Swedish Ivy’s scent is gone, but not forgotten
“Who can paint like Nature? Can imagination boast, Amid its gay creation, like hues like hers?” —James Thomson
Q : When I purchased my Swedish Ivy, it had a beautiful aroma. What can I do to get it back? —SW, Pawtucket
A: Plectranthus australis is the most commonly sold Swedish Ivy. P. coleoides marginatus is another scented specie. Both have to be kept in good condition to smell good. Swedish ivy require periodic pinching. They should be kept moist. A humid room, which is cool at 55 degrees is best. A monthly liquid fertilizer with high nitrogen will eventually produce summer flowers. Although the flowers are not scented, they will attest to your diligence in keeping the Swedish ivy healthy. You will be rewarded with scented foliage, if you follow the grooming.
Q: How do I get rid of sweet clover in my lawn? —Bertha, Cambridge, Illinois
A: We are a strong advocate of keeping clover in the lawn. Clover is a martyr grass that will die away when there is sufficient nitrogen in the soil. Since it attracts bees, it is helpful for pollination of flowers in addition to adding nitrogen to the soil.
Clover takes nitrogen from the air and breaks down the nitrates in the roots to feed the other grasses. If you give the lawn sufficient fertilizer the clover will disappear. You have an inexpensive source of fertilizer that you could grow to love.
Q: We have a cone-shaped fungus growing on the shade trees in the woods behind our house. Is there something that I can spray on them? —Harold, Hope Valley A: In the woods, it is best to let nature take its course. With the onset of winter, most fungus will be dormant. Eventually, some virus will weaken the fungus or the insects that carry the fungus will be devoured by a predator. In the woods an organic natural approach will prove its worth.
Unfortunately, most homeowners do not create enough natural conditions and end up using chemicals, organic and otherwise, to protect their plants.
Q: We have black spots on our variegated dogwood. We watered often and put mulch down. How can I correct it? —Deb, Kewanee, Ill. A: You have a fungus on the dogwood. Rain splashing up on the plant spreads the disease from the mulch. Remove the mulch and put it into a compost pile for the winter. It should sterilize itself with a heavy frost. Benlate will arrest the fungus. Follow directions on the label. Cart away all the fallen leaves this fall. A handful of 5-1010 fertilizer will help boost your plant.
Mort White is a gardening expert whose column appears weekly in The Call and The Times. For more columns visit themagicgarden.com. For the best solutions for your lawn, tree and shrub problems, call the experts at SeaScape, 800-294.5296 or visit seascapeinc.com.
Mort White THE MAGIC GARDEN