QUESTION: Can the citronella plant be rooted and/ or otherwise
ANSWER: No mosquito repelling plants really exist, even
though the trailing geranium named Citronella Plant claims
to do so ?? it will act as a repellent if the green sap
of the plant is rubbed over the entire surface of your body.
The candles don't work either and a recent study indicates
the insect lights attract more mosquitoes than they kill.
Dry weather is usually the only relief. The trailing geranium
is easy to root but does not thrive in hot, Texas summers.
QUESTION: Any suggestion on how to successfully kill/eradicate
some well? entrenched, overgrown Nandinas that have become
a nuisance? I live in central Texas. I don't want to replace
them with anything else, just eliminate them without sterilizing
ANSWER: Dig as much of the root system out as possible;
then dig the sprouts with roots. If you don't want to dig
them out, cut them back low to the ground and treat sprouting
vegetation with a double strength glyphosate herbicide (Roundup,
Kleanup, Finale) mixture or Ortho Brush Killer or Brush?B?Gon.
QUESTION: Help!!! What can I do about fire ants in my compost
ANSWER: Make a solution of diazinon and drench the pile;
this will get rid the ants but not damage the usefulness
of the compost. You could also apply a fire ant bait such
as Amdro around the base of the pile and let the ants come?and?get?it!!!
QUESTION: I have morning glory vines for the first time
this year, and I notice that all the vines twine in a counterclockwise
direction. Do you know why? Do all twining vines grow in
ANSWER: I have been told, although I have not observed
it personally, that vines twine in a counterclockwise direction
on this side of the equator and in a clockwise direction
on the other side of the equator--just as water drains out
of a tub in different directions on different sides of the
QUESTION: I would like to introduce a natural repellant
for mosquitos in my back yard (instead of sprays, etc).
I have 2 areas for planting. One is full sun (50 sq. ft.)
and the other is shade, under 15-foot tall Red Tips (150
sq ft). Is there any plant that
repels mosquitos and could grow in either or both of these
ANSWER: Once again, and repeating what we stated earlier,
there exists no mosquito-repelling plants, although the
trailing geranium named Citronella Plant claims to do so.
It will, only if the green sap of the plant is rubbed over
the entire surface of your body.
Here is a good tip for summer, especially for those who
like to sit and enjoy the out?doors, but don't like those
pesky mosquitoes. Put some water in a white dinner plate
and add just a couple of drops of Lemon Fresh Joy dishwashing
soap. Set the dish on a porch or patio. Not sure what attracts
them, the lemon smell, the white color, or what, but mosquitoes
flock to it, and drop dead, or fall into the water, or on
the floor within about 10 feet.
QUESTION: My wife and I have tried several times to repot
pines and have met with some disastrous results. On our
last attempt, we found an infestation of tiny white insects
in the soil, in the root system. All the dirt and insects
were removed before repotting but the tree did not survive.
The plant started turning brown from the bottom and finally
died. There was no indication of insects and we were transplanting
because of root bound condition. Any suggestions?
ANSWER: The Norfolk Island Pine as described at this site:
can be damaged by root maggots (the white insects in the
soil) and/or spider mites (indicated by the plant starting
to turn brown from the bottom up). I recommend you eliminate
any and all contaminated plants and get a new and healthy,
non?infested one. The maggots can be controlled with an
insecticidal drench such as diazinon and the spider mites
can be controlled (when symptoms first appear) with a spray
of a Kelthane (Fertilome Red Spider Mite Spray) mixed with
2 teaspoons of a liquid detergent per gallon of spray. You
might want to grow the plant outdoors during the summer
and bring it in during the winter. Other information on
control of mites can be found on site:
QUESTION: Are pentas annuals or perennials? We planted pentas
next to lantana under a live oak last year. The lantana
blooming, but the pentas have not come back.
ANSWER: Pentas are usually annuals; if we have a mild winter,
they can be root?hardy perennials.
QUESTION: Is San Antonio a good place to grow purple coneflower,
for birds and butterflies?
