Ask Rosie

Mystery Plants and Bumper Crops

Posted on Sep 10 2018 in Backyard

By B. Rosie Lerner

Q: I sent in a mystery plant question that was featured in your column in the July 2017 issue. The plant was not doing well then but has finally begun flourishing. I have identified it to be a portulaca molokiniensis. I have found various sites that all give different descriptions on how to care for it. Do you know the best way to care for this plant species?— R.E., Columbus

A: Hawaiian portulaca is a small succulent shrub where it is native, but it is not hardy enough for Indiana winters. In fact, it can’t tolerate much below freezing. If you move it outside in the summer, you’ll need to bring it indoors before autumn frost.

As an indoor plant, it will thrive best in a sunny window in well-drained succulent potting mix. It should be watered sparingly.

Q: We have a bumper crop of maple tree sprouts in our landscaping. How can we prevent the sprouts next year? Besides pulling them, is there any way to deal with them this year? — R.A.K.

A: Unfortunately, not much can be done in the home landscape to prevent them. However, if you get after the sprouts while they are young, you can keep them under control.

Although tedious, hand digging, repeated cutting or targeted application of a translocating herbicide, such as glyphosate, can be used. If you use the glyphosate, apply to actively growing seedlings and make sure you do not get any of the herbicide on your desirable plants. Always read and follow label directions when using pesticide.

Rosie Lerner is the Purdue Extension consumer horticulturist and a consumer of Tipmont REMC. Have a question about gardening? Use the form to send it to us. Or, questions about gardening issues may be sent to: “Ask Rosie,” Electric Consumer, P.O. Box 24517, Indianapolis, IN 46224, or