Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

What are some good spring bedding plants for this area?When can I plant my annuals?What are some good summer bedding plants for this area?What are some good shade tolerant annuals?What are some good summer bedding plants for foliage?How do I plant a hanging basket?What are some good hanging basket plants?How do I plant cannas, dahlias, gladioli and tuberous begonias?How do I dig and store cannas, dahlias, gladioli and tuberous begonias?How do I grow geraniums?How can I overwinter my geranium plants?What is deadheading? When should I do it?Why do my fruit trees fail to produce fruit?How do I control the pest on my apple tree?How do I apply a dormant spray on my fruit trees?Why were my fruit sprays not effective?How do I control mice and rabbits around my fruit trees?What are some good apple varieties for this area?How do I train and prune a young apple tree?How do prune an established apple tree?When can I pick my apples?How do I prune an overgrown apple tree?When can I pick my pears?How do I prune my cherry, plum and peach trees?Which grape varieties are good for this area?How to I prune and train my grape vines?Which raspberry varieties are good for this area?How do I prune and train my raspberries?Which strawberry varieties are good for this area?How do I mulch my strawberries for winter?How can I grow a banana plant?How do I grow a paw paw tree?How do I harvest and store nuts?How can I start a pecan tree?What problems can wet weather cause to my plants?How will a late spring freeze damage my plants?How do weed killers damage plants?How can I do organic disease control?How do I dispose of old pesticides?Which insects are beneficial?What are systemic insecticides?What are insecticidal soaps?What are horticultural oils?What are botanical insecticides?How do I use copper or sulfur for pest control?What is diatomaceous earth?How do I use pesticides safely?What is soil solarization?How do I avoid damaging plants with insecticide sprays?How do I mulch my garden?What can I use as a mulch?How do I protect my plant from frost?What is drip irrigation?What is xeriscaping?When can I plant in St. Louis?What is hydroponics?How do I collect a plant sample?How do I do organic or natural gardening?How do I test my soil?What is good soil fertility?What does my soil test mean?How do I acidify my soil?How do I improve my clay soil?How do I make compost?How do I use leaves and grass clippings from my yard?How do I compost leaves?What is a cover crop?Can I add wood ashes to my soil?Where can I get a foliar nutrient test done?How do I garden in containers?How do I do intensive gardening?How to I create a rock garden?How do I create a meadow garden?How do I create a water garden?How do I raise koi fish in my water garden?How do I plant a butterfly garden?How do I plant to attract birds?How do I plant to attract hummingbirds?How do I create a raised bed garden?How do I overwinter water garden plants?Can I use wood preservatives in my garden?When and how can I plant spring-flowering bulbs?How do I care for my spring-flowering bulbs?How do I grow hardy lilies?What are minor bulbs? Which are good for this area?Are there any tulips that will come back year after year?What spring-flowering bulbs will come back year after yearHow do I care for my amaryllis plant?How can I get my poinsettia to reflower?How do I care for potted tulips and daffodils?How do I care for my Christmas cactus?How do I care for my jade plant?How do I care for my plumeria?What are some good orchids for the beginner?How do I repot an orchid plant?How do I care for my gardenia?How do I care for my Easter lily?How do I care for my African violets?How do I care for a bonsai plant?How do I overwinter my bonsai plant?Should I water my orchid plant with ice cubes?How much light do indoor plants need?What are the best containers for indoor plants?How often should I water my indoor plants?When and how should I fertilize my indoor plants?How do I bring plants indoors for winter?How should I care for my Christmas tree?How can I recycle my Christmas tree?How do I force bulbs for indoor bloom?How can I propagate my indoor plants?How do I prune an overgrown indoor plant?How do I air layer an indoor plant?How do I garden under lights?How do I start seedling under fluorescent lights?Why are the leaves on my indoor plant yellowing?Why is my indoor plant dropping leaves?How can I diagnose my indoor plant's problem?What should I do with a buggy indoor plant?Why does my indoor plant have leaves with brown tips?What is the matter with my indoor fern?Why is my weeping fig dropping leaves?What is the problem with my indoor jade plant?Why is my indoor azalea dropping buds and leaves?How do I repair bare spots in my cool-season lawn?What are the major lawn problems for our area?What leaf diseases affect lawns in this area?What insects are problems with cool-season lawns in this area?How do I control weeds in my lawn?What are clover mites?When should I seed a cool-season lawn and what should I sow?How do I grow a zoysia grass lawn?How do I sod a cool-season lawn?When and how do I fertilize my cool-season lawn?When should I lime my lawn?How often and how high should I mow my cool-season lawn?What lawn grasses will grow in the shade?When and how should I water my cool-season lawn?How do I care for my dormant cool-season lawn?Should I collect my grass clippings?What is lawn thatch and how do I check for it?How do I renovate my cool-season lawn?How do I select a lawn service?Is buffalo grass a good lawn grass?What common plants are toxic to my pets?Which indoor plants are poisonous?What plant can cause allergies?How do I dry flowers for winter enjoyment?How do I cut flowers for indoor use?How do I force branches of spring-flowering plants indoors?How can I deal with an insect sting?What are the most effective insect repellents?How can I conrol fleas in my yard?Are electric bug zappers effective?Why should I recycle?How can I buy recycled products?How can I reduce waste?How do I safely dispose of household hazardous waste?How can I dispose of old garden pesticides?How can I recycle paper and cardboard?How can dispose of old