ANSWER: Absolutely. Plant them in the fall. See the photo
and description at this website:
QUESTION: Is there a single weed eradicator which will
remove weeds from barren flower beds? Some are in full sun,
some are in partial shade under live oaks. We wold like
to plant flowers now that will bloom through fall. We would
also appreciate suggestions for flowers.
ANSWER: A glyphosate?herbicide such as Roundup, Kleanup
and Finale will kill all vegetation and planting can occur
in 3 weeks. You could plant periwinkle (vinca) or Mari?mums
(full sun). Begonias can be planted after the temperatures
cool in September. Plant pansies and petunias in October,
in full sun.
QUESTION: What product will kill tent caterpillars the
fastest, without harming the Mountain Laurels they are attached
ANSWER: Orthene with 2 teaspoons of liquid detergent and
2 teaspoons of vinegar per gallon.
QUESTION: I have had 3 pothos plants for about 3 years.
Lately, I found little gnats all around my plants. They
are not white flies, rather, they are black in color. I've
replaced the soil hoping to cure this problem-- but no luck.
I've used the pesticide Systemic but still not affective.
Please, if you have any suggestion of how to get rid of
the annoying flies.
ANSWER: You are experiencing a common problem: fungus gnats.
They are completely described, along with control methods
at this website:
QUESTION: I used fire ant poison to kill some fire ants
in a whiskey barrel planted with herbs. Is there a way to
salvage the herbs for consumption, or are they now "just
for looks" (as my husband wails)?
ANSWER: If you used a diazinon or Malathion drench, you
can eat the herbs after 10 days. Most other drenches are
effective after 21 days and most are not up-taken by the
plant. I would let your husband eat them first and observe
his symptoms for 48 hours ?? then you can eat them!
QUESTION: Is it too late to plant caladiums now? I can't
remember how long into the fall they'll thrive.
ANSWER: You could plant them now and they would grow rapidly,
but I doubt if you can find bulbs this late in the season.
QUESTION: Do some varieties of tomatoes perform better than
others in containers?
ANSWER: Those which produce small plants such as Surefire
will do better if you fertilize a lot ?? use Osmocote granules
in the mix, and EVERY time you water, use a water soluble
fertilizer such as Miracle Grow, Rapid Grow, or Peters 20?20?20.
QUESTION: I have a question about tomatillos and how you
preserve and store them once you harvest them. I know it
may seem a little silly, but we grow quite a few of them
in our home garden, and we enjoy making this great salsa.
Is it best to just freeze them? Or is there a way to can
them. We want to be able to make our salsa year?round, if
ANSWER: You can use the same recipes for canning and preserving
tomatillos as you do for tomatoes. Look for the green tomato
recipes we have on PLANTanswers at:
QUESTION: In early summer, I bought two pots of stobilianthos
and I really like it. It is much more attractive than coleus
(in my opinion,) but I am having a difficult time finding
out much about it. From the short write?up on the TAMU horticulture
page, I now know it is from Burma, but I don't know much
more than that. Is it considered a perennial? What are my
chances of overwintering it if I cover it whenever the temperature
drops below freezing? Would it be better to bring it inside
(I have it planted in big pots with begonias)? Can you recommend
any sources where I might find out more about this plant
or its near relatives?
ANSWER: Persian Shield, or Strobilianthos dyeranus, is
described and pictured at PLANTanswers site:
It is usually a root-hardy perennial in this area. It came
back after last year's 15 degrees F., so it should be reliably
root-hardy. You do not have to bring it indoors since the
roots will survive, unless you want to keep the top of the
plant from freezing. I was introduced to the plant by Paul
Cox of the San Antonio Botanical Garden. I am glad you are
enjoying this plant. We all work together in San Antonio
to try to expose as many people as possible to attractive,
adapted plant material for this area.
QUESTION: My husband and I are rather fascinated
with the tomato hornworm, aside from the fact that they
have voracious appetites for our plants. Our curiosity has
not been satisfied in any of our searches. Here is our question:
what does the caterpillar become in its next developmental
stage - a moth, a butterfly, or what?
