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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.


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Pruning Wisteria

When is the correct time to cut back the wysteria? How far back can you cut it?

The best time to prune Wisteria is during the winter dormant season months of February and March. They should be pruned back to about 6 leaf buds from where the growth started the previous year. Thin out crisscrossing vines and they will flower better. If new growth gets too robust, simply pinch it back as it develops.


Christmas Cactus

I have a cactus, but I don't know if it is a Christmas Cactus or a Thanksgiving Cactus. How can I tell the difference...or does it matter.  It is about 5 years old and I have not had any luck having it re-bloom since it was purchased.  Help!!!!! How can I get this lovely plant to rebloom?

When did it bloom when you got it 5 years ago? The two are in the same plant family, along with the Easter cactus.

Christmas cactus needs 10 hours of bright light and 14 hours of darkness to bloom. Also, the plant likes cooler temperatures (55 to 65 F) from late August until the flower buds are set. One time feed with 0-10-10 in October.


Thrip on Gladiolas

We love gladiolas and raise lots of them. This year was very wet - so much so that weeding was even difficult. Many of our gladiolas did not bloom. Some of them that did bud were very deformed and a buds did not open. What is the problem and what can we do about it in the future? Will the corms from the deformed glads be O.K. to plant next year?

Sounds like a typical infestation of Thrip (an insect that does this kind of damage to glads). Thrips are blichish slender insects (winged) that land on flowers or foliage from spring to the first frost in the fall. They often hide in flower petals or between leaves. Begin spraying to control upon first sight of the insects. There are some new environmentally friendly sprays that help control thrips. 'Eight' is an environmentally sensitive spray, lasting about 4 weeks. It is a 'Pyrethroid'.


Wintering Ficus and Hibiscus

I purchased a Ficus approximatley 2 years ago. While I had the plant in my home it did not fare well at all. Early this summer I transplanted the tree outside and placed it in the ground. The plant now is huge and beautiful.  Can you tell me now that it is time to bring it in for the winter, where should I put it, high light, low light, lots of water etc.

Ficus does best in filtered light; watered sparingly. Feed only during the growing season. Do not move the plant once you place it in a spot. I suggest you water it with 'Oxygen Plus', as there is a tendency to over-water this plant.

I also have a hybiscus that I brought in, can you give me some pointers on that plant as well?

Place the hibiscus in a spot where it will get maximum light. Feed once a month with 0-10-10 fertilizer. Water as needed. This plant often needs more watering attention than most houseplants, due to leaf size and flowers.

With both plants, place a glass or vase of water near them to provide humidity.

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