Can you grow your own mistletoe?

    Listen 00:52:57

    Can you grow your own holiday mistletoe? Mike McGrath, host of You Bet Your Garden, will discuss how and where this popular parasite likes to grow and reveal how mistletoe may be environmentally beneficial. Plus answers to all your growing questions.


    Question of the Week:

    “I want to grow mistletoe. My husband passed away in April. We ALWAYS had mistletoe during the holidays and always tried to get it fresh instead of plastic. He would have loved the idea of it growing in our yard. Internet research reveals that it’s ‘doable’, but takes time and poses the risk of becoming invasive—and my landlord is not thrilled with the idea of my planting trees. Can you suggest a couple of trees that mistletoe likes that might do well in a pot?”

    — Randi in Piqua, Ohio

    More on growing mistletoe »


    Highlights from show:

    Pine Trees

    Paulene from North Carolina recently moved and now has a back yard with pine trees. She always used shredded hardwood leaves and put then in a leaf cage to decompose until they turned into wonderful leaf mold, but now has pine needles in the mix as well and wants to know if they’re going to be good to add to the shredded leaves. Mike says it won’t do any damage, but tells her to test the resulting compost with a PH tester. If it does happen to cause a difference he suggested for her to dust a little lime or wood ash into it.

    Hydrangea without Flowers

    Marion from Oklahoma City, OK has hydrangeas at the side of her house. Every year she says they become big green bushes, but don’t produce flowers and wants to know what is going wrong. Mike says the best way to keep any hydrangea plant looking good is to wait until summer when the blooms have formed and prune out the old wood so she can see the flowers better. He says because of the severe winters Oklahoma City has she needs to get some burlap so that the plants are protected from the wind.

    Figs in the City

    Jack from Altoona, PA has a small city plot and wants to plant Fig Trees and would like Mike’s suggestions as to whether he should plant them in the ground or in containers. Mike suggests finding someone near him that he knows that grows fig trees so he’d have a fellow fig grower to hold hands with that year. Mike says if he decides to plant it in a pot, be sure to leave it with a lot of bio mass and prune less during winter so it has a good height in Spring.

    Yucca Plant Troubles

    Lesley from Springfield, Missouri has a Yucca plant in her house, which can be very dangerous due the sharp points on the ends of the leaves and the knife like edges. Recently, she says she stumbled and fell into it and wants to know if she is possibly poisoned or could have any other bad reaction. Immediately, Mike advises her to never place a Yucca plant in a walkway because it is hazardous, but lets her know she’ll be okay and to be more careful.

    Straw Bale Gardening

    Michael in Lancaster, Pennsylvania called in about his gardner mom who has arthritis and is struggling to maintain her garden. She heard about straw bale gardening and thought that might be an option. What does Mike think? Mike is not a huge fan of the straw bale gardening method. He says it needs a lot of watering and fertilizing and would recommend table top gardening because everything will be at the perfect height and she won’t have to deal with weeds.

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