QUESTION : A friend who lives by Gardenridge gave
me a few cuttings(last Oct.) of her Boston ivy which practically
covers her house. I love it and want to grow it at my home
on the north side of Canyon Lake. I have heard that it is
fussy and wondered what I should do to help it along. My
place is either pretty shaded...lots of live oaks or right
in the sun on the west side. Would it do best on the east
side that gets filtered sun?
ANSWER :Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
is not tolerant of drought or high light intensity so should
be planted in the shady environment and kept well watered.
A good layer of mulch over the root zone will also help.
See this Virginia Cooperative Extension web site for more
information on Boston Ivy:
QUESTION : I bought a house here two years ago,
and I'm eager to preserve and develop the two climbing rose
bushes in the back yard. My three questions are: (1) Is
there any inherent limit on the size of these plants? Specifically,
can they grow not only to the top of the open bower structure,
as they've already done, but then along its entire length,
which is about 25 feet? (2) Can these bushes be "trained"
in the direction desired? When I got first got here, some
vines had already gone straight up to the top of the bower
and beyond, but others were wandering off in all directions.
I've used some cord (green stretchy stuff from a nursery)
to bring them all into an upward direction, and some more
cord to hold the longer ones in a curve toward the opposite
end of the bower. Assuming I work only with the comparatively
young and pliant stems, as opposed to the ones that have
become hard and woody, is there any reason not to do this?
(3) Is now the time to prune? I don't know exactly what
kind of roses these are. I can tell you they're white, bloom
in the spring and fall, and are now in some places 12 or
15 feet tall. By the way, could you possibly recommend someone
I could call to come and look at these plants and advise
me on them, someone who knows enough about such roses to
offer genuinely useful advice?
ANSWER :The following information is found at this
PLANTanswers web site under the link 'Pruning Methods for
"Climbers are not pruned in the same manner as Hybrid
Teas. To encourage growth of more flowering laterals and
stimulate production of new canes, you should not cut back
long canes unless they are outgrowing the allotted space.
Varieties differ in this respect since some will produce
new canes from the base each year, while others build up
a woody structure and produce long, new canes from a position
higher up on the plant. Thus, when pruning, the following
practices are recommended:
Everblooming varieties -- Cut back to two or three bud
eyes all laterals that bore flowers during the past year.
Remove any dead, diseased or twiggy growth. For established
plants, oldest canes are removed annually at the base. Remaining
canes are repositioned and secured, if necessary. For routine
maintenance, remove all spent blooms and cut back to a strong
bud eye. Canes are tied in place as they mature. Avoid attempting
to do this before the wood matures, as soft tender growth
is easily broken off.
Ramblers and once blooming varieties - These types should
be pruned after blooming as they will normally bloom on
year old wood. Thus, after spring bloom, cut out old, unproductive
wood and weak canes.
A good practice is to avoid severe pruning for the first
two or three years after planting, as it takes this long
for most climbers to mature. During this period, remove
all dead and weak canes and spent blooms (in some instances,
climbers will bloom very little for the first couple of
years). New canes of most climbers should be trained horizontally
to encourage the growth of flowering laterals. Strips of
old pantyhose make good "ties". Pillar roses will
grow and bloom
QUESTION : What is the Confederate rose? is it just
a variety of hibiscus?
ANSWER :This information from Aggie Horticulture
can be found at this web site: http://horticulture.tamu.edu/newsletters/hortupdate/june98.html
Hibiscus mutabilis is an old-fashioned perennial or
shrub hibiscus better known as the Confederate rose. It
tends to be shrubby or tree-like in Zones 9 and 10, though
it behaves more like a perennial further north. Flowers
are double and are 4 to 6 inches in diameter; they open
white or pink, and change to deep red by evening. The 'Rubra'
variety has red flowers. Bloom season usually lasts from
summer through fall. Propagation by cuttings root easiest
in early spring, but cuttings can be taken at almost any
time. When it does not freeze, the Confederate rose can
reach heights of 12 to 15 feet with a woody trunk; however,
a multi-trunk bush 6 to 8 feet tall is more typical. Once
a very common plant throughout the South, Confederate rose
is an interesting and attractive plant that grows in full
sun or partial shade, and prefers rich, well- drained soil.
