University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
RINSING HOUSEPLANTS AND OTHER DECEMBER
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
houseplants to clean leaves and wash off pests, providing water for
storing tools properly for winter, are some of the gardening activities
pots in the shower for a few minutes or rinse them in the sink.
holding over the sink, put your hand over
the soil to avoid spilling it, especially if the plant is newly potted.
off houseplant foliage can keep both the dust and pesky insects such as
and aphids at bay. With plants too heavy to move, wipe off the leaves
you keep birds around by feeding them, you should provide water for
The only realistic way to do that in winter is to use an electric
heater that plugs into an outdoor outlet, or a birdbath with such a
already built in. They keep the water just above freezing and don't
the birds. If feeding the birds, make it
a routine to not only check on the bird bath water (it can evaporate
some days), but to check your birdfeeders daily.
hand tools clean after use and before storing them for winter. Any
left on the blades can encourage rust, and dirt can dull pruner blades.
Also wipe wooden handles with linseed oil to
keep them from splitting due to dryness. Before putting tools away or
forgetting them for winter, sharpen the blades.
You can find files just for this in hardware and complete garden
you brought in your annual geranium plants (sometimes known as
Pelargonium) this fall and are
growing them indoors this winter, chances are they've gotten very leggy
The cloudy, short
days of November and December don't provide enough light for these
thrive. Cut back the plants to about one
foot tall. They will resprout and grow bushier in the longer days of
Don't walk on frozen grass, especially if
you don't have snow cover on your lawn. Without
the protection of snow, grass blades are easily broken, causing dieback
lawn that will show up next spring. Similarly, try not to drive
park on lawns,
otherwise you’ll be looking at the tire tracks long into next
Try to visit a local greenhouse, as the sight of
so many plants all in bloom is sure to lift the spirits on a cloudy and
you’re buying holiday plants, make sure to protect them on the
way home with a paper “sleeve” or bag, especially
poinsettias which are
sensitive to cold. Once home, keep
plants away from drafts, and don’t overwater.
Make sure if foil around the pot that there is a hole for water to
drain, and that the pot is in a saucer if on furniture.
If you have friends or family that
like to garden, think of gardening gifts for holiday presents.
gloves, hand tools, weather
instruments, and fancy pots are some ideas to consider. This
instead of giving baskets with
local and homemade food items, we’ll be giving decorative
with these. If you can’t decide, how
about a coupon for so many hours of help in the garden, or even a gift
certificate to a local garden or book store?
Other tips for this month include
starting seeds for sprouts for salads (a sprouting tray makes a good
and checking plants at least weekly for pests.