55February 6, 2013

This week will be a potpourri of things you need to know for this time of the year.

Over the last 2 weeks, I have had many people come into the store with houseplant problems. The problem concerns insects on the houseplants. In most cases, the plants had been outside last summer and then the plants were brought back into the house. While the plants were outside, they were exposed to many insects. Natural predators kept the insects in check. Once the plants were inside, the insect population began to grow due to the lack of natural predators. At this point, an application of an insecticide will get the insects back under control. Depending on the type of insect, you may find that using a systemic insecticide may be your best bet for controlling the insect.

We have had some tremendously strong winds during the last few weeks. These winds may have caused some damage to the trees and shrubs in your yard. You should take a few moments to go outside and inspect the plants in your yard. If branches have been damaged by the wind, you may need to do some pruning to remove the damage. If the damage is not taken care of soon, there is the potential for more damage to happen to those plants from the next windy period that occurs this winter.

Most of your houseplants will soon be going into a period of new growth. Some of these houseplants will need to be moved up to a larger size pot. If you are not sure whether or not to re-pot your houseplants, take a few moments to check your plants. You will need to slide the pot off the root ball of the plant. You should then look at the roots of the plant. If the roots are white in color along the outer edge of the soil, then the plant won’t need to be re-potted. If the roots along the outer edge are brown in color, then it is time to re-pot your plant.
If the plant needs to be re-potted, you will need to measure the size of the pot. Measure the pot across the top of the pot. You want to increase the size of the pot by one to two inches in diameter. If the plant is in a small pot, say a pot four inches across the top, then you want to use a five-inch pot for re-potting your plant. If the plant is in an eight or larger pot, then you want to use a pot that is two inches larger.
Some people will make the mistake of moving the plant from, say a four-inch pot to an eight-inch pot. People usually do this because they think it will allow the plant more room to grow. The problem is that all that extra soil around the root ball stays wet until the roots move out and fill that extra soil. The extra soil stays wet and overly wet soil will lead to the death of the roots. When moving houseplants to a larger pot, moving them up to a slightly larger pot is always the best way to go.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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