Get All Your Gardening Advice from Our Certified Nursery Consultants

Posted by: on February 27th, 2012 | 141 Comments
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The Home Depot is a terrific source for expert advice on any home improvement project you can think of. And since every Home Depot store has a team of our Certified Nursery Consultants on hand, we’re ready to give you the best gardening advice you can find.

Take a look at this video by Home Depot associate Travis (aka LawnRanger) to see how a visit to your local Home Depot’s Garden Center can make your garden greener than ever.



The Home Depot’s certification is the real deal. We asked the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to help develop the training program. After the special training, our certified associates have expertise in plant types and how to care for them, landscaping, flowers and ground covers, lawn care, and a lot more.

And we make sure there are always Certified Nursery Consultants on duty in our Lawn and Garden Centers ready to talk with you about your gardening plans or answer your questions.

Our Certified Nursery Consultants are ready to help you online, too. You can ask your gardening questions on our online How-To Community Forums. Just pick a login name and password, and you’re ready to start posting questions on gardening, lawn care and just about any home improvement topic you can think of. 

Our associates (the guys and gals in the orange aprons) really know what they’re doing when it comes to just about any DIY project, and they are pleased to offer how-to instructions, buying recommendations, and even some friendly encouragement on all of your home improvement projects. When it comes to gardening and lawn care projects, we have everything you need, from potting soil and fertilizer to lawn mowers and composters… and expert gardening advice, too.



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  1. [...] can also always speak to one of our Certified Nursery Consultants at your local Home Depot Store. He or she will be happy to give you gardening advice, point you [...]

  2. [...] can also always speak to one of our Certified Nursery Consultants at your local Home Depot Store. He or she will be happy to give you gardening advice, point you [...]

  3. [...] can also always speak to one of our Certified Nursery Consultants at your local Home Depot Store. He or she will be happy to give you gardening advice, point you [...]

  4. [...] can also always speak to one of our Certified Nursery Consultants at your local Home Depot Store. He or she will be happy to give you gardening advice, point you [...]

  5. tana criner says:

    I picked the green seed pods from japanese iris and opened them up before I read about them… will I have any luck growing these? What do I do with green seeds? Did I screw up?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Tana.

      I posted your question in the Garden Club section of our online How-To Forums. That’s where our gardening and home improvement experts are standing by to answer your questions.

      Just click here to go to where I posted your question.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

    • Becki says:

      Green seeds from iris (or daylilies) are immature and will not germinate. When the seeds are mature (they will be black), the pod will start to split open at the top. Iris (and daylily) seeds generally take 2 seasons to mature to bloom size and do not always look just like the parent plant. it is much faster to just take divisions of the plant for blooms the next season.

  6. Melinda Dexter says:

    I’ve got a new flower garden space (22’5″ x 2’9″). I was wanting to put down a, I don’t know what you call it, a fence or board (not thick) looking thing that I saw advertised on a Home DePot commercial. I’ve looked on the Home Depot website but don’t see this. Do you carry these in stock? It has diamond holes where you would plant your flowers and then I could cover with chips or mulch after I get planted. Thanks,

    • Craig Allen says:


      I’ve posted your question over on our online How-To Forums. Our gardening experts will have a response for you there, and it’s a great place to post follow up questions, if you have any.

      You click over to your question on the Forums here.

      Thanks for the question.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  7. DD Davis says:

    I will need about 70 dwarf boxwood to make a small hedge. I am thinking about Monrovia’s North Star Boxwood. Do you have any other suggestions? Can you order these for me? Thank you.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, DD Davis.

      I reposted your question over on our online How-To Community Forums for our gardening experts to see. Click here to see what they have to say.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  8. Lana says:

    how do i protect my outside cactus that are both in the ground and in pots from freezing? some of these cactus include mexican fence post, recently transplanted saguaros (past 6 months), agave, and barrel cactus. I have many so i am looking for the best protection at a cost i can afford. do you have a couple different suggestions that might be helpful to me? Thank you

    • Craig Allen says:

      Lana, great question. It sounds like you’ve invested a lot of time and attention to your cactus garden, so it’s important to know how to help them make it through the winter.

      I’ve reposted your question on our online How-To (and Gardening) Forums, where our Home Depot gardening experts can all see it and respond. I reposted it here.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  9. Plant Advice Needed ASAP says:

    Dear Lawn Care Expert,

    I planted seeds in the bare and shaded areas of my lawn, and I cannot get the seeds to sprout/spread in that area. Any recommendation? Advice?

    Also, I have a Japanese maple that I water deeply 3-4 times a week . . about every other day. It was one of the larger Japanese maples sold at Home Depot (~ $90-$100 tree). I planted in mulch (not soily) mix in a fairly sunny spot. The thinner branches/leaves coming out of top are dying, but the main stalk/trunk still is green. What should I do? Water more? Less? Add fertilizer? Better nursery/black soil? Please help ASAP! Thanks

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Plant Advice Needed ASAP. I hope you don’t mind if we call you PANASAP. :-)

      It sounds like you need some expert advice… and we have it for you here online at The Home Depot.

      I took your questions over to our How-To Community Forums, where a number of gardening and lawn care experts could take a look at it.

      I divided your two questions into two different postings on the Forums. This link here will take you to where your lawn seeding question is.

      We’ve had an response to you on the lawn seeding question. Here’s what Home Depot associate hortman (Ken) had to say:

      “Hey PANASAP. Ken here in the Chicago area. Let’s figure out why your seeds
      didn’t sprout.

      Grass seed needs continual moisture to sprout. That means
      watering 2 to 3 times a day. Also covering the seed with no more than a
      quarter inch of soil will help keep the seed moist and keep the birds from
      eating all the seed.

      Each bag of grass seed has an expiration date. If you had an old bag of seed
      that had expired, your germination rate would be very low. Check the date and
      keep the seed continually moist and you should see some sprouting soon.

      As far as spreading is concerned, that depends on what type of grass seed you planted.
      Bunch type grasses like rye and fescue don’t spread, the bunch just gets bigger.
      Spreading grasses like bluegrass, Bermuda, Centipede, and St. Augustine spread by
      rhizomes and stolons (underground and/or surface stems).

      I hope this helps. Good luck and take care.”

      If you have follow up questions about this, the fastest way to get an answer is if you go directly to the place on the Forums where I posted your lawn seed question (I put a link to it above), and post your follow up there. You’ll need to create a screen name and a password, but that takes just a few seconds, and it’s free, of course. One of the good things about that, too, is you can set it to send you an email when you get a response.

      I hope you’ll at least browse around the Forums. There’s a lot of excellent information and discussion there about gardening, lawn care and home improvement.

      In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye out for a response to your Japanese Maple question.

      Thanks for stopping by, PANASAP.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

    • Craig Allen says:

      And here is your answer to the Japanese Maple question… from Home Depot associate greengiant:

      “Hey PANASAP.

      There are a few things we can do that will help this tree to the road to recovery. Japanese Maples prefer to have some shade as they struggle with full sun. Morning sun is preferable and more shade in the afternoon will protect it from the heat and blazing hot sun.

      I would also recommend replacing the mulch that you put in the pot with a good potting mix like the Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, as it is much more nutritious and will give your tree a stronger healthier root system that will require less water.

      I would also recommend cutting back on the water, as this tree would only need to be watered 2 times a week max in the middle of the hot summer and 1 time a week or less now that it is going dormant. I would also recommend, now that you are repotting it essentially, that you give it a little bit of Miracle Gro Quick Start which is a root stimulator.

      You will need to prune off the branches that are dead and brittle. If the branch still bends, without snapping, then it is still alive and could leaf back out.”

      You can see greengiant’s response and post follow up questions on our online Community Forums. Click this link here to go there.

      Thanks again for the questions. I hope you get your lawn and Japanese Maple sorted out soon.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  10. Pete says:

    Thanks to all who responded to my Astilbe question. It was reassuring and much appreciated.


  11. Pete says:

    With a newly planted lawn (seeded and aerated and fertilized with Starter Fertilizer 2 weeks ago), when should the nexr fertilizer be applied and what type (Fall, Winter, Turf Builder, 10/10/10?)


    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Pete. It’s good to see you back.

