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Ed Hume Answers Your Gardening Questions

Ed Hume cannot answer all of the garden questions he receives, but questions of general interest will be answered here every month.  Email your questions to HumeSeeds@aol.com.  Please note: we do not accept attachments.

Before submitting a question, be sure to check the index of previous questions and answers or search our site using key words.  Many questions have already been answered here on the site.


Other November Links

Transplanting Rhododendrons

RhododendronFall is fast approaching, and I have to move a rhododendron about 4 feet tall, with a 4 inch dia stem which has been in place for at least ten years, to another spot in the garden where two other rhododendrons are flourishing.  Would you have a reference for, or be able to let me know the approximate size of the root ball, about how distant around the plant the roots can safely be cut, preparation of the new area where the plant is to be set, and any other details that would diminish possibility of damage during transplanting? I'll probably have to release it from its present position with a line to the truck, unless there are other methods that may be more effective and provide less of a shock to the root system.

Rhododendrons generally have a fibrous root system and are among the easier plants to transplant. Start digging at the drip line of the plant and continue inward until you reach the dense fibrous roots. That will give you a sense as to how big the root ball will need to be. You must move the plant with soil attached.

Prepare the new planting soil with compost, peat moss or processed manure. Provide sufficient drainage and the plant may need to be staked the first winter.

I am not sure what you mean by "line to a truck". If you mean to pull the rhody out with a line...you will probably break it off. So, that's not a good idea. Even large rhododendrons are fairly easy to move by hand.

Wintering Mandavilla and Fuchsias

How do I "winter over" plants, specifically Amandaville vine and Fuchsias?

For information on wintering fuchsias see the article Wintering  Geraniums , Fuchsias and Begonias on our site.

Mandevilla are best wintered-over by taking them inside and treating them like a houseplant.Another option is to take them to a greenhouse firm and see if they will winter them for you. Of course, there is a charge for that service. These tender plants must be brought indoors before frost.

Perennials For Pots

I'm looking for some ideas or recommendations for perennial flower seeds or bulbs for window boxes.

Some of the best perennials to grow from seed for window boxes are: Arabis, Aubrietia, Alyssum, Forget-Me-Nots, Calendulas, Iberis and our rock Garden Mix (which includes these among others). Good bulbs include: dwarf tulips, crocus, eranthus, anemone 'Blanda' and grape hyacinths.

Fall Rose Care

I live in SE Ohio. Frost is coming and I need to prepare my roses (100+) for the winter. I eliminate all leaves on the ground, dig around the plant, give a shot of 10-10-10 fertilizer, hove up some soil or add some soil around the base of the rose. Also I put a wire fence around the rose and cover to about l5" with Maple leaves. Question- do I prune and how far down? Should I prune at all and then next spring do the pruning? Some of my roses are 3-4 feet tall.

Sounds like you are doing just fine with the roses, except use a 0-10-10 fertilizer. You do not want to give them nitrogen as they go into the winter months. I suggest pruning them back to about knee or waist high in the fall, then do the more severe pruning in the spring. For more on rose pruning, see "How to prune roses" in our garden archives section.

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