Dear Master Gardener: I have a Christmas cactus that didn't bloom this year. What can I do to get it to bloom? Also, I have a friend whose Christmas cactus leaves look different than mine and blooms earlier. Are there different types?
Dear Master Gardener: Are poinsettias poisonous? Are there other Christmas plants that are poisonous? Answer: The sap of the poinsettia is mildly irritating, but that is the extent of it. The poinsettia plant is not toxic when eaten. Because of the common misconception it is poisonous, Ohio State University conducted extensive research into the safety of the poinsettia plant and disproved the notion the poinsettia is harmful to human and animal health. Although it is not toxic, the poinsettia is not intended for human consumption.
Dear Master Gardener: I purchased an orchid and the directions say to water it with an ice cube each week. Since it's a tropical plant I wouldn't think putting ice on it would be a good way to water it. How should I water my orchid?
Dear Master Gardener: There are insects wreaking havoc on my rose and peony blossoms. They are one-half inch, khaki-colored beetles with orangish spiny legs. What are they and is there a way to get rid of them without using chemicals? I try not to use pesticides because I am concerned about the health of bees.
Dear Master Gardener: Are the leaves of the horseradish plant edible or poisonous?
Dear Master Gardener: Is spring the best time to prune trees?
Dear Master Gardener: My amaryllis is almost done blooming. What should I do as the flowers fade? Answer: As soon as it is finished blooming, set it in a bright, sunny location. As flowers fade, remove each one along with the swollen ovary that sits behind it, to prevent seed growth. Water it when the soil gets dry, adding half-strength houseplant fertilizer monthly. Keep your amaryllis indoors in bright light or move it outdoors for the summer, once there is no longer danger of frost. If you put it outside, place it in light shade, then gradually move it to full sunlight.
Dear Master Gardener: We moved to a new house last spring and there was a big, beautiful perennial garden. Unfortunately I spent a lot of time trying to eradicate quackgrass and wild onions from the garden and finally gave up mid-summer. Is there a way to get rid of the weeds without using toxic chemicals?