      I posted your question on our online How-To Community Forums in the Lawn Care section. Here’s what Home Depot associate and How-To Community expert GardenGail had to say:

      “Hello Pete and welcome,

      If you have any of the starter fertilizer left, I would first use all that up. It will be the safest for your new lawn. You should not have to use any more fertilizer for another month, then you may use Scott’s WinterGuard fertilizer. Always check your labels and make sure not to overfeed.”

      I invite you to take a look at our How-To Community Forums, Pete. That’s the place online where our lawn care, gardening and home improvement experts post tips and ideas and answer all kinds of questions. You’re invited to post your own questions or comments, too. Just click over to the Forums to browse. When you want to post a question or comment of your own, just create a user name and password, and you’re ready to jump in.

      Thanks for your great questions.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  12. Pete says:

    My Astilbies were beautiful this Spring but the foilage began to curl and turn brown in July so that they look dead (I don’t think they are tho). Is this normal?
    We have had an unusually hot summer.

    • Lynn Coulter says:

      Hi, Pete. This is Lynn, a blogger for the Home Depot Garden Club. Until one of our certified nursery consultants weighs in, I’d like to respond. Astilbes need a lot of water, so yes, the foliage is probably turning brown because your summer has been very hot (and dry, I suspect). Try mulching them, and don’t let them dry out. But don’t let the soil get so soggy that they stand in water. If the roots can’t get enough oxygen, the plants will die. Astilbes like partial to moderate shade, but most can tolerate the sun if they’re adequately watered. Good luck, and hope this helps. Lynn

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Pete. Your question about your astilbies has stirred quite a bit of sympathy here at The Home Depot. First, Lynn from the Home Depot’s Garden Club chimed in. But I also took your question over to our online Community Forums for some consideration there.

      Here’s what The Home Depot’s Newf had to say:

      I think that Pete already has the answer to his question. The very hot, dry summer has stressed the astilbe to the point where it is going dormant for the summer. An astilbe prefers partial sun, well drained moist soil and moderate temperatures. Since it is a perennial, I expect it will come back next spring. Cut back the brown leaves and give the plant some water. Drench the soil completely and then wait for it to dry out before watering it next time. The farther south you live, the less this plant will tolerate full sun well. Weather conditions this summer has made places like Chicago seem more like Atlanta. Hopefully next year won’t be so severely hot and dry.

      Then, minutes later, Home Depot associate BostonRoots spoke up in her typically descriptive way:

      Astilbe is one of my favorite shade loving perennials; they are so lacey and throw up wonderful colorful plumes!
      It is my experience that Astilbe blooms early in the season and begin to get tired during the long hot summer months.
      Astilbe must be deadheaded and watered thoroughly during the heat of the summer months, to prevent the foliage from being burnt. You are right Pete, your astilbes are not dead, but once the foliage has gone into a brown curl….those leaves are done. So cut them back, give them a bit of food and water, you may just have repeat bloom during the cool of autumn. Your astilbe will cycle thru again and then die back for the winter….and then like an old friend, it will re- visit your shade garden next spring!!

      Thanks for the question, Pete. Let us know if you have more questions. And I urge you to take a minute to browse our online Forums, where you’ll find hundreds of gardening questions answered. Create a login name and password for yourself, and you can start posting questions and comments yourself.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  13. Betsy says:

    What is the best time of year to prune knockout rose bushes, and Crepe Myrtles? How far back should they be pruned? Thanks!

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Betsy.

      I posted your question on our online How-To Community Forums in a post called Best time of year to prune Knock Out rose bushes and Crepe myrtles? < –Click the link to go there. Our gardening experts will get you an answer there pretty quickly. I’ll report on what they say here, too.

      Thanks for the question.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

      • Craig Allen says:

        Well, that was fast.

        Betsy, here’s what Home Depot associate Grow2girl had to say:

        “Hello Betsy,

        “I’m Grow2girl, from The Home Depot and I am here with my co-worker BostonRoots. Thank you for your question.

        “It is not necessary to prune a Crepe myrtle for the health and care of the plant. However, to control the size and shape it can be pruned in late winter to early spring. Generally once it had reached it’s state of dormancy. Avoid pruning during a growth period and do not prune more than 1/3rd of the plant at a time.

        “The Knock Out rose is a lovely plant with stunning ‘flower power’ that can bloom every 5-6 weeks. They are self cleaning and require little maintenance. If you wish to control the size, then the best time to prune them is in late Fall or early Spring. It is best not to prune when they are in bloom.

        “Enjoy your wonderful blooms!”

        There you go, Betsy. I invite you to take a moment to look around our Community Forums, where Grow2girl, BostonRoots. and many other Home Depot associates answer questions about gardening, lawn care and home improvement projects.

        -Craig, from The Home Depot

  14. laureen says:

    The rose bushes planted in May have had a hard time this summer. The leaves have black spots and something is eating the leaves. It will start to look better then gets eaten again. Gets a few flowers. the base to about halfway up is almost void of any leaves. Please recommend something to save these bushes

    • Lynn Coulter says:

      Hi, Laureen. It sounds like your roses have a fungal disease called blackspot. You can purchase a spray to treat it. That would account for the black spots and the leaf drop. It’s a good idea to remove all the fall leaves and mulch around the diseased plants to help control the problem. Then you can apply fresh mulch. Roses get black spot disease when the weather is hot and humid, so it’s a good idea to plant where there is good air circulation and to space the bushes as far apart as recommended for each variety. It also helps to water around the roots, with a drip or soaker hose, to keep water off the leaves. Water early in the day, so any moisture that gets on the foliage has time to dry out before dark. Various pests could be eating the leaves, if you’re having a problem with that, too. Why not take a few chewed leaves to your local Home Depot store? They can help you identify the bug and find the right product to treat that, too. Good luck. Lynn, Home Depot Garden Club

      • Laureen says:

        Thanks so much, we have had a hot and humid summer. We have been watering late in the evening, afraid of burning the plant if it was wet when the hot sun came out. Will change that around and use the rest of your advice as well. Thanks again

  15. laureen says:

    What is the fall maintanance for a Hibiscus to come back the following summer? We planted them in May and they have grown and bloomed all summer. Would like to keep them going for as many years as possible

    • Craig Allen says:

      Good question, laureen.

      I posted your question on our online How-To Community Forums so our gardening experts can take a look and give you an answer. Click on the link to go to where I posted your question… and while you’re there, browse around. There’s lots of great information and discussion about gardening and home improvement.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  16. laureen says:

    When is the best time to prune a established and healthy Christmas like pine tree? It was purchased as a balled Christmas tree approx 25 years ago and planted shortly after that Christmas. This year it is starting to look thin and the bottom branches are not showing much new growth. Whereas the middle to top is doing great.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Sounds like your pine tree needs some special attention.

      I posted your question on The Home Depot’s How-To Community Forums for our gardening experts to see. Click on the link to see what they have to say.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  17. laureen says:

    We have a hydrangia bush that is in the ground for the third summer. It is very green and growing well. It has never bloomed after the blooms that were on it at time of purchase. Add hydrangia organic food this spring growing great not one bloom. What can we do to get the beautiful hydrangia flowers?

  18. Ann says:

    If he was certiied from the U of Georgia, what about Illinois grdeners?
    Our environment is different than Georgia’s. What University certified Home Depot Certified Nursery Gardeners in Chicago, Illinois?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Ann. That’s a good question.

      To clarify, the University of Georgia helped design the program, but U of GA is not doing the certification.

      And the program is designed to encompass all regions. A Home Depot Certified Nursery Consultant in Chicago should be well versed in local conditions to be able to give expert assistance to local customers.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot.

  19. Joan Graham says:

    I have Spanish Moss that seems to be drifting off and cling to other plants arouond my house. These plants are struggling to survive. Is there a spay I can use to kill the moss and not the plants?

    Thank u in advance for your help.

  20. mark says:

    do you have something to get rid of moles in my lawn. i have kids and a dog and would like to use something eco friendly. thanks

  21. Myron Hubbard says:

    I have roses lining the inside of my chainlink fence. One spot seems to severely lower than the rest. As such when watering the lawn or heavy rains the water gathers there. I fear for my roses in that spot. Are there any species of roses that can thrive in swamp like conditions. Also I am always worrying aobut under or over watering the roses. How much and what method is best?

