Repotting a ficus tree


Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Southeast U.S. Gardeners | Posted on 07-01-2008

Q. Happy New Year,I have a potted Ficus tree outdoors. It is extremely healthy but I now see that the roots have gone through the pot and into the ground.Can I cut the roots off at the bottom of the pot? or will this kill the tree? Sandy in Florida

A. Unless the potted ficus tree has been rooting in the ground for several seasons I believe that there will be no long term adverse effects to cutting off the roots if you need to move it.  But short term ficus can react to being moved – especially when the lighting changes dramatically. It reacts by dropping a few to many leaves.

Curcuma (Ruby Supreme)


Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Southeast U.S. Gardeners | Posted on 15-11-2007

Q. This summer I made a purchase of this plant at the local Lowe’s. The
plant is turning yellow and then to dead leaves. What do I do, cut it
down to ground level? Cover it up with mulch? Can’t find any
directions for winterizing it here in the low country. I think we
are 8B zone. Thank you for any help you can share with me. Jackie Dittimer – Charleston, SC

A. Curcuma is a ginger family plant that is normally grown in a greenhouse when temperatures fall below 64 degrees F. according to the American Horticulture Society’s Encyclopedia of garden plants. They grow in frost free areas where they go dormant due to drought and not cold. So you may try digging it and potting it up and keeping it in a garage with the soil kept on the dry side all winter and then replant in spring. You local Master Gardeners may also have first hand experience with this plant.

Mass Cane Becomes Canine Crunchy


Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Southeast U.S. Gardeners | Posted on 19-09-2006

Q. I have a mass cane dracaena plant and my dog ate all the leaves off of it and I was wondering if they will grow back or is there something I can do to help them grow back ? Thank You So Much ! James Rotondella – Clemmons, NC
A. If the plant has not been under stress up to this point your mass cane will likely sprout new leaves within he next few weeks. Once you see the new growth you can add some additional fertilizer if you do not already regularly fertilize. This will compensate for the nutrients that were removed by your herbivorous canine.

Yellowing Coralbush


Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Southeast U.S. Gardeners | Posted on 18-09-2006

Q. I have a Jatropha Multifida planted near the foundation of my home, it does beautifully during the winter, however, at present it is turning yellow. what are the soil requirements for this small tree? Could it be too wet? I have several succulents in the same location and they are doing great.thanks, Chris Riefstahl – Punta Gorda, Florida

A. Coralbush is a is in the euphorbia clan and is tolerant of dry soil so it should have similar watering requirements as your succulents. Tolerant doesn’t mean you shouldn’t water during the summer. Just make sure the soil dries out slightly between waterings. They will appreciate regular watering during the summer and less water in the winter which will mimic it’s natural habitat in Mexico. They do not tolerate salt spray so this may also be a cause of the problem since you seem to live near the gulf. You should also test your soil with a soil test kit to see if you have any deficiencies in the soil (like nitrogen).

Lethargic English Laurels


Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Southeast U.S. Gardeners | Posted on 13-09-2006

Q. I have English Laurel in clay soil. Two are doing well, but the other nine trees, the leaves are turning yellow and the plants are not growing. What should I do to save these laurels. I need them for screening. Thanks, Lisa Swan – Franklin, TN

A. I have two suggestions. I would suggest you should have a soil test performed. Contact your county agent or the Tennessee Master Gardener Program to find out how. Also since these are very fast growing plants they can often become root bound in the pot. If you did not tease the roots before you planted them there is a chance they may be wrapping around themselves (girdling) which would cut off water and nutrients. If this is the case you should first examine the roots by pulling away some soil from the surface. If this is the case you will need to lift the plants again and loosen or remove girdling roots.