Monday, October 20, 2008

Tall Tomato Plants

My 11yr. old grandson planted several kinds of tomato plants this year and they have all grown quite tall and produced many tomatoes. His Red Beefsteak tomato plant is between 8 and 9 feet tall. (This was his first year planting tomatoes.) He was wondering if this was normal or was this some type of record in NC.

-- Andrea (and Kaleel)

Anne's response:

Congratulations to Kaleel on growing such healthy tomato plants; I hope they tasted good. I can’t find the record height of tomato plants but there are pictures of plants as tall as two story houses in some magazine articles. The tomatoes are being picked from the top of a tall stepladder.

Identify This Flower

Please help me identify this flower. It grows on a vine, and it has long green beans. Three pictures are attached with blooms at various stages.

-- Cynthia

Anne's repsonse:

The flowers and pods do look like a legume but I am not sure which ornamental bean it might be. It is similar to Dolichos Lablab or hyacinth bean. It is an annual vine with similar blooms to your photograph but the bean pods are usually purple.

Pests Eating Loropetalums Leaves

I planted some loropetalums this past spring. They did well most of the summer. I have recently noticed that something is eating the leaves from the sides of the leaf. I had heard these plants were pretty disease resistant. Any thoughts on what this might be? I don’t want to lose these plants.

-- Kristain

Anne's Response:

The plants really are quite disease resistant but there are several insects that eat the leaves. Beetles and caterpillars both start eating leaves from the sides of the leaves and the leaves do get disfigured but the plants will not be killed by an occasional visit from visiting insects.

Best Grass Seed for Shady Lawn

Our lawn in Raleigh is pretty much total shade. We would love to have your advice on the best grass seed to use. We are avid listeners to you show!

-- Connie

Anne's Response

The lawn that best tolerates shade is a mixture of fescue and bluegrass but with full shade and competition from tree roots you will never have a lush green lawn.

Staghorn Fern Clippings

I have a Staghorn Fern that I received as a clipping from a neighbor about 12 years ago. A friend is wanting a clipping from it, but I have only done it once about 7 years ago. What is the correct way of removing a clipping from the fern and attaching it to a board or a basket with moss? The one time I did it, I grabed some of the leaves close to the base of the fern and very carefully pulled them loose. However this time I think I may need to cut them from the ferns base.

--Rock Roll

Anne's Response:

Use a sharp knife to cut two or three stems and their attached roots from the base of the fern. You need as much of the root as you can safely remove. Allow the roots of the cutting to sit in water for a few minutes to be sure the cutting is moist. Soak the mounting moss in water and then wrap the moist moss around the roots of the cutting. Attach it to the container or mount with string or wire. The new cutting needs to be kept out of direct sun and it needs to be misted until new roots develop.