University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
FOR PESTS AND OTHER JANUARY GARDENING TIPS
Charlie Nardozzi, Senior
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Patrolling for pests, rooting African violets, and
cleaning bird feeders are some of the gardening activities for this month.
Aphids and spider mites may be
multiplying like crazy amidst your houseplants, especially if they are grouped
close together. Isolate each plant and inspect it closely, with a magnifying
glass if necessary. Do this every week
or so, especially for new plants. Treat
these pests by holding the plant and pot upside down and submerging the foliage
in a sink full of soapy water (wrap aluminum foil over the soil to keep it from
falling out). In severe cases, spray the plant with insecticidal soap following
all label directions for proper and safe use.
If that geranium or
bougainvillea you're overwintering inside has sent out spindly new
trimming it back until the increased sunlight can support sturdier
place a plant light above plants. Keep
them at least a foot away from leaves so the hot lights don’t
burn them. Keep lights on for 14 to 16 hours a day, or,
in the evening to supplement natural light from windows. An
inexpensive timer from hardware or garden
stores is perfect for this use.
Birds deserve clean food
surfaces as much as we do. Every few weeks bring the feeders inside and wash
them with soap and water into which a little bleach has been added (one part
bleach to 9 parts water). Rinse thoroughly. Also, don’t forget to clean outdoor heated
birdbaths, and replenish with fresh water, every few days.
African violets are easy to propagate by leaf
cuttings. Snip off a leaf, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder, and
stick the cutting in a pot filled with vermiculite or sand. Cover the pot with
a perforated clear plastic bag and keep the soil moist. In a few weeks you'll
have new plants, which you can pot up separately.
Although a sunny windowsill is
an ideal spot for sun-loving houseplants, be sure the plants aren't too close
to the glass or they could be damaged by the cold. Also, since heating vents
are often located underneath windows, plants are prone to drying out quickly. If this is the case, place a humidifier near
the plants (it will help you too!). Or,
place plants on a tray of pebbles which you keep moist.
tree and shrub branches bend under the weight of a new snowfall, use a broom to
gently brush off the snow. Don't try to remove ice or you might break the
branch. It's possible to save a branch that partially splits from the main
trunk if you tie it in place and use long screws (coming from each direction,
if necessary) to secure it. If done right away, the tree may callous over the
wound and heal itself.
Other gardening activities for this month include
searching out new plants online through websites (such as
perrysperennials.info), taking stock of seed starting supplies, sending in this
year’s seed orders (remember to only buy what you can handle!), and keeping
bird feeders full.
Return to Perry's Perennial