Elisabeth C. Miller Library

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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Roots, Planting, Container gardening

For how long can purchased plants remain out of the ground?


If the plants are in pots, they can stay out of the ground as long as needed. Keep them watered and they will be fine. But if they are bare root, then you should plant them temporarily (called heeling in) in a trench until you can get them into their proper holes. The most important thing to remember is to keep the roots moist. Keeping the plants out of the sun can help reduce stress as well. If digging a trench is impractical, then cover the roots with damp towels or burlap bags. Of course, planting sooner is better!

Date 2018-09-12
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Halleria lucida, Scrophulariaceae (Figwort family), Roots

I live in the Western Cape of South Africa. I'd like to plant a Cape fuchsia near a wall in a small garden. Can I do this without concern that the roots will lift the wall?


What we call Cape fuchsia over here is a shrubby perennial, not more than 4 feet tall in most cases. Its Latin name is Phygelius. It does tend to spread around the garden, and it is not easy to dig up its root system, but perhaps you may be talking about a different plant in the same family, Halleria lucida. Here it is sometimes called "tree fuchsia." According to Pitta Joffe's book Creative Gardening with Indigenous Plants: A South African Guide, Halleria lucida "has a non-aggressive root system," so it is unlikely to damage your wall. Keep in mind that the mature size is about 6 meters in height and up to 5 meters in breadth, so planting it too close to a wall may not be ideal in the long run. Pitta Joffe highly recommends the tree because it attracts sunbirds and canaries with its nectar and many other birds with its fruit.

Date 2017-08-15
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