ASK THE GARDENERS/Q & A

Q We started golden and red plume-type celosia (cockscomb) indoors in March. We were told too much water would make seedlings damp off. They were in a sunny window and we watered them sparingly. They began to flower when they were quite short. We transplanted them outdoors in May, but they are still very short and puny looking. All our other flowers have grown well so it can't be the soil. What would keep them from growing tall with full plumes? Celosia cannot dry out anytime during the seedling stage without becoming stunted. Also, they cannot be crowded. Once stems and flowers become stunted, whether they are plume or crested types, normal growth is usually permanently checked. Q When you answered the reader's letter about the mole problem awhile ago, you neglected to mention mole plant. Quite some time ago, upon your advice, I got some seeds and later planted the seedlings in several areas of the garden. I now have nary a mole. I cannot recall the botanical name of the plant, even though that is what it was listed under in the Thompson & Morgan catalog (New Jersey).

Thank you for pointing out the omission. The botanical name for the mole plant is Euphorbia lathyrus, also called caper spurge.

The full address for Thompson & Morgan is PO Box 1308, Jackson, N.J. 08527

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