Potted avocado plant | Photos provided by the writer

Q. A few months ago, I grew an avocado plant from seed in Karachi. Now it is about a foot high. When and how should I transplant it in the ground?

A. The best time to transplant an avocado plant in Karachi is July and August and then from November to February. Generally, avocado is not transplanted during the summer, so spring, winter and autumn are a better time to shift it to the ground.

Ideally, the avocado plant should be shifted when there is not enough space left for the roots in the pot to grow, a phenomenon known as ‘root bound’. Looking at the photograph you sent, I believe there is still enough space in the pot for the roots to spread. Continue with the same pot until the roots compact the entire container. Then shift it preferably to a larger container rather than the ground directly, because there are high chances of water pockets developing, and the stagnant water around the plant may cause root rot which can kill the plant.

Q. I love marigold and got seeds of yellow, French, orange and white varieties of marigold. The temperatures in Dera Ghazi Khan range from 25°C to 35°C these days. Is it time to sow the seeds yet?

A. Go ahead. This is the perfect time to sow marigold seeds. Happy Gardening!

All your gardening queries answered here

Q. I had flowers and fruit growing in my garden but, recently, mealy bugs have destroyed everything. I have repeatedly tried all the gardening techniques I know, but in vain. I do not want to use chemicals to kill them. What can be done to save my plants or should I give up hope?

A. You do not need to give up hope at all. When plants grow, they provide a favourable environment for other living organisms and microorganisms to thrive as well. When it comes to gardening, I always advise organic solutions. A number of organic options are available, but the one I will recommend to you is to blend a couple of red peppers, three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and two to three garlic cloves in two litres of water. Drain the mixture and spray the extracted solution on plants. This will get rid of mealy bugs in an organic way.

Q. I brought a stem of a money plant from my workplace a few weeks ago and planted it in my home. It started growing fine but, since the last few days, there are little leg-like white and brown outgrowths on the old and new stems. What are these? Is my plant dying?

A. The pothos, also known as devil’s ivy or money plant, spreads rapidly and without much effort. The outgrowths seen in your plant’s photograph are nothing but aerial roots growing on nodes. If you install a trellis or hang a few ropes these may even cling on and help the plant to spread further.

Aerial roots growing out of nodes on money plant stem

Q. Can I plant dried coriander seeds, used in cooking, to grow green, leafy coriander?

A. Of course you can. But there are marked chances of abnormal and low quality growth. The germination rate of the seeds is also likely to be imperfect with relatively weaker plants. This is because the coriander seeds being used in the kitchen are usually exposed to air and sunlight at grocery shops or when packed.

On the other hand, the coriander seeds available at nurseries or seed shops are kept in air-tight, double layered coverings, which keep them away from the moisture and air. These are also treated with chemicals which act like pesticides and fungicides. Hence, the chances of the seeds decaying or rotting after sowing are minimal. The growing plants, in this case, are also likely to be stronger, with a better germination rate.

Please send your queries and emails to The writer is a physician and a host for the YouTube channel ‘DocTree Gardening’ promoting organic kitchen gardening

Published in Dawn, EOS, October 16th, 2022

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