Root awakening

Rose myrtle best grown from seeds.
Rose myrtle best grown from seeds.PHOTOS: CLAUDIA CHIOY, JARROD WONG, KATHERINE LIM, LIU BENG GUEK, WILSON WONG

Dogfennel can be toxic when eaten

What plant is this? Is it edible? It looks like dill, but does not have any flowers, leaves or branches that resemble the herb.

Liu Beng Guek

This plant is commonly known as dogfennel. Its botanical name is Eupatorium capillifolium.

Its leaves, when finely cut, resemble those of the dill plant, whose botanical name is Anethum graveolens. However, the two plants are not related.

Dogfennel is reported to contain alkaloids, which may be toxic and can damage liver function if the plant is consumed regularly in large quantities.


Rose myrtle best grown from seeds

What plant is this? How do I care for it and propagate it?

Katherine Lim

This plant is commonly known as kemunting or rose myrtle. Its botanical name is Rhodomyrtus tomentosa.

Native to Singapore, it produces peach blossom-like flowers that change colour as they age. It needs moist, well-drained soil and full sunlight for at least six hours daily. It does not do well in the shade.

Stem-cuttings can be slow to root, so use seeds to grow new plants. Its fruit are purple when ripe and can be eaten. The rest of the plant is used in traditional medicine.


Tip: Line border of garden with this compact shrub

Ligustrum "Lemon Lime and Clippers" (above), an attractive Chinese Privet cultivar, is a shrub that produces ornamental yellow leaves if it gets full sun.

The plant has dense foliage, though it can be pruned to shape. Grow it along the border of a garden as it is a low-growing plant. It thrives in well-drained soil.


How to rid lime plant of scale insects

I have been growing this lime plant (above) for about two years, but it has never fruited. Each leaf has a brown streak down the middle and brownish-white spots on the stems. Why is this so?

Jarrod Wong

Your lime plant appears to be infested by a type of scale insect. It may be weak and stressed, causing it to succumb to pest attacks.

Lime plants require direct sunlight to grow well.

To manage scale insect populations, first use a soft toothbrush to clean out infested portions of the plant. Next, spray the plant with an environment-friendly pesticide, such as neem oil or summer oil. The oil covers the insects and suffocates them. A chemical pesticide may be required if these pesticides are not effective.


Weed garden of mile-a-minute vine

I found this creeper (above) growing in my bed of herbs. I have repotted it as it was getting in the way of the herbs. What is it and should I let it grow bigger?

Claudia Chioy

The plant is a noxious weed known commonly as the mile-a-minute vine - named for how fast it can grow. Its botanical name is Mikania micrantha.

The plant should be completely removed from the garden to prevent it from growing and spreading again.

•Answers by Dr Wilson Wong, a certified practising horticulturist and founder of Green Culture Singapore (www.greenculturesg.com). He is also an NParks-certified park manager.

•Have a gardening query? E-mail it with clear, high-resolution pictures of at least 1MB, if any, and your full name to stlife@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'Root awakening'. Print Edition | Subscribe