    • Lynn Coulter says:

      Myron, I’m not aware of any roses that will do well in swamplike conditions. It might be better to move those, if you can, and try plants that thrive in wet soils. Siberian iris, for example, can take standing water and grow in the sun in zones 3 through 9. Sedge (Carex) is a grasslike plant that also likes moist soils. It is hardy in zones 5 to 9 and can take part sun. Marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris)like marshy conditions and sun in zones 2-7. Roses usually need an inch of water a week. Watering with a drip hose is good, because it doesn’t splash water on the foliage, which can lead to diseases. If you use a sprinkler, run it in the morning, so the warmth of the day will help dry the leaves. You can put an empty tuna or cat fish tin under the sprinkler and run the sprinkler until an inch of water accumulates. Note how long it took to get an inch in the tin, and then you’ll know how long to run your sprinklers next time. Hope this helps! Lynn, Home Depot Garden Club

  22. eric swanson says:

    looking to build a perennial garden for ma. area 5.
    this should overpower the weeds, especially the Queen Anne’s Lace.

  23. Janet Riggle says:

    I have a variety of weeds in my yard. What is the best weed killer to use for a variety that won’t kill my grass also? Thanks….:)

  24. Sue Mischka says:

    I’m wondering what Home Depot is doing about Hosta Virus X. I collect hostas, have over 100 different varieties. Several years ago I bought an unusual August Moon hosta from Home Depot. Turned out to be hosta virus X. I dug it up, burned it and haven’t planted anything in it’s spot for two years. Only problem is now two other neighboring hostas showed signs of the virus. Dug them up and burned them, too. Plus scrubbed and bleached my tools and shovel. So my question is: how can I be sure the hostas I buy from Home Depot don’t have the virus? I fear buying any new hostas since it can take a couple years for the symptom to show up in an infected plant. I’ve got too much invested to lose them all.
    Thanks for any insight.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Sue, I passed your question to one of our Senior Merchandisers who handles our Garden Center products. He said all of our Hostas are propagated from tissue culture, and the labs that do the propagation only use virus free material. We are very diligent in this process, he said.

      Let us know if you have further questions.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  25. tara says:

    do you have a recipe for improving beds?

  26. Hector says:

    Ive just thrown down some seeds last Tuesday. When should I cut the grass and when should I add some fertilizer?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Hector.

      I took your question over to our online Community Forums to get an answer from a Home Depot expert.

      A Home Depot associate, who online goes by the handle GardenGail answered right away:

      “You will usually mow about the time your lawn is 1/3 higher than your mowing height, usually about 3 weeks after you plant.Do not wait too long to mow, as this may cause problems.
      You can use Scotts starter fertilizer right after you plant your seeds it is safe and should not burn your new seedlings.”

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  27. Ellen says:

    I live in South Fl and many of the roots of my hedges are showing. I need to know if I should put down top soil, fertilizer and wood chips or just some of the above. Do I need to loosen the soil before I put anything down or what. I am totally lost and do not have a green thumb but am trying to learn.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Ellen, I posted your question over on our Community Forums.

      Here’s what Home Depot associate CoachDave had to say (along with his own hand drawn picture):

      Howdy Ellen,

      I have found that the reason of surface roots on most shrubs is usually tied to frequent, shallow watering. Since roots chase water,you may not be giving the shrubs correct deep watering or you may be watering too often.

      Why are my roots showing?

      To fix this problem I would add more soil under it until it is again at the proper height above the soil. Change your watering schedule to 2-3 times for about 10-15 minutes, remember, the soil should be moist but not soggy. Add about 1-2 inches of mulch

      A good helping of granular fertilizer will get healthy new roots developing.

      Happy Gardening!


      A little while later, The Home Depot’s BostonRoots added a bit of her wisdom. Click here to go to her answer, and any subsequent ones, on The Home Depot’s Community Forums.

      Thanks for the question, Ellen.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  28. Gil says:

    I have a Japenesse Maple for around ten years…….Lately during the last couple of years we are not getting the full bloom
    as in the past.

    Is there any product out there that would help?



    • Craig Allen says:

      Gil, I posted your question over on The Home Depot’s online Community Forums, where our gardening experts answer questions like this.

      Home Depot associate BostonRoots replied, but she says she needs a little more information. Here’s what she wrote:

      Hey Gil. I have a few questions: 10 years is a good amount of time in Japanese tree life. Is it a dwarf variety? Has the landscape around it changed? For example, are there other trees that have grown up around them, causing more shade? Are there shrubs around them that have grown, and are sucking up some of the Japanese Maples water?

      A garden evolves so much in 10 years; there must be some changes around your lovely tree that can affect it. So check out the growing situation, are there any differences that may affect its growth habit? You may need to prune back something that is hindering it from leafing out.

      OK that being said, when was the last your leafy friend was fed? Are there any signs of insect damage? Tiny caterpillars? We have lots of that here in Boston, winter moth caterpillars ravenously eat the leaves of all maples, causing, less leaf-out.

      Without even knowing the answers to all my questions, I do have a product to recommend. Its Bayer-12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed!

      This product is great! It has a slow release fertilizer and kills insects and prevents new infestations for up to 12 months….great stuff! It is like an insurance policy for your tree!

      So even if all the answers to my questions were no, or not really, this a great product to add to your trees root system anyway! I hope this helps… I look forward to hearing feed-back, on your feeding. Up load some picture and send to our community…we love pictures, pictures definitely help with diagnoses o plant problems!….let us know how things are growing! Good luck, BostonRoots

      Gil, I hope you’ll give BostonRoots more information over at the Community Forums, so she can give you an even better answer. Just go over to the Community Forums and register– It’s easy and it’s free. Then you can go to the place where I posted your question, and give BostonRoots more information. You can also post photos of your tree there for BostonRoots to see.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  29. R0Z A. says:

    We live near the coast in So. CA. and have very tall and mature trees which do not provide privacy from our neighbors.

    We have 5 ft. hi walls separating us from our neighbors. And we have narrow side yards.

    What can you recommend that can provide privacy (above that 5 ft. line) and remain green all year? We want greenery from the base up (covering the wall and above).


    Thanks, Roz

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Roz, who’s lucky enough to be near the coast in southern California. Craig, here, one of the editors of the Apron Blog.

      I took your question over to our online Community Forums for some expert advice.

      And, typical of the Forums, we didn’t get just one well thought out answer… we got two responses, each from a Home Depot gardening expert.

      BostonRoots had this to say:

      My favorite natural screen here in the Northeast is the Emerald Green, Arborvitae! We sell loads of them here. They are used for property division, privacy and a sound barrier. But what I love most of all about them is that “I think, they are beautiful”.

      They can grow tall, and fast, about 10-12 inches a year! I have seen them growing as natural fence, by the coast of southern Massachusetts 18 ft. high, they were old, and very happy.(but who wouldn’t, being planted by the sea.) I have seen them planted in masses, in a line standing at attention, 40 feet long. They can be planted as close as 3-4 ft. On center and will fill in and created a dense, lush, cool, evergreen hedge. They don’t even need that much width at there feet, as long as you supply a good depth and adequate irrigation.

      I have to say, Emerald Green Arbs, do their job well. They are also great survivors in a large, patio planters.. can be used potted for privacy on rooftop gardens, they stand adorned in white light at bistros and cafe’ all along Newbury Street one of Bostons hottest tourist shopping streets, often used on Beacon Hill in Boston, where neighbors may be only an arms reach away!

      So as you may have guessed I am a big fan of the “Emerald” beauty…That is my recommendation..They will survive in your zone, I checked. So if anyone eles on the forum has a suggestion ..we would love to hear it!!

      I look forward to hear what you choose, show us some pictures we love to see how things are growing…From the east coast to the west coast good luck!!

      A short time later, hortman (Ken) gave us his take on your question. Here’s part of what he had to say:

      Boston Roots gave you a great choice in Emerald Green Arborvitae. They
      would be perfect for your narrow side yard since they only get 3-4 feet wide.
      If you need privacy all along the wall and it extends into the back yard, try
      Dodonaea viscosa (hopseed bush).

