New England

February, 2001
Regional Report

Repot Houseplants


As the light levels begin to creep back, houseplants will start producing new growth. Now is a good time to repot any houseplants with roots coming out of the drainage holes. Choose a pot one size larger than the current pot, remove the plant, trim any errant roots, and repot using fresh potting soil.

Clean Pruning Tools


Before the main pruning season starts, take apart hand pruners and shears, sharpen the blades, oil the levers, and remove any rust. Pruning trees will go much faster and be easier on your hands when you use sharp, well-maintained equipment.

Cut Flower Care

If giving or getting cut flowers is in your February plans, you might like to know some ways of making the flowers last longer. Recut the ends of roses and other cut flowers under water. Then place the flowers in a vase filled with warm water. Remove any foliage that\'s below water level. Change the water every day, if possible. The cut flower preservatives from the florist are worth adding to the water, or you can make your own perservative by mixing 2 tablespoons lemon juice or bottled \'Real Lemon\', 1 tablespoon sugar, and1/4 teaspoon bleach per quart of warm water.

Holiday Cactus Care

If your holiday cactus is finished blooming for this winter, now is a good time to fertilize and propagate it. After flowering, a holiday cactus will put on new growth. To help it along, fertilize with an all-purpose houseplant food when you water. You also can take 4-inch cuttings of the shoots, dip the cut ends in rooting hormone powder, and pot them up to form new plants for next year.

Start Onions

Long-season alliums, such as leeks and onions, should be started from seed now. Onions need 10 to 12 weeks of growth indoors before they go in the garden. Sprinkle the seed on top of seed-starting mix, keep it moist, and as soon as the seedlings emerge, place the flats under grow lights so they grow strong.

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