Northern & Central Midwest
Prepare Hybrid Roses for Winter
Before the ground freezes solid, mound soil around the base of hybrid tea and miniature roses. Mound it as high as you can. Remove as many of the leaves as possible to destroy overwintering places for pests. Have mulch ready to put over the soil, but wait until it freezes to apply the mulch.
Drain Irrigation Systems
Be sure to turn off all water valves to sprinklers and empty all water lines in irrigation systems that are above the frost line. Also, turn off and empty outside taps to prevent damage from freezing. If you don't have a drain valve, they're inexpensive to install.
Collect Decorating Materials
The holidays are fast approaching, so begin collecting materials from the garden to use for decorating. In addition to evergreen boughs, consider using all sorts of natural materials such as seeds, pods, bare branches and cones. Keep evergreen fresh by storing them outdoors until ready to use.
Check Holiday Plants for Pests
Before they are placed near other houseplants, check all holiday plants for insects and diseases to avoid bringing visitors to your other houseplants. Poinsettias are notorious for having aphids and whiteflies. Kalanchoe, ornamental peppers and cyclamen may have mites. Isolate the plants for a few days and then treat appropriately.
Place Holiday Plants for Best Blooms
Put Christmas cactus and African violets in a warm (70 degrees), sunny window to encourage color for the holidays, and put ornamental peppers, cyclamens, kalanchoes and other blooming plants in a cool (55-60 degrees), sunny window for maximum blooming time. Keep flowering plants evenly moist, not soggy.