Geraniums in two planters on my south-facing balcony have wintered well and still have blooms. Is it too late to cut them back? If it's not too late, how should it be done?
Clare Daem, via email Answer:
It's not too late to cut them back. They'll grow rapidly now warmer weather is here and cutting back will give you a more shapely plant that will flower more prolifically. But those new shoots will set buds and bloom somewhat later than normal.
If you don't cut it back, your geranium will keep on flowering with blooms on the end of leggy stems. These stems will lengthen and get more gangly as summer continues.
Cutting back is done by pruning half to one-third the length of the stems.
Just sever them slightly above the leaf joint closest to the height you choose.
My crocuses are spreading wildly in thick masses of foliage which never produce any flowers. Should I dig them up, separate the tiny bulbs and plant them again, or just act like they're a weed and get rid of them completely? My garden space is very limited and the other bulbs are getting crowded out.
Margaret Kernaghan, Vancouver
The crocus which is the most notorious spreader and seeder is the little "Snow Crocus" (Crocus tomasinianus) but it's also a prolific flowerer as long as it's planted where sun can get to it.
This is an important point for the crocus. Shade severely inhibits crocus flowering. Is it possible that tall trees or nearby shrubs (yours or the neighbours) are blocking adequate sunlight from entering your crocus area.
Separating them and planting them again would be very time-consuming even if you had enough space, and unless you can plant them in a well-drained, sun-drenched spot, you'd probably get the same problem.
But your other bulbs must be protected against extreme competition. If you do have a small, sunnier spot, it would be best to separate and replant just a few crocuses. The others may have to be composted.
Last year my Fritillaria imperialis (Crown Imperial or Kaiser's Crown) produced numerous beautiful flowers. This year, the plant has failed to produce any flowers. Could you please advise what causes this problem.
Ed, via email
In B.C., Fritillaria impe-rialis is not especially difficult to grow, but it can be difficult to flower unless it's located in perfect conditions. You're not alone in having problems with this species.
This fritillaria needs a great deal of sun, warmth, rich soil and very good drainage. The top of the bulb is slightly concave - that's why it's best to plant fritillaria bulbs on their side so that rainwater won't pool in the top and cause rotting.
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