Q: I received potted tulips for Valentines Day. Can I plant them in the ground now? Angie Perry, email
A: You’re welcome to put them in the ground, but it’s not likely they will reward you with large blooms in years to come. Summer soil heat and moisture will cause the original bulb to split into smaller ones, which may or may not have the energy to send up a flower stalk next spring. Dutch tulip growers go to exacting lengths to keep their bulbs from splitting. In Asia, where tulips are native, summer heat and dry soil prevent division. For more success having reliable rebloom, try other tulip species like Tulipa clusiana, Tulipa tarda, and Tulipa kaufmanniana. The best planting spot is in bright shade with fast-draining, sandy soil.
Q: I would like to grow a cinnamon tree! Could I grow it like my fig tree: inside in the cold months and outside in hot months? Madge Glamorstone, Pickens County
A: It’s theoretically possible. Look online for a source of the plant Cinnamomum verum. You’ll receive a seedling, which must be planted in a large container, perhaps a half whiskey barrel, that you can move outdoors in summer and indoors in winter. Grow the tree for two years, fertilizing and watering regularly. In spring of the third year, clip several 1/4-inch diameter twigs and scrub off the thin outer bark. Dry the twigs in a sunny window and watch as the inner bark splits and separates from the center sapwood. The curled quills are then ground into powder to flavor your cooking.
Q: I’ve come across several big sealed buckets of 20-year-old dry beans and popcorn. Is it possible to add these to our compost bin? Doug Huggins, email
A: I think crushing the beans/corn into pieces would be fine. A flour-like consistency might allow caking, so “pieces” would be the best size. I’d build a compost pile by scattering a thin layer of the material over a two-inch thick layer of leaves and repeat. Dampen the pile after every couple of layers. Things should compost nicely. If the pile has a bad odor, turn it with a pitchfork.
Q: I am considering combining two types of pre-emergents, Halts and LESCO 0-0-7 and applying them in one application, instead of double. Is combining the two products a good idea? Jerome Mallory, Cobb County
A: Halts and LESCO contain the same weed preventer chemical: pendimethalin. Applying them at the same time would be a double application. In my experience, applying a single application of weed preventer, using label directions, watered in, and timed properly, will do a great job preventing seeds from germinating. If you have a tremendous weed infestation, do one application between now and mid-March followed by another in May.
Q: Why do the immature buds of a blooming Christmas cactus often dry up and fall off? Betty Lynam, email
A: In my observation, it’s most often caused by low humidity or by the plant being near a furnace vent. Move your plant now and consider putting it outdoors in a bright shady spot for the summer. Bring it in when night temperatures are in the 40s next fall and keep it near a sunny window away from drafts.
Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on AM 750 and 95.5 FM News-Talk WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips.