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July 22, 2017
This flowering plant is from my Grandma who has passed. My mother can't remember the
name, but these were on the porch for my whole life and I am 60. Some kind of impatiens?
Very easy to transplant pieces, dies down to sticks in winter, comes back every
Spring, kept in pots, brought inside for winter months. I would appreciate info you
It is an old-fashioned plant called achimenes. It is related to African violets,
and the plant is produced from a small bulb-like structure called a rhizome. It will
die back in the winter, but bounce back the next spring, as long as you protect it—it
is not winter-hardy. It can come in quite a few colors, but purple is the most common.
It does best with morning sun and afternoon shade and even moisture—but does not tolerate
wet feet well.
July 1, 2017
Can you please identify this plant? The foliage is 30" high and the flower spike
contains over 20 bright red 2" flowers; each with 5 petals and sepals.
The plant in question is a summer bulb called crocosmia. Orange or bright red flowers
are most common. In full sun, they are stunning. In the shade, they won’t bloom but
March 4, 2017
I have an established bed of spring flowers and for first time only a few daffodils
are blooming.There is sun at this time of year as trees not yet out. My neighbors are blooming as they are
all over the city. They normally bloom. For the first time last spring the Iris did
not bloom either. Any ideas / suggestions?
Did you allow the foliage to grow for at least 6-8 weeks after bloom last year? That
is the time they set their energy for next year’s flowers. They bloomed early last
year, just like they are doing this year. If they are too crowded, that could also
impact flowering. How long have they been in the ground? If you think they are too
crowded or in too much shade, you could thin and/or move them now to a sunny locale
and let the foliage die down naturally. They should then bloom for you next spring.
Iris will not bloom if they are too crowded or in too much shade as well, and they
need sunlight during the growing season.
March 19, 2016
I'm trying to find a perennial that someone gave my mother years ago. Not sure of
the spelling but I think it is Acimanese. Do you have any ideas or suggestions where
I might find this tough little plant?
I think the plant you are referring to is achimenes, commonly called orchid pansy
or magic flower. These summer flowering small bulb or rhizome plants are not easily
found in nurseries, but can be a good pass-along plant. A few specialty bulb catalogs
do carry them. This member of the gesnariad family (related to African violets) are
not reliably winter-hardy so would need to be allowed to go dormant in the fall and
then stored in your garage or in a cool, dry place for the winter. They do best in
morning sun and afternoon shade, and need a well-drained soil. They are fairly carefree,
if you can find them to plant.
February 27, 2016
Are there any catalogs which specialize in rhizomes? I lost my achimenes baskets
last year and year and cannot find a place to replace the rhizomes. After over 30
years I hate not to have the beautiful baskets these make.
Achimenes are an old-fashioned bulbous type plant which can grow from bulbs, rhizomes
or tubers, which most people collectively lump into “bulbs”. Achimenes make a good
pass-along plant, and if you have a healthy plant, the small pinecone like bulbous
structures do multiply. You might try your local county Master Gardener plant sales
in April or May. Some perennial nurseries carry them, as do some of the bulb companies.
Plants Delight offers a hardy variety, and McClure and Zimmerman have them as well.
My spring bulbs are coming up, what should I do? Should I just leave them or replace
with new bulbs in November? I live in Western Bella Vista.
A lot of plants are confused this year, so it is no wonder that our bulbs are too.
Leave them alone and hopefully they will slow down in their new growth as the weather
continues to get cooler, and then still bloom again in the spring. I have seen some
snowdrops foliage appearing as well, but there isn’t anything you can do to stop it
or force the foliage back into the bulbs. You can always add to your bulb collection
in November, but don’t count these out yet.
Arkansas Gardener October 2012 Zone Report
Garden clean up is important. Our poor plants need as much tender loving care as
they can get after making it through the past two years outside. Rake up spent debris,
cut back perennials as they begin to die back. Cannas continue to be plagued by the
leaf roller, and it lives in spent debris in the garden, so don’t give it a resting
place. Cut and destroy. Add a fresh layer of mulch in all gardens. Take inventory
of what worked, and what didn’t. The only plants you should be fertilizing now are
winter annuals and vegetable gardens. Everything else is preparing for winter, and
should not be encouraged to keep growing. Houseplants should all be safely back indoors,
along with any non-winter hardy plants you want to save. Cut back on the watering
indoors and give them bright light to acclimate to the inside conditions. Check for
insects. Plant spring blooming bulbs from now through the first of the year. Expand
your plant palette and instead of just daffodils and tulips, try some unusual bulbs.
The alliums, or flowering onions are gaining in popularity along with scilla, grape
hyacinths and snowdrops.
Can you please identify this plant?
The plant in question is commonly called a spider lily — Hymenocallis.
