and tip it upside down. Knock the edge of the pot on something solid. It will come out whole. Scratch the outside go the root to allow a mix with the new soil. Do not fertilize until August. A tablespoon of bonemeal or granular 5-10-10 fertilizer will give the flowers a boost, when winter arrives.

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Question: 1012-3713
We recently transplanted a four foot high spiny Cactus into a larger pot. We used a good quality potting soil. It keeps bending over. We have a rock on the bottom. What can we do? Roy, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Good soils are not useful for cacti. You need to replant it into a 12 inch pot using a soil medium of 50% coarse sand. You will not need the rock. The sand will help the drainage and provide a better hold for the roots. You can use three stakes until the plant has established itself in its new clay pot. Cactus requires little if any water in the winter. Water once after repotting.

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