Aaron's Answers
Aaron's Answers

Here are some of Aaron's Answers to comstomer questions in the past:

Q: Non flowering Agapanthus  ---  I purchased my 1st Agapanthus many years ago from a nursery and it has not flowered since.  I am now trying to give it fertilizer called Super bloom  which helps tropicals flower. Next I will try fertilizer for tomatoes for some trace elements which might be missing. I am also going to try to store it in the refridigertor for the winter  ( read that it needs a cold spot and flowers poorly or not at all if brought in the house for the winter  I live in Chicago which gets very cold in the winter.  I am at a loss I don't know what else to do.  If the foliage was not attractive I would have quit a long time ago.  

A: Fertilizer can't hurt.  While I have grow agapanthus the zone 8 climate does most of the hard work.  I wouldn't necesarily worry about putting the plant in the fridge.  A cool spot in the house or guarage would be fine---they bloom just fine in California where it doesn't get too cold (some nights in the 50's?).  I assume it is a deciduous kind?  If not, I would say that the more light you can give it in the winter the better.   

Agapanthus bloom better when slightly crowded, although if too crowded each segment will be too small to bloom.  You might try shocking the plant into blooming by letting it dry out and then watering it.  If you think it needs more cold treatment you could probably just move it outside in spring while there is still some danger of frost.  That way it gets its cold spell right before its normal spring bloom time.
Further Reference:

Sprinhill, FL asked:

What growing instructions can you give for Calistemon (Bottle Brush)?

The most important thing for Bottle Brush to have is well drained soil and full sun. Other than that, I recommend planting them in their permanent location as soon as they arrive. Make sure the little plants stay moist to begin with, but once established they are quite drought tolerant. Personally, I don't like staking the plants as this can lead to a weak trunk, although they can grow taller a little faster if staked. Basically they are pretty easy to grow in warm climates like FL.




Is Sparaxis a perrenial?

Yes, it is a perennial under the right conditions. It will not, however, survive cold winters or freezing soil. To get it to survive from year to year it can be dug up once it goes dormant, and stored at room temperatures until a little before your last frost date in spring. It can also be planted in a pot and brought inside. Don't water them when they are dormant. The same applies to Ixia, Freesia, Gladiolus, and a host of other South African bulbs.



When will Freesia Bloom?

Freesia need somewhat specific conditions to bloom. They need good light, and cool (but not freezing) night time temperatures....say arround 50 degrees. This usually corresponds with mid spring in warm climates, and late spring in colder climates. One of the best things about freesia is growing them in window boxes in the winter. Immagine having that wonderful fragrance for Christmas or an otherwise dreary time of year. It is possible to even get two blooming seasons out of them. 1) Plant them in the fall for winter flowers in an indoor pot. 2) let them go dormant after flowering by witholding water. 3) store them in a warm place for a couple of months and 4) plant them outside a little before the last frost date.


Everything arrived safely, But not sure which way to plant the wind flower
bulbs. How do you tell which why is up on such a flat bulb? they are so
hard do you have to soak them first?

Thank you for the extra Anemone! How would you best recommend planting them?

The best way to plant Anemones is to soak them in water overnight and then plant them in a cool, moist, shaded place. I would plant them less than an inch deep. I can't really tell which way is up so I don't worry about it. If it concerns you then try planting them on their side. Don't let them dry at all until they start to grow. Once they go dormant, they can be dug up and stored dry again, but in most places they survive just fine left in the ground

California, Crinum Question

I hate to bother you with such a basic question but I am starting my nine assorted crinums in rich potting soil, should I have them in the sun or the shade or what to get them off to a healthy start?

I would recommend full sun for everywhere except maybe very hot desert areas like where I live. For those areas I recommend part shade, at least in the afternoon. Having said that, most crinums will do just fine as long as they have enough light. In most places they would still thrive in dappled shade from trees or afternoon shade. There are a few species that are adapted to the shade. I think the best indicator is the leaf---is it sun scorched? If not, leave them alone. Of course, you should endeavor to let crinum establish themselves instead of moving them arround all the time. Even with their scorched leaves, my crinum still manage to grow, bloom and multiply each year in the blistering Arizona sun.


Reno, OH Oxalis Question:

I received my Oxalis bulbs today. They look very good! I was hoping there would be some planting tips, as I have planted them before and they have been O.K. for a year or two, and then not come back. How deep and far apart would you recommend I plant them?


I would plant them as close as 2" apart and as far as 5", depending on how much room you are trying to fill. They will fill in eventually, but of course they will look thicker sooner the closer you plant them. I would plant them no more than an inch deep.

They key to their surviving in your area might be the winter's low temperatures. I'd call them marginally hardy in your zone, so it depends on the year. I would recommend covering them with a thick mulch after the first frosts.



Can I just plant the Eucharis Amazonica as a house plant?

The Eucharis make very good house plants. The leaves are glossy and attractive all year, and they flowers are of course wonderful. In entirely static room teperature it can sometimes be difficult to get them to flower. The important thing for flower formation is to give them a month or two with cool temperatuers (low 70s or 60's). If the temperature is raised after flowering for 1-2 months (into the 80's or above) and then dropped again for 1-2 months, the plant can be induced to flower up to 4 times a year.



Q--Hi, I was very surprised to have the flowers come out before the leaves -

they are beautiful - do the leaves follow? I have never seen bulbs do this

before, so I though I would ask.


This is fairly common with some types of bulbs. The flowers come out first so that the seeds mature at the beginning of the growing season and have an ideal time to grow. The leaves then follow.

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