Northern & Central Midwest

January, 2011
Regional Report

Take Hardwood Cuttings

This is the season to take cuttings for propagating shrubs with hardwood cuttings. Make cuttings about four or five inches long with several dormant buds. Dip the bottom end in rooting powder, bundle with rubber bands, and store in the refrigerator in damp peat moss. In spring, plant outdoors and keep moist.

Check Stored Summer Bulbs

Check stored summer bulbs for signs of rotting or drying out. Dahlias, cannas, gladiolas, tuberous begonias, and calla lilies all need to be kept slightly moist, but not soggy. Discard any bad bulbs so they don't spoil the rest of the bulbs. If bulbs are shriveling and becoming dehydrated, cover them with moist peat moss.

Care for your Amaryllis

Take care of your amaryllis after it has finished blooming and it will be ready to bloom again next year. Remove the spent flower stalk and set the plant in a bright sunny window. Keep the soil evenly moist, not soggy, and fertilize once a month with a general houseplant fertilizer.

Watch Out for Mealybugs

Little bits of cotton on your leaves? Must be mealybugs. These plant-sucking insects can cause plant stress and yellowing. Kill them by touching them with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. Or spray with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Be sure to follow label directions carefully.

Let Houseplant Water Sit Before Using

Houseplants can be sensitive to fluorine and chlorine in tap water. Damage can show up as browned edges, leaf spots and even leaf loss. Allow water to stand overnight to dissipate gasses. Also, room temperature or slightly warm water is healthier for houseplants and can avoid cold damage to leaves.

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