Ground Work: Don’t cut the leaves on potted amaryllis

Advocate file photo -- Forced bulbs like amaryllis reach for the sun, so keep their leaves long and separated.
Advocate file photo -- Forced bulbs like amaryllis reach for the sun, so keep their leaves long and separated.

My son gave me a potted amaryllis for Thanksgiving and I followed the instructions that were included. It has a flower stalk in the center of the leaves but I am having a hard time keeping the long leaves in place. Can I cut the leaves shorter to make the plant more manageable?

Forced bulbs grown indoors often stretch for light. Flower stalks are weak and leaves grow long. Do not cut the leaves. Try to arrange them so all the leaves receive sunlight.

Once the flower dies, cut the stalk. And when spring arrives plant the bulb outside in a sunny to partially sunny spot.

My ‘Cabaret’ ornamental grass is all brown. Is it OK to cut the leaves during winter?

Yes, no harm will come to the plant. But I like the foliage to remain until mid-February because it rustles with winter breezes and I enjoy the sound it creates in the landscape.

I collect Christmas trees around the neighborhood and take them to my fishing camp. Is one type of tree better than another for attracting fish?

I don’t know. The fish are looking for cover and because Christmas trees have been pruned, they are densely branched, making them perfect habitat, so I would not think it matters.

I recently built a small lean-to greenhouse to protect my plants during the winter. They looked good last month but now they look sickly and leaves are turning yellow. Could it be the fumes from the fiberglass that I smell when I open the door? Please help!

Fumes are unlikely. Only clear fiberglass is recommended. If a colored product was used that could be the problem.

Plants will drop leaves if they are not acclimated to a new growing environment due to a change in light intensity and exposure and temperature. A cold draft or proximity to the heater can injure plant foliage.

If the greenhouse is tight and not vented on sunny days it may get too hot.