Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2010
Regional Report

Try a Fragrant House Plant

Check out the garden centers and greenhouses on cold unpleasant days. Wander amidst fragrant orchids, gardenias, jasmine and sweet olive, and you will be truly inspired to add to your collection. These take a little extra care but are worth it for the wonderful fragrance they'll bring to your home in the winter.

Get Ready to Repot House Plants

Start collecting supplies for repotting house plants. March and April are the months to do this so get fresh potting soil, new pots and saucers if needed. Many house plants benefit from cutting back when they are repotted, but remember that not all house plants need to be repotted.

Check Stored Bulbs

All those beautiful summer bulbs that you brought indoors to store over the winter need to be checked. Watch for rotting, sprouting and shriveling, and toss any that look questionable. It's almost time to bring them back into growth, so get fresh potting soil ready. If you left them in pots, all you need to do is replace the top inch of soil.

Force Branches

When you go out to prune, look for flowering shrubs that could afford to lose a few branches. Clip them, bring them indoors and submerge in a tub of warm water. After a few hours, bring them out, snip off the ends and put in a vase of tepid water. In a few weeks, you'll have blooms on the windowsill.

Prune

This is the time when we occasionally get that warmish day that creeps in. Be ready with pruners and loppers and get out and start renewal pruning. Prune no more than one-third of the largest branches at ground level on shrubs such as dogwood, lilac, forsythia and spirea.

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