Gardening columnist Carol Hyperlink solutions readers questions.


Carol Link
| Contributor

Q: When should I prune my Muscadine vines? My husband always took care of the cut, but he’s no longer alive. I may have to hire someone to circumcise them, but I need to know when.

A: This month is the ideal time to prune Muscadine vines.

Q: Is purple fountain grass annual or a perennial? I think the grass is beautiful, but I don’t want to plant it if it only lasts a year.

A: Purple fountain grass is a year in this area. Our winters are too cold for the plant to survive outside. You can plant the grass in a container and keep the pot in it for the winter. Just treat the grass like a houseplant. Put the container in front of a window and water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch. In the spring, when all danger of frost has passed, move the container back outside into the countryside in a location with lots of sun, cut back the grass and feed the plant with a complete slow-release fertilizer.

Q: I keep a peace lily in a container in my den. The leaves keep drying out and turning brown, and the plant always looks so ugly. What am I doing wrong?

A: Caring for a peace lily shouldn’t be difficult. Place the lily in a container in rich, textured soil. In bright, indirect sunlight, position the plant as far from a heat source as possible. Water the plant until the water drains into the drainage tray. Don’t re-water until the top 3 inches of the soil is dry to the touch. Cut off any stems and leaves that turn brown.

Q: My Beautyberry bush is 3 years old and I have never pruned it. Is late winter the time to prune the shrub? If so, how much shrub should I remove?

A: Yes, late winter is the time to prune a beautyberry bush. The simplest method is to trim the entire shrub back to about 8 inches above the ground. This will encourage the plant to grow and develop a fresh new shape. Fertilize the shrub at this point and water it regularly over the next few weeks.

Carol (Bonnie) Link is a master gardener from Etowah County and an experienced horticulturalist. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others with their gardening chores. Send questions or comments to