Ask a Master Gardener: Wait for 'Eyes' Before Dividing Hostas This Spring – Brainerd Dispatch

Ask a Master Gardener: Wait for 'Eyes' Before Dividing Hostas This Spring – Brainerd Dispatch

Dear Mr. Gardener: I know I will need to divide the hostas in the spring. how did you do it?

Answer: Now that we're past winter this year, gardeners are already thinking about spring in their gardens! The best time to divide hostas is spring when the “eyes” or growing tips begin to emerge from the ground. They can be divided later in the season, but may show more damage for the rest of the summer. First, dig up the block and divide it into sections using a sharp trowel or knife. I use my Hori Hori gardening knife – one of my favorite gardening tools! With smaller plants, you may be able to gently pull the parts apart. Leave as much of the root as possible attached to each crown or section of the plant. Space the new divisions in the new planting bed according to their mature size. Plant the new hostas at the same soil level as before. Water it well until it is established.

Dear Mr. Gardener: A friend thought it would be fun to give me a plant called White Anne since my name is Anne, but I'm not sure how to care for it. Can you tell me about this plant?

Answer: White Anne (Fittonia), also known as nerve plant or mosaic plant, is a beautiful houseplant with very distinctive foliage. It gets its other common name, nervous plant, from the pink, white, lavender or red veins (depending on the cultivar) that contrast beautifully with the dark green leaves and give the appearance of a nervous system. It is not a low maintenance plant and in fact can be very picky, but it is well worth the effort. Your White Anne plant needs a little moisture in the soil at all times. Water them when the surface of the soil has barely begun to dry and be careful not to leave the soil soggy and soggy – not too wet and not too dry. If the leaves are falling, it means your plant is thirsty. If the leaves turn yellow and/or limp, it means they are exposed to excess water. Fittonia loves high humidity and thrives in a terrarium. They also work well in bathrooms with showers because of the added moisture. You can also place your plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water to increase humidity. Just be careful not to leave the bowl in water. It grows best in filtered indirect light and protected from drafts. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves. Fertilize your Fittonia in the spring and summer with a half-strength liquid plant fertilizer.

Dear Mr. Gardener: I'm going to start a cutting garden in the spring and look for seeds to order. There is a seed mix for Celosia called Pampas Bloom mix. Does Celosia make a good cut flower and would this be a good variety to order?

Answer: Garden cuttings have become very popular and are one of the hot trends in gardening right now. Planting a cutting garden is one of the best ways to ensure you always have plenty of beautiful, home-grown flowers for bouquets. Unlike ornamental gardens where the flowers are left in place to enjoy, the flowers in a cutting garden are intended for harvest, and can be difficult to get used to. Yes, celosia is a great cut flower, especially if you grow long-stemmed varieties, such as the Pampas Bloom mix. Start celosia seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. They are very sensitive to cold, so make sure not to put them outside too soon and make sure they are hardened off. The flower heads grow larger as they grow into the ground, so pick the flowers when they are the size you want, but before they go to seed. Remove eighty percent of the foliage during harvest because it will wilt long before the flower heads wilt in the vase. Celosia has a very long vase life of up to two weeks without preservatives. The flowers can also be dried for later use by hanging them upside down in a warm, dark place to dry for 2-3 weeks.

Dear Mr. Gardener: With this unseasonably warm winter, should oak trees be pruned earlier than usual to prevent oak wilt?

Answer: According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the unusually warm winter we experienced this year could accelerate the risk of oak wilt. Now is the safest time to trim and prune oak trees to prevent the spread of this deadly disease and it should be done earlier rather than later. “Oak wilt is widespread in parts of southeastern Minnesota, and pockets of the disease extend north and west of Brainerd,” says Brian Schwingle, DNR forest health coordinator. “We can slow this northward advance by pruning oak trees now, when the risk of wilt transmission is greatest.” oak zero. He also adds: “This winter is unusual, and if late February and early March bring high temperatures approaching 60 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days in a row, the sap-feeding beetles that spread the disease will become active much earlier than usual and the risk will increase. Oak wilt. He increases. The last time this happened was in 2012.” The DNR also warns homeowners, campers, cabin owners, visitors and hunters not to transport oak firewood, which can spread oak wilt disease over long distances. Use firewood that is sourced on-site or certified by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to prevent the transfer of any invasive species.

You can get answers to your garden questions by calling the new Master Gardener Help Line at 218-824-1068 and leaving a message. Our Master Gardener will return your call. Or email me at and I will answer you in the column if space permits.

Master Gardeners are trained at the University of Minnesota and volunteers are certified at the University of Minnesota Extension. The information in this column is based on university research.

    (tags for translation)Hosta Care

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