In the garden: Don't cut back green fronds after showy amaryllis flowers Arkansas Democrat Gazette

In the garden: Don't cut back green fronds after showy amaryllis flowers  Arkansas Democrat Gazette

s: I got my first amaryllis bulb this year and was amazed by the flowers. Who knew that a single bulb could produce something so amazing. Now that it has finished flowering, I cut the tops back, but what do I do with the bulb? Place it in a cool, dry place until next year? I want to do the right thing because I want more flowers like this year.

a: Amaryllis bulbs produce some of the largest, most spectacular flowers of any bulb out there, but they are not treated like spring flowering bulbs. While you can cut the flower stems after flowering, you want the foliage to continue growing from now until fall to make food to produce more flowers next year. Hopefully your bulb will blossom and have some foliage. Give it plenty of sunlight, even moisture, and let it grow indoors until all chances of frost have passed. You can then move the bulb outside into a container or plant it in the ground. Some gardeners leave them outdoors year-round, but if you want showy blooms indoors next winter, lift bulbs or bring pots indoors in the fall before the killing frost. Then cut the foliage and leave it dormant until you see new signs of life emerging. Then the process starts again.

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s: I know everyone keeps telling people to wait until spring to look for damage, but I'm too old to wait for the huge gardenias to come back. It looks completely dead, and I want to pull it out and replant it. What is the best time to replant?

a: I think you can do both – cut back the damaged plants as soon as they start growing, and plant some new plants nearby. But of course, it is your decision. I won't plant any new gardenias until winter has passed. April to early May would be ideal.

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s: I would like to know if there will be a 2023 garden fair this year. I certainly hope so. I really miss them.

a: The Arkansas Flower and Garden Show has closed permanently at the end of 2021. The show was a three-day gardening extravaganza, but has struggled to make money the last few years it has been held. Another group may decide to do another show, but for now, AFGS is over.

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s: My husband was wondering if he could put Roundup on our Zoysia herb garden now to kill the weeds that have been popping up so far this winter. The grass is completely dormant, so Roundup shouldn't hurt it but should kill the weeds – right?

a: no! Roundup can harm even dormant Zoysia grass. Zoysia grass looks the most dormant during the winter of almost any turf we grow, but if you get up close and look, it should have some green near the soil line. The only grass that Roundup can be applied to in the dormant stage is Bermuda, and only when it is completely dormant. If you now have broadleaf weeds, consider using a product containing 2,4-D.

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s: I was surprised to see my forsythia bushes blooming last week. Who knows what this latest snow will do to the flowers, but they are almost all at the top. I seem to remember you saying something about pruning that would give me more flowers. But what you said, I forgot. When and how do I prune to get more flowers? Thanks.

a: Forsythia shrubs produce flower buds on the growth they laid the previous season. If you never prune forsythia, it will not grow as much, so most of the flowers end up on the tips of canes or old branches. Once flowering is complete in spring, cut back one-third of the old woody branches (canes) to the soil line. This will encourage new canes that will sprout and they should bloom from top to bottom. To get more flowers, remove a third of the oldest canes each year to keep the shrubs renewed.

Janet Carson has retired after 38 years with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and ranks among Arkansas' most respected horticulturists. Her blog is located at Write to her at PO Box 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203 or email

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