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Holiday Cactus FAQs

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

Holiday cacti are not only popular gift plants, but they are also the subject of frequent debate among gardeners. There appears to be much confusion about these unique tropical cacti regarding care, maintenance and, especially, on how to get them to re-bloom. While most folks just lump them all together as Christmas cactus, there are…

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Thankful for Cranberries

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

The cranberry plant is native to large portions of the northeastern United States as well as the West Coast states and portions of Canada. Cranberry production requires a rather unique acid bog habitat, which restricts its commercial production to just a few states. Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington are the leading producers in…

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Cut Back Perennials Now or Later?

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Septoria leaf spot lesions on rudbeckia leaves. Foliage should be cut back and removed from infected plants. Photo Credits: Dr. Janna Beckerman, Purdue Extension Advanced stages of Septoria leaf spot can eventually kill the plant, especially during wet weather or frequently irrigated plants. Foliage should be cut back from infected plants. Photo Credits: Dr. Janna…

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Fall Leaves Are Treasure, Not Trash

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

The hot dry weather experienced throughout much of Indiana in late summer is bringing an early leaf drop to many landscape plants. But even under the best weather conditions, the shorter, cooler days of autumn signal deciduous plants to begin their color change and eventual leaf drop. For some, this marvel is overshadowed by the…

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Native Shrubs For Fall Color

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Bottlebrush buckeye fall colorPhoto Credits: Purdue Arboretum Dwarf fothergilla fall colorPhoto Credits: Purdue Arboretum Oak-leaved hydrangea fall color Photo Credits: Purdue Arboretum If you’re looking to add native shrubs to your home landscape, fall is an excellent time to look for those with good fall color. While many factors affect the display of fall color,…

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Squash blossoms drop, and sometimes that’s normal

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

A common complaint among vegetable gardeners is that their squash plants have a lot of flowers, but many of them just fall off without producing any fruit. This same observation can be made of cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and gourds, all of which are collectively known as “vine” crops to home gardeners. These plants are all…

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When lightning strikes, is the tree out?

Monday, June 17th, 2019

When lightning strikes a tree, it will most certainly leave a calling card, but it can be difficult to predict whether that injury is strike one, two or three. There are many variables to consider, including the species, moisture content, relative health of the tree at the time of the strike, and the intensity of…

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Bee proactive in protecting pollinators

Monday, May 20th, 2019

Gardeners play a critical role in the nurturing and conservation of both native and introduced pollinators. Gardens and landscapes provide pollinators with food, water, shelter and habitat to complete their life cycles. Urban areas typically feature large areas of pavement and buildings and offer little in the way of food or shelter for pollinators. Garden…

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Leafy vegetables ready for short, cool growing season

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Leafy vegetables are more nutritious and have fewer calories than most other vegetables, and they’re easy to grow. Most greens can be grown in relatively short, cool growing seasons, making them available for fresh harvest earlier than most other crops. If properly planned, fresh, leafy greens can be harvested all season long. Leafy vegetables adapted…

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Rhubarb is prone to bolting. Here’s what to do

Monday, March 18th, 2019

We humans can be so difficult to please. When plants flower when we want them to, we call it blooming. But when plants flower when we don’t want them to, we call it bolting. Flowering is an undesirable trait when growing rhubarb; therefore, bolting describes the event. Gardeners frequently ask why their rhubarb is bolting….

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Please Don’t Top Your Trees

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Topping a tree is an all-too-common practice among homeowners, particularly when their trees become too tall and pose a possible threat to the house or overhead power lines. Some have the trees topped because they believe, or are led to believe, that topping is a good pruning practice. Some situations obviously require the removal of…

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Snow Is Good for Gardens

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Though your aching back may not agree, recent heavy snows actually will be good for your garden and landscape. Snow provides moisture as well as protection from cold and wind. Snow is an excellent insulator against low temperatures and excessive winds. The extent of protection depends on the depth of snow. In addition, the soil…

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Pollinators are abuzz for the 2019 Perennial of the Year

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

By selecting Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ as its 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year, the Perennial Plant Association once again continued its focus on pollinator-friendly plants. ‘Hummelo’ is a compact, clump-forming perennial, reaching 1.5 to 2 feet tall and wide. Over time, the plants will form a dense mat, spreading slowly from creeping underground stems. Showy…

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Spice Up Your Holidays

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Some of the most popular spices used this time of year are harvested from various parts of exotic tropical plants, lending a special flavor to holiday recipes. Ginger is harvested from the rhizomes (underground stems) of a tropical/sub-tropical herbaceous plant, Zingiber officinale. Ginger is native to tropical Asia and is grown commercially in Hawaii and…

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New Resource for Identifying Common Yard and Garden Plants

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Want to know more about common yard and garden plants? Meet the new Purdue Plant ID Pal. The web-based resource is easy to use. 4-H and FFA youth will find it especially helpful as they learn to identify ornamentals, fruits, and vegetables for local, state and national competitions. Purdue Plant ID Pal has four sections:…

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Time to Harvest Sweet Potatoes

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Although some folks may be sad to see summer coming to a close, many gardeners are looking forward to harvesting their sweet potato treasures. Sweet potatoes are warm-season plants that are very sensitive to cold temperatures. The tuberous roots should be harvested by the time frost kills the vines or soon thereafter. Sweet potato roots…

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Oedema Is a Corky Quirk

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Plants that experience extremes in soil moisture may develop spots on their leaves, called “oedema” (also spelled “edema”). The spots may first appear as a blister or raised spot, particularly on the undersides of leaves, but may occur on the top side as well as on the stems. Eventually, the blister develops a rust-colored, cork-like…

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Perennials for Shady Gardens

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Plants differ in their adaptability to different growing conditions. Sunshine is one of the most significant factors. We often think of light as being either sunny or shady, but, in fact, there are many “shades” of light in between. Your garden may experience light shade, such as that filtered through an overhanging tree; dense shade,…

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Use Caution With Spreading Plants

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

People often select plants first for their beauty and second for their functionality in the garden. Frequently, we don’t know or don’t consider a plant’s behavior when we’re selecting them. Almost by definition, a species that is an effective ground cover will have a spreading habit. But does that make the species aggressive or invasive?…

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Indiana’s State Tree is a Popular Landscape Choice

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

If you’ve ever had to work on a tree leaf collection, no doubt you included a leaf from Indiana’s state tree. Also known as tulip poplar and yellow poplar, the tuliptree is actually not a poplar at all. It is a member of the magnolia family known botanically as Liriodendron tulipifera. The tuliptree is native…

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