Extension News

Ask the ISU Experts

Note to media editors:

Got gardening questions? Contact the Hortline at (515) 294-3108 (Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. - 12 noon  and 1 - 4:30 p.m.) or send an e-mail to hortline@iastate.edu. For more gardening information visit us at Yard and Garden Online at www.yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu


Can I plant my Easter lily outdoors after it is done blooming?Individuals wishing to save their Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) should place the plant in a sunny window after flowering. Continue to water the plant when needed. Fertilize once every two weeks with a dilute houseplant fertilizer solution.

Plant the Easter lily outdoors in May. Choose a well-drained, sunny site. When planting, place the bulb about 6 inches deep. The original plant will die back within a few weeks of bloom. At this time it should be cut back to the soil surface. New growth will emerge by summer.

Lucky gardeners may be rewarded with a second bloom in September. Others will have to wait until next June. Easter lilies are not reliably winter hardy in Iowa. However, they often survive and bloom in the garden for a few years if heavily mulched in the fall. Several inches of straw should provide adequate protection. Remove the mulch in spring.

Can boxwoods be grown in Iowa?
Boxwoods (Buxus spp.) are broadleaf evergreens. In Iowa, careful selection of hardy cultivars and a proper planting site are necessary to insure their success. Boxwoods can be used as specimen plants or formal hedges in the home landscape.

Boxwoods perform best in moist, well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soils. They also prefer a sheltered location. Boxwood foliage is susceptible to winter burn when subjected to strong winds or direct sun during the winter months. A location on the east side of a building is often a good site.

‘Wintergreen’ and ‘Winter Gem’ are two cultivars of Korean boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. koreana) that usually perform well in Iowa. Other possibilities include ‘Green Mound,’ ‘Green Mountain,’ and ‘Green Velvet.’

How can I prevent rabbit damage to the vegetable garden?
The most effective way to prevent rabbits from damaging or destroying your vegetables is to enclose the garden with chicken wire or hardware cloth fencing.

A 2-foot-tall roll of chicken wire or hardware cloth should be adequate. The fence should be supported by strong stakes. The bottom 2 or 3 inches should be buried in the ground to prevent rabbits from crawling underneath it.


Contacts :

Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, rjauron@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu

There are no photos for this week's column.