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Timely Tendings: Plant Christmas poinsettias now

Flowers: Christmas poinsettias can be removed from their container and planted outdoors now. Choose a sunny location that is not exposed to ambient light at night and dig the planting hole 12 inches wider than the root ball. Place the plant in the hole at the same depth as in the container and fill around the ball with soil. Water every other day the first week then once or twice a week thereafter or as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Poinsettias have a tendency to get root rot when too wet or when growing in poorly drained soils.

After the flowering period, Christmas cactus will produce new growth. Next year's flowers are formed on this new growth. To produce healthy flower-bearing tissue, add a balanced slow release fertilizer every other month and begin regular watering when the soil is completely dry.

Begin spraying susceptible roses weekly for black spot. If the leaves take on a dusty appearance or show signs of yellowing without black or brown spotting, check for spider mites or Chili thrips. Mites are a common problem on roses in the dry spring months. Chili thrips are very hard to see. Feeding damage turns tender leaves and buds a bronze color. Damaged leaves curl upward and appear distorted, and the leaves will fall off the plant. Several products, including insecticidal soaps and oils can be used to control mites. For Chili thrips, use Neem oil. As with all pesticides, follow the label directions carefully.

Have you tried bromeliads? They are a great drought tolerant addition to a shady landscape with some protection from frost or freeze. The nearly 2,000 species of bromeliads provide plant lovers with an unbelievable selection of form, color, size and blooming characteristics.

Pineapples are a familiar plant in the bromeliad family, a family native to the American tropics. Did you know that another common member of this family is our native Spanish moss?

Source: Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. Learn more at askextension.org or pinellascountyextension.org.

Timely Tendings: Plant Christmas poinsettias now 03/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 5:31am]
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