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Seasonal tips

MONTHLY GARDEN TIPS
January

Burrrr! It’s cold out there and chances are the ground is pretty chilly to. This time of year we tend to stay in doors and plan our garden for the following season. Its a great time to think about the areas of our yards that could use a little year round interest, plot out our vegetable gardens, order seeds and drool over garden books till its time to plant again!

You can visit our post on understanding garden Latin here http://www.thicketpdx.com/latin-basics/
We have a fun article on amazing gardens and flowers shows here  http://www.thicketpdx.com/famous-gardens-and-flower-shows-around-the-world/
And an interesting garden glossary here http://www.thicketpdx.com/garden-terminology-gleaned-from-words-past-but-may-inspire-gardens-to-come/

 
February
We often get a little tease of spring temperature during Feb but don’t be fooled into rushing starts and new perennials outdoors to soon – instead take advantage of a few nice days to enjoy other gardening projects.
Garden clean up time is here, rake out debris, trim back unruly shrubs and winter shriveled grasses. Sweep off paths and patios. You can also clean garden tools – oil handles and gears and sterilize pruners and clippers with alcohol before use.
Weeds always get a head start before the rest of our plants, they go to seed and make your spring clean up harder than it has to be, so get out and pull those guys now before they take over.
Spray susceptible plants like fruit trees, roses, and lilacs with a dormant spray – copper sulfate, lime-sulfur, or horticultural oils to help avoid disease, fungus and insect infestations later in the year.
It’s time for mason bee supplies! These native bees are a wonderful pollinator of early flowering plants especially fruit trees. Mason bees are solitary bees that don’t build a traditional hive or make honey but what they do is pollinate about 90% of the flowers they contact! And that’s great for the garden. See our facebook page for videos on how to make your own mason bee house or come join us for a class in March.
Pick out summer-flowering bulbs to plant in a few weeks when the weather warms.
Start planning your vegetable garden by reading about new varieties and stocking up on seeds, potato starts and onion sets.
Plant arugula, peas, favas, spinach, kale, hardy greens and asparagus but lettuce will need a cold frame or cloche.
Start seeds indoors for planting in March – broccoli, cabbage, cilantro, chives, leeks and parsley.
Go to a garden show for a little inspiration.
Prune dormant trees and shrubs before those tender little buds swell. See our pruning tips blog post for some basic instruction. Some varieties need winter pruning and others need summer pruning or they will bleed to much sap. Make sure you know before you start cutting.
If you want to add some early bloomers to welcome Spring here are some suggestions:
Hellebore
Viola
Some clematis varieties like cirrhosa
Anemones
Crocus
Galanthus – snow drops
Filbert – corylus
Daphne
Hamamelis – Witch hazel
Plum
Cherry
Edgeworthia – Chinese paperbush
Stachurus praecox – spiketail

March
It is time to plant! Frost is still a real threat so you will need to protect some tender plantings and new vegetables but most perennials purchased now will be hardened off and ready to go in the ground just as soon as you are willing to get out into the garden. Spring pantings will have a bit of time to root out and get established before the heat and stress of summer. If your soil is water-logged you can cover it with plastic or wait for a dry spell before digging but otherwise start getting those hardy plants in the ground.

Soil prep
Dig in mulch, cover crops and compost from the previous year (not bark). If you didn’t have a chance to get a layer delivered last Fall now is the time to add a nice rich compost or a little organic fertilizer to encourage all those beautiful plants popping up out of the ground.

Pests
The pests are coming out. Look for Slugs and cutworms they are voracious this time of year especially if you have tender new plantings like lettuce and other greens. (see our previous post of tips to deal with slugs). Aphids can be such a problem in the Summer – get them before they get your garden. Treat plants that were infested last year with dormant spray.

Clean up
A tidy garden can be so satisfying! Cut back grasses but leave at least a few inches so as not to damage the plant. Trim off last years faded growth and clean up accumulated yard debris to reveal all that lovely new growth.
This is a great time to get in and make design changes in the garden before plants get to developed to disturb. Some, like iris and lily clumps get so crowded that they need a bit more legroom to bloom. Divide or thin perennials that are getting to large or transplant those that need a new spot.

Vegetable gardens
Starts:
Plant out hardy greens like arugula, chard, lettuce and salad greens as well as parsley broccoli and cauliflower. Root crops such as onions, potatoes, garlic, and shallots can go out now as well.

