Your shoe can be handy to help celosia reseed

Celosia often reseeds in the garden if conditions are right. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Celosia often reseeds in the garden if conditions are right. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Walter Reeves

Credit: Walter Reeves

Q: Our celosia plants bloom in late summer. They return each year with new plants in different areas. When is a good time to cut them back? Rick Swartz, LaGrange

A: It is not uncommon for celosia to reseed itself. If you want this to happen each year, cut them back after the leaves and flowers have turned brown. Scuff the ground with your shoe wherever you would like new flowers to grow and shake the flower heads over it so the tiny black seeds fall out. Gently pat the seeded area with the sole of your shoe and you’re all set for next year.

Q: Last winter, I cut all of the English ivy vines off my hardwoods at the base of the trees. The vines survived all year without withering; indeed they seem to be still thriving. I am certain I’ve completely severed them all. Steve Huhman, email

A: I don’t know why or how ivy would survive this long. It is not parasitic, so the ivy gets no nourishment from the tree. However, the little rootlets that attach the vine to the tree can absorb rainwater. I guess it’s possible your vines got enough water through that means to survive until now. But I am certain of this: If an ivy vine has no contact with the ground, it WILL die eventually.

Q: About a month ago, my dwarf Alberta spruce started turning brown and dropping needles. Now it is completely brown and bare. All the others in my yard look fine except this one. Matt Waterer, Jefferson

A: It’s very hard to grow an Alberta spruce in this part of Georgia. In fact, I have never seen one live more than five years. As their name implies, these trees are adapted to Canada, not to the hot and humid Southeast. They are attractive evergreens but don’t expect long life from them.

Q: I purchased a potted Bearss lime tree for my boyfriend. The plan is to keep it in a container on his apartment balcony. Any tips? Diana Kamper, Columbus

A: A dwarf ‘Bearss’ lime is very attractive. It only grows 6 feet high and doesn’t spread much. The problem is protecting the tree from freezing in winter. Put the tree in a pot with dolly wheels so it can be rolled inside at night in winter. You can leave it outside if temperatures don’t go below 40 degrees. For folks interested in growing citrus in the ground all year, I found a great reference for growing citrus in southern and coastal Georgia at

Listen to Walter Reeves’ segments at 6:35 a.m. on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website,, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at for more garden tips.

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