The knowledgeable staff here at Horlings Garden Centre are always happy to answer our customer's questions.  We have collected a few of the most commonly asked questions, but if your question is not adressed below or you would like to have more information, please come to talk to our staff or conatct us.  If you have any concerns about plant identification or insect/disease issues, it is usually helpful for us to see pictures or a sample (in a baggie or container please) of the concerning plants.

Q. When do I prune my hydrangeas?

A.  There are hundreds of hydrangeas on the market, but they all fall into one of three categories.  To help you figure out when is the best time to prune, we've added a really usefull link here to the Proven Winners website, which will make it all clear and easy for you so you can rest assured that your hydrangeas will be performing perfectly for you.

Q.  How much sun is FULL SUN?  What about PART SUN?

A. Full sun plants require a minimum of SIX hours of direct sunlight per day.  These hours can be broken up throughout the day, for example: three hours of direct sun in the morning, and then three more again later in the afternoon.  Part sun or part shade plants require THREE to SIX hours of direct sun, if a plant requires part sun, the hours of direct sun it receives should be good hours in the afternoon.  If a plant requires part shade, then the plant should be receiving morning sun, and be shielded from the intense lateafternoon hours of sunshine. 

Q.  What annuals can be grown in FULL SHADE?

A.  Every plant requires some sunlight to thrive, but there are plenty that will do well in a very shady place.  Some of our favourite annuals for very shady places in containers or in your gardens are: walleriana impatiens, double impatiens, non-stop begonias, wax begonias, coleus, ferns, torenia, fuchsia, new guinea impatiens and ivy.

Q.  Can we still plant IMPATIENS?  

A.  Walleriana impatiens have been a problem in the past several years because of a fungus called "Impatiens Downy Mildew".  The fungus attacks only the walleriana (a.k.a. Busy Lizzy) variety of impatiens.  We still sell them at Horlings Garden Centre with great success, but there is no guarantee that the fungus will not effect your plants at some point.  Because of the nature of the fungus, if you have not had problems in the past years, and if none of your nearby neighbours have had a proble, you should be okay to plant them.  But if the fungus is present in your garden, the general rule is that you should avoid planting the wallerianas again for at least five years.  There are some excellent alternatives that we can recommend if this affects your impatiens listed in the FAQ above, or talk to us at the garden centre for more suggestions.

Q.  How often should I fertilize my annuals?

A.  We recommend fertililzing annuals weekly, using a 20-20-20 fertilizer to keep your annuals blooming beautifully throughout the season.  We feel so strongly about the importance of fertilizer, that we even offer a FREE FERTILIZER program!  You can purchase a container for only $2 and re-fill it as often as you need to for free here at Horlings Garden Centre.  It's important to remember never to fertilize dry roots or you will burn your plants.  Always water your plants well first, and then fertilizer after.

Q.  Which Hostas can handle full sun?

A.  Hostas are shade perennials, however, there are some that are more sun tolerant than others.  "Tolerant" is the operative word here.  Just like I tolerate a sunburn now and then, I would certainly prefer to avoid them.  Hostas would prefer to be shielded from direct intense afternoon sun.  Here is a short list of some sun tolerant hostas that we usually carry at Horlings Garden Centre:  Sum and Substance, Halcyon, August Moon, Sun Power, Big Daddy, June, Paradigm, Krossa Regal.  In the full sun, your hostas will often be less colourfull and may show signs of sunburn by mid summer.

Q.  When should I prune my shrubs?

A.  As a general rule, flowering shrubs will benefit greatly from regular pruning.  Shrubs that bloom in the spring (like lilacs, weigelia, mock orange etc.) should be pruned immediately after they are done blooming; these usually begin to set their blooms for the next year right away, so if you prune too late you could prune off the blooms for the next year.  Check this page on the Landscape Ontario web page for some really helpful information on when and how to prune evergreens and other shrubs.

Q.  What can I plant if I have a black walnut tree?

A.  Black Walnut trees produce 'juglone' which makes the soil incompatible for many other plants, but there are lots of options still to use, we like to consult this list posted by Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture when our customers are looking for plants compatible with juglone.

Q.  How far apart should I plant ______?

A.  Your plant should indicate on it's tag approximately what it's width or spread will be.  If you overcrowd your plants in their initial planting, they may not have adequate room to grow and may suffer from poor air circulation if they are crowding each other in the garden.  Try to provide the suggested amount of space for the plants to reach their full potential.  For the first few years in the garden, some people choose to use annuals in between their larger plants to fill out the spaces while still allowing the perennials and trees/shrubs to grow into their space.

Q.  What can you recommend that the deer won't eat?

A.  We call these plants "deer RESISTANT" because sometimes the deer just get hungry or curious and will taste nearly anything.  These are some that are known to be the least popular with our pretty woodland friends:  Barberry, butterfly bush, junipers, paper birch, most ferns, poppy, Heuchera (coral bells), dicentra (bleeding hearts), Sweet William, brunerra, lily-of-the-valley, foxglove, astilbe, lavender, monkshood and more.

Q.  How do I overwinter my canna lilies?

A.  Canna lilies are tropical plants, so they will never survive our Canadian winters in the ground.  The good news is, they're pretty simple to overwinter.  In the fall (end of October-ish), cut down your cannas and dig their tuberous roots out.  Shake the soil away from the tubers and store them in a DRY, cool, frost-free location for the winter.  You can bring them back and plant them for the following spring as early as March and grow them indoors to get them started early, or just wait until the danger of hard frost is over and plant them directly into your garden.