Category: Plants

It’s For The Birds


Q: I would like to plant bushes that will attract birds in fall and winter. I’m thinking of something that produces a berry they eat? – J.W., Winfield, Indiana A: Birds require not only food such as fruits and seeds, but also shelter and water. Planting a variety of plants that offer these resources across the seasons will help attract more birds to your yard. Some native shrubs to consider include: Aronia (chokeberry) Callicarpa (beautyberry) […]

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Mother Nature Gives Spring Bulbs the Heave-Ho!


It’s not unusual for Indiana weather to have trouble deciding what season it is. Warm spells during the dormant period often lead to bulbs poking their foliage (and sometimes flower buds) through the soil. While we’re more used to seeing this happen during February warm spells, our frigid temperatures arrived a bit early in fall 2019, followed by intermittent unseasonably mild weather. Indiana temperatures widely fluctuated in November and December, with the low temperature at […]


February Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Check water levels in cut flowers daily. Check stored produce and flower bulbs for rot, shriveling, or excess moisture. Discard any damaged items. Most houseplants require less water in the winter because growth is slow or stopped. Check the soil for dryness before watering. Move houseplants to brighter windows, but don’t place plants in drafty places or against cold windowpanes. Potted spring-flowering bulbs forced into early blooming can make good […]


January Garden Calendar


Home (indoor plants and activities) Keep holiday poinsettias and other plants near a bright window. Water as top of soil becomes dry. Increase humidity around houseplants by grouping plants together, placing them on a pebble-water tray or running a humidifier. Check stored produce and tender flower bulbs and roots for rot, shriveling or excess moisture. Remove and discard damaged material. Repot houseplants as they outgrow current pots. Yard (lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits) Check young […]


Holiday Cactus FAQs


Holiday cacti are not only popular gift plants, but they are also the subject of frequent debate among gardeners. There appears to be much confusion about these unique tropical cacti regarding care, maintenance and, especially, on how to get them to re-bloom. While most folks just lump them all together as Christmas cactus, there are actually distinct species. The following tips address the most frequently asked questions. The various species of holiday cactus bloom at […]

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What’s killing the oak trees?


Q. In 22 years I’ve had more than a dozen oaks die because of a grub or larvae. Symptoms: First the leaves die and turn brown at the top of the tree. It slowly spreads down the tree until all the leaves are brown and have fallen off. Then the bark begins to peel away from the trunk, and then it falls off pieces at a time. You can see where it cuts off the […]

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December Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Check houseplant leaves for brown, dry edges, which indicates too little relative humidity in the house. Increase humidity by running a humidifier, grouping plants or using pebble trays. Extend the lives of holiday plants such as poinsettias and Christmas cactus by placing them in a cool, brightly lit area that is free from warm or cold drafts. Houseplants may not receive adequate light because days are short and gloomy. Move […]


Thankful for Cranberries


The cranberry plant is native to large portions of the northeastern United States as well as the West Coast states and portions of Canada. Cranberry production requires a rather unique acid bog habitat, which restricts its commercial production to just a few states. Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington are the leading producers in the US. The ideal soil pH is 4.0-5.5, quite acidic compared to other horticultural crops. A large supply of fresh […]


Honeyvine – a native plant that can be both friend and foe.


Q: This vine has perennially volunteered in my garden for a few years now. I let it grow because it seemed to please the butterflies, and the small white flowers smelled nice. At present it has grown chartreuse seed pods. Can you tell me what this vine is? Is it something I should destroy? – W.B. A: Ah, beauty and function are in the eye of the beholder. I believe your plant is what is […]

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November Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) As houseplant growth slows, apply less fertilizer and water. If plants are dropping many leaves, move them closer to sunny exposures, such as west- and south-facing windows. Artificial lights may be needed to supplement particularly dark rooms. Pot spring-flowering bulbs with tips exposed to force into bloom indoors. Moisten soil and refrigerate 10 to 13 weeks. Transfer to a cool, sunny location, and allow an additional three to four weeks […]


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