Frequently Asked Questions

Question:
What should I do with my poinsettia after the holidays?
Answer:

If given good care in the home, poinsettias should remain attractive for 2 to 3 months.  Toss the poinsettia when you grow tired of it or it becomes unattractive. 

Tips to have the poinsettia bloom again:

March to Late...

Question:
How can I propagate an English ivy?
Answer:

An English ivy (Hedera helix) can be propagated by stem cuttings.  Using a sharp knife, cut off 4- to 5-inch-long shoots.  Pinch off the leaves on the bottom portion of the cuttings.  Dip the cut ends in a rooting hormone...

Question:
The leaves on my houseplant are covered with a sticky sap. There are also small "bumps" on the stems. What is the problem?
Answer:

The houseplant may be infested with scale insects.  These small, inconspicuous insects are covered with shell-like coverings.  They attach themselves to stems or leaves and suck sap from the plants.  As they feed, the scale insects...

Question:
What is the optimum temperature when germinating seeds indoors?
Answer:

Most flower and vegetable seeds germinate best when the temperature of the germination medium (potting mix) is 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Question:
Which perennials are most likely to be heaved up out of the ground in winter?
Answer:

Repeated freezing and thawing of the soil during the winter months can lift up or heave some perennials out of the soil.  Heaving exposes the plant’s crown and roots to cold, dry air.  Perennials that have been heaved up out of the...

Question:
Is the poinsettia poisonous?
Answer:

The poinsettia has long been regarded as poisonous.  However, research conducted at various institutions has shown the poinsettia is not poisonous.  While the poinsettia is not poisonous, it is not intended for human or animal...

Question:
I have a beautiful rex begonia. Would it be helpful to mist the plant during the winter months?
Answer:

While rex begonias and many other houseplants prefer high relative humidities, misting is ineffective unless you’re prepared to mist the plants several times a day.  Also, rex begonias are not fond of water on their foliage. 

The...

Question:
How do I control whiteflies on houseplants?
Answer:

Whiteflies are common insect pests of hibiscus, poinsettia, chrysanthemum, and a number of other indoor plants.  They are most often noticed when watering or handling a plant.  When disturbed, whiteflies flutter about the plant for a...

Question:
What are some good sources of flower and vegetable seeds?
Answer:

Flower and vegetable seeds can be purchased at local garden centers and other retailers. They’re also available from mail-order/internet companies.

Mail-order/internet sources include:

  • Park Seed Company |...
Question:
When should I start tuberous begonias indoors?
Answer:

Plant tuberous begonia tubers indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the average last spring frost in your area.  (Flowering typically begins 12 to 14 weeks after planting.)  Start tuberous begonias in pots or other suitable containers.  All...

Question:
What is the proper care of the cyclamen?
Answer:

The cyclamen is the ideal flowering plant for a cool environment.  Place the plant in a brightly lit location.  Temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal.  Keep the soil moist, but avoid getting water in the crown...

Question:
How do you sprout an avocado seed?
Answer:

Remove the seed from the center of the fruit and wash it in water.  For propagation purposes, the broad end of the seed is the bottom.  The pointed end is the top.  Insert 3 or 4 toothpicks into the sides of the seed.  They...

Question:
Do houseplants actually improve indoor air quality?
Answer:

Houseplants are attractive additions to homes and offices.  They can also improve indoor air quality by removing formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, ammonia, and other harmful chemicals.

Plants that have been shown to improve Indoor Air...

Question:
One of my houseplants has several small, yellow mushrooms on the surface of the potting soil. Will the mushrooms harm the plant?
Answer:

The small, yellow mushroom is probably Leucocoprinus birnbaumii.  The fungus is sometimes referred to as yellow houseplant mushroom, yellow parasol, or flower pot parasol.  This species can be found outside in summer, but is...

Question:
Which plants are most likely to be damaged by browsing rabbits in winter?
Answer:

Trees and shrubs that are often damaged by rabbits in winter include crabapple, apple, pear, redbud, honey locust, serviceberry, burning bush or winged euonymus, flowering quince, barberry, roses, and raspberries. Small evergreens (especially...

Question:
The foliage on my tulips and daffodils has been damaged by record cold temperatures in early spring. Should I cut off the damaged foliage?
Answer:

Tulip and daffodil foliage is usually present from late winter/early spring to early summer.  The 4 to 6 week period after flowering is especially important.  During this 4 to 6 week period, the foliage is manufacturing food for the...

Question:
How do you care for a cineraria?
Answer:

The cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida) is a flowering plant that is typically sold at floral shops and other retailers from mid-winter to early spring.  Plants produce clusters of 1- to 3-inch-diameter, daisy-like flowers....

Question:
How often should houseplants be watered during the winter months?
Answer:

In general, houseplants require less frequent watering during the winter months than in spring and summer.  Watering frequency depends upon the plant species, the composition of the potting mix, environmental conditions (temperature, light,...

Question:
What is cat grass?
Answer:

“Cat grass” is grown by cat owners to satisfy their cat’s desire to graze on green plants.  Cat grass is usually common oats or a blend of oats, wheat, and rye grass.  It is sold at pet supply stores and garden centers. 

Cat...

Question:
There are black growths on the branches of my chokecherry. What should I do?
Answer:

The black growths are probably black knot.  Black knot is a fungal disease that occurs on chokecherry, European birdcherry, and several other wild and cultivated cherries and plums.  The black growths (galls) can vary from a few inches...

Question:
How much light does an African violet need?
Answer:

African violets need the proper amount of light to grow and bloom well.  Plants that receive insufficient levels of light have thin, blue-green leaves with long petioles.  They also don’t bloom well.  Plants that receive too much...

Question:
I recently purchased a primrose at a florist. How do I care for it?
Answer:

Primroses (Primula species) are typically sold at florist shops and greenhouses in late winter or early spring.  Plants produce attractive, 1- to 1½- inch-diameter flowers above a rosette of leaves.  Flowers may be white,...

Question:
What is the proper temperature for houseplants during the winter months?
Answer:

Most houseplants grow well with daytime temperatures of 65 to 75°F and night temperatures of 60 to 65°F.  Temperatures below 50°F or rapid temperature fluctuations may harm some plants.  Keep houseplants away from cold drafts, radiators...

Question:
How should I prune a newly planted tree?
Answer:

Trees utilize sugars and other carbohydrates manufactured by the foliage for plant growth.  Therefore, avoid the temptation to severely prune newly planted trees.  Severe pruning reduces the tree’s ability to manufacture food and...

Question:
Sap is oozing out of an old pruning cut on my elm. Is this a serious problem?
Answer:

The sap oozing from the elm wound is probably due to bacterial wetwood or slime flux.  Bacterial wetwood or slime flux is a common on elm, cottonwood, and mulberry.  It also occurs on maple, birch, ash, linden, redbud, and other...

Pages