Happy New Year! We are now past the holidays and settling into the month of January with cold weather on the calendar nearly every day. Rain, winds and snow showers (depending on where you live) are a common sight. Not to worry, we have a few new stories for your indoor and outdoor gardening. We talk about indoor plant care and outdoor prep for nasty weather. We hope you enjoy these new stories from Ryan and Judy.
While you are thinking about warmer days, why not sign up to join us in Spain and Portugal next fall? We are down to the final spaces on our garden tour. Check out our website for more details, plus you can save a few bucks if you sign up before the end of January.
This week we featured...
Winter Indoor Plant Care
The winter is when all your indoor plants could start showing signs of pests and diseases. We stopped by Al’s Garden and Home in Wilsonville to get some quick tips for winter plant care for your indoor plants. First you will want to give them a good cleaning. You can mist them with water and wipe them down, or you can use a ‘leaf shine’ product on the larger leafed plants to knock off the dust and dirt. While you are doing that, check for bugs or diseases. If you notice something you may want to check with your local garden center to narrow down what you find.
For a quick solution to a bug problem, you can use a synthetic approach. Ryan had a product from Bonide, the Systemic Houseplant Insect Control. This product is sprinkled around the base of the plant and is taken up through the ‘system’ of the plant. This takes care of those critters in the roots and the leaves. Another product you can use is the ‘Eight Insect Control’. This is a foliar application so you spray it on the leaves to knock down those nasty bugs.
For the natural products you could use the Bonide Insecticidal Soap spray. This is a natural product that will smother the eggs and young insects. If you have a problem with mites, you might want to use the Bonide Mite-X product. There was one last natural product from Bonide called Bon-Neem. This product is a double hit to bugs. The first effect is a quick knock-down action for the bugs and then the sulfur in the product will help control fungus and mites.
Of course the difference between the natural product and the chemical product is the times for application. Natural and Organic products have to be applied more often than synthetic and chemical products. Natural and organic products tend to break down quicker in nature than the others.
Always remember that the label is the law! Always follow the label instructions for proper use and don’t use a product for a problem that isn’t listed on the label. For a Bonide retailer near you, you can always go the Bonide website. We also recommend that you call first so you can be sure they have the product you need before you show up.
Winter Water Tips
Our water tips are only partially about plants… Our first tip is about keeping those plants under your eaves well-watered. Even during the hardest downpours a lot of homes will shield your closest plants from getting the water that they need. We recommend that you give all your plants near your home a good drink every once in a while. A healthy, well-watered, non-stressed plant will survive cold and nasty weather better than a dry one.
Our second tip is about your gutters. Keep them clean! Ryan mentioned that a gutter full of water will create extra weight on the gutter and could pull it away from the house. The water may also overflow and create water damage to your home as well.
Planting a Sedum Wreath
The winter months are a good time to do a little planting, no really! A good planting project that we found was building a sedum and succulent wreath. Ryan joined Reggie from Little Prince of Oregon to walk through the steps of building an easy and beautiful wreath. Reggie started with a dried moss wreath that you can find at most craft stores. This wreath is dry so you have to soak it in water for 6-8 hours to fully hydrate it. Once the wreath was soaked she started to poke holes on all the exposed sides. These holes were about 1.5 to 2 inches wide and about an equal depth. She had Ryan push a variety of sedum and succulents into the holes. You can plant 5-6 varieties of sedums/succulents in patterns of 3 around the entire wreath for a beautiful display of color and texture. For this wreath we used outdoor, hardy plants so it can go outside. If you are concerned about freezing weather, make sure you choose indoor varieties and keep your wreath indoors.
To care for this beautiful wreath you will want to soak the wreath thoroughly every couple of weeks. You can immerse the wreath in a sink full of water for a few minutes or give it a nice long drink from a garden hose. If some of the plants get too big or start spreading out, you can pinch them back or tear off the new shoots and plant them elsewhere.
For a good selection of sedums and succulents (and some of the supplies) you can check out the Little Prince website.
Winter Garden Protection Tips
The winter winds are blowing! Actually, if you are a gardener, the winds are only part of the problem. Winter could also bring snow and ice too. Here are a few tips to help you and your garden survive the upcoming weather.
First, your plants in your garden beds. You can rake your leaves into the beds to create a layer of protection for your tender perennials, or have some mulch brought in from a quality company like Grimms Fuel. If you have a larger plant you can use an old shower curtain or a piece of plastic. Use something that will let light pass through it so your plants can continue to grow and get some sunlight. Don’t use a blanket or towels. These retain moisture and block the warming sunlight, and can create more problems for your plants.
Then check the plants on your back deck or patio. If you have containers, move them up to the side of your house. The siding of your home will block to cold winds and the retained heat of the house, especially on the south facing side, will help them beat those chilly mornings. Remember that plants that are under your eaves will not get as much natural rainwater as your other plants and may need a drink or two over the winter months to stay healthy. A well-watered plant will be healthier and will be able to survive the extreme temps better.
Next, check our your broad-branched roses and perennials. Snow can load up the branches and pull them to the ground splitting and breaking the center of your plants. Do this sparingly. Some of these branches hold your blooms for the coming year, so try not to prune them off unless you have to. Roses can be safely cut down to about knee or waist high.
Finally, those tall landscape trees. Once again a heavy snow or ice storm can add a lot of weight to your decorative trees. Make sure to check to see if the branches can handle the weight. If you see a lot of branches bending, take a broom or rake and shake the snow off the lower limbs and then work your way to the higher limbs. If you start with the higher limbs the additional weight on the lower limbs may cause damage. Start low and work your way up, then work your way back down again, shaking the snow off as you go. If you can’t remove the snow, or the layer of ice is too heavy, consider using pieces of wood like 2x4s to prop up those weighted limbs. If you do get some damage to your favorite trees, call a certified arborist (like our friends at Bartlett Tree Experts) to get professional advice for saving those trees.