Northern & Central Midwest

January, 2009
Regional Report

Care for Amaryllis

Keep caring for amaryllis that have bloomed by keeping leaves and flower stalk intact until they begin to yellow. Keep plants in bright light and water as any other houseplant until the plants can be moved out for the summer. Bring out dormant amaryllis bulbs, replace the top inch of soil, water well, and bring into the light.

Remove Snow Gently

Remove snow from tree branches gently. If branches are anchored to the ground with snow, gently sweep off snow with a soft broom and then lift the branch from below. Try not to damage the branch, especially because bark wounds can allow insect and diseases to enter. If in doubt, let it melt.

Select Fragrant Houseplants

Bring in some fragrance during the winter months. Lemons, limes, and calamondin oranges have lovely fragrance and tend bloom off and on all winter. Sweetolive (osmanthus) produces exceedingly sweet tiny white blossoms through the winter. Or, bring in a forced hyacinth for knock-your-socks off fragrance.

Watch Figs for Leaf Drop

Leaf drop on figs is not unusual this time of year. The air is dry in our houses, and the light is slim in our northern climates. Excessive drop may indicate a problem, but a few yellowing and dropping leaves here and there are perfectly normal. Just keep watered well.

Watch out for Mealy Bugs

Watch for mealy bugs. Cottony white fluff indicates the sap-sucking pests. This is a secretion that prevents penetration of most pesticides. Look for mealy bugs in the axils leaves and buds. Dab with alcohol or horticultural oil, making sure the plant is not susceptible to damage by either.

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