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Native Plant gardeningOpen All
I planted a trumpet vine seven years ago and it still hasn't bloomed. It's facing west and gets plenty of afternoon sun, and grows quite vigorously. How can I get this thing to produce flowers?Hello, Sandra in Kentucky: Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) is a fast-growing deciduous vine that can take several years to flower. This perennial vine produces flowers on new growth but it can actually take up to 10 years before you see your first blooms. The young vine is concentrating all of its energy on growth as opposed to producing flowers for reproduction purposes. There are a few reasons why older vines do not bloom, but we can rule out age and lack of sufficient sunlight in your case. Too much nitrogen fertilizer could be another possibility. Have you been fertilizing your vine or is it growing on a lawn that is being fertilized? Trumpet vine does not need to be fertilized; it thrives in poor quality soil and will take up everything it needs from the existing soil. If you do fertilize, use half-strength recommendations. Do you prune your vine? If so and you are cutting it back in the late spring, you may be removing potential flowers. Since it blooms on new wood the best time to prune is late winter or early spring before new growth begins. That being said, pruning can actually encourage flower production, so when early winter/spring arrives you can cut back some of the older woodier growth to prompt blooms for next season. This native vine is a favorite among hummingbirds but can become a maintenance issue when the root stock produces aboveground stems. Any stem can root where it touches the soil so keep this in mind when pruning. This vine can also reproduce from seed but not in your case since it has not flowered yet. To keep it under control a heavy pruning each season is recommended.
Can you give us the Web or telephone number to that nursery in Georgetown, KY, that you said has good wildflower seeds?Hello again, Jerry: Shooting Star Nursery is the seed source I had mentioned previously. They are a reliable source for native wildflower seeds as well as container-grown plants. They are located at 160 Soards Road in Georgetown, Kentucky. They can be reached at (502) 867-7979 or by e-mail at ShootingStarNursery@msn.com. Their Web site is www.shootingstarnursery.com . They are a small family-run business that is passionate about natives. The retail hours change as the seasons do, so call and check with them for their current hours. They may only be open by appointment this time of year. But they do accept mail orders, so you can purchase from their Web site and have the seeds shipped directly to your home. Their Web site is very informative in terms of their seed mixes and they will be happy to help you find the best mix for your garden.
I was given a 3.44-gallon sword fern. It's huge! Does it have to be repotted/pruned? If so, please tell me what kind of soil and when to prune.Hello, Yolanda: Sword ferns are a great addition to any shade garden. The evergreen fronds provide year-round structure and interest. It is more common that we see ferns in either 1-gallon or quart-size containers in the garden centers. I agree that a 3-gallon fern is quite large. I assume you are planting this new addition in your garden. As a general rule, you should dig the new home for your fern twice as wide and just as deep as the container it is currently growing in. They are low-maintenance and do not require pruning except to remove any dead/broken fronds. It is normal for the older fronds to die back in order to give room for new growth to emerge. Sword ferns belong to a very large genus with more than 100 species. A few of these are native to California. Likely, the most common is the western sword fern (Polystichum munitum). These ferns are upright in growth habit and are coarse in texture. They prefer to grow in moist, loamy soils. Treat as you would any new planting, and if Mother Nature does not provide rainfall it will be necessary for you to hand water for the first few weeks after planting to help the fern establish itself, and then it will be more drought-tolerant.
I have planted oakleaf hydrangea mainly to provide a tall hedge. The flowers are beautiful, but they bend down the bark such that it loses height. Can they be staked?Hello, Bob: Oakleaf hydrangea are wonderful specimens in the garden and even more stunning when planted in mass as you have done to provide a hedge. They are prolific bloomers throughout the summer months, have brilliant fall color, and provide winter interest with their exfoliating bark. These hydrangeas can reach 6-8 feet tall and 6 feet wide at maturity. The growth habit of hydrangea quercifolia cultivars is a bit more stiff and upright as opposed to the species itself. Do you know what you have planted? They can grow in either the sun or the shade, although it seems like they are a bit more dense when grown in a shadier location. I do not think staking the flowers is the ideal solution. This could be very time-consuming and may not provide the look you want. How long have they been in the ground? If they are still young plantings, keep in mind that as these native shrubs age the stems will become stronger and able to support the large flowers.