Drought fall­out

Garden Answers (UK) - - Problems Solved -

Q Why did rose stop flow­er­ing and leaves turn yel­low? JOAN WOOD, BY EMAIL A To main­tain growth and flow­ers, roses should be pruned (dead­headed) af­ter the first flush of flow­ers and given a sec­ond feed, in July. Last sum­mer’s heat and drought pre­vented your plant’s sec­ond flush of flow­ers and yel­low­ing leaves sug­gest lack of mois­ture and feed. It could also in­di­cate blackspot. If so, spray it right through next sum­mer with a suit­able fungi­cide to pre­vent in­fec­tion and loss of vigour. Q When will daphne ‘Per­fume Princess’ bloom? MAR­GARET WHITE­HEAD, BY EMAIL A ‘Per­fume Princess’ is a hy­brid of Daphne bholua and Daphne odora; the for­mer par­ent usu­ally only blooms once it’s reached a rea­son­able size. Your plants have only been in the ground for two years and the buds that open this win­ter were de­vel­oped this sum­mer so, in re­al­ity, it has only had one sea­son to get es­tab­lished so far to show blooms. Ex­pect to see flow­ers next year! Q How should I prune my 3-year-old ‘Itoh’ peony? D FULLER, DULWICH, LON­DON A Itoh or ‘in­ter­sec­tional’ pe­onies are hy­brids be­tween tree pe­onies and herba­ceous pe­onies and need lit­tle prun­ing. If some of the per­sis­tent stems die back at the tips you can cut these back to healthy buds in spring and prune back dead stems to the base. Q Can I keep my fuch­sias to grow on next year? JAMES HUTCHIN­SON, BY EMAIL A Yes you can. As soon as tem­per­a­tures drop and plants have been lightly frosted, put them in a cool green­house and keep them just moist. You can prune plants back now or wait un­til spring, when they’ll also need re­pot­ting. Be­cause they don’t need much light, you can also keep them in a shed, but don’t let them dry out. An­other tech­nique is to place them in deep boxes and cover the base of the stems with com­post to pro­tect the crowns from frost. Q Is this pretty blue-flow­ered plant hardy? PAMELA MCNEIL, BY EMAIL A Yes! This is cer­atostigma, a hardy shrub known as hardy plumbago. It has a low, spread­ing habit and prefers a sunny spot, pro­duc­ing flow­ers from Au­gust on­wards. Of­ten the flow­ers are com­ple­mented by the fo­liage, which turns bright scar­let in au­tumn.

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