QUESTION : I am look for information about various
propagation techniques to use on the Crape Myrtle. Could
you please suggest some resources that I could use to obtain
this information. If you have an information about the successful
and unsuccessful attempts to propagate this plant, please
let me know.
ANSWER :According to Lewis Hill in his book _Secrets
of Plant Propagation_ crape myrtles can be propagated by
leaf cuttings under mist, seeds and softwood cuttings.
Michael Dirr in _Manual of Woody Landscape Plants_ says
seed germinate best if given a 30 to 45 day cold treatment,
softwood cuttings taken in late May, June or July and semi-hardwood
cuttings will root. Softwood cuttings taken in July-August
given an IBA dip of 1000 ppm will root in 3 to 4 weeks.
At this web site of the Georgia Extension Service you will
find the enclosed information on crape myrtle propagation:
Crape myrtle is easily propagated from hardwood cuttings
taken during the winter. Take cuttings from growth made
the previous summer. Cut pencil-size stem into six to eight
inch segments. Avoid weak, twiggy cuttings.
Cuttings can be placed in prepared outdoor rooting beds.
If this procedure is followed, select a selection that can
be watered conveniently. Thoroughly pulverize the soil to
a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Add four to five inches of organic
matter to the surface and thoroughly mix into the soil.
Peat moss, leaf mold, and pine bark are useful for this
purpose. Place the cuttings approximately six inches apart.
Insert one-half the length of the cutting into the soil.
Mulch with two to three inches of pine straw, leaf mold,
or pine bark to conserve moisture. Keep watered during dry
periods in the spring and summer. Fertilize the young plants
with a balanced fertilizer, such as an 8-8-8 analysis, beginning
in May. Apply at monthly intervals until August at the rate
of one-half teaspoon per plant.
The young plants can be transplanted to their permanent
location during the winter.
See also the information on propagation of shrubs from
cuttings found at this Georgia Extension Service web site:
QUESTION : I was having a discussion and I mentioned
that I believed eggplants were either male or female and
can be distinguished by the bottom..The female having more
seeds..can you tell me if this is true and if it is could
you tell me how to tell?
ANSWER :Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a member
of the Solanaceae family which have perfect or bisexual
flowers. The edible part of the Eggplant is the fruit. Fruit
is defined by _Hortus Third_ as "The ripened ovary
with its adnate parts (if any), the seed-bearing organ".
Perhaps you are thinking of the cucurbit (cucumbers, squash,
gourds & etc.) family which have separate male and female
blossoms with the female blossom being readily identified
by the tiny fruit that is between the blossom and the stalk.
QUESTION : We have a large area of English ivy surrounding
a well established magnolia tree. The ivy is growing up
the tree, approximately 15 feet. Should we cut the ivy off
the tree? Will it cause damage to the tree if left growing
up the tree?
ANSWER : While the ivy is not, and will never be,
deriving any of its nutrition from the tree the potential
for damage is there. The ivy can get thick enough to keep
the magnolia leaves from getting the necessary sunlight
which could cause those limbs to die. An additional potential
problem is that the ivy could harbor rodents and insects
which might be damaging to the tree. I recommend that you
keep it out of the magnolia.
QUESTION : I bought the Fan-Tex Ash at Aldridge
Nursery and I would like to know what you think about it.
ANSWER : The Fan-Tex.. Ash, like all other Arizona
Ashes, are susceptible to a fungal disease (Anthracnose)
which can cause defoliation in the early spring. This is
not normally life-threatening but can be unsightly. For
this reason, I do not usually recommend ash trees for this
area. The main benefit of the Fan-Tex. over the common Arizona
ash is that it does not produce the seed pods which tend
to come up in great numbers.