Northern & Central Midwest

February, 2013
Regional Report

Water Houseplants Carefully

The number one killer of houseplants is over watering. Read your plants' signs to water properly. The leaves of thirsty plants will lose some of their shine. Lift the pot, and if it is exceptionally light, it is dry. Stick your finger into the soil instead of just touching the surface. It may still be damp half an inch down. Make sure your pots all have drainage holes.

Shower Off Houseplants

Small-leaved houseplants can be set in the tub and showered to remove dust and spider mites. Wipe the leaves of larger plants with a soft cloth or soft cotton gloves. Although plant leaves have their own natural shine, for extra luster you can use milk diluted with water after the leaves are clean. Avoid commercial plant shine products, as they may clog the leaves' pores.

Start Mother's Day Plants

Take cuttings of Swedish ivy, pothos, philodendron, coleus, geranium, rosemary, or whatever else you may have on your windowsill. Dip cuttings in rooting hormone and put three to five cuttings together in a small pot. By the time Mother's Day rolls around, you will have stocky, attractive plants to give as gifts.

Sow Onion Seeds

Sow seeds of onions, chives, and garlic chives in sterile seeding mix. As they begin to grow, snip the leaves to keep them at about four inches tall. This will make stocky, healthy plants to set out in the garden. Use the snippings in salad or stir-fries.

Prune Grapes

Prune grapes in February to avoid having sap running later in the spring. Do some research to decide on the training method you want to use, and begin pruning according to the directions. Grapes traditionally have 80-90% of the old wood removed in order to produce vigorous vines that produce abundant fruit!

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