By: Lisa Briggs | February 26th, 2020
Thank goodness for last weekend as it seems so long since we’d felt the sun’s warmth. We hope that you had a chance to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. And even though, it seems that we are back into a gloomy stretch, days are noticeably lengthening, and the sky seems a more intense blue. Spring may feel ages away, but we know that it’s coming. At this most longed-for change of seasons, patience must be our watchword.
Your houseplants are certainly happier with the sunshine and longer days. You can start fertilizing moderately to encourage new growth. Prune any straggly stems to stimulate branching. You’ll end up with much nicer plants if you give them periodic haircuts. It’s about a month too early though to do any re-potting.
This is about the time when fungus gnats make an appearance. We had a report over the weekend. These tiny flying pests aren’t really damaging your houseplants, but they can stress the roots of tiny seedlings. And they are just plain annoying to have in your house. Attracted to overly moist soil and organic matter, gnats will usually decline if you dry out your plants in between waterings. It’s so easy to keep the soil too moist in the winter when plants just aren’t using the excess water. If the infestation is really unbearable, an application of sand to the top of the soil of affected plants will confuse the adult gnats and discourage further egg-laying. Yellow sticky traps will also help reduce the population by physically capturing adult insects before they can reproduce.
If you’ve been storing any dormant tropical plants, it’s time to wake them up. Move them to a spot with high light levels and begin regular watering. Prune back any dead or spindly growth and check for pests. These tropical plants are from warm climates so they appreciate a similar environment. And start thinking about where you will place them when moved outside for the summer. Perhaps they can be incorporated into some annual container groupings on your porch or patio. They make spectacular centerpieces.
And speaking of those containers, consider incorporating some summer-blooming bulbs. Dahlias, for instance, are super showy, come in a ton of color and will flower all summer in a sunny spot. For shadier areas, we love the stained glass effect that Caladiums bring to a garden. There bulbs are available in the Garden Center now and can be potted up indoors right away. This will get your containers off to a quick start once the weather warms up.
We love this time of year as our gardens are being to wake from winter sleep. Promise yourself that you’ll take advantage of the next nice Saturday or Sunday and tour your yard, or visit one of the area’s many municipal gardens. The paths may be icy, but buds will be emerging soon. See what you can find.