With the warm weather, we have healthy winter weeds and tops of tender bulbs and other
perennials coming up. Is there a herbicide that will kill the weeds and not hurt the
Anything that will kill the broadleaf weeds will also kill or damage your emerging
perennials and bulbs, so either use a hoe, or spot spray, making sure there is no
contact between herbicide and desirable plants. Round-up or a glyphosate product
will work, if you can shield the desirable plants. I prefer the hoe or hand pulling
to avoid damage.
Fall Gardening Tasks
Rake leaves as they begin to fall. Start your own compost pile or use shredded leaves
as mulch in the garden. If you haven’t planted winter annuals, do so soon. Pansies,
violas, flowering kale and cabbage can all still be planted. Make sure you buy blooming
plants now, or you won’t get great flowers until spring. Plant spring blooming bulbs
from now through the first of the year. After a killing frost, clean up your flower
beds and vegetable gardens. Canna foliage needs to be cut back and disposed of to
help cut back on the leaf roller insect which overwinters in the spent leaves. Houseplants
that are inside need less water now, and may shed some leaves as they readjust to
indoor conditions. November is the ideal month to plant a tree. The ground still
has some residual heat, we have ample moisture and the plant is going dormant so it
can spend its time putting on roots. If you need to transplant hardy shrubs or trees
from one part of your yard to another, the transplant season has begun.
Winter Gardening Tasks
Continue to clean up in the garden. Since our first killing frost was late, many
people still have dead foliage out in the garden. Some late leaves have continued
to fall, so those too can be raked and added to the compost pile. If you still have
spring blooming bulbs that you haven’t planted, get them in the ground as soon as
possible. Remember they need to be exposed to at least 12 – 16 weeks of cool temperatures
if they are going to perform at their peak. Winter weeds are the green in your lawn
right now. If you plan to spray with an herbicide, do so on a day that is above freezing.
Killing winter weeds is not difficult, but the smaller they are, the easier they are
to kill. If you have pansies and violas in your landscape, fertilize them on a mild
winter day. Deadhead or remove the spent flowers to keep them producing more. Continue
to enjoy your poinsettia now that the holidays are over. I like the added color indoors
since all the other holiday decorations are gone. Give them plenty of sunlight and
even moisture and they will continue to give you color for months. If you can still
find them, buy some paper white narcissus and amaryllis bulbs for added color indoors.
They are typically in bloom within six weeks of being planted. Amaryllis bulbs can
last for years, but paper whites are typically a one season wonder. I toss them after
they finish blooming. Seed catalogs are arriving. Start planning your vegetable and
flower garden. Try something new this year. We are in the middle of the transplanting
season, so if you have plants that need to be moved in your garden, you can do so
now through early March. Remember to use caution if you are moving plants in freezing
temperatures. Don’t expose the root system to freezing temperatures for long. Have
the new hole dug before you dig up the old plant. Mulch and water and they should
start putting down roots. No fertilizer is needed until new growth begins in the
Now that our daffodils have stopped flowering, can we cut them down or is it best
to leave them alone to dry up on their own?
Daffodils, as all spring bulbs, need a minimum of six weeks of foliage growth after
blooming to generate energy for a flower next spring. If you cut the leaves off right
after flowering, you will get some leaves next year, but no blooms. You can let the
foliage die back on its own, but in a mild season, such as we had last year, you may
still have daffodil foliage into July, and that isn’t really necessary. An easy tip
is to wait until the last spring bulb in your garden has finished blooming, then count
out six weeks on your calendar and put a red X there. When that date rolls around,
you will know that every bulb in your garden has had at least six weeks of growth
and they all can be cut back.
A friend of mine gave me the a Clivia miniata houseplant and I have been unsure how
to take care of it. Searching the internet I found out that it likes to be on the
dry side. By the time I learned this, the plant has already lost its blooms so I am
afraid that I have killed the plant. Can you tell me anything I can do to revive the
plant? I am willing to re-pot if necessary.
Clivia only blooms once a year, but when it does it is amazing. The flowers are either
a bright orange or yellow depending on the variety. The plant is in the amaryllis
family and is not winter hardy in Arkansas. Young plants can take several years before
they begin to bloom. During the growing season—from spring until fall, water regularly
and fertilize once or twice. You can move the plant outdoors for the growing season
and then bring it back inside for fall. During the fall and early winter, keep it
very dry and on the cool side. A chilling period is needed for best flower production.
Gradually increase watering as the plants begin to grow, and hopefully you will have
a beautiful flower again next year.
My tulips are beautiful this year but I have received so many conflicting stories
of what to do for them to be pretty again next year. I have been told to remove the
flower but leave all the foliage in place until it dies or to remove the flower with
stem to the foliage so that they will not go to seed instead of setting the bulbs
for next year. Also to leave the bulbs in the ground and to take them up and let them
dry out before planting again in the fall. Right now I am totally confused as to what
action to take. Can you help me?
There are many different theories on tulips, but a lot can depend on what type of
tulips you are growing. Many of the newer cultivars are quite showy in one season,
but are not nearly as pretty the following year, regardless of care. Some are good
repeaters, some are not. It is best to remove the flower stalk—not the leaves. Tulips
and hyacinths often set large above ground seed pods, which does take energy away
from the developing bulbs underground. The foliage needs to be healthy and green
for at least six weeks following bloom to set flowers for next year. Fertilization
helps, but I often recommend applying it when the flower buds begin to appear, to
have the nutrition ready when the plants are finished. A light application now will
also help. There are two schools of thought on tulip bulbs being lifted in the summer.
Tulips are native to a season with cold winters and dry summers. If you water the
beds regularly during the growing season for other plants in these beds, tulip bulbs
can rot. If your beds are fairly dry, lifting and storing is not needed, but if drainage
is an issue, you may want to lift and replant the following fall. Many gardeners
replant new tulips every season to be assured of large spring blooming tulips.
The bulbs that I planted in late fall are confused with the fluctuating weather and
are starting to pop up all over my garden. What effect will this have on their future
growth during the season? Is there anything I need to do to protect if we get really
It isn’t unusual for some bulb foliage to be peaking through already—it happens almost
every season. But for those who don’t have any foliage up, just be grateful. The
foliage on spring blooming bulbs is quite winter hardy. Don’t cut off the foliage,
since it is the only set of leaves the bulbs contain. Do apply some mulch around
the leaves, particularly if it gets really cold. Avoid any contact with the foliage
if the weather is below freezing, as the leaves can be brittle and break easily if
frozen. For those of you who still have bulbs to plant, there is still time. Just
make sure you are keeping them on the cool side before you plant. Don’t freeze the
bulbs, but storing them in the garage should be giving you cooler temperatures. Try
to plant as soon as possible
I just found some Spring-flowering bulbs that did not get planted last fall. They
have been in a cool place. What should I do with them? Can they be planted now or
are they a complete loss?
If the bulbs are still firm, you can get by with forcing them to enjoy indoors. They
will not last until next spring, nor can you plant them outdoors this late. If they
have been thoroughly chilled, pot them in potting soil, give them sun and water and
they should be in bloom in around 6-10 weeks depending on what stage they are in now.
The pots could be outdoors until the heat kicks in. Spring bulbs don’t fare well in
warm temperatures. Once the temperatures heat up, move them inside, and enjoy them
there. If they have not gotten enough chilling hours below 45 degrees -- a minimum
of 10 weeks, then either give them extra chilling in the refrigerator or if there
is room, pot them in soil and put them in the refrigerator. Either way, make sure
they are not near other fruits and vegetables, which can give off ethylene gas and
There is an un-irrigated area of my yard between the driveway and property line in
which I would like to plant bulbs. Will bulbs flourish with rain water only? If
so, which ones, and when should I plant them?
Most of the spring bulbs will do very well, since we get ample moisture during their
growth period--winter through spring, and they prefer it to be dry during their dormant
summer months. Daffodils, tulips, crocus, and hyacinths should all do well, and are
all best planted in the fall.
My daughter-in-law brought me some bulbs from Holland (I lost the label and don't
remember what they are) and I planted them in early April. The next day the beds
were full of holes, so I thought the squirrels had gotten them all. Only one bulb
came up and the heat got it. Now, they are coming up. They are about 6-12 inches
high. They are not ready to bloom. What can I do? Will it be OK to dig them up
before the finish their growing cycle? If I leave them in the ground will the cold
weather kill them? I hate to lose them. The picture on the package showed a blue
star like flower with a yellow center. The leaves are flat and slender like a glad
but not that large. Can you please help me before this "strange" November weather
turns to the real Arkansas fall?
I think you need to investigate a bit further as to what type of bulbs they are.
There are summer blooming bulbs, which should be planted in April, but which thrive
in heat. Since yours didn't emerge, and the one that did couldn't take the heat,
leads me to think they could be spring bulbs that you got a little late. They are
normally planted in the fall, for a spring bloom season. They need a chilling cycle
to go through before they can sprout, grow and bloom. While it is a tad early for
the foliage to be up, it is not totally unheard of. The leaves are very cold tolerant
for these types of bulbs. You shouldn't see the flower spikes until closer to spring.
Grape hyacinths have slender leaves, almost like monkey grass, and they are growing
now. Or it could be some type of Dutch iris. See if you can pinpoint what the bulb
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