Choose Stephanotis to catch a whiff of jasmine

gardenq&a

December 13, 2008|By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld | Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld,Special to The Baltimore Sun

We're brought our jasmine plant inside. Will fertilizing make it flower? My wife loves the fragrance of the white blooms.

The majority of houseplants should be fertilized when they are actively growing, that is, putting out new growth. The white-flowered species of houseplant jasmine, Jasminum officinale or poet's or Spanish jasmine, blooms from midsummer to mid-fall. Fertilizing it now will not make it change its normal life cycle. For midwinter fragrance, your wife might like Stephanotis.

My brother-in-law is shipping us trees as gifts. What do I do if the soil is frozen and I can't dig a hole to plant them?

Heel them in. This means placing them on their sides and covering their roots (whether containerized or balled and burlapped) with soil or deep mulch. This keeps the roots warmer than when exposed to air. Air temperatures can drop much further than soil temperatures.

Ellen Nibali, a horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and Jon Traunfeld is the director of the Home and Garden Information Center. The center offers free gardening information. Call the center's help line at 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions at hgic.umd.edu.

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