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.

Repotting Houseplants Good Winter Activity

For gardeners who are itching to get their green thumbs dirty, repotting houseplants can be a good wintertime activity. But not all plants will need, or even benefit from, repotting. Fortunately, there are several indications to look for to determine if your plant needs new living quarters. The main reason for repotting is to give the roots more room to grow. Perhaps one of the most obvious signs is when the plant is physically too […]


Gardenia: A Gardener’s Challenge

Gardenias have a well-earned reputation for being difficult specimens for even the experienced indoor gardener. They are usually in great shape when selected at the local greenhouse, where growing conditions closely match this plant’s needs. Bright light, high humidity, and an even supply of moisture and nutrients bring out the best in gardenias. Its glossy leaves and heavenly scented blooms just about cause the plant to leap into your arms, whether it’s a gift for […]


Care of Christmas Cactus Important After Holidays

While the poinsettia remains the most popular of the holiday plants, a healthy Christmas cactus in full bloom is a great gift idea for that special gardener. But along with that bounty of blooms, send these tips for keeping the plant looking its best. Most blooming plants will keep their blossoms longer in cooler temperatures. Keep the plant in a well-lit location away from drafts from heat vents, fireplaces or other sources of hot air. […]


Prepare Garden Tools and Equipment for Winter

Though you may have thought your gardening chores were behind you, don’t forget to tuck your gardening tools into bed for the winter. Too often we forget to prepare our tools and equipment for their winter hiatus, but a little bit of attention now will be rewarded with years of good service from gardening tools. It’s hard to know when to call the gardening season quits some years. Just when we think we’ve mowed the […]

Keep Plants Watered for Drought Recovery

Much of Indiana found rainfall scarce throughout the summer, and even into the fall, so gardeners need to make sure their landscape plants have an adequate supply of moisture before winter arrives. Most plants could benefit by a deep watering every couple of weeks or so, right up until the ground freezes. But some plants will need even closer attention. Newly planted trees and shrubs may have limited root systems and may need a weekly […]

Force Bulbs for Indoor Color

Now’s the time to stock up on the spring-flowering bulbs that will provide a burst of color just when we need a lift from the winter doldrums. But you don’t have to wait until spring to enjoy these blooms if you prepare a few for forcing indoors. In fact, you can have a bouquet in time to decorate for the holidays. Hardy bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus require a cold period of […]


Outstanding New Flowers for 1996

Three new garden flowers have been awarded the prestigious honor of being an All America Selection (AAS) for 1996. These new cultivars have been judged superior in their class, based on their performance in test gardens all over the country. Petunia ‘Heavenly Lavender’┬áis an old-fashioned double petunia. The large, 2.5- to 3-inch blooms are a pure lavender and consistently produce a full doubling of petals. Petunias generally perform best in full sun and benefit from […]


Bring in Flowers for Drying

It may be too hot for outdoor chores, but you can still quench your thirst for gardening by bringing in your flowers for drying. Dried plant materials can last almost forever when properly harvested and preserved. Some plants are naturally dry, while others must be processed to remove moisture. Those that are naturally dry, such as grasses, pine cones, cattails and dried seed pods, will need little processing before arranging. Harvest grass plumes after they […]

Hot Weather Is Tough on Plants Too!

As if gardening chores aren’t strenuous enough by this time of year, Mother Nature’s heat wave is making life even more difficult. Tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and beans often drop their blossoms without setting fruit when day temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s not much you can do but wait for cooler temperatures to prevail. As more favorable conditions return, the plants will resume normal fruit set. Sweet corn also is likely […]

Fruit Drop Thins Crop

If you’ve noticed a lot of fruit dropping from trees in your home orchard lately, chances are good that the plants are simply shedding excess fruit. Most trees set many more flowers than needed for a full crop, especially following a relatively mild winter. Only one bloom in 20 is needed for a good crop on a full-blossoming apple tree. Although the small fruit drop in June can be alarming, it’s just nature’s way of […]

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