About starting from tubers: Start them in spring but ONLY if they have bottom heat. Pot them up in rich potting soil and put them on a propagating mat which will maintain a soil temperature above 65°F -- anything cooler and they will rot.
I was given a 5-year-old Acer palmatum bonsai as a gift. It was grown in Eugene, OR. I brought it to Vacaville, CA about six weeks ago. As soon as it was set up in the house in strong indirect light, the leaves began to develop brown spots and then to wither as if the plant had not been watered. I water the plant regularly, soaking it once a week as the instructions indicate, and misting it two to four times a week.
I strongly suggest you get that bonsai outside in a shady location. The low humidity levels and low light levels indoors are most likely what's causing the problem (Japanese maples can't take low humidity). Once outside, it should be much easier to maintain. Everything else you are doing seems fine.
I've just planted a dwarf bottlebrush plant called Callistemon citrinus 'Jeffersii'. I wasn't paying attention at the gardening center and didn't mean to get a dwarf. Do you know how tall and wide it will get?
Callistemon citrinus 'Jeffersii' is indeed a dwarf bottlebrush. It only grows to about 6' tall and 4' wide, and has brushes that are more of a purple than the common red that you often see. Its a nice plant, and is often sold because it blooms for a ridiculously long time. So you did pretty well after all!
I'm a gardenweb junkie. I read about some exotic smelly plant that only grows between the toes of Tibetan goats, and I must have it. I must. And eventually I will, many internet journeys and dollars later. But I will have no idea how to make it grow and bloom (Tibetan goats aren't exactly a dime a dozen out here).
Meanwhile, I need instructions for: Cananga odorata, Magnolia coco, and Michelia champaca alba. They're all in quite large clay pots, slightly acid soil, half sun/half shade, until I know better.
I'm going to assume you're gardening somewhere in LA?
The story with both Magnolia coco and Michelia champaca is that both plants can be grown outside in your area. The challenge will be to insure that the soil stays on the acidic side, so you're gonna have to treat them the same way you would treat gardenias or camellias. That is, plant them in a place where their roots will be in the shade and their tops will be in sun or part sun, and water them in with a dose of fertilizer for acid loving plants (Mir-Acid is one option; the organic way to go would be fish emulsion). Keep them well watered (moist not soggy) until you see new growth, then cut back on the water to once every 10 days or so. If you notice that new growth is showing signs of chlorosis -- a nutrient deficiency caused by too alkaline soil -- you can green it up with a foliar spray of chelated iron.
As far as Conanga odorata? This chump is stumped. Gotta go pick plants out of my toes.
What's a good nonchemical method to kill these fast growing and spreading Buttercups?
Believe it or not, buttercups are pretty low on the "impossible to control" scale (you should try our bindweed, horsetail, bamboo, and reed canary grass!). Since they pull out fairly easily and don't seem to regenerate from root fragments, that's all I'd do. Then mulch heavily with coarse wood chips, and I mean very coarse, to smother and impede any new growth. Some gardeners weed with blow torches these days, but you may find that a bit extreme.
I live in Central New Jersey and have a flourishing White Japanese Wisteria vine that has been trellis-trained up and along a deck and balcony. It is at least 15' in length. This is its 4th summer and lives in a southern exposure with lots of sun. While this is a very prolific climber, creating a very romantic setting, my question is: Why does my wisteria NOT bloom???
Rhonda, I get asked this question A LOT. A previous listener reported waiting a decade without bloom (I recommended she rip it out and start over). The problem is often with the plant that you buy -- many are grafted, which can work against you -- which is why it's critical to buy a wisteria in flower. The one thing you haven't tried is root pruning, which is often done when a plant is putting its energy into vegetative growth vs. flower production. Root pruning involves taking a sharp shovel and cutting a circle around the plant, maybe 3' out from the base, deep enough to sever the roots. Frankly, you've got nothing to lose; the plant sounds vigorous enough to take it. If there's no improvement next year, consider cutting your aggravation level and starting again.
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