Gardening Tips

The Garden Spade - A monthly gardening publication of the University of Missouri Extension -- Southeast and East Central Regions

The July issue of The Garden Spade (PDF) newsletter is now online. Articles include: Leaf Spots, Water Wilt, July Gardening Calendar, Mosquito Facts, Noxious Weeds, Hollyhock Rust, Plant Families: Linden Family, Word Scramble, Japanese Beetle Resistant Plants, and Upcoming Events.



Emerald Ash Borer Control:  

The Emerald Ash Borer has been found in St. Charles County.  Read more about this here:


To learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and how to treat your trees:



photo: Daisy









By Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor 
University of Vermont 

There's also no guarantee that your poinsettia will bloom again next December, even with year-round care. But if you'd like to try, here are a few tips.

First, be sure you choose a plant with small, tightly clustered yellow buds in the center. Look for crisp, brightly colored, undamaged bracts (leaves). Avoid plants that are displayed in drafty areas.

Protect the plant from the elements on its trip from the store to your home. Wrap in layers of newspapers or a double brown paper bag.

Place the plant in a room with plenty of bright, natural light. Keep out of drafts and away from appliances and refrigerators, and never place it on the television set.

Water only when dry; discard excess water that runs through the pot's drainage holes. If wrapped in foil, make sure the pot doesn't sit in water inside the decorative wrap.

A good way to remember when to provide extra attention to your poinsettia is by tying your care schedule to specific holidays. Here's how:

NEW YEAR'S DAY--Fertilize with an all-purpose house plant fertilizer at recommended rates. Continue to provide adequate light and water for prolonged bloom for several weeks.

VALENTINE'S DAY--Check your plant for signs of insects such as white fly. If your plant has become long and leggy, cut back to about five inches tall.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY--Remove faded and dried parts of the plant. Add more soil, preferably a commercially available sterile soil mix. Keep the plant in a very bright interior location.

MEMORIAL DAY--Trim off two to three inches of branches to promote side branching. Repot to a larger container using a sterile growing mix.

FATHER'S DAY--Move the plant outside for the summer; place in indirect light.

FOURTH OF JULY--Trim the plant again. Move it into full sun. Continue to water and fertilize but increase the amount to accelerate growth.

LABOR DAY--Move indoors to a spot that gets at least six hours of direct light daily, preferably more. As new growth begins, reduce the amount of fertilizer.

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX--Starting on or near Sept. 21, give the plant 13 hours of uninterrupted darkness (put the plant in a closet, basement, or under a box) and 11 hours of bright light each day. Maintain night temperatures in the low 60 degree F range. Continue to water and fertilize. Rotate the plant daily to give all sides even light.

THANKSGIVING--Discontinue the short day/long night treatment. Put the plant in a sunny area that gets at least six hours of direct light. Reduce water and fertilizer.

CHRISTMAS--Enjoy your "new" poinsettia. Start the cycle all over again.