Seed outdoors:
It’s not to late for peas but get them planted sooner rather than later or you will miss your window. Radishes, carrots, greens and cilantro can all be seeded outside now.

Seed indoors:
Start warm weather seeds indoors but check dates on seed packets and make a plan accordingly. We generally start our tomatoes, eggplants and peppers now as well as a second round of cole crops.

While you are waiting – get the veggie beds spruced up – repair damaged raised beds and add organic matter to build the soil. Many veggies are heavy feeders so rich healthy soil will make for a productive garden.

Indoors
Take cuttings of geraniums, fuchsias or any interesting tender plants you want to use to fill baskets and containers for the summer patio.

April
Weather can be highly variable in April. We can get beautiful sunny warm days followed by a drop back into the depths of winter. But for hardy gardeners there is no bad weather just bad outerwear. And this is the funnest time of year to add new perennials to your landscape. The sun drawing out those Spring blossoms, the gardens seem to be overflowing with new growth and the air is thick with the smell of earth and the song of birds. So let’s get out and garden!

Plant plant plant! Now is such a great time of year to make additions to your garden and there are so many lovelies to choose from – come visit us and see!

Maintenance
If you have a profusion of new growth and are trying to control the size of any flowering shrubs or vines like camellias or clematis – after their bloom is a good time to prune them back to a reasonable size.
Place support rings around peonies, swallowtail columbine, and or any other top heavy perennials before they topple over with all those summer blooms.

Pests and diseases
Pests are on the rise. Control aphids before they get to your veggies, look for them on roses and in the veggies garden they might be lying in wait for the broccoli to come out.  Mix a teaspoon of dish soap in a quart bottle and spray liberally on the effected plant. If you are lucky enough to have garter snakes let them be – they feast on slugs this time of year! If spider webs appear remember that they will consume an amazing number of mosquitoes for you in the coming months.

Keep an eye out for fungal diseases to appear and treat before they get out of hand.

Weeds are planning the complete takeover of your garden so get at those dandelions before they have a tactical advantage.

Indoor plants
As summer approaches it will soon be time for all our tender plants that we have overwintered to go back out for the summer. Take your succulents, orchids or whatever rare lovely that you have kept inside and give them a good dose of love – transplant into larger containers, trim off unsightly dead growth and give them a bit of fertilizer in anticipation of moving outdoor next month.

Vegetables
Seed inside:
Tomatillos, tomatoes, asian greens, basil, cucumber, melons, pumpkins and squash.

Seed outdoor:
Arugula, beets, carrots, chives, cilantro, dill, green onions and a second rounds of kale, chards, lettuces and spinach.
This is your last chance for root and cool weather crops like radishes, beets, cilantro, onions leeks and potatoes.

Starts:
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, greens of all sorts and onions.
It can be possible to put out tomatoes, and peppers now but they will need cover!!!

More veggie tips
Continue to harden off veggies to go outside. A cold frame or unheated porch will do the trick but if you rush this process and don’t allow plants to transition you can stunt them. We feel that it is better to avoid starting melons and beans inside as they don’t often transplant well.

Water
Think about installing a watering system now before the heat of summer, it will save you time and money while conserving a precious resource. And in the mean time remember to frequently check the moisture on new outdoor seedlings and transplants to make sure they don’t dry out I can sometimes just take a day for a new plant to wither.

May

This is the month for gardeners in the Pacific Northwest!
Bring out the garden furniture. The rain is still here but lets get ready for summer parties,  reading novels in the sun and all the bounty of our veggie gardens! The best selection of plants for the whole year is happening right now so fill in those empty spots with a bit of color or texture. Come pick out the perfect specimen to really make your garden shine.

Planting tips
Dig a hole about a third bigger than the potted plant. And loosen the soil below as well in ensure good drainage. It is generally a good idea to add a little organic matter and mix it in for a little added boost.
You may need to tap the pot to remove your plant. If it is extremely difficult to remove cut slits,
Check to see if the plant is root bound. Are the roots very dense and tight? It is always wise to loosen the root ball or in some cases to even take a sharp knife and cut vertical slits in the root ball. This encourages the plants roots to divide and expand.
Look for a wound tap root. Not all plants have a tap root – if it has one it should  be clearly visible – they can wind themselves around the bottom of the pot and it is very important to unwind and get it growing in the right direction! A wound tap root can continue to grow in a circular fashion and never develop into an anchor for the plant. Sometimes a tree can topple over 5 years after it was planted because it’s taproot was not properly planted.
Pat down the soil into the hole and water deeply.
You will need to continue to check the water frequently. Even the most drought tolerant plants will need a season of care before they can be left alone. A small depression for catching water can be helpful. Consider a water bag for larger trees.

