Northern & Central Midwest

December, 2008
Regional Report

Take Care of Holiday Plants

Keep holiday plants fresh and blooming by keeping them cool. A bright spot will keep plants healthy while making sure the plants are out of drafts will keep the blossoms healthy longer. Water as needed but don't keep the soil soggy. Watch for insects and treat with horticultural oil if necessary.

Watch for Low-Humidity Damage

Watch houseplants carefully for low-humidity damage. Brown-edged leaves are a good indicator. Raise the humidity by using room humidifiers, placing plants on a tray of wet pebbles, or grouping plants and placing them in areas of natural humidity such as near the kitchen sink, above an aquarium, or in the bathroom.

Try a Terrarium

Try a winter terrarium garden this year. Any glass bowl placed over your plant can serve as a cloche or terrarium cover. Orchids, bromeliads, and ferns make great terrarium plants. Place the terrarium in bright light but out of direct sun. Lift the cover if condensation clouds the sides.

Enjoy Winterberries

Plan to add winterberry to your garden next year. It has beautiful red berries and is not as touchy as the evergreen hollies in the Midwest. You need a male and female to have berries, and they will tolerate some shade and moist soil.

Feed the Birds with Your Tree

After the holidays, "plant" your Christmas tree outdoors for the birds by tying it to a stake or the pole your bird feeder hangs on. Decorate with peanut butter pine cones rolled in bird seed, strings of popcorn and raisins, strings of peanuts in the shell, and suet in suet bags.

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