New England

February, 2004
Regional Report

Root Geranium Cuttings

Geraniums that you overwintered indoors are probably getting tall and leggy by now. Take 4- to 6-inch cuttings, strip off the bottom set of leaves, dip the cut ends in rooting hormone powder, and stick the cuttings in a pot filled with moistened potting soil. Keep the soil moist, and they should root in a few weeks.

Watch for Whiteflies

Houseplants such as hibiscus and geraniums (Pelargonium) are often attacked by whiteflies. The adults are tiny, white, mothlike insects that will rise in a flutter when a plant is moved. The immature forms live on the undersides of leaves and suck the plant's juices. If left unchecked, they can cause leaf dieback. Spray plants with insecticidal soap to control them.

Check Grow Lights

If you start seeds under grow lights or fluorescent shop lights indoors, check the tubes for signs of age. Tubes that have been used for two to three seasons probably have lost much of their intensity even though they look fine. Dark rings on the ends of the tubes are a sign they need to be replaced.

Remove Bulbs from Cold Storage

If you've placed some potted spring-flowering bulbs in cold storage for a winter rest, you can remove them when they've had 12 to 14 weeks of cold treatment. Bring the chilled pots into a 50- to 65-degree F room with bright, indirect light for about two weeks. The warmer the temperature, the shorter the flowering stems and the faster the bulbs will flower. When the bulb shoots are 2 inches tall, move the pots to a sunny 68-degree F location for flowering. The cooler the temperatures (60 degrees F is ideal at night), the longer the flowers will last.

Start Perennial Seeds

Some perennials, such as delphiniums, will flower the first year if you sow them very soon. Indoor lights are important for keeping the seedlings stocky and strong during their long indoor phase.

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