Potted patio containers
A few colorful planters added to a patio or porch can enliven an entire landscape.They can be a reflection of your personal style and are a great way to add instant color and interest.  We have hanging baskets, pottery and all sorts of non traditional containers, as well as some very interesting annuals and textural elements to spruce up those pots.

Water gardens
Turn water pots right side up. Bring out the water plants, raise water lilies and clean up carnivorous plants by pruning off the old winter heads. Place mosquito dunks now before those buggers move in.

Maintenance
Finish any divisions before the heat of summer is upon us. Continue the search for pests and be diligent with weeds. Deadhead spent flower heads to encourage new buds. Leave spent foliage to feed the bulbs of bulbs like tulips and daffodils. Now is the best time of year for hedging as new growth will appear quickly and reduce the time you have to look at a whacked bush. If you need to prune your rhodies and want blooms for next year do it right after they have bloomed, or if you have a lovely old rhodie with a beautiful shape but it has hideous purple flowers consider pruning it later in the season as you will likely take off the new buds and inhibit the bloom for next year. Add some lime to your soil for fruiting vegetables like tomatoes, squash and peppers to prevent blossom end rot.

Water
The garden can begin to dry out this time of year but overwatering can be just as bad for the health of your plants so getting a water plan in place is wise.
– Plan your garden so that thirsty plants are grouped together while drought     tolerant plants have their own spot.
– Water earlier in the day to avoid evaporation
– If you use sprinklers be sure that they are placed reasonably and use timers to     avoid waste.
– Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems are more efficient.
– Mulch can help conserve moisture in the ground.
– Water less frequently but deeply to ensure water gets to the roots.

Vegetables
May is for planting warm-season vegetables like basil tomatoes and peppers but not until the danger of frost is past. Check the local farmers almanac for predictions and be prepared to cover seedlings if the temperature drops. It is generally still a little chilly for squash, eggplant, cucumber and melon but they can go out if you are prepared to give them a little protection. Healthy plants can be so stunted by early exposure to cold weather that they never fully recover and your harvest is minimal. But, if you wait to long to plant cabbages lettuces, cilantro and broccoli, the coming hot weather will make them bolt and spoil your crop.

Starts:
Artichoke, Basil, Broccoli, Beans, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Eggplant, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Parsley, Peppers, Squash, Swiss chard, Tomatoes

Seed indoor:
Basil, Brussels sprouts, Cucumbers

Seed outdoor:
Arugula, Asian greens, Basil, Beans, Beets, Broccoli and Brussels sprouts(for fall crop), Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cilantro, Corn (after the 15th), Dill, Kale, Lettuce, Parsnips, Pumpkins, Radish, Salad greens, Spinach, Summer squash, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Winter squash

Indoor plants
If you have tender plants that need to go back outside for the Summer it’s time for the great migration. Start in a shady location so you don’t burn the leaves that are not yet accustomed to direct sun. Give them all a little outdoor shower to clean off dusty leaves. A little extra food is a good idea as they will now have a growth spurt.

June

Wow June can be a scorcher or we can lapse into “Junuary” with cold temperatures and dreary days that make us long for a real summer. But either way June is a great month for gardening. The weather has at least warmed enough to enjoy being outside and keeping those garden projects going.

Water
Please do your part and conserve water for our fish and wildlife as well as our agricultural families! Here are a few tips. Water in the morning when less water will evaporate and the plants are taking up water more efficiently so less is lost. Consider installing a drip system to save water and your precious time.

Pests and diseases:
This is the season for the pests to thrive. Prevention is much better than reactive control. Specific plantings and building bug houses are a great way to help those good bugs.
You can visit our pest management post to help identify pests and comprehensive ways deal with them effectively. Look for caterpillars, aphids, slugs, thrips, whiteflies, flea beetles and cutworms – boy there are a lot of them out there!
predators and beneficial insects. As a last resort start with the least invasive treatments:
– Insecticidal soap
– Horticultural oils
– Botanical insecticides
– Organic insecticides
Fungal problems such as black spot or powdery mildew appear this time of year treat where appropriate.

Vegetable gardens:
Seed outdoor:
For your rotation plantings add – arugula, asian greens, beets, broccoli, carrots, chard, green onions, kale and lettuces.
For the first round of seeding – basil, beans, corn, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and squash are all ready to go out.

