Lantana can be brought indoors in winter

Garden Q&A

Annual plant in Maryland is also a shrub

November 22, 2013|By Ellen Nibali, For The Baltimore Sun

Can I bring a lantana indoors? If so, can I prune it so it takes up less room?

Though typically grown as an annual in Maryland, lantana is actually a shrub and can either be grown as a houseplant or overwintered indoors. Place it where it gets at least three hours of direct sun daily and cut back on watering because it will be going through a rest period. You can prune it moderately now to make it more manageable. Young plants can be tip-pruned to encourage branching. Older plants can tolerate pruning down to 4-6 inches in early spring before new growth begins.

My newly seeded lawn is getting buried under a bumper crop of acorns. I've been picking them up by hand but I need my life back. Help!

There are handy nut picker-uppers available. Several are designed for acorns and others pick up nuts such as walnuts. Most look like a bingo-ball cage and are rolled across the grass. They should not damage your new turf if it has gotten mature enough for you to walk on it.

University of Maryland Extension's Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to the website at

Plant of the week

Little bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium (Andropogon scoparius)

This native grass is coming on strong as gardeners switch to plants both ornamental and beneficial. In fall, its bluish blades give way to bright gold and reddish tones. Don't cut back this ornamental grass before winter and it will reward you with wispy charm through the bleak cold months, especially when sunbeams shine through its silvery seed heads. Little bluestem is a Maryland native that puts up with lousy or dry soil, loam or sand. It needs full sun, growing to a clump 11/2 to 4 feet tall, flowering from August to October. During harsh winter weather, foliage provides good cover for wildlife. Cultivars are available, including Carousel, which offers colorful summer foliage. —Ellen Nibali

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