Northern & Central Midwest

January, 2005
Regional Report

Treat Your Cyclamen With Respect

Keep your cyclamen in bloom after the holidays by putting it in a cool, bright spot and keeping the soil evenly moist. Remove blossoms as they fade. When foliage begins to fade, withhold water to force the tuber into dormancy until spring, when it should begin growing again.

Keeping Poinsettias

Put your poinsettia in a bright spot without direct sun where it will receive warm temperatures and no drafts. Keep it evenly moist until it begins to lose its leaves. Then cut the plant back to about 6 inches, repot, and put in a south-facing window. Pinch out the tips regularly to make it shrubby.

Time to Think About Starting Seeds

Now that we're into the new year, it's time to plan the garden! Start by checking out just what seeds you have leftover and by doing germination tests, if necessary, to see how viable they are. Gather pots, soil, permanent markers, labels, sphagnum moss for reducing damping off, and you're ready to start seeds.

Do Occasional Pruning When Weather Permits

Keep your pruning shears sharp to take advantage of January thaws. When the weather beckons, do light pruning of summer-flowering shrubs (those that bloom after June 15); renewal pruning of overgrown shrubs, such as dogwood and forsythia; and general clean-up of all types of deciduous plants.

Choose Your Deicing Material Wisely

Use deicing salts sparingly to avoid damage to plants adjacent to walkways and driveways. Although more expensive, calcium chloride is less harmful than sodium chloride. Even less damaging, although somewhat messy, are sand or ashes. They give good traction on snow and ice and are much more environmentally friendly.

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