Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2005
Regional Report

Note Differing Water Needs of Houseplants

Plants in a warm, sunny spot need more frequent watering, as do plants with large or very thin leaves. Flowering plants dry out quickly, and so does a large plant in a small pot. Plants in clay pots need watering more often than they would in plastic, since water evaporates from the sides of pots.

Keep An Eye On Pots of Forced Bulbs

Frequently check bulbs being forced in the refrigerator for signs of root growth. As soon as you see roots come through the bottom holes, it's time to bring them into the light and warmth (not too warm, though, or the blossoms will fade sooner).

Start Annual Flowers Now

If you plan to start annual seeds indoors, now's the time. Start geraniums, coleus, begonias, petunias, and impatiens. Sow in flats and cover with a fine layer of milled sphagnum moss. As soon as grow begins, start fertilizing, and make sure lights are close to the tiny plants.

Start Plants for Mother's Day Gifts

This is a great time to take cuttings of African violets, rosemary, jade, or any other plant that would make a good Mother's Day gift. Start the plants now, and when they are fully established, pot into a decorative pot, add a ribbon and sentimental card. What mother or grandmother could resist?

Caring for Valentine Flowers

To keep Valentine flowers fresh, cut an inch off the stems while holding them under water. Remove all foliage below water level to prevent decay, and add a floral preservative to the water in the vase to discourage bacteria. Change the water and recut the stems every few days.

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