Starts:
Well just about everything can now go in the ground! arugula, asian greens, basil, beets broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, chard, cauliflower, chives, corn, cucumbers, dill, eggplant, green onions, leeks, kale, lettuces, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes.
Vegetable garden tips:
– Start cooler weather crops like greens and cilantro in a shadier spot like behind your row of tomatoes or under your bean pole so they will get a little protection from the hot sun to come.
– Deadhead garlic blooms so that growth energy is focused on the bulbs and use the scapes in a stir fry.
– Pick those strawberries! If left to rot they will invite disease.
– Cage, trellis or stake tomatoes and vines before they get to big and unruly.
– Invest in a dandelion weeder and save your back – you’ll need it later in life.
– Feed starts with and organic fertilizer or a compost mulch.
– Thin your plantings of greens, beets, radishes and onion to use as micro-greens.
– Adding a mulch can conserve moisture and help keep weeds at bay.
– Squash (or any of the curcubits) blossoms may drop but not to worry this is a natural process where the first flush of male flowers drop after pollination. The second flush of flowers are the female blooms and they are the ones that will develop into fruit.
– Resist the urge to cut suckers on fruit trees as it will only encourage more growth now.

The veggies are really coming in now! Greens galore, peas and broccoli, cabbages and herbs oh my! Eat up and enjoy all that hard work!

July
Summer is finally here! Or at least it might be here after the fourth of July. We are entering into the warmest and driest part of the year. Great for swimming and gardening! The days are long and our gardens seems to be bursting with new growth.
So here are some tips for July vegetable gardening
– Keep deadheading cilantro and herbs that are bolting.
– Short season crops can still be planted from seed – radishes, carrots, beets and greens.
– Just about anything else can be planted from starts but check the dates to maturity before planting.
– Start a new round of cole crops for Fall/Winter harvest, especially brussels sprouts, greens and peas but remember that germination takes about 1 week or more longer than in the spring.
– Black spot and powdery mildew fungi is beginning to be a problem – remove diseased leaves, try not to overhead water to reduce moisture on leaves.
– Add an organic fertilizer for hungry veggies.
– Plant flowers such as fennel, dill, roses and marigolds that attract beneficial insects such as
– Water the compost pile to keep those microbes happy.
– Harvest garlic – Look for the bottom leaves to brown then pull mature bulbs, leave the greens in tact, bundle and hang to dry in a dark spot for 3 to 8 weeks before you cut off the tops and trim the roots. Avoid washing the bulbs as this can affect the drying process.
– If fruit trees are showing signs of infestation and disease it may be a little late to treat them now but put a reminder in your calendar to spray fruit trees with horticultural oils in the dormant season – February. Neem oil can be applied to smaller trees now.
For the rest of the garden:
– Keep up on the watering especially for containers and hanging plants. Deep water is better than frequent watering – check the soil under the surface to be sure you are penetrating but not soggy, under or over watered plants are susceptible to disease and pests.
– This is a great time of year to add vines for shade and flowers. If you are lucky enough to have a mature vine this is a good time to thin and shape it.
– Dead head to encourage more flowers especially roses, daisies, coriopsis and Shear lavender after blooming.
– Save poppy seeds for next year.
– Give trees a deep water every 5 to 7 days.
– It is still a perfectly fine time to add plants to your landscape as long as you are willing to watch their moisture content. There are so so so many beauties to choose from right now and its way easier to pick the ones you love when they are in their full glory.

August
Summer is in full swing! And what better way to enjoy the fruits of your labor? Invite friends over for a BBQ and dish up some of those veggies fresh from the garden or simply enjoy the view of your personal oasis. Now is the time to relax and be in your garden.
Of course there are always a few improvements and projects to work on so here are a few suggestions:
– Consider landscaping with xerascaping (low water) or native plantings and creating a lower water usage and lower maintenance garden.
– Install an irrigation system – remember when we suggested you install one in march – It would be pretty awesome right now!
– Cut old raspberry canes that fruited to produce new wood for next year, thin excessive growth or suckers and tie chosen branches in place.
– Move containers to a shady spot if they are stressed by the heat.
– If you are pruning any shrubs in order to produce wood for next years bloom finish by mid month so they have enough time to harden off before winter.
– Harvest vegetables regularly to encourage new blooms and prevent the seeds from setting.
– It’s to late to plant sun loving veggies but you can still do more cole crops or plant greens and brassicas for a winter harvest.
– Take a break and visit some show gardens.
– Explore some new recipes or can up some of the bounty.
September

Vegetable gardening isn’t over yet!
Plant:
We still have time to get in short season crops from seed like radishes and beets. And you can plant all sorts of cold hardy greens like kale, mache, arugula, sorrel, asian greens, endive, and lettuces to harvest later in the fall. This is also the time to get garlic and shallot bulbs in the ground for harvest next year. For more winter hardy options for Spring harvest try kale, cabbage, or fava beans.

