Mid-Atlantic

April, 2012
Regional Report

Water Gift Plants Frequently

The colorful hydrangeas, fragrant gardenias, and other spring gift plants on sale now are likely root-bound in their original containers. If so, they will dry out quickly. I've some small hydrangeas that go dry in a day. Water frequently to keep soil moist, before you notice the leaves droop. If the plant wilts, watering it might revive it once, twice. Drying out will stress the plant though. At some point, it won't recover. It's best to move the plant to a larger container if you plant to keep it growing well.

Remove Dead Daffodil and Tulip Flowers

Deadhead daffies and tulips after the flowers wilt and turn brown. Brent and Becky Heath recommend deadheading by cutting off just the flower, leaving the green stem to feed the bulb. For aesthetic reasons, I cut each flower stalk as low as possible. Allow daffodil and perennial tulip leaves to stay. Green leaves will feed the bulb for next spring's flowers. After 8 to 10 weeks, remove dead, droopy leaves only after they're yellow or brown.

Take Photos of Bulbs in Bloom

Having photos of your garden in early spring bloom will be both fun and helpful for immediate and future plans. Which spots are too crowded with flowering bulbs? Which bare areas would be enhanced by spring color? Note and mark them now so you'll be ready to move bulbs after the leaves have died. Photos will help jog your memory.

Pull Weeds after Rain

Weeds such as onion grass, wild mustard, wild garlic, chickweed, grassy tufts, plantains, docks, carpetweed, ground ivy, and other unwanted plants are more easily pulled from moist soil. Dig out onion grass, wild garlic, and lesser celandine to remove the bulbs deep in the soil below the plant.

Sow Spring Greens

Lettuce, mesclun, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, and kale are cool weather veggies. Start them indoors in six-packs for the garden or directly in window boxes and other containers in sun or part shade. Cover the window boxes and containers with plastic wrap or an easily removable top to keep moisture in until the seeds sprout. If direct sun is too strong and burns the leaves of these young seedlings, place containers in part-shade.

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