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Weekly Lawn & Garden Tips

1/21/21 This world would be a better place, if there were more lovers and less haters. mw

Question:
I have pomegranate and banana plants that brave acquired fungus gnats. Can I change the soil and what soil should I use? Katie, Marquette, MI
Mort's Answer:
You need a good soil mix that is a third coarse sand to provide good drainage. You will also have to use clay pots. Clay pots give the soil a chance to breathe. Roots need oxygen and water. Be sure to scrape off the top layer of soil and put it outdoors to dry out. New pots should be two inches larger than the present one

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:
Can you suggest house plants that we can put outdoors? We are just getting into gardening. Mark, Norwich, CT
Mort's Answer:
Succulents are coming into bloom this time of year. Pepperomia, jade, kalenchoe and Indian rope are just a few of the thick leaved tropicals that need to be indoors from zone 8 north at this time of year. Begonias are also in bloom now. Cacti should be in bloom soon as well. These would be excellent presents for your wife. Wax begonia would be easier than the tuberous begonias. All require south facing windows for the winter. When spring arrives you can put them in the ground or on a patio after the threat of frost.

Question:
My cat keeps eating my spider plant. What can I do to prevent this? Josh, Lincoln, NE
Mort's Answer:
You do not want catnip. You can erect a screen like a tomato basket as a mechanical remedy. You could train the cat by using an oil spray like canola or olive oil. Because the plant does remove pollutants from the air, you may not want to do this for a long time. Hot pepper spray works well but will coat the leaves like canola or olive oil. Dried hot pepper added to the soil may be enough to keep the cat at bay.

Question:
How can I get the 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:

Mort White
50 Birch St.1201
Cranston, RI 02920.

Allow two weeks for delivery.

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