December 19, 2018
Gardening tips for the Winter Season
January is a time to promote healthy trees and house plants. MSU Extension has a few important recommendations for the cold winter months.
• Poinsettias do best when house temperatures are consistent and placed away from drafty doors.
• Most house plants tolerate normal temperature fluctuations. In general, foliage house plants grow best between 70 and 80 degrees. Most flowering plants prefer the same daytime range, but grow best at nighttime temperatures of 55 to 60 degrees. Lower night temperatures intensify flower color and prolong flower life.
• Try to use snowmelt or rainwater for house plants.
• Carefully shake snow from evergreens.
• Trim trees. January to April is a great time for major tree trimming. Avoid making coat hangers when trimming trees. Coat hangers obstruct water movement, and inhibit the trees ability to heal.
• Order seeds and bulbs.
• Inspect corms and tubers and discard damaged or diseased specimens.
• Check house plants for mealy bugs. Feeding activity can cause leaf yellowing, distorted growth, premature leaf drop and sometimes plant death. Treat small populations of mealy bugs with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol.
Feeding may cause stunted growth and possibly plant death. Treat light populations of scale with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol.
• Maintain house humidity and do not allow houseplants to dry out. Humidifiers are helpful. Another way to increase humidity to house plants is by placing gravel trays under flower pots or containers. As long as even moisture is maintained in the gravel, the moisture around the pebbles will evaporate and raise the relative humidity around the plant.
Information for this article came from the MSU Extension MSU Extension Montana Master Gardener Handbook which is available for purchase from the MSU Extension Chouteau County Office.