Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dwarf Pomegranates Largely Decorative

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dwarf Pomegranates Largely Decorative

Article excerpt


Q: I bought a pomegranate tree a couple of years ago, and I'm disappointed in the fruit. It's tiny. Is there something I can do to make the fruit larger?

I suspect that your tree is a dwarf. These trees are grown primarily for the decorative use of their miniature pomegranates -- very nice as a floral accent, but not what you had in mind. The most common pomegranates for fruit are varieties such as Wonderful and Plantation Sweet. These are being grown in Southern Georgia, so they are likely to do well here.

Q: I repotted my Christmas cactus in potting soil. It seems OK, but it has all these little black bugs flying around it. How do I get rid of them?

Your plant has fungus gnats. The adults are just an annoyance, but the problem is they are laying their eggs in your potting soil. The resulting larvae are enjoying the rich, moist potting soil and may be eating the roots of the cactus. The potting soil holds too much water for the Christmas cactus anyway, so the first step is to repot the plant in a soil mixture that drains well. I would get rid of the soil in that pot, washing all of it off the roots of your plant. In the process, you will wash away most of the larvae and eggs. Then you can mix some fresh potting mix with perlite -- about 50 percent soil, 50 percent perlite -- should do nicely. This will prevent the soil from becoming soggy, and because it will drain quickly, it will actually make watering easier for you.

There is a product that contains bT, a very specific pesticide that will kill only the larvae. It is called Gnatrol. But you may be unable to find it, because it is just not used that much outside greenhouses. If you can't find that, use a spray insecticide marked for gnats, containing pyrethrins. This product will kill any adults that hatch. You may have to spray several times to kill adults that manage to survive the root washing and continue to grow in the fresh soil. But once you eliminate them, the soil should remain dry enough to prevent a serious reinfestation.

Q: How do I propagate my string of pearls plant?

The string of pearls, a member of the senecio family is apparently very easy to propagate. …

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