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QI have an amaryllis that’s about five years old and has a side shoot, this being the second year for the side shoot. It is still in the original pot and soil. I put it out on the balcony for the summer, so it gets fertilized when I water the other plants. Until last year, my daughter has kept it over winter in her basement de ella, but last year it was so green that I kept it upstairs all winter, and it had two flower stalks.
Should I change the soil, and if so, what kind of soil should be used, and when is the best time to do this? Also, what about the side shoot — is it best to leave it attached as it is now, or should it be taken off and planted in its own pot or just put the whole thing in a larger pot?
A Yes, you should be repotting in fresh soil. As a general rule, amaryllis do like being a little pot-bound but should be repotted every three to four years. The ideal time to repot is after a period of dormancy but with your situation, it can be done now. The soil is nothing special, just a good quality potting soil.
The side shoot can and should be removed and planted to grow a separate plant. I’ve included an excellent video that shows how to do this with my column online in the Life section at edmontonjournal.com.
A not-so-dwarf lilac hedge
Q I have a dwarf Korean lilac hedge which is 16 years old. It is two meters tall, one and a half meters wide and has gotten wider than I would like it to be. It is on the east side of the house and up against the property fence, which is six feet tall. If I prune 25 cm or so off the side of the hedge will it fully leaf out on the side or will it be rather barren? The present two-meter height is fine.
A Let me begin by saying this must be an impressive sight when in bloom. You can remove 25 cm and the plants will leaf out again in the pruned area. Since you’ll be removing the actively growing tips when you prune, the plants will start off in the spring a little sparse. However, it will not take long for the plants to send out new growth and new leaves.
Lilacs bloom on old wood. This means the flower buds for next spring’s blooming period are set on the growth produced during the prior year. If you prune them back now there will be a lack of flowers on the pruned side next season but that, too, will come back.
Q I have a rabbit problem in my yard. Two rabbits have moved in and no matter how many times I shoo them away they just keep munching away on my annuals. Without causing them any harm is there anything I can do to keep them away from my plants?
A I feel your pain, believe me. I have a similar situation. I recently planted a golden mock orange and was amazed at how quickly it had taken and was growing so well. That was Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning I opened the blinds and looked out onto my mock orange that was a shadow of its former self. Sitting next to it was a very smug-looking rabbit. I sprayed the plant with Doktor Doom No Bite. I like this product because it contains Bitrex which is an extremely bitter-tasting substance that discourages chomping without being harmful to the animals. As added protection, I also drape black plastic garden netting over the plant. It is nearly invisible and just adds an extra layer of protection to discourage the persistent invaders.
Learn more by emailing your questions to email@example.com, reading past columns at edmontonjournal.com/author/geraldfilipski or my book, Just Ask Jerry. You can also follow me on Twitter @justaskjerry01.