Connie Meyers of Fairview Heights has some advice for people whose cats won’t stop eating their houseplants:
“I’ve had cats my whole life, so I know them pretty well. Here’s my solution … grow wheat grass for them. If you offer them something that they like better than houseplants, they pretty much leave the houseplants alone. Of course I don’t have plants that look like grass. They will eat a spider plant for instance.
“I order food-grade wheat grass seed on the Internet — there are many places, including Amazon, (that sell it) for about $10 a pound. This will last over a year … keep it in the fridge to prevent it to keep it from going ‘buggy.’ Then about once a month, I use potting soil mix and plant up three- to four-inch pot so that the cats have nearly a continuous supply. The seed will grow very easily under a simple desk lamp or under a shop light in my basement.
“There is great excitement in my cat world when a new batch is ready for eating. Wheat grass is not like the grass growing in your lawn. Cats rarely barf up wheat grass as it is very digestible. Also I think it helps to pass hairballs as my cats rarely have trouble with that. And, as many folks who turn the wheat grass plants into a great health drink, it’s very nutritious for cats too. Hope this helps for others. Both cats and plants are happy here.”
Q: “I have a 4-year-old lipstick plant, still in the original pot. I fertilize and water it once a week and keep in a south facing window. The room is kept at 65 degrees. I get lots of leaves on it but no blooms. How do I get this plant to bloom?”
M. P. of Belleville
A: Getting indoor plants to bloom is a large challenge. You must meet their individual growing requirements before they will bloom.
The possibilities for a lack of flowers are the same as for flowering plants out in the yard. These include improper pruning, improper temperatures and insufficient light as well as excessive nitrogen amounts.
Lipstick plants require a daytime temperature between 72 and 75 degrees. Night temperatures should be kept between 56 and 70 degrees.
They require bright light which is indirect or placed behind filtered sheer curtains to prevent scorching.
Keep the lipstick plant evenly moist and fertilize it with a blooming plant fertilizer during the spring and summer. If you choose to re-pot it, use an acid growing soil of equal parts of peat moss, perlite or vermiculite, and soil.
Charles Giedeman is a local contributing writer. Send your gardening questions to Lifestyle Department, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things To Do This Week
Check on the amounts of leaves left on trees; this will also indicate how many of your trees are oak.