Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2007
Regional Report

Increase Humidity for Container Plants

You can kill two birds with one stone by filling saucers under container plants with pea gravel. The gravel will provide three services: it will keep the roots of the plant up and out of standing water, preventing root rot. It will provide humidity as the collected water evaporates. And it will prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs by eliminating the problem of standing water. Use saucer feet to eliminate damage to wooden decks.

Keep Birdbaths Clean and Full

Birds are nesting now and we all want to look our best when we are courting so keep birdbaths full and clean. Welcoming birds to your garden is an excellent way to control insect pests. Besides, they are fun to watch!

Deadhead Spring-Blooming Bulbs

Spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils and tulips should be just about finished. Remove faded blooms and lightly fertilize the foliage to strengthen the bulbs for next year. Once the foliage begins to turn yellow, withhold water completely. When the foliage is brown, pull it away.

Pinch Fuchsias

Fuchsias bloom only on new wood, so keep pinching those branch tips to encourage lots of new branches. The more branches you have, the more blossoms you will get. Fuchsias are heavy feeders, so don't be shy about pouring on the fertilizer. Any balanced fertilizer is perfect for these showy shrubs.

Give Indoor Plants a Mini Vacation

It's wake-up time for indoor plants. If possible, take them outside and give them a bath. Removing accumulated dust will help prevent future insect problems. Place the plants in a shady location and wash both the tops and undersides of the leaves. Fertilize with liquid fish while the plants are outside (it's too smelly for indoor applications, but the scent does not linger for more than a few hours).

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