      Hortman provided a couple of photos, too, of a particular variety he likes, along with a link to a page to look up plants at The Home Depot’s Garden Club. Head over to the Forums to take a look at the photos.

  30. Michelle LaRoche says:

    What do I do for tomato plants that have white spots on them?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Michelle. Craig, here. I’m an editor here at the Apron Blog. I took your question over to The Home Depot’s Community Forums for an answer from our experts.

      We got two answers right away.

      First Home Depot associate Ken in Chicago (who goes by the handle hortman in the Forums) had this to offer:

      Your white spots on your tomatoes is sunburn. It is caused by too much
      light, too much heat, and/or insufficient moisture. Provide proper moisture.
      Provide proper cultural care. Keep pruning down to no more than 20% per year.

      Then Home Depot associate coachdave chimed in with a comprehensive answer, complete with photos and product recommendations.

      Well, it seems hortman identified one of the most common reason for white spots in tomatoes. I’d like to add to his answer with common reasons for white spots on tomatoes here on the West Coast.

      Powdery mildew occurs in most soft leaf plants like tomatos. The fungus is carried by spores that are carried by wind to plants. Watering too late in the day, poor drainage, and lack of sun increase disease development.

      He pretty much gives a tutorial on getting rid of this kind of fungus. Take a look at what he has to say at The Home Depot Community Forums.

  31. Donna Stein says:

    I have 4 rose bushes that I planted last spring and this year they do not seem to be doing as good and full. I did notice that I have white looking web on the leaves so I was wondering if that was hurting my roses and what can I do to make them healthier.

    Thank you,

  32. Lana says:

    Yes I am trying to find out what is the best way to kill honeysuckle bushes in my backyard that’s trying to take it over.
    What do you suggest is the best way to rid of them for good?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Lana.

      I took your question over to The Home Depot’s Community Forums for an expert answer.

      Home Depot associate BostonRoots offered this solution to your honeysuckle problem:

      “Honeysuckle is on the invasive plant list here in Massachusetts. You must find the vine starting point! Cut it there and pour an herbicide on the fresh cut, but be careful not to get the solution on anything that you want to keep. This process may have to be repeated several times this season as well as next season too. Watch for any new shoots or new plants from flower seeds. Just be vigilant. Keep checking– you can eradicate it with patience and determination. Good Luck!!”

  33. Mrs D says:

    In response to Pat Cavallaro I am an employee with The Home Depot Garden Center in Michigan and we do go through a rigorous training period to certify us all in the Garden Department. Some of us have a natural ability to know about all plants and some of us know more about soil etc. I can tell you that I am extremely knowledgeable about plants and it is a given talent. I love what I do and I LOVE and have an obsession with plants indoors and outdoors. The Home Depot has given me a position where I can share my love for gardening. Come see us in Southfield Michigan!!

  34. Lee says:

    I recently bought a 13″ Patio Fresh Sweet Cherry from my local Home Depot store, but when I called back later to find out how large this tree would grow (height and crown width at maturity) I got an answer that truly surprised me: “I really don’t know.”

    There is no pertinent growth information on the tag attached to the tree, just a cherry pie recipe which is useless since this is a sweet cherry tree. When I contacted the nursery this tree presumably came from, they didn’t even bother to reply.

    I really need to know how tall and wide this tree will grow at maturity so I will know where to plant the tree. Please help! Thanks, Lee

    • Glad says:

      Lee, your Sweet Cherry tree will get about 30′ tall and 20 – 25′ wide.

      Hope that helped.

      The Home Depot (San Antonio, TX)

  35. Becky says:

    I live in crownsville, maryland and need your help in locating a nursury that carries a bush called calycanthus, floridus “Athens” which has white buds or “Michael Lindsey” which has marroonish bud. Also known as Sweet shrub,Sweet betsy or Carolina Allspice. Can you help me find them?
    Becky Hrynyshen

    • Craig Allen says:

      I’m not sure what other nurseries in your area carry. You might want to stop by your local Home Depot store, though. It’s possible the store will have the plants you’re looking for in stock. Or perhaps someone in the Garden Center there will be able to suggest a good alternative to claycanthius floridus.

      Good luck finding what you need, Becky.

  36. fran says:

    Can someone tell me the difference between wintergreen boxwood and wintergem boxwood.A few years ago I purchased 2 wintergreen boxwood and I would like 2 more . I have tried numerious Home Depots and cannot find them.But they do have wintergem. I already have 4 wintergem and they look alike but do not seem the same.Also where can I find wintergreen?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Fran.

      That’s a great question, Fran. I took it over to our Community Forums to get an answer from our gardening experts. Home Depot’s CoachDave had the answer:

      This is a question that I’ve dealt with for years and there has even been debate if they are one in the same…so here is the answer.

      Let’s start with the Wintergem… (seen below)
      Wintergem Boxwood

      The Wintergem Boxwood (buxus microphyllia) has dark green oval-shaped leaves with compact growth habit, 3 to 4 foot high with 2 to 3 feet width. The dark foliage keeps its color through summer and winter, uses modest water, and likes full to part sun.

      Wintergreen Boxwood

      The Wintergreen Boxwood (seen below) is commonly known as Korean Boxwood (Buxus Microphylla var.koreana) and has a 3-5 foot height and 2-3 foot width. Wintergreen is a slow grower and does better in shade, however this variety needs a bit more watering in late fall.

      Both of these boxwood types have a hardiness zone of 5-8, so l would ask your Home Depot garden associate if they have them available.

      Shortly after CoachDave posted his answer, BostonRoots chimed in:

      Coach Dave was so right with all his differences between the wintergreen and wintergem boxwood, I only have one to add.

      The wintergem is one of my favorite varieties because of its leaf shape. It seems to me, to have a more pronounced convex detailed shape, compared to its more flattened cousin wintergreen. I think it has a bit more leaf luster because of it. A bit more shine when water or sun hits it!

      Who doesn’t need more sparkle?

      So if there is to be a planting run of boxwood, with those two types that is how they may differ a bit! Wintergem stay very green in the cold winters of the northeast! It truly is a gem!

      • fran says:

        Thank you for your tips guys! But my wintergem boxwoods have yellow leaves at different times thru the years .I was told it was leaf minor.I treat them with Bonide insect control.My wintergreen boxwood are fine but they are in another area.I want to add 2 wiontergreen more for the same area as the original wintergreen. I am reluctant to use wintergem again. My home depots do not have wintergem.I was told by a local nursery that boxwoods have a disease this year and that is why I cannot find them.

  37. Pat Cavallaro says:

    Sorry, but this is not an accurate promo. I have done most of my summer shopping at Home Depot and bought many plants, soil, and all my gardening needs. However, I had several questions and was told, “the people in the purple (or blue?) shirts are the experts,” but when I posed my questions about planting and treatment of certain plants, the response was, “sorry, I’m not sure” or “Gee, I don’t know. I have to check that out.” I do not consider those the responses of “Certified Nursery Consultants”.

    I enjoy shopping at Home Depot. Most, if not all, the people are polite and as helpful as they can be. But Certified Nursery Consultants were nowhere to be found whenever I was there these past 4 to 6 weeks.

    Best to you all. I wish you and your workers great success.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Pat. Thanks for the feedback.

      But “purple or blue shirts” wouldn’t be The Home Depot. Orange aprons are the fashion you’ll see associates sporting at the Home Depot, including the associates who Certified Nursery Consultants. And to be clear, not every associate in the Garden Center is certified, but each store should have at least one certified consultant on duty at all times, and more than one during peak times. If an associate doesn’t know the answer to your question he or she isn’t supposed to make up an answer. He or she might indeed have to go seek an answer.

      Let us know which store it was where you were shopping, and we’ll look into it. If there’s a problem in the Garden Center there, the manager would want to know.

      Thanks for shopping at The Home Depot.

    • Mrs D says:

      What was it that you were searching for? Ask me I can help you. I am a certified nursery consultant with The Home Depot in Michigan…
      Mrs. D

    • sam says:

      People in “purle or blue shirts” are not home depot employees but people from the nursurys that home depot buys their plants from, who also stock the shelves. HD employees know these are the people with the real knowledge lol

  38. jeanie jee says:

    What is the one year guarantee on plants? Don’t see it on the HD website anywhere. Please explain ..


