NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
February 24, 2000
Ron Smith, Extension Horticulturist
North Dakota State University
Q: We have a hydrangea bush as part of the landscaping under our east picture window. Because of the hydrangea's location, we need to keep it pruned. I am wondering when is the best time to prune it so as not to affect the blooms. How severely can we prune it? Last year it had just three clusters of flowers on some lower branches which had not been cut. (Milbank, S.D., e-mail)
A: Since hydrangeas flower on the current season's growth, you can cut it back to the ground now, or late fall next year when that season is past. The flush of new growth that will result the following spring will (or should be) loaded with flowers for your enjoyment!
Q: In the east window of my living room is a very large jade plant which has grown from a small slip to it present size. Recently many of its "leaves" have begun to turn splotchy black on the under side, while others have become shriveled and fall off. New growth is apparent on the tips of each branch. Some I pinch off to encourage a fuller plant, while some I leave to allow for a longer stem in the event I might wish to propagate the plant.
I was advised that my plant is suffering from root rot and should be destroyed, as it will eventually destroy itself. Would you recommend this course of action or would you have a suggestion as to what else might be causing leaf drop? If my plant is terminal, could I still use some of the stems for new plants? (Fargo, N.D.)
A: The symptoms you describe could be due to root rot or a bacterial infection.
Q: On a TV garden show a while back, they showed how a person could grow ferns from date pits (and also from other ordinary food products/seeds). I wrote the directions down but have misplaced them. Do you know how to grow these plants? (Sanborn, N.D.)
A: Yes, the date palm can be grown from date seeds, grapefruit trees from the "pips" in the fruit and avocados from the pits they contain. Refer to "Home Propagation Techniques"(NCR-274), a publication available from the NDSU Extension Service. It should answer most of your other questions.
Q: I purchased a beautiful azalea plant a few weeks ago. It's done blooming for this time, and I am wondering how to prepare it for the next flowering. How long does it remain dormant? The instruction card that was attached to the plant wasn't much help. Also, I know it's is a little early for planting, but I am wondering what are the best rose varieties to plant in our area this spring. (Wyndmere, N.D.)
A: Azaleas are difficult to rebloom in North Dakota. Our water is generally high in soluble salts, and has an alkaline pH. To make an attempt, I suggest the following procedure:
- Keep the plant watered with distilled water.
- When spring frosts are history, immerse the pot in a sphagnum peat moss enriched bed on the north side of the house, keeping it well watered.
- On Labor Day weekend, bring the plant back inside, and repot with a high organic potting soil. Keep your fingers crossed that flower buds have been set and that you will be able to enjoy the flowers once again.
As for roses, I would suggest the shrub-type or prairie roses. The typical hybrid teas and floribundas are too fussy for our climate.
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
Editor: Dean Hulse (701) 231-6136