Category: Plants

September Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Prepare storage areas for overwintering tender flower bulbs and garden produce. Thanksgiving (or Christmas) cactus can be forced into bloom for the Thanksgiving holidays. Provide 15 hours of complete darkness each day, for instance, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., for approximately eight weeks. Keep temperature at about 60-65 degrees F. Temperatures of 55°F will cause flower buds to set without dark treatment. Dig and repot herbs, or take cuttings, […]


Native Shrubs For Fall Color


                    If you’re looking to add native shrubs to your home landscape, fall is an excellent time to look for those with good fall color. While many factors affect the display of fall color, there are a number of native shrub species that perform reliably in our area. Here’s a short list to consider, including their mature height as well as flowers and fall color. Most […]


Her ‘Sensation’ lilac looks different this year. Enjoy!


Q: I have had a ‘Sensation’ lilac for several years. It has always produced lovely pinkish purple flowers edged in white. But this year it produced a few odd clusters that had only pale pink flowers. What causes this to happen? Should I prune off the odd branches? A: Many horticultural cultivars of plants, particularly those with interesting color variegation, begin as genetic mutations (sometimes called sports) of the species. If the sport with the […]


Squash blossoms drop, and sometimes that’s normal


A common complaint among vegetable gardeners is that their squash plants have a lot of flowers, but many of them just fall off without producing any fruit. This same observation can be made of cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and gourds, all of which are collectively known as “vine” crops to home gardeners. These plants are all members of the Cucurbitaceae family and are also commonly referred to as “cucurbits.” All of these vine crops produce separate […]


August Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Take cuttings from annual garden plants such as impatiens, coleus, geraniums and wax begonias to overwinter indoors. Root the cuttings in media such as moist vermiculite, perlite, peat moss or potting soil, rather than water. Order spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting. Cut flowers from the garden to bring a little color indoors, or dry for everlasting arrangements. YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals, and fruits) Check trees and shrubs that have been […]


Remove errant branches to save ‘weird’ tree


Q: Please don’t think I’m totally crazy, but I couldn’t get anyone around here to answer this question and I thought someone at Purdue could. I have two trees in my backyard that are growing branches that are completely different from the rest of the trees. It is NOT another tree coming up under them, which is what most people tell me. Am I correct in guessing this is a cultivar that went wrong? Do we […]


July Garden Calendar


HOME (Houseplants and indoor activities) Closely watch houseplants that have been set outdoors. They need more water than they did indoors. They can dry out rapidly in hot, summer breezes. Propagate houseplants by taking cuttings from vigorously growing plants. Place the cut end in rooting media (such as perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss soil mix). Enclose in plastic and keep out of direct sunlight. YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals, and fruits) Keep newly established plants watered […]


When lightning strikes, is the tree out?


When lightning strikes a tree, it will most certainly leave a calling card, but it can be difficult to predict whether that injury is strike one, two or three. There are many variables to consider, including the species, moisture content, relative health of the tree at the time of the strike, and the intensity of the strike. Lightning can strike just about anything tall, but trees do seem to be a frequent target. And the […]


Renewal pruning has immediate, delayed rewards


Q:  I have 2 Forsythias, 2 Spireas, a Ninebark and a variegated Dogwood that appear to be half dead. My thought is to cut them down now to regrow so they’ll have all summer to do this. What are your thoughts? Last year all of these bushes were lush and full. A: Although it could be done now, late winter is the ideal time of year to completely cut the shrubs to the ground. But […]


June Garden Calendar


HOME (Houseplants and indoor activities) Indoor plants will require more frequent watering and fertilizing as they increase their summer growth. You can move houseplants outdoors to a shady location, but pay close attention to their watering needs. Cut garden flowers for indoor beauty. Recut the stems again just before placing in water. Add a floral preservative, and change the solution frequently. Root cuttings of houseplants and garden plants to increase your collection or share with […]


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