    • Craig Allen says:

      The one year guarantee on plants is just that… a one year guarantee.

      If you’re not satisfied with a plant you purchased from The Home Depot, bring it back within a year of purchase for a refund.

      It’s best if you take it back to the same Home Depot store where you purchased it, and it helps if you have the receipt– but, we’ll work it out if you don’t.

      This one year guarantee applies to all our plants– except annuals, vegetable plants and herb plants.

      Thanks for the question, jeanie jee.

  39. Francesca Kishfy says:

    Hi Pat

    There is a tree called “Royal Pawlonia” Not sure of spelling.. The so called fastest growing tree in the world!! Check it out on web…to see if it is good for your zone…I believe it is….I bought mine for .99 cents!! It is about 25ft now in less then 10 years!! It has purple bell shaped flowers that come from nut like pods…and huge leaves!!!! Good Luck!!

    FKishfy Wayne,NJ

  40. tammy cutler says:

    I have NEVER been to a home depot where the plants are cared for and where the associate knows anything about plants. I was in middletown, ny and the very young girl had no clue what a barberry was or seemed to know anything else about plants, all she could say was I can google it. I have been trying to get a job at a local home depot in the lawn & garden department as I owned & operated a nursey & landscaping company. Hands on experience is better than some kid out of high school that supposedly had some kind of (probably class room or multiple choice) training.

    • Craig Allen says:

      I’m sorry you had that experience. While not every Home Depot is a Certified Nursery Consultant, there should be at least one on duty at any given time. We definitely aim to have knowledgeable staff on hand to answer your questions– it’s something we know you expect from The Home Depot. I can see how the suggestion to Google something would be pretty underwhelming, especially if you’re experienced with gardening and landscaping.

      Can you tell us which Home Depot stores were not caring for their plants? And when you noticed this?

      We appreciate your feedback, Tammy. I hope you land a job at Home Depot. You sound like you’d be very good at it.

      • tammy cutler says:

        I have been to Middletown,ny ( the girl that knew nothing) and Honesdale,pa Always see plants knocked over & plants lacking moisture.

  41. Jack says:

    I have trouble with scab / scale on my nectarines, what should I spray my tree with at this time of year to avoid scab / scale? Also should I spray my cherry tree for bugs this early?

  42. nancy brandon says:

    My Home Depot in Fayetteville has a real problem with caring for their plants. They are usually very dry and shade or partial sun plants are placed in full sun and become burned or very wilted. I once told a young man in the garden shop that his plants needed water and he shrugged and went on. I find it questionable that the store would rather throw our stock than take care of them and sell healthy plants.

  43. Jenifer Aragon says:

    Hi Craig. 1) After looking at your Community Forum sites, I think it is good you are acting as the go-between. 2) On the Home Depot Garden Club email that I just received, Cyclamen plants (perennials) are in pots labeled “Annuals”. 3) Perhaps your web master could move this comment submitting area to the top of the comments section to facilitate commenting…..

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Jenifer.

      You say, “after looking at your Community Forum sites,” you think it’s good I’m acting as a go-between. Thank you for the appreciation. We’re hoping eventually to make it much easier for readers to move back and forth between the Apron Blog and the Forums. But until then, I the other writers here are happy to be the go-betweens, making sure everyone on the blog and on the Forums gets a chance to see the questions.

      Speaking of go-betweens, thanks for alerting us that we have a plant mis-categorized in the Garden Club. I have already acted as go-between in sending your note over to our Garden Club editor.

      And, thank you, too, for your comment on how the comments section is displayed on the blog. That’s a great suggestion. We can’t make that happen instantly, but it certainly makes sense.

      Thanks for the great comments, and I hope we’ll be hearing from you again soon.

  44. [...] of all, the gardening advice they give to unwitting customers.  But guess what!  According to this announcement, their garden department staff are now getting some training and becoming [...]

  45. Heather says:


    I have just been reading most of the posts here, and all you ever say, is, “Go to the Home Depot Store and ask a Certified Nursery Consultant”. That really defeats the idea of this site don’t you think??

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Heather. Thanks for your feedback.

      Yes, I did recommend readers either stop by their local Home Depot stores or post their excellent questions on our online Community Forums. Those are the best ways to get very authoritative and quick answers to gardening questions. You might see an explanation of this in a response I gave to Jan on April 9, 2012– you should be able to find it here in the comments section.

      But we’ve changed tack a bit in recent weeks. Jan– and now you– made some very good points about what our readers are expecting from us. Clearly readers felt that posting a comment here was the easiest way to ask their gardening questions, and we came to realize that merely sending them to the Forums or to their local stores wasn’t the best way to serve our readers or encourage more questions and comments. (Duh.) So, I and others among the writers of this blog have been taking the questions over to the Forums ourselves, and bring the answers back to the blog comment sections.

      This way, the questions get a much bigger audience, and many other gardeners can share in the knowledge.

      It seems to be working out reasonably well from our side, and I hope it’s working well for our readers who pose these great gardening questions. We’re also working on ways to make sharing questions and information between the Apron Blog and our Community Forums even easier, largely based on the feedback we’ve received here and elsewhere. Stay tuned.

      (But you can still stop by your local Home Depot store any time to talk with a Certified Nursery Consultant! Nothing beats face-to-face contact when you need advice on gardening.)

  46. Pat Wade says:

    What is the fastest growing tree? I live in central Indiana. Need to replace two trees that have died and at my age would like to enjoy the shade as soon as possible. Thanks.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Pat, I took this question over to our online Community Forums to see what our gardening experts had to say.

      Home Depot associate Mike, who posts on the Forums under the name FlyingHDsod, is in Chicago, so he knows all about your region. Here’s what he suggested:

      “Since you want a tree that provides you with plenty of shade I have gone through a long list of trees we carry in this zone that provide the most shade. Also for it to be a fast growing tree you will have to do a few things to help it along the way.

      When you go to plant these trees make sure you dig the hole twice the size of the pot. You will be digging into some clay, the best thing you can do with it is get rid of it. You can replace the clay with a premium tree and shrub soil. This will be good for your trees roots to help it establish it’s self quicker.

      Since you’re going to do a tree, I always recommend using a root hormone such as Quick Start. This will help the roots get settled and help against shock so the tree stays healthy. Before you plant your tree make sure the roots are nice and loose. You will need to be gentle on breaking the roots up. The looser the roots, the better for them. Once your tree is planted make sure to keep it well watered. The soil will need to be moist but not soaking.

      How fast your tree will grow will depend on how much care you put into it, plus how Mother Nature goes. At this rate the tree is just fine with it not being super hot or super cold at night.

      Dogwood, Flowering Pear, Purple Leaf Plum

      Maple, Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Pin Oak, Northern Red Oak, Shumard Oak, Weeping Willow, Skyline HoneyLocust, European Beech

      The best thing to do is to Google some images of these to see how they look. If you find one you like you can check your local store to see what they offer. Also in your local store see what kind of trees they have. They will be marked shade if they are a shade tree to help make it easier.

      If you have any questions or run into any problems feel free to write back!!!


      There you go, Pat. And, just as Mike said, please feel free to write back if you need more advice. And thanks for asking.

      • TexanBrit says:

        I had to reply to the answer advising a customer to remove clay and replace it with special soil… I’m sorry but the gentleman from HD needs to do some research before offering any more tree planting instructions to others…
        If you dig a hole in clay soil and replace it with imported soil, specially if it’s organic rich soil, you’re in grave danger of forming a sealed clay container or mini swimming pool … unless it’s accustomed to living in a swamp any tree or plant will soon drown or at best struggle to survive.
        It’s far better to plant things that are well adapted to your particular climate and soil conditions, particularly if you want them to live long and prosper. Please don’t add more than 5% additional organic matter to a tree’s planting hole because – assuming you picked a suitable one – it will be just fine without it. Even in better soil, using organic enriched soil in the planting hole will cause the tree to be weaker in the long run. You’ll get quicker top growth at the expense of a strong root structure. Don’t make life in the hole too comfortable for the roots or they’ll circle around and stay in there!
        The only thing I usually add when planting trees is expanded shale. It’s great stuff – proven in academic studies to increase soil aeration in clay soils and believed to aid water retention in fast draining soils. Depending on the soil I will occasionally add 5% organic soil conditioner but always mix 15-30% expanded shale into the excavated soil before using it to refill the hole. For lots of really good tree planting info and useful diagrams from Colorado State Uni, Google for “The Science of Planting Trees”. (It doesn’t discuss expanded shale, but does say not to use a lot of organic or imported material, and there are plenty of other articles out there praising shale.)

