Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2006
Regional Report

Give Cacti and Succulents a Winter Rest

Allow cacti, succulents, and bromeliads to rest during winter. Hold back even more than usual on watering and watch carefully for pests. Average household temperatures are ideal for succulents. Avoid placing them in drafty locations, where cold air may cause leaf drop or damage.

Time Your Pruning Correctly

If you get outdoors to prune early this spring, make sure you don't prune off this year's flower buds. Trees and shrubs that flower in spring have already set their buds, and pruning now will reduce the display. Prune these plants after they finish blooming. Summer-blooming plants can be pruned now and into spring.

Don't Let Deer Devastate Your Plants

Deer are quite hungry at this time of year and can do a lot of damage. Repellents can discourage deer by their offensive taste or odor, but they are most cost effective if you have few deer, light damage, a small area, and need only two to three applications for control.

Sow Onion Seeds

Start onions for the garden now. Plant them close together and keep the foliage cut back to about 4 inches until time to transplant them outdoors in April. Use the trimmings for salads or stir fries. Also plant sprouting garlic bulbs after removing the sprouting foliage for cooking.

Start Flower Seeds Indoors

Sow flower seeds for impatiens, begonias, petunias, nemesia, dusty miller, and snapdragons. Make sure to use sterile seed-starting mix, mist lightly, and cover with glass or plastic to keep the humidity high. Put the seeds under fluorescent lights as soon as they sprout.

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