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GARDEN JOBS

A Fine Vine

June 22, 1986|GEORGE HARMON SCOTT and BILL SIDNAM

Bougainvillea wants sun and a warm location, and now is the time to plant it. One thinks of bougainvillea as being magenta with vigorous vines, but look for crimson, white, gold, orange, pink or mixed colors--some with vines that aren't quite so vigorous. Once established it is very undemanding about the amount of water and fertilizer it gets. In fact, too much of either will force it into growth at the expense of bloom. Bougainvillea seems to be in bloom so long because what we think of as flowers are really bracts that surround the much smaller flowers in the center.

Agapanthus blooms best when root-bound. In the ground, it seldom requires separating, but if you want to increase your stock, as soon as flowers finish blooming, dig up the plants and split them apart with a sharp spade.

Certain bedding begonias, the ones with brown leaves and pink, white or red flowers, can be grown in full sun. Most are dwarf and bloom better than the kinds grown in shade. In fact, they need at least half a day of sun to keep their leaf color. In shade, the foliage turns bronze and later becomes green. Now is an excellent time to plant.

House plants respond with new vitality when given an outdoor vacation; in the shade, of course, since they will burn in the sun. Remove dead leaves and unattractive foliage. Then check carefully for mealybugs, scale, red spider mites and aphids; should any be found, treat accordingly. With a gentle spray from the hose, wash off dust and soot; do this whether or not you see any dirt. The next step is to clean the soil of salts that tap water and fertilizers have left behind. Let the water from the hose run very slowly so that it comes out the drainage holes for 20 minutes. Now fertilize. If you wish hard-leaved plants (such as like aspidistra, palms and philodendron) to have a lustrous look, spray with Volck Oil. It also kills scale, mealybugs and red spider mites. Do not use on fuzzy-leaved plants, such as African violets, or soft-leaved plants, such as dieffenbachia and ferns.

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