Gardening Daily Tips 110

Peony (Paeonia officinalis)

Plant type: Herb, Perennial

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4a to 10a

Height: 18″ to 40″

Spread: 24″ to 34″

Exposure: partial shade partial sun to full sun

Bloom Color: Red, White

Bloom Time: Early summer, Late spring

Leaf Color: Green

Growth Rate: average

Moisture: moist

Soil Condition: Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Well drained

Form: Upright or erect

Landscape Uses:

Border, Foundation, Seashore, Specimen

Special Features:

Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers

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Q&A: Transplanting Magnolia from Container to Garden

Question: We have a large magnolia in a half-barrel on patio in dark shady corner. We wish to transplant it into the garden. When would be the best time to perform this transplant, and how best should one proceed?

Answer: Magnolias should be planted in spring for the best results. First, choose a site that is in full sun if possible with average to rich soil. Dig a hole the same depth as the soil in the pot and at least twice as wide as the root ball, tapering the sides outward. Water the plant well a couple of hours before transplanting. Carefully remove it from the pot and place it in the hole, making sure it is at the same level as it was in the pot. Carefully replace and tamp the soil you removed from the hole – do not amend it. Water the tree in well and keep it watered throughout the growing season. Don’t fertilize until it has been in the ground for a year. Good luck!

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Q&A: Growing Shamrock

Question: Could you please tell me more about the Shamrock plant and how it acts? Mine is opening during the day and closing at night, and I was wondering if this is right. I had one last year and it died. I really want to keep this and was also wondering how best to keep it growing and also how big will it get.

Answer: Around St. Patrick’s Day nurseries and florists sell ‘Shamrocks’. These are either Medicago lupulina (hop clover, trefoil or black medick), or Oxalis acetosella (woodsorrel), or Trifolium repens (white clover). The first group are annuals, the woodsorrel and white clover are perennials. So, if your plant died last year, it was probably an annual. To keep the perennials growing, provide a sunny window or a sunny spot outdoors, and moist, well-draining soil. It’s natural for the leaves of the plant to fold up at night and open during the day. You can expect the stems to grow from 2″ – 10″ high, with flowers to 1″ across. The perennial plants will spread by underground roots and form large clumps as they mature.

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Q&A: Tree Staking

Question: I bought a 5-gallon crabapple tree last week and it came with a bamboo stake tied to the trunk. Should I remove this stake and insert a larger one just outside the rootball, or should the tree be left unstaked and allowed to flex? It’s leaning a bit right now.

Answer: If your crabapple is leaning, you’ll want to straighten it out while it’s still young. Remove the small bamboo stake and drive 3 stakes into the ground just outside the rootball area, in a triangle pattern around the tree. Tie the trunk of the tree to each of the stakes so that it stands straight and tall. Check the ties every few months to make sure they’re not digging into the bark of the tree trunk. You can safely leave the tree tied to the stakes for about a year, which will allow plenty of time for the roots to become established. Once your tree is firmly anchored in the ground you can remove the stakes and ties. After this treatment the trunk should not lean, but continue to grow straight.

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Tip: Order Onions

Onions can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in spring. Onion sets larger than a dime are best used for scallions since they tend to bolt. Smaller sets will usually produce bulbs. For more variety availability and better bulb set, order onion plants by mail order.

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Tip: Apply Mulch in Perennial Gardens

Apply mulch, such as bark chips or pine straw, in perennial beds and under trees and shrubs now — it’s easier to maneuver around plants before they’re fully leafed out.

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