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Facebook Q&A Session 17th May 2013


Thompson & Morgan Facebook Q&A Session 17th May 2013 - Your horticultural questions answered.

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Name: Sarah Griffiths

Question: Hi, wonder if Sue can give me some advice on Acacia dealbata please. Will it survive in a south facing garden that gets full sun all day and gets hot? Does it have to be against a wall or can it be planted centrally in a lawn area? Thanks.

Answer: Hi Sarah, a south-facing position is ideal for Acacia dealbata. They grow quite successfully in mild Southern areas of the country but should still be offered some protection in the form of fleece and a deep dry mulch throughout the winter months while young. They’re very fast-growing given the right conditions - RHS Rosemoor in Devon has several thriving Acacia dealbata trees. A South-facing wall is a good position as the wall retains heat and offers some wind protection too. However, planting centrally in a lawn shouldn’t be a problem provided protection is given during the winter months and the site is fairly sheltered from strong winds. When planting a tree in a lawn, make sure it is planted within a 120cm (4ft) diameter circle of bare earth to reduce weed and grass competition while the tree establishes. After 3 years you can allow the grass to re-establish around the base of the tree. As Acacias mature they do gain more resistance to the effects of frost but if your winters are frequently extreme they will require protection each year. I hope this helps Sarah.

Name: Roy Williams

Question: Hi I bought Tree 'Crystal' Collection Lilium, Oriental Lily planted them but not 1 has started to show, all my other lilies are showing. Was wondering if this grow later or slower as no sign of them yet. They have been planted same time as others and beside others. Thanks.

Answer: Hi Roy, I do find my tree lilies emerge slightly later than the smaller Asiatic and Oriental varieties, and it can also vary between varieties. They will hopefully pop up by the end of the month, but if not it may be worth carefully excavating the bulbs to see what may be causing the delay. Take care not to damage their growing point, taking a wide berth around the area you’ve planted them in, or if container-grown, tipping the compost out of the container gradually. I hope this helps, let us know how you get on.

Name: Yvette Addo

Question: Hello, can you tell me how I look after drumstick Primulas please. Mine seem to be dying. Do I chop the heads off for them to re-bloom?

Answer: Hi Yvette, thank you for your photograph. From what I can see it looks like your Primula flowers have been out for a few weeks and are naturally fading. It is worth removing these flowered stems, close to the base to encourage more blooms to be produced. The leaves of the plant look healthy so I’ll give you some general advice on the best growing conditions for Primula denticulata. Drumstick Primulas (Primula denticulata) originate from moist, alpine regions and dislike light, sandy soils which dry out in the summer. Similarly they will find pot cultivation quite stressful unless the compost is kept consistently moist. They will grow in full sun if the soil remains moist at all times but prefer a partially shaded position. They like their soil to be rich in organic matter, with plenty of leaf mould, well-rotted manure or compost incorporated. If your soil is alkaline this could be another reason why your Drumstick Primulas aren’t thriving - they prefer a neutral to acid soil. I hope this helps Yvette, best of luck.

Name: Bex Barra

Question: I bought 3 of your Buddleja Buzz. I'm not really much of a gardener but I thought I’d give it a go. I potted them up a while ago, and they haven’t grown a single inch. Two have leaves on, one looks like a sickly twig, what have I done wrong? Is there any hope in saving them?

Answer: Hi Bex, sorry to hear your plants haven’t performed as expected. Newly potted plants can take some time to establish a root system before putting on lots of top growth, so your plants may simply be settling in. It’s also important not to over-water newly potted plants as they can easily drown in the large volume of compost. Let the top inch of compost dry out between each watering. To encourage them to grow, place them on a warm, bright windowsill, or in a greenhouse. You should hopefully start to see some improvement as summer approaches but please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further problems.