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ASK THE GARDENERS. Questions & Answers

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Q I was given a potted amaryllis last year and it bloomed beautifully without any other care but regular watering and a bright window. I was told to water and keep the green leaves growing all summer, then cut them off after they died down. After a few months of rest, leaves started growing again, but there was no sign of blossoms. It still has the green leaves. Is the bulb worth saving? A.G.D.

North Falmouth, Mass.

The bulb is still good. Do not discard it. Last year, you did not give it any plant food. During the period the bulb is growing actively, producing flowers, and later only green leaves, it should be fed and watered regularly. We feed a balanced liquid plant food once a month, during this time. Ours get five hours of sunshine every day, winter and summer. Some folks give them more in winter. They can be kept indoors, or set outdoors during summer months. In late September, if foliage doesn't start yellowing off, they can be induced to take a rest by gradually withholding water. Let them rest for six to eight weeks. If there is still an inch of space on each side of the bulb, no need to repot. If the bulb takes nearly the whole pot, repot in next size larger, setting bulb so half is above the soil. Top inch of soil can have a teaspoon of superphosphate or bonemeal mixed into it. Flush water through soil, then set in good light and do not water again until green starts to emerge.

Q We have just completed planting three holly trees, two female and one male, which are indigenous to the Cape Cod area. We were informed that they need an acidic soil. Do you have any suggestions for encouraging their growth?

A.C.M.

Plymouth, Mass.

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