Mid Atlantic Gardening forum: "Beginner" Questions/Q&A For All

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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Nov 18, 2014 11:47 AM CST
Okay, well, we all are experienced gardeners here and at the same time we're all beginners at some aspect of it or many aspects of it, so some of us thought it would be a friendly place to share our beginner questions right here in MAG.

I'll start.

This little lemon tree is covered in buds and I hope I can get lemons from it!

Here it is right after I up-potted it from its one-gallon container:
Thumb of 2014-11-18/kylaluaz/3b7d09

Here is some of the enthusiastic budding it's rewarded me with so far:
Thumb of 2014-11-18/kylaluaz/24d07e

I've heard that I can pollinate the open blooms (when they open which should be any day now) by hand, with a Q-tip, or a toothpick! I gather this just means touching some pollen on one flower and then lifting that and touching it to the pollen on another flower?

Anyone here done this before? When I get to the open flower stage I'll post more pictures but I'd love to know if there are any tricks to it.

And please use this thread for any and all questions you might feel you're at "beginner level" -- we can have our own little "Q&A"!

Thumbs up

Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Nov 18, 2014 2:43 PM CST

Moderator

Hi Kyla yes I did something similar with my cucumber plant this summer! Got a cuke, too! What a little beauty your lemon tree is!

Okay here is my question: my amaryllis bulbs from last year are sitting stubbornly in the pot while my new bulbs are sprouting. Anything special I can do to stimulate the old bulbs into healthy new growth? They are pretty well rooted so I have not moved them or the soil they've been in.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Nov 18, 2014 7:03 PM CST
Hi Kyla ...

Yes, the Q-tip method will work on citrus trees as the blossoms have both the male and female reproductive parts. The trick is to catch the pollen and apply it at the right time. However, you may not see any fruit from the cross for about 10 years.

Here's a link that can give you more specific information:

http://www.ultimatecitrus.com/pdf/propagation.pdf

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Nov 18, 2014 7:23 PM CST
10 years? Oh. Crying

Well, I'll enjoy the flowers for their own sake anyway..... Thanks for the link, Lyn.

Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
Sedums Container Gardener Bulbs Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Region: Mid-Atlantic
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ssgardener
Nov 19, 2014 7:28 AM CST
@kylaluaz, I'm an indoor citrus grower myself. I have 2 citrus trees that are currently under grow lights.

Citrus flowers don't need to be pollinated! Their flowers are considered "perfect" and self pollinate easily.

My citrus trees bloom indoors during winter with no pollinators or even wind.


RoseBlush1 said:Hi Kyla ...

Yes, the Q-tip method will work on citrus trees as the blossoms have both the male and female reproductive parts. The trick is to catch the pollen and apply it at the right time. However, you may not see any fruit from the cross for about 10 years.

Here's a link that can give you more specific information:

http://www.ultimatecitrus.com/pdf/propagation.pdf

Smiles,
Lyn


@roseblush1, that article is about propagation, and not pollination. Since Kyla already has a blooming lemon tree and isn't trying to propagate one from seed or cuttings, she doesn't need to wait 10 years. Thumbs up

Kyla, if you give yours enough food and light this winter, the blooms will turn to fruit! The tree will drop blooms that it can't support and only keep the amount of fruit that it can sustain. You don't have to pinch the flowers or prune out the fruit as you would with prunus.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Nov 19, 2014 7:36 AM CST
Interesting! Thank you, @ssgardener. I think @RoseBlush1 shared that for the "more information" part rather than instructions on actually pollinating, but I'm glad I won't need a ten year wait. And since she referred to "fruit from the cross", perhaps she thought I was cross-pollinating with another plant?

However. I did hear from at least two people (and I can't remember who one was) about pollinating the flowers. One was my cousin who said her mother used to do that with a lemon tree's flowers. Perhaps they were all misinformed.

