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Planning Retirement Online

Your Gardening queries - 23

March 2005 


Colour for Adventurous Gardeners Mary Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?  With silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row....                     


If only gardening were as simple as that little nursery rhyme. But it isn`t, so we are putting some of the solutions here to problems you have written to us about, so everyone can have the benefit.


Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife.  Click here for previous editions of Gardener`s Diary. 



March 2005     

Q: Gilbert asks: I've been using different fertilizers for 1 year now in my garden, Ihave almost 100 pots of 30 different varieties of Euphorbia Millii. I
am using the Blossom Booster, Yield Booster and Complete either
14-14-14 or 19-19-19 or 20-20-20.

One thing I notice in every instruction, it says that feeding should be given 14 days or two weeks after transplanting until bud setting.

I was wondering, is it unpleasant for the plant or for the flower to continue feeding in its blooming period? What should be the proper feeding for the said plant? Would you recommend a certain brand of fertilizer? 

A:  These are all new brand names to me as I am in the UK where we use different products..
However I looked on a website and found those you refer to and they seem to
have the same basic ingredients as our fertilisers.

This website seemed interesting and might have some additional information
for you.  I noticed this quote in particular:-

"Euphorbia milii prefers moderate fertility levels in production. One of the
few ways to keep this plant from flowering is to overfertilize. Either a
solution containing 150-275 ppm fertilizer or a medium rate of slow-release
fertilizer are adequate at planting. Try using a high-phosphorus fertilizer
when plants have reached saleable size."


Q: Susanna has a yukka query:  Recently I heard that Yukka plants are quite unique to other plants in that they consume everything from the air around them as opposed to chucking out oxygen and are therefore unsuitable to have in an area that isn't well ventilated? Is this true and should our yukka be moved from our warehouse apartment - which isn't very ventilated. Can it be dangerous?

A:  I haven`t heard about that before and have spent some time online and looking through my gardening books without finding any information to that effect....

I also note that businesses who contract for ornamental plant hire to companies count yukkas as their most popular plant, so I assume they are pretty safe..

If I do manage to find any information I will certainly let you know, but meanwhile I shouldn`t panic and throw out the plant. If this were a well known fact, yukkas would be most unpopular and if anything they are gaining in popularity as structural plants..

Perhaps one of our readers can confirm that yukkas are safe as houseplants....



Q:  Debi sent me a photo of her Yukka with her query:  My yukka is over 7’ tall and was wonderfully healthy, but my cat used the pot as a litter tray whilst we were away for a week and although I thorough washed the top of the soil ? of it has gone crisp and brown and dropped down. But the top is still really green and healthy and I don’t know what to do with it.

Will it live outdoors if I put it outside or actually planted it in the garden as it is massive (see attached picture).

A:   It is indeed a beautiful plant... It is an indoor plant that will only survive outdoors in the summer months, because frost will kill it..

I suggest you repot the plant now, using a good quality potting compost, at the same time thoroughly washing off any of the old compost and putting it in a larger pot....

They are tough plants and it should survive.. But if it still seems stressed, you can remove some of its branches..


Q:  Marilyn wants to move a small tree: We have a magnolia tree about 4 feet high in the centre of our garden, and would like to move to the edge border. When would be the best time ie month to move and could you advise procedure.

A:  It should be moved before seasonal growth starts, whether it is a deciduous or evergreen magnolia. Follow the instructions below and it should be fine...

  • First water it thoroughly

  • Partly dig up the magnolia, to get an idea of the rootball size.

  • Next, dig the new hole, at the same time mixing in some fresh compost and slow release fertilser granules.

  • Then finish digging up your magnolia, ensuring you get as much of the root as you can, and transfer it to its new home.

  • Stake it for one season to ensure strong winds don`t blow it over.

  • Water frequently for the first year until it settles in its new home


Q: Alan`s yukka seems to be dying:  I have moved house and my previously very healthy indoor Yukka tree seems to be dying off. This house does not have as much light as my previous house and so I’m worried that the Yukka will die. I have moved it right into a window space which gets light until about lunchtime. Once previously I moved my Yukka into the kitchen and it started dying off nearly straight away – I guessed this was because it didn’t have as much light any more so I moved it back to the living room which had loads of light and the yukka has grows very well over the last couple of years. What can I do for it now?

A:  Your yukka certainly lets you know when it isn`t happy, doesn`t it?

How about getting one of those natural daylight full spectrum bulbs? It will make you feel better too in the winter months.. I`m sorry but I don`t have any other remedies for a plant that needs plenty of light...

We once lived in a very dark, old house and I had to replace the bigger plants once they had died. Smaller ones are OK because they will live in the window ledges...


Q: John asks: When is the best time to trim a hedge that divides a garden next door. I do not know what the name of it is but it has strong leaves.

A: Hedges are normally trimmed twice a year, late spring or early summer and autumn..


Previous editions of your gardening queries: 

Edition 1

Edition 11

The new complete book of self sufficiency





Edition 2

Edition 12

Edition 3

Edition 13

Edition 4

Edition 14

Edition 5

Edition 15

Edition 6

Edition 16

Edition 7

Edition 17

Edition 8

Edition 18

Edition 9 

Edition 19

Edition 10

Edition 20

Edition 21 Edition 22
Edition 23

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife.

Click here for previous editions of Gardener`s Diary..  


       Alan Titchmarsh - How to be a gardener    Amazon Book - The Healing Garden    Amazon Book - RHS Plant Finder 2001 -2002    Amazon Book - "Home Front" in the Garden

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