Question  My wife and I have be following your informative shows on the channel 2 and we have noticed the recommendations about fertilizing Orchids. What we have caught up to now, is that the fertilizer to be used has to be a 18-18-18 or 19-19-19 fertilizer and it have to be used once a week. Please tell us how much of this fertilizer to a gallon of water, as we believe that the fertilizer shall be diluted in water before being applied to the Orchids. Any other tips regarding Orchids would be appreciated.

Answer With respect to the choice of fertiliser a general purpose water soluble fertiliser would be best. The analyses should either be 18-18-18 or 20-20-20. We utilise the latter and follow a regimen of fertilising once per week after waterings. Remember never fertilise dry plants as you would leach them and may kill them. We also fertilise every two weeks with a blossom booster (for mature plants ) this would be indicated by an analysis with the middle number being the highest. You also asked about the ratio of fertiliser to water. Ideally it should be a teaspoon to a gallon of water.



Question  One of my Poui trees seems to be rotting at the base and in the middle of one of the main branches.  I need some advice on what is actually happening to the tree and what should be done to preserve it.

Answer    Call a Tree Surgeon such as Gary Narinesingh tel no 681 3410 who can give advice on whether to cut or not. He has the necessary crew and equipment to do it.

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Question  I was looking at channel 4 last night, where yourself and another member of the T&T Garden Club was giving information on plants, which I thought was very informative, one of the things you said was that sometimes plants suffer from stress, symptoms being when their tips are turning brown, some of my palms namely areca and bamboo palms are turning brown, can you advise me as to how I can treat this symptom.

Answer    With respect to your inquiry I could suggest two things: one, if the plants are brown on the edges it could be a result of drying out too much between waterings or it could have happened once and there is lasting evidence on the fronds. If it is the latter then the young foliage should be perfect. Please ensure that your plants do not dry out excessively this is a real possibility given the combination of tremendous heat and fibrous roots.

My second suggestion would be fertiliser- burn . If you fertilise during the day (liquid fertiliser) chances are that the water could evaporate rapidly leaving back salts from the fertiliser which would definitely cause browning of the leaves. Ideally you should fertilise when it is not very hot. Remember also that you should always water thoroughly before fertilising as this also could cause burning and leaching of the plant.

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Question  Is there more than one type of “ivy” locally which you can grow on walls. The leaves on mine started nice and small but now I have to almost take a chain saw to keep it trimmed. I ask because I see “posh” houses in St. Clair with lovely neat, small leafed ivy. If there is a ”small leaf” ivy, where can I buy some?

Answer     The Ivy you have, is the same one as what is on that wall, I know because I planted it, (Wainwright St.) the reason it is small is because it is cut every other week. That is the way to keep it small, and to stop the thick stems from bulging out.

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