Middle South

January, 2004
Regional Report

Repot African Violets

African violets are ready to come out of their winter rest, so it's a fine time to get them settled in clean pots with a fresh supply of soil. Clip off any leaves that turned brown because they were too close to a cold window, and use warm water to gently rinse the root ball to clean away accumulated salts.

Prune Wisteria

Wisteria won\'t get out of hand if you discipline plants by cutting back long stems that are trying to sneak up trees or into your neighbor\'s yard. Just don\'t cut back stems that you want to bloom this spring. If plants are terribly overgrown, you can prune them again in summer.

Sow Sweet Peas

Sweet peas planted now will begin germinating while it's still cold, but the seedlings are remarkably cold hardy. Besides, if you wait until spring to plant them, hot weather will seriously shorten the bloom time of these cool-season plants.

Revive Geraniums

Begin feeding and watering geraniums, marjoram, and other annuals that you kept indoors through the winter. Move them to brighter light, too. The objective is to coax them into producing healthy new shoots, which can then be cut off and rooted to form this spring's new plants.

Plant Spring-Blooming Shrubs

If you\'ve been planning to adopt a new forsythia, spirea, or other spring-blooming shrub, begin checking garden centers for selections, and set out plants as soon as they become available. They may not bloom heavily this year, but the spring growth spurt that you see above ground will be matched by vigorous new roots below the surface.

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