Northern & Central Midwest
Watch Out for Pests
Continue to keep an eye out for pests on house plants. The heat has been on for several weeks in most homes, and the dry conditions can cause populations of spider mites to explode. Check leaves weekly for sticky residue, an indication of scale or aphids, or yellow stippling of the leaves, which can indicate spider mites. Wash plants every few weeks in the sink.
Choose Holiday Poinsettias Carefully
Pick your holiday poinsettia with care. Pick one with dark green foliage and fully colored bracts. Check the tiny flowers and make sure they have not finished blooming. Avoid plants that are quite wet or that have a bad odor. Make sure to sleeve the plant for the ride home if the temperature is below fifty degrees.
Grow an African Violet
Make Grandma proud and grow an African violet. These lovely plants will bloom almost continuously as long as they are given the right conditions. They need a north or east window or artificial lights about eight inches above the plant turned on 12 to 16 hours a day. Water with tepid water on the soil only, and fertilize every two weeks.
Start Amaryllis for Holiday Bloom
Bring your amaryllis up from the basement to start the bloom cycle in time for Christmas. They usually take four to six weeks from first watering to blooming. Replace an inch of old soil on top with fresh soil. Make sure the drainage hole is not plugged, water gently with warm water, and place in a sunny, cool window.
Bring in Your Worms
If you've let the red wigglers in your worm bins spend the summer outdoors, it's time to bring them in. They don't tolerate temperatures below forty-five degrees. Clean your bins and use the compost outdoors in the garden to avoid bringing in bugs that may have joined the worms. Set up fresh new compostables for the worms.