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Ask Dr. Hort: Cold kills foxtails; hibiscus can weep again

Weeping hibiscus, Hibiscus schizopetalus

Qflieger from de.wikipedia.org

Weeping hibiscus, Hibiscus schizopetalus

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By GREG CHARLES

Times Correspondent

Ask Dr. Hort: Answers to your gardening questions

Cold hurt foxtail palms

Q: I have been researching some info about my foxtail palm. I live in Orlando and I think the cold last winter and this winter got it. I haven't had any new growth in a year, and the final two fronds are brown. Can I cut the trunk maybe at the top and see if new growth will occur or just wait?

A: I'm afraid that you diagnosed the problem, cold damage. Foxtail palms are a little too tender for your area with the winters that we have had the last two years. You might want to go with a more cold-hardy species like European fan palm, Chamaerops humilis, or pindo palm, Butia capitata. Both would do well north of the Tampa Bay area.

Helping hibiscus weep

Q: I trimmed the dead stuff off my weeping hibiscus from last year's freeze. The new growth seems to be growing straight up. It doesn't weep. Is there a specific way it needs to be trimmed?

A: The weeping, or fringed, hibiscus' scientific name, Hibiscus schizopetalus, is appropriate for a flower that hangs upside down. In pruning your specimen, you'll cut your tall shoots back to an outward-facing bud.

Where there is a leaf, there is a bud that will turn into a branch. So reduce the length of the shoot, making your cut 1/4 inch above a leaf that is pointing to the outside of the plant (the leaves spiral around and down the stem). The emerging shoot will come out laterally and as it grows, will get back to the weeping growth you desire.

Need help? Dr. Hort (Greg Charles) answers questions about garden problems. E-mail him at drhort@tampabay.rr.com.

Need help? Dr. Hort (Greg Charles) answers questions about garden problems. E-mail

him at drhort@tampabay.rr.com or mail questions to HomeLink, Features Department, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Describe problem in full, and include your name, city of residence and contact information. If possible, include a good-quality photo. Fuzzy ones won't do. Photos cannot be returned.

Ask Dr. Hort: Cold kills foxtails; hibiscus can weep again 04/02/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 7, 2011 6:11pm]

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