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House Plants/violet geraniums & propagation of evergreens


Since 2000, I have these Violet Geraniums in 3 large square plastic pots - I keep them in front of my patio window during the winter - now, they're outside. Lately, they've become half dry (almost all the leaves are turning brown) and, would like to do something about it!. I did add some osmocote fertilizer but didn't help. Can you help with any suggestions?. I was planning to just CHANGE the dirt inside the pots since it's so old and, over the time I've added much Miracle-Gro (green water) but, will wait for your reply.

My second question is about propagating some evergreens: I'm planning to trim the evergreens in front of my property and front windows by cutting diagonally the small growth and dip them independently in 'root hormone' then stick them in a divided tray with a plastic/transparent dome where the 'dirt' is peat and place underneath a heated mat for 3-4 weeks to generate roots. I do have neon tubes for light. Any ideas on propagating evergreens?. What am I doing right (if anything at all)?.

Thank you,

ANSWER: Michael,

I too live in Indiana, near Fort Wayne. The only thing that kills geraniums in the summer is too much water. They only need watered when they have been dry for a few days. It is so easy to overwater them when you are watering with a hose and you have a large drain tray under the pot. I suggest that you remove the drain tray and only water every 2 to 3 days.

You have everything right about propagating your evergreens except you will need a stronger rooting hormone that Rootone that you buy in most Garden Centers. Go the the website  They carry rooting hormone in 6 strengths. The website tells you what strengths you need for what evergreens. Everything you are planning is accurate except it could take up to a year to generate roots on most evergreens. The light is not necessary, the bottom heat will help but you should keep the cuttings in a cool unheated garage for the winter. Keeping them too warm will kill them. They should be rooted by spring. If you live in the Fort Wayne area email me at and I can put you in touch with an expert at propagating anything. Good luck!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Darlene,
I live in Saint John (46373) area and have a final question: I have these 'fir trees' (unsure what they are) which grew from a straight 'green wire' to MORE than 6 feet tall; however, they have developed these brownish and roundish (about round) growth on them!. They look like 'tumors' or 'cancerous growth' on them - that's how I can best describe them!.

I'll have to e-mail you several pictures at the other e-mail of yours, hoping that you can name what they are, just by looking at the pictures: a picture is work a thousand words. My question is: what can I add to the soil, to have these 'cancerous'/tumors STOP growing on them?. They look ugly and have turned them into light brownish branches, from bright green!.
Any suggestions?.


Send me the pictures at your earliest convenience. If I cannot ID the problem I have a friend that may be able to. As the tree matures the branches will turn brown naturally. Your tumors may be something as simple as the beginnings of fir cones. I will be watching for your pictures.


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Darlene K. Kittle


I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.


I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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