Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

January, 2007
Regional Report

Use Poinsettias Outdoors This Summer

Consider using poinsettias as annual foliage plants in sunny areas of garden beds or in large pots on the deck. Harden off poinsettias as you would other houseplants or bedding plants before moving them to sunny outdoor conditions. A healthy 4- to 6-inch potted poinsettia can produce several vigorous stems and grow to 3 or 4 feet by fall.

Keep Your Christmas Norfolk Island Pine

These plants grow well indoors with relatively warm temperatures, uniformly moist, well-draining soil, and high humidity. Compensate for low humidity in winter by putting bowls of water on radiators and other warm places, using humidifiers, or placing pots on a tray of moist pebbles.

Prompt Christmas Cactus to Bloom Again

Temperature and night length are the two main cues that trigger flowering, and at temperatures in the 50s, plants will set and develop flower buds under both short and long day lengths. If the temperatures are in the 60s to mid 70s, short days are necessary (long uninterrupted nights of at least 14 hours) for flowering.

Keep Watering Evergreens

The ground takes longer to cool off than the air does, so as long as the ground is not frozen and can accept water, you should water evergreens. They keep their needles all winter and don't go completely dormant. Keeping the roots supplied with water will reduce stress as the needles continue to lose moisture.

Ventilate Cold Frame in Warm Spells

A sudden warm spell in midwinter can bring trouble under rose cones and cold frames. Ventilate cones and cold frames to prevent heat from building up inside. On a warm, sunny day, the temperatures may rise in a cold frame more than you might expect. Remember to close vents as the temperatures drop again at night.


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