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Caring for a Six Trunk Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island PineAsk The Plant Expert:Just bought a Norfolk Island Pine…actually six trunks…three feet high for Christmas. Read your YouTube article and wish to thank you. Would you mind telling me if I can or should separate the clump of six, or will they need to remain together? Can the plant(s) be safely re-potted as you usually re-pot plants, or is there something special I need to know? I live in Austin, Texas in an apartment with a nice patio where it should do well until summer, at which time it will need to come inside.

Thank you, Georgia Willis

Plant Expert Reply:


How very unusual. I haven’t seen one with six trunks. Whether you have three or six trunks, the recommendation would be the same, do not try to separate the trunks. If the plant seems happy in the current container leave it alone. However, you will need to make sure that the container allows for proper drainage. If you need to re-pot the plant, choose a container with a good drain hole that is 1 1/2 times larger than the current pot. Fill the pot with a general purpose houseplant potting soil so that the top of the current rootball is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ from the top of the new container. Do not add soil to the top of the rootball; simply fill in around the sides, then water thoroughly. For more care instruction, you can check out our Northfolk Island Pine page.

Hope this information was helpful.

Jamie Jamison Adams

Help! My Peace Lily is Suffering

Ask The Plant Expert:

“I just recently figured out what kind of plant I have; it’s a peace lily. My roommate left it behind when he moved and didn’t give any information. My peace lily has tons of brown and dead leaves. I know that pruning the dead blooms, you cut the stalk at the base of the plant because it will only bloom once. My question is, does the same rule apply to the leaves of the plant? Do I trim the entire stalk or just the dead leaf and if I leave the stalk will it sprout more leaves or just die?”-Amanda

Suffering Peace Lily

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Can This Yellowing, Umbrella Plant Recover?

Ask the Expert: Can this plant recover?

The plant shown in the picture is turning yellow; it was ok until recently. The soil is hard, and I can’t tell if I’m watering it too much or too little. Some parts seem healthy but others seem to be unhealthy. Please also let me know what the plant is. Thanks for any help you can offer. Paul

Cyperus alternifolius - Umbrella Plant Cyperus alternifolius - Umbrella Plant stems

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How To Care For A Crinum Lily in Germany

Ask the Expert: What sort of crinum is it on the photograph?

I found in 2008 in Daytona, FL a seed in the shape of a potato under plants with long sword-shaped leafs and flowers like the photograph shows. Put into earth, a plant grew for now 2 years without showing blossoms. A specialist of the Tuebingen University told me, it should be some sort of crinum. Can you give me the name of it and hints how to care it, so it will bloom? We live in Germany and have winters with frost onto – 20°C.
So it must be kept in the house during winter – but where there? Thank you for answering – Joerg Ekert in Kusterdingen, Germany

Crinum augustum (commonly known as Queen Emma crinum)

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Help! Why Isn’t My Anthurium Blooming?

Ask The Plant Expert:

I inherited 2 anthuriums (one pink & one red) about a year ago. both had “blooms” at the time.  Since then nothing. I’ve been wiping the leaves off and don’t think I am over watering, although I think may need to change the soil medium because it appears to be just regular potting soil. As you will see in the pictures attached they are in bright but not direct light. (The large windows are to the right of the bookcase but face due south.)  There are brownish flake-like spots on them; which tend to come off when I wipe the leaves/stems off.  Also, they seem to let off a sticky substance that doesn’t seem to be hurting anything really; just need to keep shelf & floor below clean.  Any suggestions on what I’m doing wrong? – Tammie

Anthurium Houseplants

Anthurium Leaf Anthurium Leaf

Possible Anthurium Infestation

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Help! Why Is My Peace Lily Green, Not White?

Ask The Plant Expert:

Peace Lily CareMy Peace plant flower is green, it should be white. What does it need?

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Could be a variety of things. What most people call the the bloom is actually called a spathe. This is sort of like a leaf and surrounds the spadix, which supports the actual flowers of the plant. The Spathes can range in color from a pure white to a pale whitish green.

Factors you can work with to achieve better blooms: humidity, water light and fertilizer. Giving the plant the proper humidity and water will help make the formation of leaves, spathes and flowers stronger. The right fertilizer and light will help with strength the color and structure of the plant. So, follow the care instructions for Peace Lilies (at the bottom). Hopefully this will change future spathes from green to white.

Hope this is helpful!

Help! Can I Use Gelatin As Fertilizer for Peace Lilies?

