Questions on: Cypress
Ron Smith, Horticulturist, NDSU Extension Service
Q: I purchased a hibiscus this spring and put it in a large planter on the deck. It was beautiful! Can I keep it in the house through the winter? I am hoping not so much to have a winter houseplant, but to have a healthy, strong hibiscus to return to the deck next spring. I have a cool basement with very little light and a garage that will get to freezing temps. I have rooms in the house with west-facing windows. Some rooms I keep at average temps and one I keep cooler. Can you give me any tips on how to over-winter this plant? Also, should I cut it back? If so, should I do it now or in the spring? Also, I planted two Russian cypress this spring. Through the dry summer I kept them well-watered and they seemed to do okay. The rains finally came in mid-August and all seemed fine. Near the end of October, they began to get a brownish look and now are completely brown with a very slight red tint. The plant is not brittle, just brown. There is a Blue Star Juniper a couple feet away that looks just fine. Is this normal for the cypress to turn brown or is there a problem? They are planted in well drained, fairly fertile soil and in full sun. My last question, do you have a Web site that has an accumulation of the questions you have been asked? I am an avid gardener, but am in the process of landscaping around a new house. I would appreciate all the information I can get. (Lesterville, S.D.)
A: Based on where you live, I would suggest wintering the hibiscus in the garage. The root system is what you need to be concerned with. If it appears that the temps will get below 0 in your garage, then you'd better bring it in for the night. Russian cypress is better known as microbiota decussata - Russian arborvitae. And yes, the brown and reddish coloration is normal going into the winter months. You have selected a little used beauty for your landscape and are to be congratulated for doing so. I'm sure you will be the envy of the neighborhood in years to come. Enjoy! Past questions and answers can be found at: http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extnews/hortiscope/contents.htm.
Q. Your column is very helpful.
Will Manchurian apricot pollinate a Moongold apricot? Is Manchurian apricot sort of like a wild plum? I mean real common.
Will a wild plum pollinate Underwood plum? I had Pipestone plum and fruit from it and did not have a pollinator. I suppose it lived 15 years. Some wild plum around.
Can you tell me anything about summer cypress or standing cypress? A friend gave seed and in her yard it looks easy to grow but I have trouble starting it. I have found it listed in a 1962 House and Garden bulletin from the Department of Agonly identified, but I was glad for that identification.
Do you need to thin daffodils? If so, how often? Mine have lots of shoots for which I am happy, but I sure want to keep them doing well. Thanks. (Pierre, S.D.)
A. Thank you for the nice comments about the column.
The answers are "yes" to your first two questions.
The summer cypress is Kochia scoparia, and also has the common name of burning bush because of its blazing fall color. Seeds need to be soaked for 24 hours, then germinated at 70 F. It is one of the toughest, most heat-tolerant annuals on earth. Makes a nice temporary hedge.
Yes, daffodils can be thinned every three to five years.
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