GARDENING: “HOW CAN I PREVENT CATS FROM USING MY POTTED PLANTS AS TOILETS?” ” – Newspaper
Q. I haven’t had much luck with houseplants. I have large planters and ideally would like large plants that can survive with little to no sunlight. Is it even possible? Please make some suggestions.
A. Silver plants, formed to grow poles covered in moss, meet your needs and are simple to maintain. Other suggestions are: Maranta or prayer plant, snake plant, dieffenbachia, dwarf schefflera (up to 3 feet tall), parlor palm, ponytail palm, and dracaenas in a variety of color combinations.
Q. Some stray cats use the potted plants on my balcony as a bathroom every night. I tried a number of options to barricade the balcony and sprayed disinfectant and vinegar but nothing keeps them away. Please help.
A. Unfortunately, cats can be a major problem anywhere there are pots of plants and, as you have already discovered, deterring them can be difficult. The most effective way to prevent them from digging into your flowerpots is quite simple: cover the surface of the soil, all around the plants, with stones. If dishes are used, you can get artistic and create attractive patterns with them. Gravel or stone chips are an alternative to real stones, but you will need to make the layer deep enough to prevent cats from digging through. Using stones / gravel / shavings also suppresses weeds and helps retain moisture, meaning the pots don’t need to be watered as much as when the soil is exposed to the sun. If neither of these solutions works for you, you can erect some kind of sturdy support frame around the area of the plant pots and cover with a net at night, removing it during the day. Sprinkling chilli powder on the ground in the jars would be effective against cats, but it would need to be renewed regularly and the same goes for spraying the area with citrus or peppermint oils. In my opinion, covering the ground surface with medium sized stones is the best.
All your gardening questions answered here
Q. Can you recommend dog-friendly manure for the garden and flower beds? I have a 2 year old Labrador and he loves to eat anything and everything.
A. The only manures / fertilizers that won’t poison your dog are animal and poultry manure, which he nibbles on. Another option is 100% organic compost but, unless you have done it yourself, there is no telling if animal / poultry manure is included in the mix. The most sensible thing to do is to train your dog not to eat it. It will take time and patience, but it really should be done. Additionally, discuss your dog’s food menu with your vet as the dog may be lacking in an essential mineral that is found in animal / poultry manure.
Q. We have two pomegranate trees in our garden. This year both plants were full of fruit, but after the monsoon rains all the fruit rots and falls off. There seems to be some grayish colored stuff on the tips of the fruits before they fall from the trees. What is the solution?
A. The problem is a fungal infection called botrytis. It is very common when growing pomegranates in an insufficiently humid climate. The only effective treatment is to use a copper-based fungicide. Please use one that is suitable for organic cultivation, carefully following the directions given on the bottle.
Q. When I watered my silver plants today, I noticed white mites on them. Is it good or should they be deleted? If the latter, then how?
A. The whitefly often attacks silver plants and it is good that you have spotted them before they get out of hand. To eradicate them, simply wipe them with a sponge dipped in warm soapy water or, if the plants are large, mix a liter of lukewarm water with a dessert spoon of dish soap and to use it as a spray. Repeat every three or four days until all the parasites are gone.
Q. I would like to know how to take care of the monstera deliciosa / Swiss cheese plants, please. I recently bought some and watered them every other day. I live in DHA Phase 6, Karachi.
A. Swiss cheese factories get plenty of bright light but are better protected from direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. In our climate, they thrive in partial shade, but not total shade. They appreciate soils rich in humus, which must be well drained. Watering every other day is fine for the warm, warm months, but reduce it to no more than twice a week, in your area, during the winter. Foliar feeding of balanced, preferably organic, liquid fertilizer once every three months will help keep your plants in peak condition. During times of low humidity, lightly misting the leaves with lukewarm water is very beneficial and helps prevent splitting.
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Posted in Dawn, EOS, September 26, 2021