ANNUALS and PERENNIALS

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We help gardeners by answering questions, contact us at ask@mgmanitoba.com

Question:
I wintered this canna Lily, potted it and not sure why it grew the way it did in the pot. Should I repot as it is at the edge of pot and separate the small on. Will the lower leaves dry off?

Answer:
Your Canna is looking very good and healthy and there is nothing to concern yourself with as it is growing now. Evidently there were two shoots on the tuber that you planted and hence the two growing stems. They will both be fine and no problem with them growing close to the edge of the container. Keep it in the house until there is no risk of frost in the forecast, usually the May long weekend or afterwards. Acclimatize it before you plant it outside. This means putting it into the shade in a no wind area for a few days before moving it slowly into a sunnier location, and finally planting the Canna into its permanent summer spot.

Question:
Last year was my first year planting Cannas. I’ve stored them over winter and I’m wondering when I can plant them? Ideally I’d like to just put them into the pots they’ll be in for the summer vs starting in one pot and transplanting. I’ve read they can go into the ground at the same time you put in tomatoes, just wanted your opinon on what I should do? How much daily sun exposure would they require for that month and what is the minimum temp I can expose them to? I might keep them in my sunroom.

Answer:
Yes, you can plant the canna lilies directly into the container that they will be growing in all summer and the ideal time would be the May long weekend. The downside of planting them with this method is that it will take them a long time to grow and provide you with the summer specimen that you expect to see from a canna. The recommendation would be to pre-plant them in a container in mid-April, keeping them inside, and then plant them into the summer container, again at the May long weekend. It is a bit more work but the results are definitely more rewarding. Either way though your canna lilies will grow.

Question:
I heard on the radio that you answer questions. Thank you! I received some daffodils that were dug up before they bloomed. They have 10 inch leaves. How do I, or do I, plant them now?

Answer:
The recommendation would be to plant them now digging a six inch deep hole and replanting the daffodils, bulb with leaves. I trust that both are in good condition and have not dried out. I doubt that they will bloom this year as they are stressed and would recommend that if there are flower stems showing, remove them. By doing this method all the growing energy goes into the roots hence nourishing the bulb for the following year’s blooms. Do not cut off the leaves as they too nourish the bulb. When planting sprinkle some bone meal into the planting hole, put the bulb in and some of the soil and water. Then put the remainder of the soil on top and water well again.

Question: When is the best time to move a fern peony?

Answer:
The best time to move a fern leaf peony would be in August. As these peonies bloom early in the spring it is recommended that they are not moved in the spring before blooming as this would stress the plant and forfeit its blooms in that year. Being mid-September would be the latest to move with August being more favourable.

Question:
While bedding plant shopping, this plant kept on catching my eye. There were no others like it, and no tag, the clerk said it was a geranium. Can you identify it, then I can find out what conditions it like. Also, is it an annual?

Answer:
Yes, it is a perennial geranium. Unless, we know more about it from a tag that would have been on it, it is difficult to say whether it would be hardy here in Manitoba. Perennial geraniums can require either a sun or shade location. This too would have been noted on the tag. You could go back to the nursery where you saw it and ask them to see if they have their order forms that would tell them the variety.

Question:
Attached is a mystery plant that grew in our garden I have tried to
identify with internet searches to no avail Hoping you can help.

Answer:
The plant you have is Campanula glomerata or clustered bellflower. It is an old-fashioned plant that was in style many years ago and is quite prolific but not invasive. Enjoy it!

Question:
I have a calla lily that seems to be stressed. The leaves seem to be turning yellow and turning up at the tips. Can you tell me what is causing this? I have just brought plant indoors as a squirrel was burying acorns in the pot!

Answer:
Calla lilies, like many of the summer-blooming bulbs in our climate, need to rest or go into a dormant state. With the lessening of sunlight hours these plants are in effect ‘shutting down’. The recommendation is to continue giving it water, with no fertilizer, in lesser amounts. This continues to inform the plant it is time to be dormant. You can cut off the leaves as they dry, and much like tulips, the green leaves nourish the bulb for next year. When all the leaves dry up you can store the bulb/s in some peat moss in a brown paper bag in your fridge until next April when you can plant them into a container and enjoy them next summer. During the winter monitor the moisture in the bag and be sure it is not too dry (if so sprinkle with a few drops of water) or too moist which will cause the bulbs to rot.

Question:
I would appreciate if someone could advise me of a small rose bush perennial that would get morning sun (east) against our concrete foundation. I have had no luck previously with black spots, aphids, etc. killing my rose bushes. I see there is a Parkland and Canadian Explorer series that are improved to deal with these problems. I live in a private condo home and residents drive by this area of my home on entering our condo village. I would like a small one due to winds and condo restrictions of 36-40 inches and other plantings restricting width so 24-36 H & the same wide is what I am searching for.

Also I have had ant problems for which I have used Ant Out recommended by a St Mary’s garden shop and also homemade cornstarch and icing sugar which never got to the queen ant. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Answer:
Roses need some sun to flower well, they will manage with less, just flower less. Overall roses are difficult to grow well here, they may just survive and not really do a lot, also foundations often don’t get much rain. It is likely alkali near your foundation and roses don’t really mind that. It is worth a try but this is not the best position for a rose. Roses do best in an open full sun position in a bed that only has roses in it, they don’t like competition, heavy clay is fine for them as they like to be fed well and stay a bit moist. Your conditions are not ideal but may be adequate.

There are as you suggest the Parkland and Canadian Explorer series of roses. Most of the Morden roses such as Morden Blush, Morden Ruby, Morden Fireglow are small as is Winnipeg Parks. The Canadian Explorer series tend to be larger but Henry Hudson and Simon Fraser are small. There is a new series of hardy for zone 3 roses called the Artist Series, Oscar Peterson, Campfire, Emily Carr, Bill Reid and Felix Leclerc. You haven’t mentioned what colour you want. Many roses are partially frozen in our winters but if these are bought on their own roots (not grafts) then even if they are frozen down to the ground the same rose will come back. It is often hard to grow a rose to its full potential so some of the bigger ones may never get to that size.

There is quite a variety of these hardy roses in the box stores garden centres in Winnipeg and without naming names some for as little as $10 each. The recommendation is to go on the internet and decide which colour and style you like then make a list and go around looking for it.

Aphids should be washed off with a hose jet and will likely be eaten by the new aggressive ladybugs. When choosing a rose look for disease resistance then you will have less trouble with black spot. Put some bone meal to encourage root development into the hole you dig and water regularly in the first year or two to help the rose establish. After winter when your rose has leafed out prune out the dead wood but be patient as some of the apparently dead branches will recover. It is unusual to have a problem with size as it is hard for even hardy roses to survive in our climate but if a rose grows too big then you can always prune it.

If the standard ant bait hasn’t worked for you , you could try Ant Nematodes which are little worms that infect and kill ant larvae. It is important that you get them before the use by date as fresh as possible and buying on-line seems to be cheaper and more available than in the local garden centres many of whom haven’t heard of this biological control.