Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2012
Regional Report

Repot Orchid in Moss

When your orchid has finished blooming, repot it in long-fibered sphagnum moss. Many orchids come potted in orchid bark, and although this works fine for awhile, it breaks down and fills the air pockets so necessary in the medium for epiphytic orchids. The moss doesn't break down and allows the plant roots plenty of oxygen.

Knock out those Mealybugs

Mealybugs may show up during the winter on houseplants and can be quite destructive. They look like tiny white sowbugs and are covered with powdery white wax. To control them, dab the insect with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab, gently rub the insects off the plant, or knock them off with a brisk water spray.

Plan for Forcing Branches

Start planning your display of forced flowering branches. Whenever the temperature goes above freezing this month, cut some branches of forsythia, redbud, hawthorn, or flowering almond, just to name a few. Recut the ends under water indoors and place in a warm room, changing the water every few days.

Care for Valentine Flowers

If you're lucky and receive cut Valentine flowers, recut one to two inches off of the stem ends under water as soon as you get them home. This prevents air bubbles from interfering with the uptake of water. Change the water in the vase daily if no preservative is used.

Grow Geraniums from Seed

Try growing geraniums from seed. Seed-grown geraniums often perform better than some of the older geranium varieties propagated from cuttings, with good vigor, heat-tolerance, disease resistance and better blossoming. They are very slow starting, so plant seed now to have flowers about twelve to sixteen weeks from now.

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