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Plant Diseases/A sick plant(?) and a book about plant pathology


QUESTION: Hi Melissa,

Thank your kind thoughts.  Nobody seems to know what killed the Royal Red.  Since even the experts, including you, wonder went wrong, it's I don't feel too bad about my ignorance.  I miss the little fella.  But maybe "he" spent some healthy time here.  Maybe with your help, I'll save a botanical life or two.  Please email me at  if you want me to know about more books.


ANSWER: Dear Bill, Thanks, I do try hard to give the best information I can.  The more delicate and tropical a plant is, the more quickly it will succumb to minute changes in environment.  The more we observe about these plants and share that information, the better the chance that these plants will survive in controlled environments.  I applaud your efforts and I will certainly update you when I find informative books that you might want.  Melissa

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QUESTION: You're very kind, Melissa, and I would love to hear from you.  Thank you.

Who knows?  My calling may be botany, since I would love to be a nursery's carnivorous plant expert.

Meanwhile, a Venus flytrap's natural homes are North and South Carolina.  Like you, they're polite, cultivated southerners.  They need to be cultivated, or they'll hate my musical passion, opera. :)  I thought I'd throw that in because I know what you anthropologists mean by "culture." :)


Dear Bill, I didn't see your email address, and it may not be possible to post here.  (Don't think I can post mine) I had actually forgotten that the flytrap is native to the Carolinas.  Unfortunately, few nurseries even carry carnivorous plants and often the few that do will have them only as a novelty and the personnel is clueless about them.  I'm only speaking from experience in the many nurseries I have worked.  However, if you take lots of good pictures, have good cultural information, and have some good growing advice, then you should probably try to increase the very limited available information on these plants by a book or website.  This is one of those areas that is really hurting for good information.  FYI, I thought it interesting that I also love opera and am Catholic.  Small world, huh?  Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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