February 7, 2023

Caring for Valentine's Day Plants

Valentine's Day is a day to recognize our loved ones.  Many different plants serve as wonderful gifts to show that special person how much you love them!  Cut flowers, orchids, and florist plants are just a few of the plants that are popular gifts on February 14th and the rest of the winter season.

In this article are a few resources to help keep these special plants healthy and attractive all season.

Plan now, save later: Proactive plant disease management

With warm temperatures this week, Iowans are doubtless getting antsy for spring, as spring means time for gardening! In addition to planning your annual garden around flavorful vegetables, sweet fruits, and pretty flowers, you may also want to consider how these choices will affect the long-term health of your plants.

Your Complete Guide to Pruning Trees and Shrubs

February and March is the best time to prune most trees and shrubs in Iowa.  The absence of foliage at this time of year gives you a clear view of the tree and allows the selection and removal of appropriate branches.  Also, when pruned in the late dormant season the walling-off, compartmentalization, or sealing of wounds can begin as soon as growth starts in the spring giving the tree the most time to recover from the pruning cut.

Iowa State University has many resources available to help with pruning all your woody plants. 

AAS Winners are Great New Plants to Grow in Your Home Garden

All-America Selections has been trialing edible and ornamental plants for over 90 years, presenting awards to entries that will impress home gardeners with their performance regionally or nationally. There have been plenty of exciting new winners that merit a place in your garden that will be highlighted in this series. 

How to Create and Care for a Terrarium

Terrariums are closed glass or transparent plastic containers used to create a mini-environment or ecosystem for plants.  They create a jungle-like atmosphere of high humidity, warm temperatures, and no drafts, which are perfect for many houseplants.  Find steps on how to create your own terrarium, lists of plants perfect for terrariums, as well as a little history, in this article.

Reminder to start thinking about winter fruit pruning!

February is (unofficially) pruning month in Iowa. Time to start watching the weather and picking good days to clean up any fruit bearing woody perennials.

Fungus Gnats in Houseplants

Do you ever notice the occasional small fly in the sink, or sometimes on the lighted screen of a laptop in the evening? Possibly a few dead flies on the windowsill?  There are several species of flies that breed in homes, but one of the most common are fungus gnats.