Middleton Garden Center Hours: OPEN MON THRU SAT 10AM TO 5PM / SUN 11AM TO 4PM

Blog Entry


Weren’t last weekend’s sunny weather marvelous? We spent most of them at the Garden & Landscape Expo, but hope that you had a chance to get outside and enjoy those beautiful days. And even though, it feels like we take one step forward and two steps back weather-wise, 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 a little 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.

You’ll want to wait a few more weeks to do any re-potting that isn’t absolutely necessary. But here are a couple of pointers.

  • Choose the correct sized pot. You can go up 2-inches. For instance, a plant can in 6-inch pot can be up-potted into an 8-inch container.
  • Make sure that the new pot has adequate drainage holes. If you like the hole-less cache pots, and honestly, who doesn’t, pot your plant in a utility container and remove it from the cache pot to water.
  • Use a good quality potting mix. The best potting mixes promote good drainage and don’t contain soil.

This is about the time when fungus gnats make an appearance. We’ve had lots of reports over the last couple of weeks. 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 watering. But it’s really easy to keep soil too moist in the winter when plants just aren’t using the excess water. If the infestation is really unbearable, an application or two of Mosquito Bits to the top of the soil will do the trick. It’s non-toxic and safe for use indoors. 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, begonias and cannas all come in a ton of colors. If you’re a fan of caladium in your shaded containers, unfortunately you’ll need to wait until we get plants in April. A couple of last year’s Florida hurricanes did quite a lot of damage to the growers just as they were getting ready to harvest. Caladium bulbs will be hard to find. We have summer blooming bulb shipments scheduled for early next week.

I love this time of year as my gardens begin 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.