En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - April 15, 2011

From: Aylmer, QC
Region: Canada
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Trees
Title: Gardening advice for Quebec
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I live in Aylmer Quebec 1. I bought some lily bulbs at a Christmas bazaar. When can I plant them and what do I put in the hole with the bulbs? 2. I bought a little potted cedar at COSTCO for a Christmas tree. Want to plant in back yard. When and what in hole?

ANSWER:

You don't mention what type of lilies you purchased so I am assuming they are summer blooming Asiatic hybrids.  We cannot give you any really specific advice about plants unless they are native to North America but can offer some general advice in this case.

You can plant either your lilies or your "cedar"as soon as the ground is "friable"; that means that it is thawed and has dried enough that you cannot squeeze any water out of a handful.

As far as the lilies go, you will want to follow the directions on the package as we don't know exactly what they are. Whether or not you add any "amendments" to the hole is up to you.  Some people add bone meal when they plant bulbs and root stimulating fertilizer when they plant shrubs and trees.  Other people believe that it is better to allow the plant to get established more gradually and just keep it watered (but not saturated).  It is not necessary to make the hole much bigger than the pot but it is very important to loosen the roots when you plant.  That will promote the roots' ability to penetrate the undisturbed soil surrounding the planting hole.  Check out these links to publications by Tree Canada and Canadian Living.

I hope your cedar survived the winter not being in the ground.  The biggest challenge with a Christmas tree in a pot in an environment where you can't plant it after Christmas is that it is too warm and dry inside for it to go into its necessary dormancy and it is too cold outside (even in the garage) for the pot to be left above ground.  It is a good idea to dig a hole before the ground freezes and keep an unfrozen mix of soil, leaves and compost so that the plant can be heeled in for the winter.  By now, though, you are likely aware of whether it survived or not.

One of the advantages of planting native plants is that they are adapted to your natural conditions, rarely need coddling and often provide a wildlife benefit.  There are some lilies that are native to Quebec:

Lilium canadense (Canada lily)

Lilium philadelphicum (Wood lily)

If your "small cedar" is our native Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae) be aware that it can ultimately become quite large so choose your location with that in mind.  It will respond well to being pruned (there are plenty of cedar hedges in Quebec and Ontario), especially by the deer (and there are plenty of "lollipop" cedars as well)!

 


Lilium canadense


Lilium philadelphicum


Thuja occidentalis

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Can oak pollen be composted?
April 28, 2015 - I have quite a few live oaks in my backyard and my flower beds are filled with pollen stuff. Can I compost and mulch over this or is it a good idea to rake as much as I can out first?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Mexican bonebract in Floresville, TX
November 12, 2008 - My kids and I finally identified a small plant that we found growing in our pasture. There was only one and it is lovely. It is the Mexican Bonebract. What I am interested in finding out is how to tra...
view the full question and answer

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Trees for clay soil from Charlotte TX
August 25, 2013 - We have an area in our yard that even Esperanzas won't grow. It is near another that does great. Six Esperanzas are planted in a north/south row about with 10' between plants, the southern most plan...
view the full question and answer

Should Texas live oaks be mulched under drought conditions?
July 19, 2011 - Should we mulch our live oaks in pastures for water retention?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center