“Every year I plant petunias and they never seem to do more than just make it through the summer. How can you fail at growing petunias?”
Annuals need lots of water with being outside and braving the elements. Petunias love the sun and appreciate a little shade, but watering them daily is what they need the most. They should also be routinely deadheaded to keep them lush and healthy looking. By doing it before they get leggy, they seem to respond better. Don’t forget a little fertilizer every couple of weeks or so too. Make your petunias part of your daily garden maintenance walk and you’ll get much better results.
“You often talk about lining clay and porous pots with plastic bags to retain moisture for outside potted plants. Do you think newspapers would work too?”
Greg, Pete and Scott
Greg, Pete and Scott:
Excellent, more natural idea gentlemen! Newspapers may dry out a little faster than plastic, but will definitely serve the same purpose. When cleaning your pots out in the fall you can dump everything into your compost pile and not have to worry about taking the plastic bags out too. And, your newspaper liners may well be on their way to decomposing by that time. Make sure you’re using the actual newspaper and not those colored enameled sheets that are often inserted into newspapers for advertising and such. They do not break down the same way newspapers do.
“There is a greenish, flakey growth showing up on my redbud trees. What could it be and how do I get rid of it?”
Gladston, New Jersey
There is a type of combination of fungus and algae that physically intertwines to become an entirely new growth called lichen. It can also grow on stones or shrubs too. It’s a very primitive plant species, absorbing water and nutrients from the air. There is nothing harmful about it as they are not a parasite and do not cause disease, so don’t worry about it being part of your redbud tree.