Meteorologist Dave Epstein is our go-to person for pressing weather questions on everything from winter blizzards to summer droughts. He’s also a horticulturist, meaning he’s an expert in anything that grows leaves and flowers. GBH’s Morning Edition asked our audience for weather and gardening questions, and Epstein graciously answered them on the air.

Have a gardening or weather question for meteorologist Dave Epstein? Tweet him @GrowingWisdom, email us at, or text 617-300-2008.

I’ve been growing Canna for years and I just love their colors. When I first purchased them I had brilliant red leaves with red and orange colors. Each fall I dig them up, place them in my basement for the winter and replant each spring. Why do I get all green leaves and orange flowers? How do I get the red leaves back with red flowers? I’ve asked around and no one seems to know. —Bill O’Rourke, East Greenwich, R.I.

This sounds like a hybrid variety of Canna which has reverted back to its original genetic makeup, Epstein said.

It happens with hybrid plants of all kinds, Epstein said.

Those beautiful red leaves were likely a result of plant growers breeding special varieties with genetic mutations that caused those brilliant colors. As the plants continued to grow, new leaves can pop up without those mutations.

“If they’ve reverted, you’re not going to get them to revert back. So just buy new ones,” Epstein said. “It just does happen sometimes with plants that are hybridized.”

I have a very leggy and dusty jade plant. Should I trim the branches, and how short should I cut them? How do I clean off the dust, can I spray the leaves? Any tips on repotting? — Sally

A potted plant with wooden stems and green and purple leaves.
Sally's jade plant, for which she sought cleaning and trimming advice.
Courtesy of Sally

You can absolutely trim and spray the plant, Epstein said, but make sure you’re doing it in the right conditions.

“I would kind of take it outside, not in the sun, because you’ll burn them. But I would sort of just mist it gently,” Epstein said. “You don’t want to get it too wet, jades do not like to have wet feet. And that will get the dust off.”

As for trimming: You can pinch back the growing branches to encourage thicker, stronger growth.

“It depends how high it is, but, you know, you can pinch those things back pretty good. Just give it a nice angle cut above a nice leaf, and it should start leafing out and get a little bit thicker,” Epstein said.

Bonus tip: Add a time-release plant food to the soil when you repot it.

“An Osmocote works really well for house plants because it releases food for three months and you don’t have to really worry about it,” Epstein said.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but, I believe the ‘official’ temperature for Boston is taken at Logan Airport, on the water and often cooler than just a mile away. However, the ‘official’ temperature for New York City is reportedly taken in Central Park a much warmer area than on the water. Isn’t this an example of comparing ‘Apples and Oranges’ with the two cities? —Dave from Burlington

Until 1937, Boston’s official temperature was measured downtown, on Milk Street, Epstein said.

“They believed that the fact that it went from Milk Street to the airport was insignificant in terms of the change that happened back in the 1930s,” Epstein said. “I disagree. Many of my colleagues also disagree.”

The Logan Airport location is now the default because the National Weather Center has a sensor there, and because the service partners with aviation authorities who rely on weather conditions to fly.

“I think it’s kind of silly that the official temperature is at Logan Airport, but that’s another discussion,” Epstein said. “It should probably be in Boston Common or something like that.”

GBH’s Curiosity Desk did a deeper dive into why Boston’s official temperature comes from the airport here.