Protect:
Spread straw or mulch for added protection of overwintering crops or fallow beds.
Protect young fruit trees from insects and winter cracking by painting a strip on the lower truck with interior white latex paint mixed with a .5 ratio of water.
The downside to dry soil, cool nights, warm days and added moisture on foliage is that it is the perfect conditions for powdery mildew. Keep an eye out and destroy leaves as it appears.

Harvest:
As vegetables ripen pick them, remove the spent plants to your compost and replace with winter plantings, mulch or a cover crop to enrich the soil for next year.
If you want to collect seeds from your vegetables and flowering perennials see our previous blog post with tips.

Perennial beds and landscape maintenance:
Fall is one of the best planting seasons. The soil is still warm and easy to work and since the air temp has cooled a bit it’s much more pleasant for us too. Morning dew and (hopefully) the occasional shower is giving our gardens a bit of drink after the dry season and makes the soil easier to work too.

When you plant perennials and trees now you give your plants a jump on root development so they are better prepared for a beautiful show next season. Plants that have the fall and winter to develop will be better prepared for drought tolerance and to fight off disease and pests next season. Plus they will be more likely to set blooms and gorgeous foliage. The exception is borderline tender plants – which do better if planted in the spring so they have the summer to develop and prepare for their first winter out.

Bulbs are here too – if you want Spring bulbs to bloom now is the time to plant them. And if you want to force bulbs for the winter start looking now while the selection is best.

Dig plants that will not winter over such as dahlias and tender canna. Bring houseplants indoors. Divide iris, grasses and lilies. If you want to divide peonies now is really the only time of year it should be done. Remember to keep the peony roots close to the surface when replanting so they will be sure to re-bloom in the following year.

September can still be dry so watch the moisture level of transplants until the Fall rains come but hold back on watering after the night temperatures drop consistently below 50 degrees.

October
The subtleties of Autumn – what a wonderful time to enjoy the garden.
As our gardens begin to show the effects of the summer heat and now the cooler night temperatures, plants turn from lush greens to the colors of Fall – gorgeous umber and sepia tones, goldenrod and red. Petals drop and leaves fade the graceful lines of plant structure emerge. The pattern of branch formations are finally visible and the striking textures of various bark that was hidden all Summer is now on display.

Weather can be highly variable this month. We can expect our first night frosts but we sometimes get a few more weeks of indian summer with days in the 60’s. We could also get our first real rains where several inches fall in one day. Look for a pick tinge in the morning sky as this often means rain is on it’s way.

But October generally has mild days that may be wet but are not yet freezing so we can put on our raincoats and keep on gardening.

– Pick a bouquet of branches and spent grasses, dried seedpods or evergreens to bring indoors.
– Harvest late apples, pears, pumpkins or quince. Once the frosts come they will be damaged. Gather walnuts as well and store in a warm dry spot until heady to crack.
– One last round of weeding will go a long way toward easing Spring clean up.
– This is a great time of year to mulch with a compost, manure or composted bark to clean up beds and keep down weeds over the winter.
– Continue planting bulbs for spring and summer blooms.
– Its still perfectly fine to plant perennials now and since the rains are coming it will be much less work for you.
– Start ground covers so they can spread out over the winter and come up full and fresh in the spring.
– Cut back non shrub roses to protect from winter winds.
– Move potted containers to a protected location where they will not fill with water and crack.
– There is still time to seed some cover crops if planted early in the month. Cover crops in veggie patches help to keep soil in beds, they fix nitrogen, keep down weeds and gives you something to look at besides bare dirt all winter long.
– Pot up bulbs like narcissus and amaryllis to force for the holidays.
– Bring in tender house plants that have spent the summer on the patio. Check for pests hitchiking indoors and give them a nice warm shower to clean leaves before the move inside.

