Gardening

Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Just Get Rid of Problem Plants!

novembre 11What to do when you have a recurring problem with a plant? One suffers from a disease or an insect every year? Or needs to be constantly cut back to keep it from overflowing the space provided? Or whose innumerable suckers invade your garden or flowerbed? Or that flops over if you don’t stake it?

If there is a good chance that you will have to deal with the same problem year after year, my suggestion is to yank out the culprit and compost it! With such a wide selection of plants currently on the market, there is no reason to endure “problem plants”. Better to change course and choose one that actually does what you want it to do! For example, you can replace a mildewed phlox with one of the new phloxes that are mildew-resistant. Or replace a hosta whose leaves look like Swiss cheese due to slug damage by one with thick foliage that molluscs avoid. Or a floppy peony by one that remains sturdily upright.

It took me a good two decades of fighting problem plants before I figured this one out, but once I got it, what a change it made in my gardening life! I went from being a struggling, frustrated gardener to a confident, laidback one. I still don’t understand why no other gardener ever shared this tip with me: it should be the very first gardening rule you ever give to a fellow gardener. Instead, every time I mentioned a plant problem, I was given a ridiculously ineffective home remedy that just made me more frustrated. Well, I have a “home remedy” that really works. Get rid of that damn plant: it doesn’t deserve to live!

It’s when you essentially grow only plants that really thrive in your conditions without recurring problems that’s you’ll finally realize just how easy gardening can be easy!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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