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.


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 […]


Sunflowers for Midwestern Gardens


Sunflowers are traditional in the typical Midwestern garden, but modern hybrids have greatly expanded the palette of choices. Whether you want short, medium or tall; yellow, burgundy, bronze or brown; seed for the birds; or just pretty to look at, there’s a sunflower for you. Gardeners will find two different types of sunflowers available from garden centers and online catalogs: Those grown for their edible seeds, and those grown primarily as ornamentals. Traditional sunflowers are […]


Assessing Freeze Injury on Horticultural Plants


As so many gardeners are staying at home these days, we’ve had more opportunity to enjoy the spring display. And then, perhaps inevitably, “normal” spring frost and freeze visited. Some plants are vulnerable to damage. The amount of damage will depend on how far along they are in their development. Home fruit-growers may have reason to be concerned: At 28 F, you can expect a 10 percent loss of flowers/young developing fruit. However, at 25 […]


Advice for first-time gardeners: Start small


As so many of us are spending much more time at home these days, this might be the perfect time to think about starting a vegetable garden! In addition to adding fresh produce to your diet, gardening can offer both physical and mental therapeutic benefits. Anyone can develop a green thumb, as long as they’re willing to invest a little time, patience and elbow grease. Good planning is essential to successful gardening. Start your garden […]


Spring Garden Shows Cure Winter Blahs


Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned green thumb, you’ll find lots of inspiring ideas at area gardening shows this spring.  No matter what your location, you’ll find at least one show within reach for a one-day excursion. Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Chicago, and Louisville are just a sampling of the great garden shows we can eagerly anticipate. February 27 – March 1 Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show Memorial Coliseum Fort Wayne, Indiana February […]


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 […]


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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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 […]


Cut Back Perennials Now or Later?


Gardeners often ask, “When is the best time to cut back the dead tops of herbaceous perennials (stems die back to the ground each year)? Should we cut them in fall as the tops fade? Or wait until spring, just before new growth begins?” The answers depend, in part, on the specific plant and whether disease or insect pests are a factor. For most healthy plants, leaving plant tops over winter is fine and, in […]


Fall Leaves Are Treasure, Not Trash


The hot dry weather experienced throughout much of Indiana in late summer is bringing an early leaf drop to many landscape plants. But even under the best weather conditions, the shorter, cooler days of autumn signal deciduous plants to begin their color change and eventual leaf drop. For some, this marvel is overshadowed by the chores of raking and disposing of leaves. What’s needed here is an attitude adjustment! Autumn leaves don’t have to become […]


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