Camellias With Few Buds And Other Plant Questions

Question: A while ago I bought several camellias; but not until recently did I notice that the plants had only a few buds. What can I do now to insure a bigger crop of camellia flowers next year?

Answer: It’s not the number of buds that determines the plant’s health or value. Some varieties, for example, tend to set many buds; others do not. To make sure that your plants bloom well this year – you’ll have to work a year ahead – give the plants lots of water during the summer, three feedings of liquid fish fertilizer, protection against soil pests and a mulch of peatmoss. This is good advice in the Pacific Northwest, California and other favored camellia-growing spots. In Arizona and other alkaline areas be sure that the soil is sufficiently acid.

Question: What’s the best way to keep house plants from becoming covered with a white film? I would like my plants to be clean and fresh looking.

Answer: A white film on house plants is a common problem wherever the water is alkaline. It’s a good idea to rinse the foliage at least once a week. Some house-plant collectors place all their husky plants under the shower. Others laboriously clean their leaves regularly.

Question: Why won’t my poinsettia flower a second time?

Answer: Probably the reason is that the poinsettia is not getting what it needs in order to flower – fourteen hours of uninterrupted darkness. Even two candlepower for only a few minutes during the fourteen hour period will inhibit flowering.

Question: Will the white hardy pinks that edge my rose border harm or retard the daffodils that are also planted in the same area? The rose bed looked so bleak when the daffodils finished blooming that I had to fill in with something. Linda, Maine

Answer: Daffodils with a ground cover of pinks (or dianthus) are a good combination. Doubtless there will come a time when the dianthus and possibly the daffodils will deteriorate. Then it will be necessary to dig up and replant the combination. It might be well to replace the pinks with petunias which, though they must be replanted annually, will bloom for a longer period – from June until frost.

Question: What evergreens can I use around my new low-walled home? I want shrubs that will not grow very tall.

Answer: The ligustrum and the dwarf types of azaleas, gardenias and junipers are desirable for this kind of planting. You can use a crimson barberry for accent.

Question: My green peas did not fill out last year the pods had only one or two peas in them. Is fertilizer or pollination the answer? LAP, Ohio

Answer: Hot weather is likely the cause of the trouble. Garden peas should be grown only in cool weather. If planted late enough so that hot weather catches them when the pods are forming they will be short, scarce, and poorly filled. Try planting the peas earlier in good rich well drained soil.

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