Northern & Central Midwest

December, 2007
Regional Report

Getting Christmas Cactus to Rebloom

As soon as your Christmas cactus finishes blooming, move it to a sunny windowsill and keep it well watered. After a couple of months you can subject it to a few nights of 45-degree temperatures and get it to set flower buds again. You can do this two or three times a year.

Put Orchid Care on Your Schedule

Even when orchids are not in bloom, continue to fertilize them with one-quarter strength fertilizer at every watering. Keep them somewhat warm and moist with high light and watch for orchid scale, which appears as little tan to brown bumps on the leaves. Apply horticultural oil if necessary.

Check for Spider Mites on Ivy

Ivies are notorious for having spider mites, so keep a watchful eye. Tap a leaf over a piece of white paper. If the dots that fall move, they are mites and horticultural oil is in order. If the dots don't move, they are dust particles and the plants just need a good shower.

Watch for Browned Leaf Edges

Brown edges of leaves can indicate that watering is not consistent or that the plant is being affected by dry, forced air. Set up a humidifier, place pots on pebbles or shells in a tray of shallow water, or group plants together to help raise the humidity around them.

Move Plants Away From Windows

Cold damage may show up as blackened leaf tissue, water-soaked spots, or brown margins. Even a few inches of air space or a filtering curtain can prevent damage. Some plants can tolerate lower temperatures while others will be damaged if the temperature even drops to 60 degrees.

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