Northern & Central Midwest

November, 2000
Regional Report

Paperwhite Care


To keep paperwhite narcissus from falling over, grow them in as bright a light as possible to keep them from stretching. Take advantage of the recent trend in attractive supports by using twigs, wire, or bamboo to support paperwhite flower stalks and add interest to your display. If paperwhite buds aren't opening, spritz them with water.

Check Holiday Plants for Pests


Check all incoming holiday plants for insects and diseases. Isolate gift plants for a few days. If you see a problem, spray the plant in the kitchen sink with a warm, strong spray of water. This treatment can take care of spider mites and aphids. If you have mealybugs, dab them with alcohol on a swab. For whiteflies, spray plants with horticultural oil.

Protect Trees from Wildlife


Monitor outdoor trees and shrubs for deer, rabbit, and rodent damage. Keep deer away by erecting a fence around trees. For rabbits, place chicken wire around the base of trees and shrubs before heavy snowfall, making sure it's at least 1 foot above the snow line. Keep bird feeders away from prized ornamental plants since they tend to draw rodents to feed on dropped bird seed and perhaps your shrub's bark.

Mulch Roses & Perennials


Apply bark mulch to perennial beds once the ground has frozen. Mound loose soil, mulch, compost, or composted manure 12 to 18 inches tall on hybrid roses once they've gone completely dormant (usually when the temperature falls to below 20F). Wait to prune rose canes until next spring.


Poinsettia Care


Give poinsettias bright, indirect light and average to cool temperatures to perform best. Avoid sudden temperature changes, as that may cause bracts (colored leaves) to fall. Place a saucer under the plant even if it's wrapped in foil, to avoid damaging furniture when water drains out of the pot. Keep the soil evenly moist, not soggy.

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