ANSWER: Hornworms are very large caterpillars and
the larvae of sphinx moths (family Sphingidae), bearing
a pointed projection at the end of the body that looks like
a horn. The tobacco and tomato hornworms, commonly found
in gardens, feed rather interchangeably on tobacco, tomato
and other Solanaceous plants. Hornworms are named for their
adult stage. The tomato hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata
(Haworth), have 5 instead of 6 yellow spots on each side
of the abdomen of the moth, and 2 narrow stripes extending
diagonally across each wing when compared to the tobacco
hornworm, Manduca sexta (Linnaeus).
QUESTION: Other articles on the internet have said
that Zoysia is not good for football fields. They said it
takes to long to repair when it is torn. They also said
it turns brown after the first frost. Can the above be overcome?
If so, at what length is Zoysia kept. The Zoysia has a "
green top" with a thin brown stem going into the ground.
It also seems to grow in clumps at its current length. If
I cut this down, how long will it take to re-green? For
replanting, is seed readily available, and how long does
it take to grow?
ANSWER: I do not believe that Zoysiagrass will make
a good choice for use on a football field. While most varieties
of Zoysiagrass do have good to excellent wear-tolerance,
they are very slow to recover from wear and tear, and from
damage by disease and insect problems. While some of the
new varieties of Zoysiagrass grow faster than the older
ones, I am not sure how well they will tolerate the cold
winters up north.
The ideal mowing height for most Zoysiagrasses is around
1 to 1-1/2 inches. When mowed higher than this, the Zoysiagrasses
tend to produce thatch.
There are a couple of seeded Zoysiagrasses available, but
most of the Zoysiagrasses that are currently being used
are the ones that have to be planted vegetatively.
QUESTION: I am going to plant some grape vines for
home wine making. How can I find out which types are best
for the Wichita Falls area, and will produce a good, dry
ANSWER: As long as you have ample water and a fairly
good soil, you can grow most any grape you want to grow.
If you like reds, why not try some Cabernet sauvignon and
Merlot. All of the grape varieties are pretty much adapted
to your area since you are out of the P.D. (Pierces Disease)
zone. More information on grapes can be obtained on the
PLANTanswers web site at:
QUESTION: Do edible flowers have nutritional value?
Can you give me an example of a flower that provides particular
vitamins, for example?
ANSWER: I'm sorry but I do not have that information.
Below is the answer to a previous question about edible
flowers that includes some book titles on the subject. Perhaps
a trip to the library will unearth the information you desire.
Since you seem to be serious in your desire to learn about,
grow and cook with edible flowers, my recommendation is
to visit your library or local book store and find a good
book to refer to. Some titles that you might look for include:
Cooking from the Gourmet's Garden : Edible Ornamentals,
Herbs, and Flowers
By Coralie Castle and Robert Kourik / Paperback /Published
Edible Flowers : A Kitchen Companion
By Kitty Morse / Hardcover / Published 1995
Edible Flowers : Desserts & Drinks
By Cathy Wilkinson Barash / Paperback / Published 1997
Edible Flowers : From Garden to Palate
By Cathy Wilkinson Barash / Paperback / Published 1995
Taylor's Pocket Guide to Herbs and Edible Flowers
By Norman Taylor and Ann Reilly / Paperback / Published
Cooking With Edible Flowers & Herbs
By Sinclair Philip / VHS Tape / Published 1990
Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers
By (author's name) MacKin / Paperback / Published 1993
Edible Flowers : A Recipe Collection
By Marilyn Lande / Paperback / Published 1994
Flights of Fancy : A Cookbook of Fanciful Recipes for Artful
Living : Edible Flowers & Herb Recipes
Paperback / Published 1994
Good Enough to Eat?Growing and Cooking Edible Flowers
By Jekka McVicar / Hardcover
The Beautiful Food Garden : Creative Landscaping With Vegetables,
Herbs, Fruits & Flowers
By Kate Rogers Gessert / Published 1987
By Claire Clifton / Published 1984