More Flower to You
Fuchsias and geraniums should be pinched back now: fuchsias to promote new growth at the ends (where they bloom) and geraniums to make the plants bushy. (Don’t cut back regal and scented geraniums, though, because you’ll lose their flowers.) Feed fuchsias with a balanced fertilizer, and use the same formula, diluted by half, on geraniums. Watch for whiteflies on fuchsias and budworms on geraniums. Control whiteflies with sticky greenish-yellow cards (which work much like old-fashioned flypaper), available at nurseries. For budworms, spray buds with a systemic, which lasts as long as the flowers do. A bonsai landscape of windblown trees, rocks and ground cover can be re-created in an area as limited as a bonsai pot, which is typically small and shallow. Although they are fun to grow, bonsai plants do need a lot of attention. The soil should be leached to carry out excess salts. That is especially true where soil is built up above the edge of the pot. Chelated iron or acid food may help. Because you want to prevent growth, use a fertilizer at one-fourth the recommended strength. Prune trees in the spring so that they keep their shape. The roots should be pruned often and soil replaced when the plant is repotted. Although bonsai can be brought indoors, they are happiest outside in filtered shade. Bromeliads may look as though they’re dying after they bloom, but when the flowers fade it usually means several sprouts will soon appear around the base of the plant. Once these are nearly half the size of the parent, they can be separated and started on their own. Fertilize all bromeliads with a solution of fish one-fourth the recommended strength.