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Weekly Lawn & Garden Tips

1/15/18- 1/15/18- Nature never did betray the heart that loved her. William Wardsworth

Question:
What is the best environment for indoor ferns ? Pauline, New Martinsville, WV
Mort's Answer:
Ferns prefer filtered light and moist conditions. If you have a bathroom or kitchen that has an east or west window, this would be excellent. Spritzing with a windex bottle of water every day will bring good results. Ferns have a tendency to become root bound, especially, if in their favorite soil medium-peat. High peat soils dry to a rock, if left underwatered for a long time. I prefer to add ground stone or coarse sand to 3 equal parts of peat to provide aeration to the soil. Asparagus ferns and many others can be split before repotting. When they are doing well ferns require a lot of repottting into 2 inch larger pots unless you are splitting them. Higher nitrogen fertilizers are best and they do respond to light liquid applications. If you get brown tips, you are over fertilizing. They are not heavy feeders of fertilizer and should not be left in a root bound pot too long at your peril.

Question:
How can I get my Hoya to bloom? It is in a 10 inch pot. I have had it over a year. Vivian, Alberqueque, NM
Mort's Answer:
Hoya carnosa or wax plant will bloom profusely with the right conditions. Like most succulents, it requires bright light and cold temperatures at night to set the buds. In the winter, you can cut down on the water and the heat. You could put the plant outdoors in the late fall. If the temperature is about to go below freezing, you should take the plant back indoors. Your soil should be at least 1/3 coarse sand. Add a tablespoon of bonemeal to the top of the soil to replace the phosphorus that is needed to bring blooms. It has a waxy pink eyed white flower, which is quite fragrant.

Question:
My Peace Lily has not bloomed for two years since I bought it. I fertilized regularly with a soluble. How can I make it bloom? Carol, Marlboro, MA
Mort's Answer:
You are probably using too high a nitrogen fertilizer. Stop fertilizing for a year. Spathiphyllum are not heavy feeders. Everblooming generally means that it blooms, when it feels like it. In a year you can add a tablespoon 5-10-10 granular to the soil. It will eventually produce flowers.

Question:
What do you do when a philodendron gets too large for a hanging pot? Janie, Attleboro, MA
Mort's Answer:
If you keep making the pot larger every time that you transplant, you will probably pull down the ceiling. When they reach 8 to 10 inch size, it is a good idea to use them as table plants and remove the hanger pot. I would recommend putting them in clay pots at that time. If you want them to cover the same area, you can add a trellis to the mix. Because philodendron grows so well and will eventually cover an entire wall indoors, I suspect that this is the reason folks make smaller plants from cuttings. This does not diminish the size of the root.

Question:
How can I get your book? "A Face Made for Radio"
Mort's Answer:
You can purchase my book, "A Face Made for Radio".
This autobiography is 11.95 per copy including S&H. It chronicles my first 25 years and the history of radio. Just mail check or money order to:

Whitehouse Productions
484 Wellington Ave.
Cranston, RI 02910.

Allow two weeks for delivery.

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