Delicate single flowers | Photos by the writer

Q. Can you suggest a fast-growing climber suitable for growing in a large pot outside the bedroom window on the west-facing side of our house in Lahore? The idea is that the plant is a privacy screen that cuts out direct sunlight, turning the bedroom into a cozy space. The reason is that my elderly mother-in-law, who is a plant lover, spends most of her time relaxing. in bed and it would give him some pleasure. It would be nice if the flowers were fragrant and the climbing bird’s nest was a known one.

A. What a thoughtful idea! A passion flower grape white is what immediately comes to mind. You may need to give it an annual “haircut” in January to keep it under control. There are several different varieties of this lovely climber/rambler, easily found at your local nurseries and Pattoki. Some of these are fragrant. Purple sunbirds, often mistakenly called hummingbirds, sometimes weave wonderful, hanging nests in passion flower vines. These little birds are fun to watch as they go about their business.

Q. In which month can vegetables be grown in pots in Karachi? I will probably need seeds for this, where can I get them?

A. Most vegetables can be grown in large pots and other containers with drainage holes in the bottom. The point is not to squeeze them too hard to give them enough room to grow to their full size when they reach adulthood. On the first Sunday of every month, this column provides a guide to what vegetables to grow and when. Vegetable seeds are easily found at garden supply stores.

All your gardening questions are answered here

Q. Ants are eating the leaves of my rose bushes in Defense City, Karachi. Can you suggest an organic way to prevent them from doing this?

A. Leaf-cutter ants, bees, and beetles can mix plant leaves, carrying pieces of cut leaves for use in their nests. All these can be controlled by spraying with neem oil and water solution. You can buy organic neem oil at most garden stores. The amount of neem oil to use in the water mixture varies from brand to brand, with some brands being stronger than others, so it’s important to follow the directions on the label. If leaf-cutter bugs aren’t the problem—it could be that the ants are simply feeding on other pests like aphids—a neem oil solution will still work just as well.

Magnificent magnolias

Q. Your recent article “Pushing Perennials” has inspired me to redo my garden near the National Stadium in Karachi. Where can I buy seedlings of the 3 plants you mentioned?

A. It is clear that several times the plants have all been grown from locally sourced, imported Chinese seeds.

Q. The plants in my west facing garden in Defense Phase 5 in Karachi presented several issues. The leaves of the gerberas planted in the pot curl and gradually dry up. I have a sweet potato vine growing as a ground cover, but suddenly there are holes in the leaves. A flying insect seems to chew leaves. Finally, my evergreen [periwinkle] plants in a flower bed in full sun are mature, but the bark is eaten one after the other. What can I do to stop or control all these attacks?

A. It sounds like all your plants are suffering from insect infestations/attacks. Spraying with organic neem oil should solve the problems. Please see the answer to one of the questions above for more information on applying neem spray. Gerberas can be exposed to too much direct sunlight. Moving them to a slightly shaded spot should also help with spraying.

Passion flower

Q. Can magnolia trees be grown in Lahore? If so, where can I buy it and when can I plant it?

A. You will be happy to know that magnolias are very good in Lahore area. Seedlings can be found at some, but not all, of your local nurseries from winter through early spring. Usually, they are sold in the right season for planting.

Feel free to send your gardening inquiries to Don’t forget to include your location. The writer does not respond directly by email. Emails with attachments will not be opened

Posted by Dawn, EOS on July 24, 2022

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