Celebrating the Seasons

Gabby Gardeners

Question: I have a lot of hosta plants. Some of them are a nice healthy green but some of them are yellow. Are they getting too much sun or not enough water?

Rebecca says: Late in the season when winter is approaching, yellowing hosta plants are normal since the plant is preparing to go dormant. Also, some varieties of hosta are naturally chartreuse. However, if the plants are turning from green to yellow during the growing season, it could be a couple of things. First, the plant could be receiving too much direct sunlight. The only way to fix this is to move the hosta. Or, the soil might be too dry. Dig down around the base of the plant and feel the soil; it should be moist to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Try separating the leaves and looking for damage to the crown of the plant, where the leaves emerge from the soil. If the crown is damaged (either by insects or disease) the plant can't move water up to the leaves and that might be the issue. Root rot, caused by saturated soil, is also a possibility. Often it's best to dig up the affected plant and discard, make sure the planting area is in good shape, then fill the hole with another plant. Luckily, hosta divides easily so perhaps you can replant the hole with a division from a healthy plant.

Question: Help! My first tomatoes of the season grew in funny shapes. Some were puckered and some had scars on them, especially the bottoms. What happened? I've never had this problem.

Rebecca says: Blame it on the weather! Sounds like your tomatoes fell victim to "cat-facing," a physiological problem caused by the poor pollination. If temperatures drop into the 50s F. when the plants are in flower, the pollination process can be disrupted, so it's a common problem on the first fruits of the season. Cat-faced tomatoes are still edible, and subsequent fruits, pollinated during warmer weather, will probably be normal. Next year try planting your tomatoes a bit later when temperatures have warmed up. Also, some tomato varieties are more resistant to cat-facing than others.

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