You are here:

Perennials/plant health and propagation


hi Donna thanks agin for all your help something els i got to thinking about what is it about the sun that plants need from it? why can some plants live in shade and some plants have to have sun? isnt there a way to supply them with the vitamins and stuff they get from the sun? im faced with the problem of growing on the north side of the house and i cant do much outdoores because there realy isnt room i got a road were my lawn should be but the window im using has alot of bright indirect light will that be enough for them to grow over the long run? i dont think i can supply them with artificial light the way the room is set up i cant hang the lights cause the house is rented not owened and the plants are on the window seal not on a tabel. also im growing a hedge bindweed and i read its intolernt to shade roots can get 10 feet deep and i guess its more of an invasive weed than a typical garden plant but i cant help but liking this plant. were its a vining plant is it possible to take stem cuttings and keep it alive that way? i read that its short lived as well do you happen to know how long it lives? also were the roots get so deep is it better just to put it back were i found it or continue to try and grow it? thanks agin donna sorry this was a long one i keep trying to research but i get to many diffrent awnsers and dont know what to believe your information and advice i trust

Morning glory
Morning glory  
Hi again, Cynthia! Please forgive the long delay. I was out for several hours gardening for a client.

You ask an interesting question about plants in sun and shade. Plants develop over time the way that they do because they are adjusted to their circumstances. Sunflowers were plants that could survive strong sunlight, for example, and their appearance takes that into consideration. It is the same with people. Scandinavians need pale skin to absorb the vitamin D in what little sun there exists in the far north. When a Scandinavian moves to Florida they are poorly adapted to strong sunlight and burn. Plants are the same way. Sometimes we try to grow a plant in conditions that are different to those in which it developed.

In terms of light there are set-ups that you can buy that are freestanding and use artificial light. Some are pricey, but some are quite affordable. That light duplicated the color spectrum of sunlight, which allows the plants to manufacture some food themselves Have you every grown seedlings? The first two leaves are call cotelydons and have enough food for the plant for a few days. After that they need fertilizer 0 the sun does not provide that, but compost does.

I had to chuckle when you talked about how much you like bindweed. I just spent half the morning removing it from a client's garden because bindweed wraps itself around the stems of other plants and pulls them to the ground. Are you sure you really want it?

Maybe a nice morning glory instead!

This is fun.




All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Donna Mack


I am a Master Gardener through the University of Illinois Extension.I can answer questions about pest control, especially voles, rabbits, chipmunks and slugs, and have done so on Dave's Garden Watchdog under the name DonnaMack since 2002. I have a lot of expertise with ornamental grasses, hardy roses and old garden roses, minor bulbs such as ornigothalem, chionodoxa and allium as well as most types of lilies. I lived in a conservaton community and have great familiarity with native plants. I am knowledgeable about organic methods and I grow perennials, annuals and vegetables from seed.


I have been gardening since 1998 and have raised roses, peonies, annuals and perennials (the latter two from seed), and numerous shrubs and trees, many of which I have planted. I am familiar with many organic techniques and use as many as I can but know the chemical solutions, which are most benign and how to use them. I LOVE gardening, and I get great satisfaction with helping others so that they reach the state of joy that gardening can bring to those inclined to it.

The American Lily Society and the Wisconsin Illinois Lily Society

I have numerous entries in Garden Watchdog under the name DonnaMack. I write three to four columns a year for the Kane County Chronicle. I also write articles for Daves Garden Watchdog.

I successfully completed the University of Illinois Master Gardening Program in March of 2013 and have maintained my certification every year since. I did this to augment extensive self study through books (I've probably read 100) and an arts degree, which helps with aesthetics. I am purely an amateur, but one who studies, reads, and documents extensively. My gardening log began in 2000, and has hundreds of entries, so that I can use my successes and failures to assist other gardeners.

Awards and Honors
The University of Illinois created a Team with Work Award for master gardeners who work together to create what they regard as an outstanding project. I won this award as part of a group that created "The Idea Garden", which suggests plants for home growers to attempt to grow. My personal contribution was salvias - ornamental and culinary hardy and tender perennials, which I grew from seed and tended through the season. I have recently been asked to join the Speakers Bureau, which would require me to present topics to various groups under the auspices of the Master Gardening program.

Past/Present Clients
I am currently overseeing and performing the maintenance of ten gardens in a suburbs of Chicago.

©2017 All rights reserved.