We shall see how this unfolds! I am not able to give artificial light but the tree is in a South window and gets as much sun as anybody in the house does. Honestly, I'll be so happy for the flowers and if I get fruit it's a bonus. In the spring the tree can go outside again and that should allow fruit production.
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
Sedums Container Gardener Bulbs Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Region: Mid-Atlantic
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ssgardener
Nov 19, 2014 7:51 AM CST
Kyla, a lot of people pollinate their citrus because they think it's fun. It's not necessary, though.

Bees do like citrus trees, but citrus groves (especially Meyers lemons) don't need to intentionally bring in honey bees like apple tree groves, because it's not necessary.

You get dozens and dozens (hundreds, even?) of flowers on a small lemon tree, but you'll probably get 4-5 lemons tops until it's more mature.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Nov 19, 2014 10:42 AM CST
@ssgardener ...

You are right, I didn't read the article carefully enough. Thanks for the catch.

I do tend to relate everything back to the one genus of plants that I know best, roses. When a plant has both the male and female reproductive parts in the blossoms the q-tip pollination method works, since I know that is true for roses, I go from there. That's one of my on-going mistakes.

Smiles,
Lyn

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Nov 20, 2014 12:44 AM CST
I have a question about planting bulbs.

I bought a couple of bags of mixed daffodils early in October and we had some significant rain Hurray! for the next two days. We have had one or two days of rain every week since then and the soil has been ... and still is ... totally saturated.

I've been told never to plant in mud. Is that true for bulbs, too ?

It's supposed to rain for the next four days, so I'll be working inside on the freezer mess, but I am wondering if I don't get them planted, is there some way to hold them over ?

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Nov 20, 2014 5:22 AM CST

Moderator

hi, Lyn. I think you're right about the muddy ground--bulbs can rot in overly-wet soil.

The bulbs should be fine if you wait a week or two for the ground to dry out. Just store them in a cool area, like your basement, garage, or shed.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Nov 20, 2014 8:57 AM CST
Thank you, Cat.

If we are lucky and get just a dry year instead of drought, the ground won't dry out until long after the spring bulbs have bloomed. I'd rather have rain and lose a couple of bags of bulbs than to go through another year of winter drought.

When it's not raining, I will try to be out there doing other projects. I have to keep moving this winter ... Smiling

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Nov 20, 2014 9:48 AM CST
If it were my bulbs, then, I think I would try to choose a day when the ground is not soggy, even if it's still not actually dry, and plant at least some of them, as a test.

I know in Washington State, the ground never dried out. Bulbs did fine there. The problem there was digging around all the little rocks! Green Grin!
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Nov 20, 2014 10:21 AM CST
I am in the odd position of feeling so very happy about all of the rain we have been getting and wishing the soil would dry out enough for me to do some planting ... Hilarious!

Last winter we got a foot of snow on the Friday before Thanksgiving and then it got cold and the snow didn't melt. We didn't get any more rain or snow until February. Near the end of December, I checked the soil under the snow and it was bone dry. So there I was wearing snow boots and winter clothing hauling a hose around to water the plants so that the would make it through a cold and very dry winter. I am hoping I don't have to do that again ... Big Grin

I love those little rocks. They provide perfect drainage in clay soil. It can rain every day for weeks and I'll never see a puddle. I added a whole lot of rock to my back fill when I planted my last rose for the season a few weeks ago because the soil was really too wet to plant and I didn't want to suffocate the new roots. I thought the rose would be safer in the ground than in a container I couldn't truly winter protect. So far, the rose is not showing any transplant shock and is now moving into dormancy because the temps have dropped.

If the soil does get dryer, I'll plant the bulbs.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
Image
kylaluaz
Nov 20, 2014 11:49 AM CST
:Thumbs: and Hurray! for little rocks.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Nov 20, 2014 1:06 PM CST

Moderator

Yes I think it's fine to plant the bulbs in normally dampish soil. By dry out I didn't mean 'wait until the moisture content in the soil is zero', I just meant wait till it's not muddy anymore.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
Image
kylaluaz
Nov 20, 2014 1:24 PM CST
I thought that was what you meant. nodding

Also, what do you think about stickying this thread???
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Nov 20, 2014 1:44 PM CST
Thanks, Cat. I thought that's what you meant, too. When I say saturated, that is way more than damp. In a dry year like I wrote about above, we get 25 to 30 inches of rain. A wet year can go up to 50 inches. With all of the rocks in the soil, I can still walk on it even when it is totally saturated and it won't compress. Who would have thought that those rocks had any kind of benefit to a gardener ? Hilarious!

