Q: Where can I find perennial lantana? I’ve hunted for years. Angela Miller, email
A: If you are willing to make a little trip you can visit the nursery where the first perennial lantana was introduced. Rick Berry and Marc Richardson, founders of Goodness Grows Nursery in Lexington, Ga. (goodnessgrows.com) noticed a particular plant growing in the yard of a Miss Huff in Athens in the 1980s. Unlike other lantanas they had grown, this one reliably came back from its roots each spring. They propagated cuttings from that plant and began selling them under the name of the original owner. In 2005, renowned plantsman Michael Dirr noticed a yellow lantana that was reliably winter hardy in his daughter Susy’s garden in Chapel Hill, N.C. He, too, took cuttings and eventually patented the plant. Now your hunt is over! Look for ‘Miss Huff’, ‘Chapel Hill Yellow’ and ‘Chapel Hill Gold’ lantana varieties. Most garden centers carry them.
Q: Where are angel trumpet seeds? I see ads for the seeds but I can’t see any on my plant! Sylvia Brackin, Oneonta Ala.
A: An angel trumpet (Brugmansia) seed pod looks like an okra pod hanging from a short stem where a flower once bloomed. If, like most folks, you have several offspring from a single mother plant, it will be rare to find a seed pod. Angel trumpet does not self-pollinate very well; flowers need pollen from a completely different variety to make seed successfully. If you do have a pod, it can take three or four months to mature and have viable seeds inside. This can be a problem for Southern gardeners if their plant blooms in late summer or early fall. Seeds can be harvested when the pod stem turns yellow and the pod itself wrinkles up. Save the seeds in a dry place over winter and plant them outdoors when the soil is warm in May.
Q: A hole has shown up in our gravel driveway, growing from two inches across to six inches. Is it a critter or something else? Roberta Culberson, Stockbridge
A: In my experience, lots of landscape holes are formed when an underground piece of wood or a tree root rots away after a few years and the soil above it collapses. If an animal makes the hole, usually there is a pile of soil by the entrance. If you don’t see any evidence of an animal, fill the hole with dirt or gravel and see if it opens again. In most cases, it will not.
Q: I have a peanut butter tree that I’ve been growing in a pot. It is now 18 inches high and has a few smaller sprouts that have also come up. When can I plant them in the ground outside? Jim Vaughn, Hampton
A: Peanut butter tree, Clerodendrum trichotomum, is also known as harlequin glorybower. It grows as a shrubby small tree, typically 15 feet high and wide. It is distinctive for its white flowers, red calyxes, and blue fruits in fall. The leaves do smell like peanut butter when crushed. If the pot has been outdoors all summer, you can divide the plants and put them in a sunny spot wherever you like. Don’t fertilize now; wait until March next year.