Weekly Lawn & Garden Tips
4/24/17 The gardener, like the gamekeeper, is never a person, who will allow you to teach them anything. Henry Wm. Hudson
A have a houseplant that my friend says is a friendship plant. Her brother says that it is a Swedish Ivy. It is a very large hanging plant that I have had a few years. It is a dark green with a distinct faint scent. Should I believe my friend? Sandy, Warwick, RI
Pilea involucrata is often mistaken for Swedish Ivy. Friendship plant requires humidity and warm temps. It has a tight serrated leave and grows only a foot tall and wide. It is not a good candidate for a hanging plant. Tell your friend that her brother was right. Leaves on a growing Swedish ivy plant are glossy with scalloped edges. In spring and throughout summer tubular mauve to white flowers are all over the dark green foliage. Plectranthus australis like the friendship plant is easily rooted from cuttings. You might consider giving her a rooted cutting of the Swedish ivy to keep the friendship.
We have a lot of Creeping Charlie. A lot of target herbicide sprays do not get rid of it. What can we use on the lawn and in the garden? Rebecca, Blue Mound, IL
Four step programs include herbicide with the fertilizer. This helps fill in the bare spots left after they are killed. Creeping Charlie, with its tiny little blue flower, reseeds very quickly and is often below the cut of the mower. An early application of a pre-emergent application will help. Corn starch can be used in flower and vegetable beds as a pre-emergent. This weed should not be mistaken for the Swedish ivy, as well. Many old timers call Swedish ivy Creeping Charlie.
We brought some tulips back from Holland and they look great. Can we leave them out? Alan, North Kingstown, RI
If they are number ones, they are top quality. Many tulips bought here are not number ones and should be dug up and stored for the summer in a cool dry place. If your soil is sandy, I would take a chance and leave them to regenerate in the ground. You might try taking a few indoors as a back up and store them in a cool dry place for the summer. Remove all stems and leaves and fibrous roots under the bulb. Store in kitty litter or dry sawdust.
My Lilac "Moscow" has few flowers. It stands about three feet high now. It has very few flowers in the spring. How can I get it to bloom more profusely? William, Wheelsberg, OH
Smaller lilacs like Syringa microphylla with smaller leaves will sometimes bloom again in the fall. Persian lilacs grow to six feet and have smaller clusters of three inches. S.vulgaris or the common lilac have profuse flowers in the spring. It is possible that although you are in zone 6, the frost may have nipped the buds. It is more likely that you need to add phosphorus the soil. You can apply a handful of bonemeal at this time and work it into the soil around the stem. Additionally six spikes of 5-10-10 about 18 inches from and around the stem will insure more blooms. Clusters on S.persica rarely get larger than three inches as well.
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