November
Well, it’s just about the end of the gardening season. This is the time of year that resent transplants to the northwest discover the difference between rain resistance and waterproof. We generally get about  6 inches of much needed but highly resented rain this month.  Our winter rains usually come inland on warm winds from the Pacific Ocean on what locals refer to as the Pineapple express. These fronts are basically southern extensions of the Polar jet stream and are the main reason our winters are usually so mild. Here in the Northwest we have traditionally had relatively warm weather, few freezes and lots of water to keep our forests green. But who knows what the future weather will bring especially after the crazy cold and dry winter last year. It’s best to be prepared for the worst and just hope for the best. Remember there is no bad weather just bad outerwear!
If you are hard core – invest in a good jacket and finish up the last of the seasons garden projects.
– Check your garden journal and give yourself a hearty congratulations on a great year! Make notes on what did and did not work in the garden. Plan for additions or subtractions. Make a calendar of events to help you remember planting, pruning or any other important dates for the coming season.
– Freshen up potted containers with winter interest or fill with colorful cut branches or mosses gathered from the roof.
– It’s not to late to mulch but wet mulch is much harden to spread that dry. Also, be cautious of using bark which if overused can rob the soil of nitrogen. Never pile mulch thickly around the base of trees and shrubs as it can harbor disease and pests.
– Wrap tender plants with burlap.
– Drain hoses and store, turn off water supply to prevent freezing.
– Wet soil makes pulling blackberries, scotch broom and wild brambles much easier and satisfying to boot!
– Destroy any leaves and plants that may contain diseases like mildew or black spot that infected your summer crops. These diseases can survive in the soil to reemerge zombie like to attack next season.
– Turn over water pots. Empty pots of annuals and clean the containers. Permanent plantings may prefer to be moved to a sheltered location out of the wind but even these plants will need some winter water so don’t completely cover.
– This is a great time for cutting away dead growth and raking away leaves and spent flower stalks. But while this will tidy up your beds it will also take away winter seeds for foraging birds and hibernation spots for beneficial insects. Consider leaving a few little piles or construct a beneficial bug condo.
– If you have a cold frame then greens and leeks can keep on producing into the winter.
– Make yourself a pot of tea from the mint you harvested in the summer and enjoy a bit of a break from your garden.

December
It’s a bit to chilly for most people to garden out side and working soggy soil can wreak havoc with the microbes that weave a delicate web of life and make for healthy soil. It’s best to wait until soil has dried a bit before we turn it for the next planting.

This is however the best time of year to concentrate on our indoor gardens – our houseplants and succulents, airplants and cacti.

Houseplant care:

Location – Light needs vary for different plants so be sure to research what your specific plants need and keep in mind that Oregon winters are typically very low light so even a southern exposure might be lower than optimal light.

Temperature – Try to avoid placing plants near a drafty door or window as cold winds can shock delicate plants. Similarly a plant placed to near the furnace duct can quickly dry out.

Humidity – Some plants need high humidity and other abhor it so know your plant. Examples of humidy lovers are Rex begonias, ferns, prayer plants and calathea. Misting can be helpful, or moving the plant in the bathroom. You can also place a bowl of water near your humidity loving plant. A frequent soak is also beneficial.

Water – Remember to cut watering back in the winter. There is less light and the temperatures are cooler so unless you keep your home in the 80’s its better to cut back the watering to about half on nearly all your plants. Winter rot is a common killer. With less light plants are not photosynthesizing as quickly and simply will not be using as much water. Most plants enjoy drying out between waterings, it helps ensure oxygen gets to the plant roots which is essential for growth.

Hygiene – Many houseplants love a little shower to clean their leaves but make sure to pat or gently shake them dry so as not to encourage rot. A nice cleaning will allow their leaves to let in more light and careful examination will tip you off to diseases or pests. An exception is African violets who hate water on their leaves!

Nutrients – We strongly recommend using organic fertilizers which should be cut back during the winter months. Plants slow down in the winter just like us and they feed less. Fertilizer can build up in the soil and cause problems for your plants.

Prune – Plants can get leggy during the winter months as they stretch and reach for light. If your plants are terribly spindly you may need to move them to a sunnier location but sometimes a little creative trimming can be a healthy approach.

Transplanting – Avoid re-potting until the Spring when growth resumes. A small plant in a big pot will not be able to soak up extra moisture and can drown.

Exceptions – there are of course exceptions to every rule and the best approach is to research your plants specific needs and experiment to find what works the best.

 

 

 

 

 

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