        • Craig Allen says:

          Thanks for the comment, TexanBrit. You seem to know your stuff.

          Here’s a link for the Colorado State University information on The Science of Planting Trees that you mentioned.

          At the risk of earlier commenters Xheidio or Jan throwing a garden trowel at me, I’ll urge you to register on our Community Forums and share your gardening expertise there. You might enjoy it, and I know others in the Community would enjoy reading your perspective.

  47. Jessica (visitor) says:

    Dear Craig,

    We would like to grow citrus in Pasco County, FL. I understand that the trees available at Home Depot would be treated from the Canker disease. Would the trees need annual treatment to keep them from becoming infected? Please advise. Thanks.

    • Craig Allen says:


      Greengiant, one of our online gardening experts, explained the citrus canker situation:

      The Citrus Canker was believed to be eradicated twice before the latest outbreak in 1995. After the hurricanes of 2004-2005 The Canker became impossible to eradicate and then efforts to manage it became common practice. A copper fungicide treatment is recommended every 3 weeks between April and July, for this is when outbreaks are most common.

      Copper Fungicide

      It is also recommended that you plant cultivars of plants that are more tolerant of the disease like Tangerines, Valencia oranges, tangors, tangelos and other mandarin hybrids that only become infected under conditions that are optimal for infection and disease spread. Because this disease is transported by wind, water and human contact, it is recommended that you plant your tree in an area that is protected by wind. Your local Home Depot will carry these copper fungicides also, to insure you have the tools for success.

      Here is a helpful link from the University of Florida that will teach you anything else you could possibly need to know: .

      So, yes, though the citrus trees you find at The Home Depot in affected parts of Florida are treated for citrus canker, you’ll still want to treat your trees every three weeks between April and July.

  48. Hope Harbour says:

    Hi Craig,
    I found this article rather interesting in regards to associate training. I was at our local Home Depot the other day purchasing some 6 x 6′s in which to lay a foundation for my recently purchased hobby greenhouse. I went into the garden area to look at some herb plants. I was unable to determine if there were any plants that were not hybrid, if there were any that were heirloom, same question regarding seeds. So, I asked 2 different associates, a girl watering the plants, and the other girl at the register. Neither of the girls had any clue. So, my question is this: is there any way to tell if a plant is not a hybrid? I want to plant herbs in my greenhouse that I will be able to recover the seeds for future use.

    Thank you so very much,

    Hope Harbour

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hope, you ask an excellent question.

      I shared it over on our online Community Forums, and Home Depot associate “Greengiant” provided a great answer:

      There is a lot of confusion with the differences between Heirloom seeds, Traditional Hybrid seeds and GEO or Genetically Engineered Organism (or GMO, genetically modified organism) seeds. Lets get some things cleared up.

      The Home Depot primarily sells vegetables from Bonnie Plants, which does sell Heirloom vegetables and herbs as well as Hybrid vegetables and herbs. But Bonnie does not sell GEO vegetables.

      Heirloom vegetable seeds are seeds that are passed on generation to generation. The seeds hold true to the parent plant and are open pollinated in the open fields by wind and bees.

      Hybrid vegetable plants are cross pollinated by hand and cross pollinated with different types of plants in order to adopt desirable characteristics from those plants. Hybrid plants can cross pollinate in nature and eventually stabilize and produce a seed that is true. Sometimes the seeds from these vegetables are sterile, and if they are not sterile, they will not necessarily hold the same characteristics as the parent plant, but from the plants which they were crossed from. With Hybrid vegetable seeds, you don’t necessarily know what you’re going to get.

      GEO genetically engineered organisms are plants that are altered by adding DNA from other plants and even animals into them to achieve characteristics such as better cold tolerance, better drought resistance, disease resistance, salinity resistance and added nutritional value. They should NOT be confused with hybrids. The use of GEO plants are controversial and the consequences on the environment impact of these plants are not fully understood. Let me reiterate that Bonnie Plants DOES NOT USE GEO/GMO SEEDS.

      Bonnie’s plants are labeled as Hybrids or Heirloom on the pots. If there is any other questions I would recommend contacting Bonnie Plant Farm at

      Did that answer your question, Hope? If not, let us know, and we’ll get you the info you’re looking for.

      Thanks for the question. (I just learned something!)

  49. Robert Venuti says:

    I have three hanging flower planters three feet long on a fence in front of my building.I am new to this and i need to know what what type of flowers and hanging vines i can put in them. we have no direct sun, i would like to have flowers that stay in bloom all summer and the vines to hang over the planters with some color if thats possible. i live in downtown boston near the ocean. can you recomend acolorful flower and some nice hanging vines
    thank you

    • Craig Allen says:

      Robert, I took your question over to our Community Forums to see what the Home Depot experts (and other Forum members) would say.

      The first response came from one of your fellow Bostonian– BostonianChick. Here’s what she had to say:

      “Some great ivies he can use are Vinca vine, English ivy, or Blue fan flower. Flowers that will do good in indirect sunlight would be impatiens and new Guiana impatiens. I hope this helps!


    • Craig Allen says:

      Robert, here’s another reply on the Community Forums. This time from Forums associate Hortman.

      “Hello Robert. Ken here in the Chicago area. You are a slight bit warmer
      than we are here. Some other plants that will work for you are primrose
      for flowers and lamium for variegated foliage. Also if you can find bacopa,
      use it as an annual. It is a trailing plant with small white flowers. Take care.”

    • Craig Allen says:

      And here’s yet another response that came in on our Community Forums to your question about flowers for your hanging planter.

      I’ve pasted the text of the response here for you, Robert, but I hope you’ll go check out the response over at the Forums, because Forums associate Grow2girl added some terrific photos to illustrate her response. You can see what the flowers she mentioned look like. Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to show those photos in the comments section here on the Apron Blog.

      Here’s what Grow2girl has to say:

      Hello Robert,

      I’m Grow2girl from The Home Depot Community and I am from Rhode Island, just a stone’s throw from Boston. Window Boxes and Containers are my favorite topic and I have a few ideas that I think will work great for your location.

      Taller Upright Plants-Good toward the back of the planter.

      Available in a variety of colors, pink, burgundy, lime green etc.
      Grows 12-36” tall, great for height
      Colorful foliage may produce a bloom

      New Guinea Impatiens
      Bright beautiful flowers in shades of purple, pink, white, red and even striped
      Grows to 14” tall
      Striking dark colored leaves
      Requires a lot of water

      Large leaves that are speckled with green
      Available in White, Pink and Red
      Grows 15-20” tall

      Double Impatiens
      Beautiful Rose like flowers that cover the plant
      Available in shades of pink, white, peach, red and purple
      Grows to 20” tall

      Unique trumpet shaped flower
      This plant comes in blue, purple and yellow
      Grow to 16” tall

      Not just for St. Patrick’s day, beautiful colorful foliage
      Blooms a small white flower
      Foliage comes in shades of burgundy and green
      Grows to 16” tall

      Mid-sized plants- good for the sides of the planter

      Vibrant purple flowers
      Deep, dark burgundy/green leaves
      Grows to 12”

      Extremely easy to grow
      The most colors available- pink, purple, white, red, striped etc.
      Grows to 10-12”

      Wax or Non-Stop
      Shades of yellow, orange, pink, red and white
      Grows to 12”

      Used as a perennial grass when grow in the ground
      Low growing and shade loving
      Variegated (green and white striped) or green with purple blooms
      Grows to 6-8”

      Trailing and Cascading plants

      Trailing with two toned flowers
      Comes in shades of pink/white and pink/purple

      Sweet Potato Vine
      Grows in many conditions from Sun to Shade
      Heat thriving and extreme trailer
      Very in today! Comes in Lime green, Black, Brown and Variegated

      Tiny little white or pink flowers that trail
      Likes part shade to part sun

      A Boston favorite
      Green or Variegated

      As always, make sure you include a quality potting soil such as Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Soil. This will fertilize all season and it contains moisture beads in the soil to help retain moisture when you are busy at work!

