Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gardening Daily Tips 153

FOOD CROPS . Gardening Daily Tips 153
support from the ArcaMax editors

Tulip (Tulipa x)

Plant type: Interior Plant, Perennial

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3a to 8a

Height: 12" to 30"

Spread: 6" to 10"

Exposure: partial shade partial sun to full sun

Bloom Color: Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow

Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring

Leaf Color: Green, Variegated

Growth Rate: average

Moisture: moist

Soil Condition: Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Well drained

Form: Upright or erect

Landscape Uses:

Border, Container, Massing, Rock garden, Seashore, Specimen

Special Features:

All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Suitable for cut flowers
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Q&A: Houseplant Recommendations

Question: What are the best houseplants for low natural lighting?

Answer: Houseplants thrive under varying degrees of light, so you're wise in figuring out how much light will be available in the spot you've chosen, and then picking plants adapted to the amount light you can provide. Indoor plants fall into one of five basic categories in terms of light requirements. They are: 1) Full sun, which is defined as an area with as much light as possible, within 2 feet of a south-facing window. This suits desert cacti, succulents and pelargonium. 2) Some direct sun, defined as a brightly lit area with some sunlight falling on the leaves during the day. Examples are a west-facing or east-facing windowsill, a spot close to, but no more than 2 feet away from an unobstructed window. This is ideal for most flowering houseplants. 3) Bright but sunless, an area close to but not in the zone lit by direct sunlight. Many plants will grow well in this area, which generally extend for about 5 feet around a window which is sunlit for part of the day. A large sunless windowsill may provide similar conditions. 4) Semi-shade. This is a moderately lit area, within 5-8 feet of a sunlit window, or close to a sunless window. Only a few flowering plants will grow here, but it's suitable for many foliage houseplants. 5) Shade. Defined as a poorly lit area, but bright enough to allow you to read a newspaper during several hours of the day. No flowering plants will grow here, but many foliage plants, such as Aglaonema, Aspidistra and Asplenium, will grow here. The difference between northern light and southern light is the intensity and duration. South and west exposures are the most intense, north and east are slightly lower on the scale, but can provide bright enough light to keep many plants growing. Each location is unique and many plants that reportedly don't like certain exposures may very well thrive where they shouldn't. Use the guidelines on the plant tags or in the catalog descriptions to help your place your plants so they'll receive the right exposure. Hope this information helps you choose just the right houseplants.

Q&A: Camellia Buds But Does Not Bloom

Question: I have a camellia bush which appears to be quite healthy and is loaded with buds, but the buds will not open. Why?

Answer: Camellias have a reputation for setting more buds than they can open, so bud drop is be a natural phenomenon, especially if your plant is otherwise healthy and growing well. However, bud drop can be caused by overwatering in the cool months, or underwatering in the summer. Bud drop can also be caused by spells of very low humidity. Monitor your plant for signs of ill-health, and after flower buds form, thin clusters at branch tips to one or two fat flower buds, leaving the slender leaf buds alone. The remaining buds should open into beautiful, large flowers.

Q&A: Arborvitae Culture

Question: My 3-year-old, 4-foot-tall arborvitae look terrible. The branches are long and somewhat bare near the trunk and they just don't have that bright green healthy look they had when I bought them. I occasionally give them a shot of fertilizer in the spring and summer. I also tie them up to protect them in the winter. Should I be pruning them too?

Answer: First of all, I'll describe some of the plant's requirements. Arborvitae should be planted in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. They like full sun, though light shade is acceptable. (In very shady spots they'll lose their internal foliage and become airy and open.) Certain cultivars are particularly susceptible to winter damage in your zone, despite winter protection. Now let's talk a bit about pruning. When the tree is small, pruning is generally corrective, such as pinching buds and redirecting branches to get the plant to grow in a strong, attractive shape. In the prime of life the shrub would probably benefit from some corrective pruning for rejuvination, beauty or usefullness. In its old age, you just want to keep it healthy enough to live long, and well. At three years, I would assume yours fall kind of in between "young" and "prime"! This means you need to be helping it look good. Evergreens make their growth from buds formed the preceeding year. Proper pruning or shearing temporarily stops the active growth of the large new buds, but stimulates the sprouting and growth of many of the smaller ones that lie dormant all over the branches. Because of this, when you shear off the new growth, the tree's energy which would normally be directed towards those few large, buds, now is redirected into the thousands of little twigs, and you force the tree to grow bushier! For the best results, begin the first shearing soon after the growth starts in the spring. Don't allow the tree to make a lot of growth before you shear it, or the smaller buds will remain dormant. Also, when you cut during the early part of the growing season the cuts will heal quickly and new buds will form where the cut was make. These new buds will grow in the spring, hiding the shearing wounds. If you shear too late in the season, the newly formed buds will be cut off leaving unsightly cut stubs showing all year. Finally, consider mulching the plants each spring with a layer of compost.

Tip: Protect Seedlings From Drying Sun and Wind

The lighter weight row cover fabrics can protect seedlings until they are up and large enough to make it on their own. These covers also help retain soil moisture by reducing desiccation from the wind and sun, aiding young seedlings in getting off to a good start.

Tip: Remove Mosquito Breeding Areas

Remove mosquito breeding areas by getting rid of standing water in your landscape. Every few days, empty plant saucers, replace water in pet dishes and bird baths, and dump water that has collected in objects such as old tires.

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