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Waxed Amaryllis Bulbs

Waxed amaryllis bulb sitting on a desk
Mary Engisch
This waxed amaryllis bulb, pictured here on Mary Engisch's desk at VPR, needs no soil or water to blossom. This is good news for the bulb, as Engisch is a consistent over- and under-waterer of plants and flowers.

Each week, gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi shares his knowledge about all things gardening. Today, Charlie introduces us to the waxed amaryllis bulb — a completely hands-off gift idea that will bloom with no help with the gift-receiver!

Waxed Amaryllis Bulbs: Great Gifts For Desks & Dorms

If you have some non-green thumbers on your holiday gift list this year, perhaps a waxed amaryllis bulb is the perfect present. The amaryllis has trumpet-shaped flowers and come in a variety of colors.

This recent iteration of a traditional holiday flowering bulb came about when Dutch breeders cut the roots off an amaryllis bulb, dipped it in wax and found that it still grew and still flowered. This waxed version is perfectly happy sitting on its little metal base in a sunny spot indoors — and it will bloom with no water, no fertilizer, no soil, no container and no attention!

When it is done flowering, you can peel off the wax, pot it and grow it like a houseplant.

Q: 'When is the best time to prune rugosa roses? What is the best height for pruning rugosa roses?' — Ellie, in Milton

Late winter and spring seasons are best for pruning rugosa roses, which are tough and hardy plants. When they begin to grow back in the spring, prune out the smaller stems, and then cut the whole plant back to about 3 feet in height. This helps promote new growth and new flowers in the new season.

Q: 'What is the best way to manage tent caterpillars in an apple tree - our crab apple tree has suffered significant damage over the past few years!' — Jacob in Jeffersonville

One proactive measure is to encourage birds to nest in or near trees which have tent caterpillars. Birds who nest close by and raise their young will be constantly looking for food sources, and those tent caterpillars are perfect to feed their young. There will be less damage to your tree with fewer caterpillars around.

Another approach is to look for the egg sacs on the branches and prune them off now. Next spring and summer, you can destroy the nest or spray Bt, an organic insecticide. Use this choice as a last resort, as the spray can also kill off other caterpillars, like those that turn in Monarch butterflies.

A thin grey line.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie will answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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