      Happy Planting and Good Luck!

      • anne says:

        This is not what Robert asked. He has hanging planters. A good recommendation for hanging baskets is wave petunias. they come in different colors and trail very quickly. You plant them and leave them alone. For vines, sweet potato vine is very popular today.

    • anne says:

      Wave petunia and sweet potato vine. They do not need direct sun but indirect sun. – Just not shade.

  50. How do I have my soil tested to find out what type of fertilizer I should use for my vegetable garden?

    • Craig Allen says:

      That’s a great question, Nancy. I took it over to our Community Forums for an answer. Here’s what Community member gardengirlkaren had to say:


      I think you’ve asked an excellent question because no, it isn’t necessary to have your soil tested, but if you take the time to do so you will most likely end up with a better producing and healthier garden. You can buy a soil test kit at any nursery including Home Depot (it should be by the seed section). This kit will tell you what type of soil you have, the PH content and what amendment is needed to make your soil the best possible for the particular type of plants you are planting.

      Where I live we need an acidic soil for growing azaleas and rhododendrons and the test kit is perfect for this. Some plants love a sandy, fast draining soil, others more alkaline, etc. I know that just planting anywhere without giving thought to the soil can result in dead plants, ones that are more acceptable to diseases and pests and plants that just don’t thrive as well. So for your little extra effort in testing your soil and making any necessary changes you should be richly rewarded with the best looking garden on the block!

    • Paula Sue Layton says:

      You can always send a samole of yard solo to your County Extension Office to
      analyized. Some counties will do one test free a year per household others will
      with typically charge about $12.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Nancy, here’s another helpful response from the Community Forums, this one from Community associate GardenGail.

      Hello Nancy,

      There are inexpensive soil test kits in the garden section by the seeds at the Home Depot. You can do it yourself quickly.
      I get a lot of questions about whether to use lime or gypsum on soil to help with the drainage and the pH. These are not fertilizers.

      Our soil is more alkali here in California and we need to add gypsum to aid in making the soil more acid, lime is used to remove acidity from the soil and is used a lot back east, where they get a lot of rainfall.

      After your soil test to see if you soil is too acid or alkali, most fertilizers you need to consider are some with calcium in the mix if you want good tomatoes so they don’t get blossom end rot, it is important to have it in the mix.

      I usually look for a higher phosphorus content than nitrogen, to make more flowers.

      You can get nitrogen and phosphorus organically from bone and blood meal, using them only when you plant, they do not move in the soil and have to be worked in.

      Fertilizers are the NPK on the labels of all fertilizers N-nitrogen for greening and growth, P-phosphorus, for flowers and fruit, and K- potassium for stems.

      I hope this helps.


  51. Jan says:

    I understand you’re more of a lawn expert than a gardening expert so why doesn’t Home Depot have a certified garden expert answer questions with you so that people can get their questions answered. I know you want to get people to go to the stores, but really, if you have a question/answer forum, then answer the questions….or get the answer for them!

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Jan. We’re happy to answer all kinds of of DIY or gardening/lawn care question on line–we’re not just trying to send people to the stores, even though that is a really good place to get your questions answered.

      We set up the Home Depot Community Forums precisely to answer readers’ questions on line. Several of our experts, including LawnRanger, who’s mentioned in this article, comb through the Forums constantly and can provide answers pretty quickly. But best of all, it’s easy for readers to scroll through the questions and the answers on the Forums, organized by general topics.

      The Apron Blog, where we are now, is where we write about our products and services, we share ideas and inspiration for DIY projects, and we try to provide some interesting reading about home improvement, lawn care, etc. Early on, when we first started this blog, we did try to field general questions here, but it proved to be difficult. The questions and answers ended up scattered all over the place, hidden in the comments of the various blog articles.

      That’s why we’ve been directing many of the readers who’ve commented here to the Forums. If we were in a Home Depot store, I would find the best associate to answer the question at hand and walk the customer over to him or her. But here on line, I can’t really do that. The best I can do (right now, at least) is offer a link to the Forums and strongly urge the reader to post the question there, where our experts are gathered, and others could benefit from seeing the question and answer.

      All of us who produce the blog, the Forums, the Garden Club and our Facebook page are constantly discussing better ways to integrate our different online “channels” to make them more useful, engaging and entertaining for our readers. We have some ideas simmering, but there’s nothing I can make any announcements about right now.

      Thank you for your comment, Jan. You brought up a very good point. As a matter of fact, it prompted some new discussion here just before I sat down to compose this response.

  52. xheidio says:

    hey there criag allen!

    what say, you actually forward these questions to people who are qualified to give some expert advice. this is after all, why your valued customers continue to post questions here online.

    i, personally, also like doing some research online because there aren’t always experts available when i happen to visit the store!!

    i am a huge fan of the home depot, but your answers typically include something along the lines of, check into your nearest location to get some qualified advice there… ??
    it might be best if you list that at the top… to save people looking for help a little time in getting help quicker!

    thanks and have a delightful day!!

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hello to you, xheidio!

      Suggesting you either visit your local Home Depot or posting the question on our Community Forums really is the best way to get you the best answer for your questions. This one blog post is really just meant to let people know about our Certified Nursery Consultant program.

      The Apron Blog is a very inefficient place to field questions about gardening or other DIY issues. But the Forums are set up exactly for that purpose– our experts regularly check the Forums for new questions, and they can offer their responses pretty quickly. Plus lots of other people can see the answer and even chime in with their own suggestions.

      And speaking face to face with one of our gardening experts at your nearest Home Depot means you can have a much more in depth conversation about your garden than you can online, and the Home Depot associate will also have a good idea of your local growing conditions.

      If your question is about something specifically mentioned in the blog post, then, absolutely, we’ll do everything we can to get you a good answer.

      Thank you for your comment, and thank you for shopping at The Home Depot.

      • Jody Hayes says:

        Dear Lawn Ranger, Any chance you had a landscaping business many, many years ago in Gwinnett County GA? Cause if you are the guy I am thinking of we did business with you many, many years ago at our garden center Lawn Art in Snellville/Lithonia and I just wanted to say Hi.

        • Craig Allen says:

          Hi, Jody. I passed your message on to LawnRanger (aka Travis). Here’s his response:

          No, I wasn’t the landscaping service. The reason that I get away with using LawnRanger is that it is so widely used that it cannot be trademarked.
          My counterpart here in Home Depot’s online community, GreenGiant’s brother has a landscape business that uses lawn ranger in its name.
          I guess it’s safer than copying a law firm’s name.

  53. Charlene Johnson says:

    I seriously doubt you have certified nursery consultants in Nebraska….every store I have visited are chuck full of dead houseplants on all the shelves. No certified nursery consultant would stand for the look and quality of your poorly cared for houseplants.

    • Craig Allen says:

      That doesn’t sound good. We aim to provide fresh, healthy plants with new shipments arriving on a pretty regular basis, including to the stores in Nebraska. I’m sorry the plants didn’t seem so good at the stores you visited. Maybe give us another try?

      We appreciate your feedback, Charlene.

  54. Tania says:


    This might be a stupid question but I would love to know the answer. Is it possible for me to lay down the fabric roll over a section of the grass that I would love to remove instead of actually removing and digging the grass up? It’s always suggested to be removed but that is a lot of work.

    Thank you! :-)

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Tania. I think the advice to dig up the grass before you apply landscape fabric is the best thing to do. Leaving the grass in place could result in a lumpy texture, and the fabric will deteriorate much quicker, too.

      But, maybe there’s a way to make the grass removal easier… or even some cases where leaving the grass wouldn’t be a problem. I’d say your best bet is–no surprise–to talk about this with a Home Depot associate. He or she can get all the detail on what you’re thinking of doing, and give you advice on how best to do it and recommend the right products for the job.

      Good luck with the project, Tania.

    • Hope says:

      the easiest way to get rid of unwanted grass or weeds is to use the layering method…you can use cardboard and layer with compost and create a raised bed and overtime the grass or weeds will decompose and become nutrients. If you dont want a raised garden you can use black plastic and place heavy objects on it and basically smother the grass out…this does take much more time but still works and you will have a new area to plant your new garden with out as much back breaking work. Hope this helps and Happy Gardening.

