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October 2023

Dear Tanya…

You refer to supertunias in recent editions. Can you please help us with information about finding the seed? Not one of the well-known seed suppliers like Kirchhoffs or Mayford supply it. Waiting to hear from you. Phillip

Hi Phillip,

This is a very good question indeed. So, Supertunias are literally petunias on steroids. Through good crossing of parent plants, the Supertunia was created. The reason they are so rewarding for the garden is because of several factors, probably the most important being is that they are ‘self-cleaning’– the spent flower simply drops off and they don’t need deadheading.

Like most petunias the plant’s entire life mission is to flower and follow by setting seed in order to secure the next generation. And this is where the answer is to your question. Supertunias do not produce seed, they are sterile. This means that they put all their energy into the flowers and not into producing seed. They are therefore grown and produced vegetatively by taking cuttings. In order to get your first one in your garden, you are going to need to head out to your local garden centre and find your favourite colour of Supertunia.

I do promise you this though, you will not be disappointed.

Like most petunias they enjoy the following: loads of sun, watering of the soil, not the leaves, and a regular feeding to appease that healthy appetite. I would recommend feeding with Kyno Shrub, Flower & Fruit every 4 weeks. This will provide the plant with all the major plant nutrition elements that it needs, as well as the trace elements to keep it healthy, vigorous and of course, flowering. All the best, Tanya

I live in the heart of the cold Free State (Paul Roux). I would like to hear when it would be the correct time to replant my Strelitzia reginae? I can not bear to think that I might lose it due to the wrong, or bad replanting habits we all have. Do you have any advice for me? Kind regards, Rickus Labuschagne

Hi Rickus,

The most important part about strelitzias – and this goes for all types – is that they really don’t enjoy being transplanted. Most of the time they will sulk for a good few months after transplanting. This can, however, be reduced if you do the following: Only transplant well after the possibility of late frosts. This way the stress on the plant will be minimised and due to the slightly warmer temperatures, the plant will recover faster. Also of importance, is when transplanting, try and keep a good solid root ball intact with none of the roots cut off – the better the root system the faster the plant will set root in its new environment.

Then soil preparation is key. Dig a large hole ahead of time and if you think it is big enough, dig some more – their roots are big!

Add in generous amounts of good quality compost and a handful of KynoGarden as well as a handful of superphosphate or bonemeal. Mix this well into the compost and into some of the soil you removed. When placing the plant in the new hole remember not to bury it deeper than its original soil level – too deep can cause the stems to rot. Give it a good generous watering after planting and then only water again about 10 days after planting. These guys are fussy and too much water can also be detrimental to the plant. Other than that, have a good discussion with the strelitzia before proceedings begin, mentioning that its new home will be a much better location and have a better view. Some say it’s madness, but hey, what have you got to lose? All the best, Tanya

My gorgeous new son-in-law has made a beautiful planter for me, delivered on Mother’s Day. What joy! And how serendipitous that my latest copy of The Gardener has a lovely article about growing veggies and herbs in small spaces. So, my new planter is made of metal and is painted with a rust protector coat of paint. Is this a problem? Should I line the inside with something to prevent the plants taking up toxins? What should I put at the bottom? It’s about 30cm deep. I CAN’T wait to get my salad items up and growing in my kitchen courtyard. Thanks in anticipation, Wendy Young (JHB)

Hi Wendy, This is largely dependent on the brand of paint used, some are friendlier than others. However, in saying that I would do the following just to make sure that your plants are happy and not absorbing any chemicals from the paint: I would paint the inside of the planter with at least three coats of Eco Rubber. Eco Rubber has many uses, for roofing, water tanks, sealing of wood, concrete and even zinc or metal. This rubber sealant is easy to apply with a paint brush. Not only is it non-toxic but what it will do is lengthen the lifespan of your planter by protecting it from rust and corrosion. Remember when preparing your planter to ensure that there are drainage holes at the bottom. If you wish not to drill drainage holes, then a 5cm layer of gravel is recommended. This will act as a reservoir for water. I must caution you to the fact that if you do overwater, the water level could rise above the gravel and into the root zone of the plant and cause the roots to rot.

Use a good quality potting soil in the planter, add a handful of KynoVeg to the potting soil and give it a good mix. This will give your plants a brilliant start by providing them with a good soil structure as well as nutrition. Continue to feed your plants every 4 weeks with KynoVeg and top up the potting soil when adding in new seedlings or plants. Most importantly, enjoy. There simply can’t be anything more rewarding than growing and picking your own veggies! Happy gardening, Tanya

Send your questions to using the subject line Kynoch’s Dirt Diaries.

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