If it rains a couple of days a week, the soil never has a chance to get even close to damp. I don't know what's coming. With the vortex last year, there was a high pressure ridge over the Pacific that blocked almost all rain to all of California. It could happen this year, too. So far, we have had more rain than all of last season.

I don't have enough potting soil to put the new bulbs in containers and the two gardening centers up here have closed for the season. If the soil does dry out to where I think the bulbs won't rot, I'll get them planted.

Kyla, I like the idea of a sticky.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Nov 20, 2014 2:51 PM CST
kylaluaz said:Okay, well, we all are experienced gardeners here and at the same time we're all beginners at some aspect of it or many aspects of it, so some of us thought it would be a friendly place to share our beginner questions right here in MAG.

I'll start.

This little lemon tree is covered in buds and I hope I can get lemons from it!

Here it is right after I up-potted it from its one-gallon container:
Thumb of 2014-11-18/kylaluaz/3b7d09

Here is some of the enthusiastic budding it's rewarded me with so far:
Thumb of 2014-11-18/kylaluaz/24d07e

I've heard that I can pollinate the open blooms (when they open which should be any day now) by hand, with a Q-tip, or a toothpick! I gather this just means touching some pollen on one flower and then lifting that and touching it to the pollen on another flower?

Anyone here done this before? When I get to the open flower stage I'll post more pictures but I'd love to know if there are any tricks to it.

And please use this thread for any and all questions you might feel you're at "beginner level" -- we can have our own little "Q&A"!

Thumbs up



I have a citrus tree called Calamondin tree, flowers looks similar to your little tree. I grow mine in a big container, outdoors year round in full sun, since our area does not have snow, just mild winters and occasional winter rains. My tree likes lots of water, and the various insects that gets attracted to it like butterflies, bees, even hummingbirds does the pollination for it. But initially first year I have neither blooms nor fruits, 2nd year I got blooms, then third year I got both and it has been actively doing it every since. I only added some compost during Spring since the soil gets depleted eventually. With our drought situation here, I realized I really have to step up watering, otherwise my blooms and fruits gets delayed. Calamondin is called Philippine lemon or calamansi in my home country.


Thumb of 2014-11-20/tarev/aaad69 Thumb of 2014-11-20/tarev/e54f59
Thumb of 2014-11-20/tarev/2c8d26 Thumb of 2014-11-20/tarev/ada481
Thumb of 2014-11-20/tarev/a40e96

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
Image
tarev
Nov 20, 2014 3:00 PM CST
Catmint20906 said:Hi Kyla yes I did something similar with my cucumber plant this summer! Got a cuke, too! What a little beauty your lemon tree is!

Okay here is my question: my amaryllis bulbs from last year are sitting stubbornly in the pot while my new bulbs are sprouting. Anything special I can do to stimulate the old bulbs into healthy new growth? They are pretty well rooted so I have not moved them or the soil they've been in.


My amaryllis after its initial forced blooming eventually follows the normal cycle of bloom. So it blooms for me afterwards around mid-Spring. I have done what I can too to maybe hasten it to bloom..but it knows when it has to do it..in Spring. At least that is what I have seen and experienced with my amaryllis bulbs. It does not get any rest here in my area. I just continue to keep the soil moist, give it sun, keep that bulb health and big.

The new amaryllis bulbs are conditioned for forced blooming, so they will bloom right around the holidays.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
Image
kylaluaz
Nov 20, 2014 7:02 PM CST
Tarev, thanks! And what a lovely tree yours is. I hope mine will flourish like that. Though to be honest I'd never intended to adopt a citrus tree, but this one was badly in need ofa home, so, what could I do?

I'm enjoying it very much for the flowers alone. Fruit when and if it arrives will be a bonus.

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