VANCOUVER, BC: JANUARY 19, 2015 — Japanese camellia bloom at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, B.C. Monday January 19, 2015. (Ric Ernst / PNG) (Story by city) TRAX #: 00034216A [PNG Merlin Archive]
Ric Ernst / Vancouver Sun
Very small pots of cilantro (and basil) are difficult to keep thriving through a series of cuttings.Q. I’ve been unable to grow cilantro. I’ve bought small pots of it, but the plant always dies after two cuttings of the leaves for use in meals. I’ve not tried it in the garden.A. Very small pots of cilantro (and basil) are difficult to keep thriving through a series of cuttings. Potted plantings of both herbs can give numerous cuttings in larger pots. I seed compact varieties of both herbs directly into pots around 15 cm wide ant at least 10 cm deep for growing at a bright window through the winter and early spring. In the garden, it is best to sow cilantro directly, beginning early in April with follow-up seedings through August. I avoid seeding in periods of high heat. Leaving at least some of the plants to flower and set seed gives you new crops of self-sown seedlings.Another advantage of letting cilantro bloom is that the flowers attract and feed beneficial insects like hover flies, which help to control insect pests in the garden. You can also gather some of the seeds. They are coriander, a fragrant spice used in baking. This is a very ancient, useful herb.Q. For the first time this year, a young camellia plant in my garden produced a few dozen flower buds. They became plump, then dropped off. Why? What can I do to prevent this happening next year?A. This is a common issue with camellias. A sudden cold spell can sometimes damage buds enough to cause them to drop, especially if frosted buds are exposed to morning sun. Another common cause of camellia bud drop is a lack of soil moisture during the period of bud formation in the previous summer.It is helpful, as temperatures rise in late spring, to water camellias (and rhododendrons) deeply and apply a nourishing, moisture-retentive layer of compost or compost mixed with fine fir bark. Keep the plants consistently watered through the summer.