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.


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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. […]


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 […]


Bid farewell to asparagus and rhubarb season


Reluctantly, it is time to see the end of this year’s asparagus and rhubarb harvest. Because of their perennial growth habit, asparagus and rhubarb must be given a chance to rebuild food reserves so that a bumper crop can be produced again next year. A good rule of thumb is to stop harvesting about the middle of June. In the case of asparagus, this allows the spears to produce tall, fern-like growth. Often, asparagus plants […]


Peony Showtime


To admire a peony in full bloom is a fitting way to celebrate our full arrival into spring and preview a hint of the colors that summer will bring to our gardens. Although it is native to Asia, the peony has become a staple of Midwestern flower gardens – so much so that the Indiana Legislature in 1957 adopted the peony as the state flower. Zinnia was the state flower from 1931 to 1957 and […]


Celebrate Arbor Day April 29


There’s no better way to celebrate Arbor Day then to add beauty and value to your home landscape with a new tree. Trees can also provide shade and wind protection for many years to come if given the proper start. The last Friday in April is both the national and the Indiana Arbor Day. The first step should be thoughtful selection of an appropriate plant to match the location. Assess your planting location for such […]


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