Charlyn Moltane, who gardens in Fountain Valley, emailed as follows: “My pal in Backyard Grove has grown 4 apricot bushes from the seeds of store-bought fruit. These bushes are actually 5 toes tall and bear small, great-tasting apricots. I’ve now saved 12 pits from giant store-bought apricots. How ought to I plant them?”

Every apricot pit accommodates a single seed. In the event you needed to sprout a seed from an apricot you picked from a tree, you would wish to place it (or its pit) within the fridge for 4-6 weeks to imitate the chilly obligatory for apricot seeds to germinate. Nevertheless, store-bought apricots (and their seeds) have usually acquired an equal post-harvest chilly storage chill so that you just would not have to refrigerate them previous to planting. It’s advisable to fastidiously crack open the pit with a pliers, nutcracker, or vise, and extract the seed. Plant it 1-2 inches deep in a fast-draining soil combine and, having been chilled, it ought to sprout inside just a few weeks.

Thus, you shouldn’t have any drawback germinating your apricot seeds. The query is how a lot chilly does the range you might be rising want to provide flowers so fruit can develop? The annual common variety of chill hours (winter hours under 45 levels) in Orange County is round 300. Apricots require between 300-1000 hours of winter chill to flower, relying on the range. So in case you have a spread with a low-chilling requirement within the neighborhood of 300 hours, you’re going to get flowers and fruit inside 3-5 years of planting your seed. Nevertheless, if the number of your store-bought apricots is in want of considerably extra winter chilly than 300 hours to flower and produce a crop, you gained’t have something to reap.

The truth that your pal grew candy apricots from seeds of store-bought fruit isn’t a shock. Apricots, peaches, and nectarines are self-pollinating and self-fertile that means they don’t want one other tree for pollinating functions and the seeds of their fruit, when planted, will usually develop into bushes with fruit much like that on the guardian tree.

Two years in the past, I acquired an e-mail from Bob Boyd who grows peaches and nectarines in Tustin, not removed from Fountain Valley. Though he doesn’t develop apricots, he has a number of pluot (plum-apricot hybrid) varieties together with Taste Finale, Taste King, Taste Queen, and Splash. Apparently sufficient, Tustin usually receives lower than 300 hours of winter chill, even whereas pluots are supposed to want 400-500 such hours to flower and fruit. Nonetheless, Boyd harvests pluots from his bushes 12 months after 12 months, which has led him to invest that winter chill necessities are usually not absolute. Boyd really helpful consulting with Gary, the fruit tree professional at Laguna Hills Nursery (lagunahillsnursery.com) in Santa Ana, earlier than making choices concerning varieties most acceptable to your space.

By the way, in addition to the self-pollinating stone fruits talked about above, there are self-pollinating almond varieties as properly. Different fruit bushes that develop true to seed (or true to kind) embody oranges, lemons, limes, and mandarins. The easiest way to determine that you’ve a clonal seedling (whose fruit will probably be similar to the one from which the seed was extracted) is by sprouting plenty of seeds since a few of them will probably be polyembronic. From a single polyembronic citrus seed, a number of seedlings will sprout, with essentially the most strong amongst them seemingly being the clone you search. With a polyembronic mango seed, then again, all seedlings aside from the smallest one are more likely to be clones of the guardian plant.

Jackie Hyman, who gardens in Brea, wrote as follows: “Opposite to all of the publicity about bee colony collapse, there are a ton of bees in my garden, thank goodness. My zucchini patch specifically is filled with buzzing each morning. That is nice, however this 12 months can be the primary time I’ve observed little holes within the dust round my garden, sort of such as you would possibly see with ants, besides the bees are going out and in of them. Clearly, they’re nesting beneath there.

Am I going to have an issue with them this fall when it’s time to dig up elements of the garden for replanting? Am I more likely to be attacked by indignant bees? Thus far, none have stung me or tried, so far as I can inform (I’m fairly well-covered head to toe after I garden), however ought to I be anxious about this?”