paint?How can I recycle in my home and at the office?How can I recycle my old plastic plant pots?How can I dispose of old waste oil?How can I find a recycling center near me?Why are my evergreens dropping their needles?What are these growths or galls on my spruce tree?Why is my spruce dropping it's needles?What common problems do yews get in this area?Why did my boxwoods turn brown this winter?What broadleaf evergreens can I grow in St. Louis?How do I grow azaleas and rhododendrons?How do I prune my evergreens?Why did my peonies fail to bloom?How do I control powdery mildew on my phlox?Can you recommend some good ornamental grasses?How do I plant perennials?How can I have continuous bloom in my perennial garden?What perennials are good for the shade?When and how should I divide my perennials?How do I protect my perennials for winter?How do I grow peonies?When and how should I divide my daylilies?How do I grow chrysanthemums?When should I pinch my mums?How do I grow iris?How do I divide my iris plants?What hostas are good for a shady garden?Which hostas are tolerant of direct sun?How do I grow daylilies?Which ferns are good for this area?How do I control insects and diseases on my roses?How do I care for my roses?How do I fertilize my roses?How do I protect my roses in winter?How do I winterize my roses?When can I uncover my roses in the spring?What causes cracks and splits in tree trunks?What should I do to my trees that were damaged during construction?How can I repair snow, ice or wind damage on my plants?What can I grow under a black walnut tree?What borers damage trees and shrubs?Why are the leaves on my trees and shrubs yellowing?What are these galls or growths on my tree?What problems do flowering crabapples commonly have?Can I prevent my tree from producing messy fruit?What insects are common on honeylocust trees?What are these bumps on my maple tree's leaves?What common problems do oaks have in this area?What are these growths or gall on my oak tree?How do I keep my dogwood tree healthy?What is causing my sycamore tree to drop leaves?What are some good shade trees for this area?What are some good small trees for this area?Which trees and shrubs are good for shady areas?What are some good flowering crabapples?What are some good hedge plants for this area?What are some good ground cover plants for this area?What are some good vines for this area?Can I grow bamboo in my St. Louis garden?Can I grow any bamboos as a ground cover?Which clematis are good for this area?Which hydrangeas grow well in St. Louis?When and how should trees and shrubs be planted?How do I care for newly planted trees and shrubs?When and how should I water my trees and shrubs?How do I mulch my trees and shrubs?When and how should I fertilize my trees and shrubs?How do I prune a tree?How do I prune an ornamental tree?How do I prune overgrown shrubs and hedges?How do I prune my flowering shrubs?How do I start trees and shrubs from seed?How do I start an oak tree from an acorn?How do I protect trees during construction?How do I protect trees and shrubs over winter?How do I select an arborist or tree service?How do I grow clematis?How do I prune a clematis vine?Is it a good idea to top trees?How do I prune my hydrangeas?How do I prune a wisteria vine?How do I overwinter my Chinese hibiscus?What are the most common problems of tomatoes in this area?How can I control weeds in my vegetable garden?What are the most common problems of potatoes in this area?What are the most common problems of cucumbers and squash in this area?When and how do I start vegetable seedlings indoors?When can I plant my vegetable garden?How do I fertilize my vegetable garden?When do I harvest my different vegetable crops?Can I grow summer vegetables for a fall harvest?How do I grow asparagus?How do I grow cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower?How do I grow sweet corn?How do I grow leafy, salad vegetables?How do I grow onions?How do I grow peas and beans?How do I grow potatoes?How do I grow pumpkins and squash?How do I grow rhubarb?How do I grow tomatoes?When and how do I set out my tomato plants?How can I support my tomato plants?Can I store and ripen green tomatoes?When can I plant warm season vegetables?How do I grow culinary herbs?What vegetables can I plant for fall harvest?When and how do I harvest my potato crop?What is the difference between pumpkins, squashes and gourds?What is meant by vegetable families?Is my soil safe for growing vegetables? Can I test for lead?Which insecticides/miticides can I use on indoor plants?Which pre-emergent weed killers (herbicides) can I use in my lawn, flower beds or vegetable garden?Which pesticides control insects and mites?Will draining my swimming pool or spa on my yard harm my lawn or plants? I do chlorinate the water.How often and how high should I mow my zoysia grass lawn?When and how do I fertilize my zoysia grass lawn?When and how should I water my zoysia grass lawn?How do I check for insects in my lawn?How do I kill zoysia grass or Bermuda grass in my fescue lawn?How do I rejuvenate or repair dead spots in my zoysia grass lawn?What insects are problems with zoysia grass lawns in this area?What is core aerification and when should I do it?What is the Garden doing about the emerald ash borer (EAB)?How do I control bush honeysuckle in my yard?How do I control Bradford and other Callery Pears?Why don't my radishes form bulbs?Can I import seeds to the US from a foreign country?Is this plant poisonous to humans, children, cats, dogs or other pets?What Trees and Shrubs are Risky for Fall Planting?Where can I recycle the fluorescent tube lights from my home?What is an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) program and what strategies does it use?If fluorescent light bulbs contain hazardous mercury, why do we use them? Isn’t mercury a hazard in landfills?How does a plant in the Plant Finder get marked as “Locally Invasive Species”?Do I have to call the Haz-Mat Unit when I break a fluorescent light bulb?What are the Greenest options for removing winter ice for pet, plant, and walking safety?How to I cite information from the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder?