New Guinea Impatiens Need Plenty of Light for Extra-Large Flowers

June 20, 2012 – 07:33 am

QUESTION: We saw some New Guinea impatiens that had unusually large flowers. How does one get such large flowers? Do they need full sun?

ANSWER: Some varieties have larger flowers than others. For example the newly introduced "Bull Series" produces more vigorous growth than older varieties, and their flowers are much larger, continuously produced.

New Guinea varieties need bright light for flower formation. Insufficient light means more foliage and less flowers. The regular impatiens will flower in shade or semi-shade, and too much light can burn plants. Both types tend to get a bit leggy and will need nipping back occasionally.

Wants to Know If Holly Male or Female

Q: My holly bush is nice and green but it never gets any berries. I have been told that there are male and female bushes, and that I must have one of each in order to get the flowers. How can I tell if I have a male or a female? With the human race I have no problem, but with hollies it's different.

A: You can tell male and female plants by taking a peek at the flowers. Female flowers are borne singly and have a prominent green knob in the center. Male flowers appear in clusters and have yellow stamens (male or pollen producers). One male holly is macho enough to accommodate 10 female plants.

Sometimes the blooms of one holly come on at a different time than the other. You can chemically make a female bush set, using naphthaleneacetic acid hormone sold in garden stores.

Use aerosol cans, or mix a solution of one-quarter teaspoonful of the hormone to a quart of water. Spray at least once a day for several days when blossoms open. A week or two after the flowers fade, green berries begin to form. Note: This works only when the female blooms are sprayed. You can't make a male flower give birth to baby berries. By the way, for the holidays, some gardeners use hair spray on cut holly to keep berries from dropping.

Getting Rid of Worm on Cabbage Simple

Q: Last year our neighbor tried a few plants of ornamental kale and flowering cabbage. They were beautiful and we want to grow some. His got a certain kind of worm which riddled the foliage. Please tell me if these plants are difficult to grow?

A: Glad you liked the ornamental cabbage and kale your neighbor grew. We think there is a strong place in the future of the bedding plant business for these newcomers. Botanically, cabbage and kale are the same thing--although classified as different groups of plants. Both are edible and both get the cabbage looper, a caterpillar that comes from a yellow butterfly you see flitting around.

Control is safe and simple: Sprinkle some chili powder or cayenne on the foliage and heads of the kale and cabbage. Start when you see the worms and only one application is needed. Also, you can use any of the products containing \o7 bacillus thuringiensis.\f7

Plants Suffer From Softened Water Use


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Flowers in a little to no sunlight area, color

We have a front flower bed that is about 35 ft x 2 ft on the north side of our home. just recently, after reading the western garden book, decided to do some landscaping and put in a variety of plants that include Canna's, New Zeland Flax, Sage mint, and added some color like Begonias & impatiens and some more. The issue is during summer, we get get a combined 3 to 4 hrs(morning and late after noon) of sun light in the area. Now, it is almost down to 2 hrs, and not every plant is getting enough sunlight. We are in zone 24 and wonder how these plants would do in fall and winter. In addition, wanted to put in some more color that are not potentially poisonous (lantan's are out of question)

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