Ask The Plant Expert:

Gelatin as fertilizer for Peace Lilies? Read that dissolved gelatin in 1 liter of water, can be used as a fertilizer for peace lilies. True??? – Miranda

Gelatin Used As Fertalizer?Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:


I am afraid that is a new one on me.  I tend to be traditional when it comes to fertilizer, relying on the primary nutrients of N, P and K along with a few trace elements. Since I am unfamiliar with the composition of gelatin, I can’t recommend it. From what I know of gelatin, it is derived from animals bones and connective tissue and therefore probably contains some phosphorous.  So, it shouldn’t hurt the peace lily, but won’t give it the balanced nutrition it needs.

If you still plan to use gelatin, be sure it is unflavored and does not contain artificial sweeteners.

Hope this information was helpful.

Help! What Is Causing My Azalea To Turn Yellow?

Ask The Plant Expert:

Help! My azalea blooms look rusty with a little white and pink mixed in, it. The leaves also look yellow. I really can’t tell you what kind they are, but they grow low to the ground not the tall bushy kind. – Marilyn

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:


I assume you are wanting to know what is causing the yellowing in your azaleas.  It could be one of many things: water issue, insect issue or iron deficiency.

  • Azalea Insect Problems

Azaleas are susceptible to an insect called Lacebug. This winged insect basically suck the chlorophyll from the plant giving the leaves a lace white appearance.  If this is the case you will need to spray them with an insecticide. Your local nursery or garden center should have what you need.

  • Azalea Iron Deficiency

Hot Pink AzaleaAzaleas sometime develop an iron deficiency.  In this case, the younger leaves will turn yellow with green veins. If this is the case, you will need to apply an iron treatment to the azaleas.  Your local garden center or nursery will have iron that you can apply to your soil.  Be sure to apply the proper rate for azaleas.  You might also check the pH of the soil and make sure that it is acidic enough for azaleas.

  • Improper Watering

The one issue that most azaleas will have at some point is a water issue — either too much or too little.  Although azaleas like a moist soil, but do not like to have soggy roots. Root rot can occur if the azalea is to wet and thus the leaves will turn yellow and drop off.  However, keeping an azalea too dry will cause the leaves to first turn yellow then brown.  Check you soil moisture level and correct the situation.  Do not over compensate – instead make sure the soil is the proper moisture level — no more no less.  In a few weeks the plant should make a full recovery.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if I can help with any thing else.

Can You Use Pine Tags Under Soil For Flower Pots?

Hibiscus BloomAsk The Plant Expert:

Can you put pine tags under potting soil in flower pots? Will it damage the plant? I put a large hibiscus plant in a large pot. I filled the bottom with pine tags to help fill the pot. Then I put potting soil on  top of the pine tags and covered the root of the plant with potting soil. Will the pine tags damage the plant? – Ann

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert reply:

No, the pine tags should not cause an issue with the hibiscus. I don’t know of any problems that pine tags will cause other plants. If you are concerned about pine tags making the soil too acidic, you can always test the pH of the soil. However, I doubt that the pine tags would be able to change the pH and most potting soils have a neutral pH. Hibiscus prefer an alkaline soil.  You can use a pH meter to test the soil.  You will want a reading between 6.5 to 7.8.  Although I have seen hibiscus do okay with a soil pH of 5.5.

Hopefully this information was helpful.  Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

3 Plant Questions For The Expert

Ask The Plant Expert:

Hi again, my outdoor basils turned completely brown last week,with not a single green leaf on,is this normal?

Secondly, leaves of my indoor aucuba are droping one by one, from bottom to top, I keep it facing an eastern window.

Thirdly, I took my jasmine tree indoors in November. It is growing new leaves, but stems are becoming white or beige, they are loosing the green bark(coating), Thanx again. – Amjad

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

1) Basil Issues: I know the temperatures in Jordan are around 55°  Fahrenheit (13° Celsius), but did your temperature drop below 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius) last week? If it did this could be the reason the basil is turning brown. Basil is susceptible to damage at low temperature.

Another issue could be the age of the plant. Many types of basil are annuals and have a short life cycle. If yours happens to be an annual type of basil and is quite old, the plant may be in a natural state of decline.

2) Aucuba Issues: As for the aucuba, it sounds like a water issue.  Check the moisture in the soil. Is it dry? increase the water. If the soil is soggy, check the plant for root rot. Keeping the soil too wet might have caused the roots to start decaying. If the root rot is the problem, snip off the unhealthy part of the roots and re-pot the plant. Make sure the container allows excess water to drain away from the plant.

3) Jasmine Tree: The jasmine sounds like it has chlorosis or root rot. How are you caring for the jasmine tree?

Hope this information is helpful.