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Now browsing: Hometown News > Gardening > Garden Nook

Society Garlic and Aphids
Rating: 2.44 / 5 (36 votes)  
Posted: 2013 Mar 01 - 08:54

I hope everybody has been enjoying the wonderful weather we have been experiencing the past few days. It is just a reminder that spring is not far off. Why not start the season out right with a unique plant called Society Garlic?

Many of us use garlic as a supplement along with our daily vitamin, but not many of us think of planting garlic in our gardens -- society garlic, that is.

Society garlic is not really garlic at all. Its only similarity to real garlic is that it is a member of the lily (Alliaceae) family. Society garlic can create a splash of purple color that can accent any garden or landscape. It looks best when it is planted in groups, but it can also be used as a border around larger trees and shrubs.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the plant is the smell. They smell just like garlic cloves. Although they are fragrant almost any time of day, the fragrance is strongest at night.

Society garlic is easy to grow, and will grow well in well-drained, light sandy soil. They will tolerate full sun to partial shade; however, they will require regular watering during the hot summer months. Dividing them as they multiply can easily propagate the plants.

I have read from some sources that the plants are edible, but I probably would not recommend that practice. It is best to use them as an ornamental plant. I have also been told that they deter moles but I have no actual proof of that. If anybody experiments with that, please let me know if you had positive results with the experiment.

One other added bonus is that the plant is a perennial and blooms from spring to mid-summer.

If you grow hibiscus, one of the most annoying, and destructive pests are little critters called aphids. Aphids are small soft-bodied insects that congregate mainly on tender new growth and also right around the bloom of the plant.

These creatures feed in large colonies and can multiply quite rapidly. Aphids can often cause the leaves of ornamentals to curl up and the insects can hide in these curls, thus escaping the effects of insecticides. Aphids do their damage by sucking life-sustaining juices from the plant, making it weak and vulnerable to disease.

Since hibiscus are somewhat tender, you cannot use Malathion as an insecticide of choice, as it will cause your plant to drop leaves. The best remedy and protection is to use a systemic insecticide such as Orthene or Orthenex. Orthenex does double duty as it takes care of the pests and also helps with some diseases.

You can also use a rose and flower insect spray, but be sure aphids are listed as one of the insects it kills.

Joe Zelenak has more than 30 years experience in gardening and landscape. Send e-mails to hometowngarden@gmail.com or visit his Web site www.hometowngarden.com.

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