Northern & Central Midwest

March, 2007
Regional Report

Pot Up Tender Bulbs

Check tender bulbs in storage and discard any that have rotted. Pot up tuberous begonias, caladiums, dahlias, calla lilies, and cannas in organic potting soil. Bring into the warmth and water. Fertilize with one-quarter strength houseplant fertilizer once a month. Harden off as the weather warms for moving out to the patio.

Give Geraniums a Fresh Start

Cut back geraniums and coleus that have been growing on the windowsill to about 2 inches. This will stimulate new growth and make the plants lush and full for moving outdoors. If you let geraniums go dormant in their pots, cut them back and start watering and fertilizing regularly.

Give Houseplants Extra Care

Longer days will begin to stimulate houseplants to begin their spring flush of growth, so watch their water needs. You can begin fertilizing but at only half strength for the next couple of months. If we have a cloudy spring, be careful not to overwater since plants won't use as much.

Use Dormant Oil to Control Scale

Problem pests such as scale on trees and shrubs can be controlled by spraying with dormant oil. Check weather forecasts for a time when the weather will stay above freezing for 8 to 12 hours. When the day gets above 45 degrees and is calm, haul out the sprayer.

Ventilate Cold Frames and Rose Cones

Watch the weather carefully if you have a cold frame or rose cones. It takes only a few minutes of direct sun to burn a plant. Ventilate the frame or cones carefully and make sure to close them up again as the evenings cool. Don't remove mulch around tender plants too early.

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