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Question: 628-4111
Can we make our own baskets with our annuals? Mike, Uncasville, CT

Mort's Answer:
It is an easy task at this time of year to make up baskets for hanging or planters for the winter months. A number of annual plants are good candidates for winter color indoors. Coleus. begonias and patience are excellent specimens for mixed or straight pots. I am partial to the runts that did not flourish outdoors. They still have a lot of untapped energy for winter blooms. You can mix coleus with either begonia or impatience. I like to remove the spike of blue flowers from the coleus but they are a good contrast to some of the various colors of other plants. You can put four or five plants in an eight inch pot. Ivy geraniums should be in hanging pots. I take in some tender perennials like geraniums each year. I have had some last five years. Usually, wax begonias will only last two years. Patience are too large after two years. Be sure to use a good sterile potting mix and put them in a south facing window.

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Question: 954-2413
Can you recommend some annuals that will grow in the sun? My impatiens require too much water in the sun. Susan, Mashpee, MA

Mort's Answer:
Calibrochoa has been a recent substitute for petunias. They are thicker in the stem and have a smaller flower than petunias. Both have a wide range of colors. I had the opportunity to see the test plot at UMass for Purple Wave petunia. I could not see leaves for the flowers. Wave petunias are used extensively in hanging baskets. I love the slight scent of petunias at seaside communities. Both start to bloom a little later than marigolds, which also do well in sun.

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Question: 1179-4114
I have been using water from my fish tank on my annuals. They have been superb. Can I use this on my seeds? Cindy, Willimantic,CT

Mort's Answer:
Seeds do not need any fertilizer at all. All the nutrient that it needs are in the seed itself. It is best starting seeds in a sterile environment. This means they can be started in sand. I prefer a good sterile soil and a third sand. I recommend putting a thin layer of sand over the starting soil. This discourages damping off. When the plants have been transplanted to second stage in peat pots, you can water with your magic mix after they are rerooted.

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