Seventy % of North American bee species nest within the floor and are solitary versus colonizing bees. Though the females can sting, they seldom do, being non-aggressive and fewer reactive than the European honeybee. Males, in defending the queen, are extra aggressive they usually could cost at you and buzz round you threateningly, however they’re innocent, having no stingers. Moreover, floor bees are simply despatched packing by filling their nesting holes with water. They can’t abide moist environment and can fly away to discover a drier patch of earth the place it’s extra appropriate to construct a nest.

Mary Flowers emailed as follows: “My husband has bronchial asthma that’s aggravated by scented flowers.  Any info on which sort of flowers we may use can be significantly appreciated. I must also point out that we have now each sunny and shady areas.”

The pollen of almost all flowers pollinated by bees, beetles, or birds, is neither allergenic nor problematic for bronchial asthma victims. Nevertheless, there are some flowers to keep away from, each within the garden and when making lower flower preparations, together with these of amaranth, chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies, most sunflowers, artemisias, dahlias, asters, yarrow, and wisteria, in addition to perfumery flowers resembling hyacinth, jasmine, gardenia, paperwhite narcissus, child’s breath (Gypsophila), English lavender, and lilac. Any flowering plant not discovered on the above record might be hypoallergenic and carnations, regardless of their perfume, won’t make you sneeze. Most roses are non-allergenic. The exceptions can be wild species. Crops that flower within the shade, resembling azaleas, camellias, and clivias, are non-allergenic too.

The pollen from the flowers of wind-pollinated grasses, shrubs, and bushes is the larger drawback.  Allergenic pollen is discovered within the usually non-descript, buff-colored flowers of decorative grasses and within the catkins of a large number of woody vegetation, together with junipers, cypresses, pines, cedars, birch bushes, sycamore and airplane bushes, elm bushes, alder bushes, and oak bushes.

Due to hybridization, many sunflower varieties are actually pollen free. Some develop six to eight toes tall whereas others are categorized as semi-dwarf or dwarf sunflowers, displaying a branching progress behavior. As a result of they lack pollen, these varieties are usually not an issue for allergy victims, whether or not grown within the garden or utilized in tablescapes, bouquets, or flower preparations. In the event you plant some common pollen-producing sunflowers subsequent to a pollen-less selection, the latter will nonetheless produce seeds. A bonus of pollen-less varieties is that they’ve an extended vase life than the pollen producers. Though bees won’t buzz round your pollen-less sunflowers, nectar-seeking butterflies will nonetheless go to them. There’s numerous pollen-less sunflower varieties, together with ‘Chocolate Cherry,’ which grows to seven toes with burnished crimson petals, ‘Buttercream,’ reaching 4 toes tall with white petals that change into pale yellow on the base, and ‘Junior,’ solely 30 inches tall however with a bushy progress behavior that reveals off its yellow-petaled, dark-centered blooms that attain as much as 5 inches throughout. Distributors of those and lots of different pollen-free sunflowers are readily positioned via on-line searches.

Fernleaf ironwood Lyonothamnus floribundus. (Courtesy of Martin Ogden Teddington)

California native of the week: Eight plant species are endemic to Catalina Island. Endemics are vegetation whose habitat is restricted to at least one explicit spot on earth. The Catalina Island endemics don’t require extraordinary care, whereas offering a wide range of ornamental results.

Probably the most well-known Catalina endemic is Catalina ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus), a tree that may attain a peak of 30 toes with a selection of 15 toes. It grows slowly whereas assuming its slender kind. Leaves are deep inexperienced, stems and bark are cinnamon crimson, bark exfoliates, and flower clusters, which come abundantly in spring, are white. A subspecies (asplenifolius) referred to as fernleaf ironwood, an endemic to Santa Cruz Island, has attractively toothed foliage as properly. This tree would require safety from sizzling afternoon solar to look its finest. The identify “ironwood” was given to it by sailors who discovered its wooden of such power that it was utilized in making bars of a capstan, the machine employed for hoisting up sails on a ship. Aside from redwoods (Sequoia sp.), the Catalina and Santa Cruz Island ironwoods are California’s most distinctive native bushes.

You’re invited to ship questions, feedback, and photographs to Joshua@perfectplants.com.

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