2019-01-10 / Editorial Page

Consumers get answers from Ga. Department of Agriculture

Consumer Q’s is a weekly ques­tion and-answer column by Arty Schronce at the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Please share your thoughts, questions and suggestions with him by phone, mail or email.

Q: Can I sell llamas in the Mar­ket Bulletin?

A: Yes. Llamas are sold under the “Alternative Livestock” category. This category also contains the ads for other non-traditional livestock as well as emus, ostriches and rheas. For more information, call 404-656- 3722.

Q: I bought some wildflower honey recently that tasted dif­ferent from what I bought from another source. Is this normal?

A: Wildflower honey is the end product of the honeybees collecting nectar from many different kinds of flowers growing wild and in gardens. The taste may vary from year to year and place to place. The color, aroma and flavor will depend on what flowers were visited.

Q: Can camellias be grown from seed?

A: Certainly. Collect the seeds when the seed pod splits and plant them as soon as possible about one-half inch deep in well-drained potting soil or seed-starting mix. Germination usually takes from two to four months depending on temperature. Camellia seeds should not be allowed to dry out. If you can’t plant your seeds right away, store them in the refrigerator in a sealed container with a damp paper towel.

Seedlings of named varieties are unlikely to look like their parents, but that is part of the fun: seeing what you will come up with.

Q. Do weed-killers kill only weeds?

A. Herbicides are commonly called “weed-killers,” but they can kill the plants you want to keep as well as the ones you want to get rid of. Herbicides don’t even have to be directly applied to the plants to kill or do damage. For example, spray­ing an herbicide on a windy day can carry it to other plants in your yard or even your neighbor’s yard.

If misapplied or mishandled, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other pesticides can also kill fish, birds, pets or even people. Please read and understand the label instructions before using an herbicide or any pesticide. Make sure all pesticides are used properly and stored properly.

Q: While watching the Tour­nament of Roses, the announcer pointed out some silver material on a float he said was “lunaria petals.” What is lunaria? Can we grow it here?

A: Lunaria (Lunaria annua, some­times listed as Lunaria biennis) is an annual or biennial flower also known as “honesty” and “money plant.” What the announcer described as petals were actually membranes from inside lunaria’s oval seed pods. This silvery membrane resembles a coin, hence “money plant” or a full moon, hence “lunaria.” “Honesty” probably is due to the fact that you can count exactly how many seeds are in the thin seed pods; the plant cannot deceive you or hide them from you.

Stalks of lunaria’s silvery mem­branes are popular in dried floral arrangements, left standing in the garden or used on a florally fabulous float in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Lunaria is attractive with purple, rosy purple or white flowers and useful because it blooms in dappled shade. It is a good companion with azaleas and, like them, is a favorite of the Eastern tiger swallowtail.

Lunaria is easy to grow from seed, which is the main way to get a start as they are not often carried as plants at garden centers.

If you have questions about agri­culture, horticulture, food safety or services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agri­culture, write Arty Schronce (arty. schronce@agr.georgia.gov) or visit the department’s website at www.agr.georgia.gov.

Return to top