Hot Vinegar Might Do The Trick With Betony

by Ms. Grow-It-All on May 26, 2011

in Weekly Column Archive

Q: You wrote that vinegar would be an organic way to kill weeds and also mentioned hot water, so I wondered, should the vinegar be hot to do a better job? Will the vinegar kill the corms underground of Florida betony, too? My planting areas are overrun with it. Also, does the edible leaf look like a lamb’s ear?

A: I think heating the vinegar might give it a little more punch; it’s certainly worth a try. It’s the vinegar’s acidity that kills the weeds but it’s the heat with boiling water, so it makes sense to me to try combining both elements.

As for the corms, they are segmented and resemble snake rattles, hence the weed’s other name, rattlesnake weed. When you kill one plant to the root, or corm, another segment takes over and sprouts. Even chemical herbicides such as Roundup kill only the active segment of the corm. You could try repeated applications, but I suspect it will be a long and laborious process to kill the corm entirely.

Luckily, it’s a cool-weather weed so the heat should knock it back soon. And the hot weather certainly seems to have arrived here in North Florida.

Florida betony’s leaf is shaped a little like a lamb’s ear, but it’s smaller and less silvery and not fuzzy.
Q: Can you transplant agapanthus lilies now? Please give to me instructions for transplanting.

A: Agapanthus are getting ready to bloom, so you might want to wait until fall, or at least until they quit blooming, to transplant them. Given how hot and dry it has been lately, you’d have to water them at least once a day to help them get established.

You’ll want to divide them when you transplant them, because they multiply. Dig up the entire clump and take a sharp spade and separate the clumps where they naturally divide. It will take a little muscle to accomplish, and you’ll probably have to twist the spade to get it through the root mass.

Spread the roots out in the new planting hole, setting the agapanthus at the same depth it was previously. Keep well-watered until established.

Internet radio show: Ms. Grow-It-All on Blog Talk Radio airs at 5 p.m. today (Thursday) at This week’s conversation is about ways to keep your garden and outdoor plants watered during hot weather. If you can’t join us live, you can download a podcast of the program from my website.

The show on edible landscaping that originally was scheduled for last week will air at a later date. Last week’s show was canceled because I was at the hospital with my mom, who suffered a stroke. She’s in the rehabilitation hospital now, undergoing intensive physical therapy and worrying that the deer are eating her flowers. (They are.) Please keep us in your thoughts.


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