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.


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…]


Tis The Season for Sage

Thanksgiving dinners filled with the fragrance of sage dusted turkey and dressing may be an American tradition, so it may surprise you to know that the sage plant (Salvia officinalis) is native to the Mediterranean. Today sage is used primarily as a culinary herb, but in older times it was a common medicinal plant.  The origin of the salvia name belies it medicinal value from the Latin salvus “to save” and salvere, “to heal”. Sage [Read More…]


Bringing houseplants back indoors

Many houseplants thrive during the long, bright summer days, especially when properly moved outdoors. But these plants may have some trouble adjusting back to indoor conditions when colder weather strikes. Many of our common indoor plants are native to the tropical or subtropical climates and cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Houseplants should be brought back inside before the outdoor temperature drops to 55 F. If days are warm but night temperatures are cold, you might consider [Read More…]


Early pumpkins may need temporary storage

It seems that pumpkins often mature much earlier than we would like, and this year may be one of those times. Although the season got off to a slow start, the second half of summer was extremely warm and may have brought the pumpkins on in a hurry. And unfortunately, the dry weather that we experienced earlier might contribute to an early end for the pumpkin plants, unless you were able to irrigate on a [Read More…]


Three new vegetables chosen for All-America Selections 2017

Three exciting new vegetables were chosen as All-America Selections (AAS) winners for 2017, based on superior performance in test gardens throughout the country. Okra: “Candle Fire” was chosen for its unique pods — round rather than ribbed — and for its color, a brighter red than the reddish-burgundy okras currently available. The judges gave it high marks for productivity, taste, texture and tenderness, as well as for the ornamental value of red pods on red stems. [Read More…]


Humble hosta

If you’re looking for a plant that is winter-hardy throughout the Midwest, excels under shady conditions and has fabulous foliage as well as attractive flowers, then hosta is the plant for you. Also known as plantain lily, hosta performs best in partial to full shade, although some have been able to survive full sun conditions if given a cool environment with plenty of moisture. The leaves will tend to burn or turn sickly yellow if [Read More…]


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