  55. Cynthia G says:

    When is it time to just stop fertalizing a lawn and start from scratch tearing it all up and putting down seed or sod? I have so many weeds I just can’t figure out if it’s work trying to get grass to grow over the weeds. I have a severe case of creeping charlie that I don’t know how to get ride of.

    Thanks, Cynthia

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Cynthia. That’s a brilliant question. And unfortunately it’s beyond my ability to give you a good answer.

      But the Certified Nursery Consultants at your local Home Depot store will be able to give you great advice on what to do.

      Alternatively, this would also be a question that’s perfect for our online Forums. Post this question there. Maybe add a little information about what part of the country you’re in, and what kind of grass you’re dealing with, etc. I guarantee one of our gardening experts will have a response for you in no time.

      It seems like the Lawns Care, Tools and Equipment section would be a good place to ask.

      Good luck, Cynthia.

  56. Tom Vick says:

    My fairly young (3-4 year)10-foot tall magnolia tree has a brown fungus-like growth on top of its leaves…and leaves at top seem to befalling off. Is there a treatment for this??

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Tom. I’m afraid I’m not really qualified to answer that question. But I am certain that one of the Certified Nursery Consultants at your nearest Home Depot store would understand exactly what’s going on with your magnolia and show you how to take care of the problem.

      If you’d rather handle this online, post this question over on our Forums. We have Home Depot gardening experts there keeping an eye out for exactly this kind of question. They’ll be thrilled to help you.

      Good luck with your magnolia.

    • Louise says:

      Hi Tom,

      I am a fan of Bayer products,…sold at Home Depot. The systemic all in one for trees and shrubs will help with your problem. Without knowing more details, such as where you live , and location of tree, it could be the result of a couple of situations Treat it now and you should see positive results..

  57. Nikki says:

    We live in colorado springs co, where the weather in very bipolar. We are wanting to do some raised vegi gardens this year but i dont know when i should start the seeds indoors and when to move them outside? Any help would be appreciated

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hello, Nikki. There’s nothing better than fresh veggies right out of the garden.

      I grew up in Texas, where the weather can be very confusing this time of year, so I know what you’re talking about when you say the weather in Colorado Springs is “bi-polar”.

      I’m not really qualified to answer your question, I’m afraid. The best thing you can do is stop by your nearest Home Depot store to talk with one of the Certified Nursery Consultants there. They’ll be very familiar with local conditions. There are five Home Depot stores in the Colorado Springs, so there’s bound to be one pretty close to you.

      Or if you’d rather get your advice online, we have you covered that way, too. Just post your question to our online community Forums. One of our gardening experts will get you an answer pretty quickly.

      Good luck with the vegetable garden, Nikki. Let us know how it goes.

      • Karen Richmond says:

        Nikki – Your raised garden in Colorado would work best if you started your seeds indoors in February or March and then when they are growing and sturdy enough to take a little breeze you can set them outside for a few hours of sun to get used to the outdoor air, then bring them back inside overnight until all chance of frost is gone. Then let them get used to being outside slowly if possible, if not, wait until they are strong enough to withstand wind and rain.

        You could also provide a plastic covering over your raised beds to guard them when they are just beginning, like a little greenhouse, poke some holes so moisture & air circulation can get through and protect them from pests as well.

        Hope that helps!

  58. I’m wondering when the best time would be to prune a butterfly bush. Also what would be the best fertilizer to use and when for a wiestierea bush to produce abundant flowes?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Michele. Thanks for the questions.

      I’m afraid I’m not much of a gardening expert. I manage not to kill plants… but I have to ask for advice from the experts.

      If you stop by your local Home Depot store, there will be a number of our Certified Nursery Consultants there to give you all the advice you need, including when to plant and fertilize and what products will work best in your situation.

      If you’d rather get your gardening advice online, post your question on our online community Forums. Be sure to mention what part of the country you live. One of our gardening experts will be happy to give you all the information you need to make your wisteria bloom like crazy.

  59. anna bryson says:

    Just moved to Myrtle Beach from Ohio…..what are best perinnel plants for this area and when can (should) I start planting? I’m very anxious.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Myrtle Beach? Nice place!

      Anyway, I wish I could give you a good answer to this, but I’m not up on planting times for that part of the country.

      But I know who IS an expert– any one of the Certified Nursery Experts at one of the Home Depot stores in Myrtle Beach. They’ll know the local conditions, and might even have some good opinions about how this spring is unfolding.

      If you can’t get to a Home Depot store, though, the Home Depot associates who keep an eye on our Community Forums will have some reliable advice for you. Just post your question, and you’ll get a response in no time.

      And good luck with your first spring planting in South Carolina!

  60. Danielle says:

    I purchased several pitcher plants from different Home Depots in San Diego. Currently the pitcher tops keep turning brown & dying. I keep the plants in a moderate temp climate, non-direct or filtered sunlight, water 1-2 times daily with a rain water mist, always make sure there is at least 1/2 – 1″ of water in each pitcher. From looking in the pitcher they are getting food; so why do the tops keep turning brown? None of the leaves are yellowed/browned or dying. Other than the tips turning brown on the pitchers the plants are flourishing.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Danielle, this is a question that a plant expert should answer.

      You could go to The Home Depot’s Community Forums, where one of our Home Depot associates will be able to tell you exactly what’s up with the brown pitcher plants.

      It might be even better if you stopped by your nearest Home Depot store, where one of the Certified Nursery Consultants can help you. They LOVE questions like this.

      Good luck with the pitcher plants.

  61. Georgia says:

    I would like to burn out a mostly-dead stump. What is the safest method I can use?

    • Craig Allen says:


      I’m afraid not really a stump burning expert. But this would be a perfect question to toss to the Home Depot’s Community Forums. You’ll get a reliable answer in no time from one of our friendly Home Depot associates (who actually know what they’re talking about.)

      Or, as this blog post says, you can stop by your local Home Depot store and talk face to face with an associate. The good part about that is, if you need any special tools or materials, you can pick it up right there.

  62. Karen Allsmith says:

    I’m trying to decide on a small tree for the center of my backyard…Can’t decide between a Crabapple or a Dogwood…I want something to stand out & yet live a long life…Any suggestions??…By the way, I live in Zone 5-6…
    Thank you!

    • Craig Allen says:

      I love Dogwoods.

      But I can’t say that’s the right choice for you.

      As I’ve done with some of the other questions here in the comments section, I’m going to suggest strongly you make a stop at your nearest Home Depot store. As this blog post mentions, there are a number of associates there who have been specially trained to help you with this kind of question. They’ll know about conditions, and the characteristics of various types of trees and plants, and they’ll have some good suggestions on how they’ll fit in with the rest of the plants in your yard.

      And, of course, you can also post your question to our Community Forums. You’ll get a good answer from a Home Depot associate, and you’re likely, too, to get some other Community members chime in with their advice. Give it a try.

      And, Crab Apple or Dogwood, good luck with it! Either will be a terrific tree to have in your yard.

    • Hope says:

      I think dogwoods are lovely you can have a great focal point in the middle of winter with a yellow or red dogwood when it is bare….the crabapples are just beautiful in the spring but then you have the crabapples to worry about later. Both are good in zones 5-6 so its not a matter of zonal issue I think its more about how you want it to stand out and when and what other focal points you have availble to pick up the interest when either tree is not in its glory. Hope this helps Happy Gardening.

  63. Grady Gentles says:

    I would like to do a control burn on my yard to get rid of the dead clipping from my bermuda grass.Please advise

    • Craig Allen says:

      A controlled burn isn’t something to take lightly, Grady. A lot depends on your specific conditions and location, etc. I’m not sure it’s something we can advise you on here in the comments section. I think the best thing to do is talk about this face to face with one of the associates at your local Home Depot store. I know you’ll get answers there.

  64. Sarah Dugo says:

    When I moved to the south, nothing grew for me. The HD Team told me how to grow plants in this red clay. I actually have a green thumb now!

    • Craig Allen says:

      Home Depot associates love helping people with their projects, so we’re pleased we could help you tame the red clay. Come on down for advice any time.

      Thanks for checking in, Sarah.