Yard and Garden News

The following news stories are written by Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist, and are distributed to news media around the state by Agricultural Communication Service, at Purdue University.


Blooming out of sequence is cool!

What is that crabapple doing reblooming in October and November? Actually, it might be more correct to think of it as jumping the gun on next spring rather than reblooming. Although it happens to some extent many years, there seem to be more reports thas usual of landscape plants blooming out of sequence this fall. Rhododendrons, crabapples, and saucer magnolias are the most commonly reported species blooming this fall. Spring-blooming woody plants initiate flower buds [Read More…]

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Composting turns garden trash to treasure

Autumn frosts usually means lots of cleanup around the yard and garden. Why not turn that yard waste into treasure? Composting is a naturally occurring process that breaks down organic materials into an excellent soil amendment that improves soil structure, as well as adds some nutrients. Composting will help you recycle your garden wastes, improve your soil and reduce disposal costs. All organic materials will break down eventually, but gardeners can speed up the process [Read More…]


Dividing iris

Whether you’re looking to expand your planting of iris or just need to rejuvenate an older planting, late summer through early fall is a good time to lift and divide iris. Dividing every three to five years will help rejuvenate the planting, and encourage more blossoms for the subsequent years. Most iris plants spread by means of underground stems called rhizomes. Rhizomes become too crowded over time, resulting in reduced flowering. By lifting and dividing [Read More…]


Gardeners reminded to protect pollinators

Pollinators are all the “buzz” these days with a federal proclamation designating June 19-25 as National Pollinator Week. Now in its tenth year, the focus of this designation by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and the Interior is to promote the health of pollinators, so critical to food and ecosystems. It may surprise you to learn that the honeybee is native to Europe and was introduced to the U.S. But there are also numerous other [Read More…]


Why plants fail to bloom

Flowering plants that don’t bloom as promised can be a big disappointment in your garden. Reasons for lack of blooming are as diverse as the palette of plants from which to choose, but a little detective work can usually pinpoint the trouble. The most common factors associated with blooming, or lack thereof, include light, plant age, nutrition, extreme temperatures and improper pruning. Many woody plants must reach a certain age before they are mature enough [Read More…]

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Sour mulch can burn tender plants

Although the benefits of mulching garden plants are many, wood mulch that has been improperly stockpiled can lead to plant injury or even death. Young herbaceous plants are the most susceptible to such injury, which becomes obvious shortly after applying a hardwood bark mulch. Plants may look like they have been burned with fertilizer or pesticides, or possibly, are under severe water stress. All of the above could potentially be a problem, but apparently, we [Read More…]


Assess Pruning Needs

Now’s a good time to survey your landscape and decide what needs pruning following potential freeze injury late this winter, keeping in mind that not all plants need to be trimmed. Pruning generally stimulates new buds to develop and break dormancy, so this year we recommended delaying pruning to reduce freeze injury. We had mild conditions through midwinter, which caused some plants to emerge early from dormancy. The more recent temperatures in the teens and [Read More…]


Mild weather brings up the bulbs

It’s not unusual for Indiana weather to have trouble deciding what season it is. Recent warm spells have had many gardeners wondering what to do about bulbs, and perhaps a few plants that are poking their foliage through the soil. Just what should gardeners do about daffodils, dianthus and daylilies poking out of the ground? The good news is that no action is required. We’re used to seeing this happen in late winter during a [Read More…]


Garden Gifts For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and many will be searching for a special gift for that special someone. Why not say it with flowers? Nothing conveys your warm valentine feelings like cut flowers, particularly roses. But their elegant beauty fades fast. So if you’re looking for something that will last a little longer, there are several potted plants that will fit the bill. Cyclamen is made for the occasion with its heart-shaped leaves [Read More…]


Butterfly Milkweed Named 2017 Perennial of the Year!

The Perennial Plant Association has named butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), as its 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year. With much focus on pollinator habitat these days, butterfly milkweed is a terrific selection. Butterfly milkweed flowers play host to a wide range of butterflies, and milkweed foliage is the food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. Bees, wasps and other insects are also frequent visitors. Butterfly milkweed is native to much of the continental United States and [Read More…]


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