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Gardening Q&A

March/April 2018 California Bountiful magazine

As a California Bountiful reader, you have the opportunity to get your seasonal gardening questions answered by gardening expert Pat Rubin. Here are a few questions from our readers.

Last year I planted annual flower seeds (zinnias, cosmos) according to the package directions. The seeds sprouted, but even after a couple of months the plants were less than an inch tall. They just wouldn't grow. What did I do wrong and how can I prevent it this year?

I've had the same thing happen. I planted the seeds as directed, gave them good soil, plenty of water, ample light. I didn't think anything could go wrong. But my seedlings never grew more than an inch or so tall, even after two months of pampering. I traced the problem to old, out-of-date seeds. Some seeds deteriorate with age—use fresh packets of seed this year. Once you get your annuals going, let some go to seed. Either collect the seed to plant the following spring, or just let the seed naturally fall where it will. Next spring, you'll be surprised at where the plants come up.

Everyone else's forsythia is blooming. Mine isn't. I pruned it in January just like I do every year, but it never blooms.

If you want your forsythia to bloom, you have to wait until after it blooms to prune it. By pruning before spring, you are cutting off all of the branches that bear the flowers.

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