« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Don Kinzler, Published January 10 2014

Fielding questions

Q Were the photos in your Jan. 4 column taken at the North Dakota State University trial gardens, and do you have the names of the beautiful grasses?

– Kay Kundert, Fargo

A You correctly recognized the NDSU public trial gardens, which Forum photographer Dave Wallis and I toured in August.

Many readers asked for the names of the pictured grasses, particularly the pink variety.

Barb Laschkewitsch, who coordinates the display gardens, provided me with varietal names.

The pretty pink-flowered grass is pink paintbrush grass (Melinis nerviglumis ‘Savannah’). Others included King Tut papyrus (Cyperus papyrus ‘KingTut’), jade princess (Pennisetum glaucum), annual fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum), and white lancer pennisetum (Pennisetum macrourum).

Q Why are the young leaves on my African violet growing straight up? I’ve had the plant in the same northeast window for at least 10 years, and it’s probably not been repotted. A sucker is forming in the crown.

P.S. I loved your parent’s garden in Lisbon, N.D. When my dad saw your column last summer he laughed and said he used to love to raid the Kinzler garden.

– Cassandra Dick, Englevale, N.D.

A My parents’ flowerbeds and gardens were great, and I am lucky to have been raised in that environment. Thanks for remembering!

You have done well to succeed with an African violet for 10 years.

New leaves tend to become upward-facing, rather than horizontal when the plant becomes crowded. The start of a new little sucker plant near the crown is also an indication that the plant is probably due for repotting.

The sucker shoot, which usually appears as a little rosette-shaped plantlet, can be carefully cut from the mother plant with a sharp knife, attempting to get a bit of root along with it and potted into a tiny container.

The mother plant can then be repotted into African violet potting mix, which I have found at garden centers. A slightly larger pot might be needed, but if the pot is already large, at least replace some soil. If the upright leaves do not lie horizontally within 30 days, they can be removed to allow room for normal leaves to develop.

If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler at ForumGrowingTogether@hotmail.com. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city, and state for appropriate advice.