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Consumer Qs: Get creative with your window boxes this spring
A windowsill garden consisting of rooting cuttings of begonias and night-blooming cereus in colored bottles and vases. Additional color and fragrance is provided by adding winter-blooming flowers of Algerian iris, paperwhite narcissus, laurustinus and wintersweet cut from the garden outdoors. - photo by ARTY SCHRONCE/special

Delete    Question: What are some small houseplants that will fit on a narrow windowsill?
    Answer: There are plenty of plants plants that may work because they are naturally diminutive or because they are small when young and can live on a windowsill for a long time until they grow too large. Here are a few plants to consider: miniature African violets, bird’s nest sansevieria, miniature orchids, tillandsias and other small bromeliads, creeping fig and string of hearts/rosary vine (Ceropegia woodii).            There are also many cactuses and succulents that are small or slow-growing. They may be good choices provided the window receives lots of light. A few examples are jade plant (young specimen), haworthia, bead plant (Senecio rowleyanus), lithops and moon cactus or another of the popular grafted cactuses.
    Depending on the cultivar, your grafted cactus may have a red, yellow, pink, green or chocolate-brown head and bring some needed color to the smallest windowsill.
    Windowsills provide plenty of room for bulbs of paperwhite narcissus, hyacinth or crocus in specially made forcing vases.
    Why not consider a windowsill garden consisting of cuttings of plants rooting in bottles or vases of various colors? Try coleus, wax begonia, angelwing begonia, philodendron, night-blooming cereus, pothos, Swedish ivy, English ivy, dieffenbachia, tradescantia or purple passion plant. You can pot these in the spring or throw them on the compost pile and start over. Using colored clear containers and plants with different colored leaves can bring a stained glass effect to an ordinary window.
    If you find your windowsills are too narrow or crowded for the plants you want to grow, investigate expanding your space with a window greenhouse.
    Visit a local garden center to get even more ideas.

    Q: I received a bare-root apple tree that had a coating of wax. Do I need to scrape it off? Why was it coated to begin with?
    A: Packaged and mail-order plants such apple trees and rose bushes that are sold bare-root (soil removed from roots) may be coated with wax to help prevent them from drying out while in storage or in retail stores. Don’t worry about the wax; it will degrade and break away.

    Q: Is there anything wrong with having a white clover lawn? I can’t get grass to live, but the patches of clover are doing great. 
    A: A lawn consisting entirely or partially of clover is fine. There is no law that says a lawn must be grass. In fact, many years ago seed companies and garden centers used to sell clover seeds for lawns. Some are doing it again. 
    If you live in a neighborhood or development that has restrictions, you may want to check on rules and homeowner covenants before proceeding. If you run into opposition, do your research and gently explain that there is a long history of clover lawns. Clover is a legume and doesn’t’ require the fertilizer that a conventional grass lawn does. It also requires less water and fewer pesticides. Also, clover flowers are pretty and provide food for honeybees and butterflies.

    If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce ( or visit the department’s website at
Georgia Department of Agriculture

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