Northern & Central Midwest

November, 2008
Regional Report

Reduce Transplant Shock

Houseplants that summered outdoors will suffer temporary shock when brought indoors. Help the plants through the shock by pruning them back, holding back on water and fertilizer, and giving them as much light as possible. A sunny windowsill will help. Don't fertilize until spring except for plants that bloom all winter.

Wait to Mulch Roses

Wait until after several days of 20-degree weather to mulch hybrid roses. Mound 12 to 18 inches of composted manure or a mix of soil and compost around the base of hybrid tea, floribunda, multiflora, climbing, and miniature roses. Prune hybrid teas to 18 inches; leave others for spring pruning.

Empty and Clean Containers

Empty ceramic, cement, and terra cotta containers. Soil from the pots can be stored in a bin in the garage for the winter and then combined with fresh mix to fill pots next year. Scrub out and then store containers upside down in a frost-free space.

Clean Bird Baths and Feeders

Clean out bird baths and feeders for winter use. Fill bird bath with clean water and set up heating coil to prevent water from freezing. Fill bird feeders with clean seed and make a date to clean and wash feeders every two weeks or so to prevent disease.

Don't Move Christmas Cactus

This is the season for Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus. Put them in a cool spot where they are subjected to a few days of 45 degree weather. As soon as you see tiny flower buds form, move the cactus to its display spot and don't move it since moving often causes them to drop the buds.

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