NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
January 28, 1999
Ron Smith, Extension Horticulturist
North Dakota State University
Q: Can you tell me what is wrong with my amaryllis? Are there spiders webs on it or is it too much sun or water? (Rolette, N.D.)
A: The amaryllis foliage looks as if the plant got too much water. Let it dry between waterings and it should be OK. As the winter wears on, the plant's foliage will likely decline. Allow it to do so without worry, giving it good, strong, indirect light. You can then summer it outdoors after all frost danger has past.
Q: Can you tell me if the plant in the picture is an azalea? In your column you are always saying that they are hard to grow, but mine is doing beautifully! Can you also give me some information on growing oak trees from acorns? A few years ago I threw some out and now I have a beautiful tree, but I haven't had any luck since. (Wilton, N.D.)
A: Of coursetry to grow something and it won'ttreat it with indifference and it will! Actually you are likely running into one or both of the following problems: the acorns are either immature or an acorn borer has hollowed out the "meat" inside. Basically, you are doing the right thingplanting the seeds in the fall, and looking for something to emerge next spring. Keep a wary eye out for squirrels too!
Yes, that is an azaleathe Indica type. Whatever you are doing keep it up! You've got a beauty!
Q: In your last column I read about someone who was having trouble with their winter onions being soft. I have never had trouble, but I dig them up instead of pulling them, usually in May. (Wimbledon, N.D.)
A: Thank you for the information! We will look through our file of letters and inform that person of your experiences. I'm sure our other column readers will gain from your information as well!
Q: Can you tell me whether a holly bush will grow in my area? I have pampas grass that says zones 5-8 and it grows beautifully, so I am wondering if holly will grow. Do you have any advice on growing a kiwi bush? I am thinking of trying a female and a male this year and I am wondering how they would do. (Buchanan, N.D.)
A: There are a lot of grasses unfortunately called pampas grass, and there are many species of this group as welland a lot has to do with the amount of snow cover the grass crown receives.
Hollies are entirely different. First, most are evergreen, and all, as far as I know, are sensitive to our alkaline soils. Second, their water requirements are quite a bit higher than most ornamental grasses. My suggestion: don't waste your time or money!
The same goes for the kiwithe females grow and die back each year; the males just can't make it. Our winters are too tough. Besides, from what I hear, the ones that do produce south of us yield small, grape-like berries.
Sorry to be the bearer of such overwhelming bad news! You are free, of course, to give any of these a try. Remember, a tortoise gets nowhere unless it sticks its neck out!
Q: Can you tell me what is wrong with my corn plant? The bottom leaves are turning brown and yellow and I don't know why. I also have a cacti, but I don't know if it is a Christmas or an Easter cactus. Is there a big difference between the two? (Enderlin, N.D.)
A: The corn plant could probably stand to be propagated. Cut the plant back to about a 6-inch stub, then cut the removed trunk into roughly 4-inch-long pieces. Place them on their sides in damp sphagnum peat, and in about six weeks or so new growth should be evident. Repot the mother plant in fresh potting soil in a free-draining container. Refer to "Home Propagation Techniques" (NCR274).
Yes, the two cacti are different. They are either different species of the same genus, depending on the taxonomist you wish to go with. To me, they will always be different species: Schlumbergera truncata (Christmas cactus) and S. gaertneri (Easter cactus).
Do you have a gardening or houseplant question? Write to Hortiscope, Box 5051, NDSU Extension Service, Fargo, ND 58105 or e-mail to Ron Smith at email@example.com.
Source: Ron Smith (701) 231-8161 firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Dean Hulse (701) 231-6136