Ask the Master Gardener: Some Tips for Overwintering Geraniums – Brainerd Dispatch

Dear Master Gardener!: Can I keep my geranium next year by overwintering?

Reply: One way to overwinter geraniums is to take cuttings and take root in early fall. Geranium stem cuttings should be about 4 inches long. Remove the slips from the tips of the healthiest stem. Remove the leaves from the bottom 2 inches of the cuttings. Place the cuttings in coarse sand, perlite, vermiculite or a well-drained potting soil to a depth of 2 inches and water them thoroughly. Cuttings take root more quickly if their ends are dipped in rooting hormone powder. Place them in a north or east window or under artificial lighting until they take root. This usually takes three to four weeks. Once the cuttings have taken root, plant them in separate pots and place in a well-lit place. Keep the soil evenly moist and lightly fertilize every four to six weeks when new growth appears.

Another option is to put the best geraniums in pots and bring them into the apartment for the winter. Cut the plant back to about one-third of its original height. Carefully dig out the plant and place it in a pot 6 inches or larger. Water thoroughly and place near a sunny window.


Ask the Master Gardener: Hyacinths can fill your home with scent

Forcing is a technique by which you can bring plants to flower before they will bloom properly in the garden.

An old way to overwinter geraniums is to dig up the plants, shake off the excess soil from their roots, and then hang it on the basement rafters. Most cellars are too hot and dry right now, but some people still have success with this method. If you try this, occasionally take off the plants and put the roots in water for several hours. Then put them back. In winter, it should be done several times so that they do not dry out completely. Plant the geranium in early spring and place it in a sunny window until the danger of frost is gone

If you have a geranium pot, you can take it too. Strong light is critical for geraniums – weak light results in thorny plants. Place the plants in the brightest window and keep the soil on the dry side. To promote more bushy plants, pinch the growth peaks of the plants a few times during the winter. Do not fertilize until you are ready to put them back in the spring.


Ask the Master Gardener: Don’t take down the hummingbird feeders yet

Keep the feeder up until you see a hummingbird for several weeks.

Dear Master Gardener!: How Do I Protect My New Fruit Trees and Honey Bushes from Devastating Devastating Animals in Winter?

Reply: Growing fruit trees and shrubs can be annoying when you have to put so much time and effort into protecting them from deer, rabbits, terns, forest terns, and other hungry mammals. Before the soil freezes, U of M recommends the following measures to protect orchards. Use a strong, small wire mesh at least 1.5 feet high to exclude rabbits and other small mammals. If a lot of snow falls (which we often do), it needs to be even higher to exclude rabbits feeding on top of the snow. The cage should be wider than the tree or shrub in it to provide space for the plant to grow. You can hold the lower parts down with three horizontal clips. Deer, of course, feed higher than rabbits, so the exclusion material should be higher and the width of the wire should be wider. A 5-6 meter high metal cage is recommended around the young orchard and should be strong enough to prevent the deer from trampling and getting caught in it. Ann of Klodd, an instructor at U of M Extension, uses bendable reinforcing steel wire frames called remeshs. Available in sheets or rolls and sold in home improvement stores. You will need wire cutters to cut and one metal watch per cage to keep from inflating. He recommends using both the short, small net and the taller cage to prevent food for squirrels and deer.


Ask the master gardener: Add water when the clematis plants are tanning from the bottom up

Overwatering clematis plants is virtually impossible. They also love their cool root system, so having no ground cover around them would help.

  • Take some time over the next few weeks to empty the compost bin. Spread the finished compost on your garden and transform it into a vegetable bed.

  • If you want to extend the season for as long as possible, loosely place the tables on cold-tolerant plants such as coleus, begonia, or impatiens. This captures the heat stored in the soil overnight and prevents frost damage. Sometimes plants protected for one or two nights will grow and bloom for several more weeks.

  • Plant tulips and daffodils according to the instructions on the package. Placing chicken wire in the soil where you planted it will prevent squirrels from digging them out. Use landscape clips or rocks to hold it down. You can cover it with mulch to hide the chicken fiber. Remove in the spring when the bulbs begin to peel. Do not add smelly organic fertilizers such as bone meal because the smell attracts marten, dogs, cats and squirrels. The flower bulbs already have everything you need for flowering.

  • Mild frost is not harmful to all garden plants. Cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts and kohlrabi have a milder taste when exposed to frost.

  • Apples can withstand mild frost until they handle the fruit while there are still frost crystals. It is a misconception that apples need frost to create good taste. Pick them up as soon as they’re worth it.

  • Wait for the perennials to be cut back until the frost has damaged their foliage. As long as they are green and healthy, they continue to photosynthesize and store energy in the roots.

  • Empty and clean outdoor containers when plants are no longer attractive. Outdoor freezing and thawing cycles can crack or break almost any type of vessel. Add the soil to the compost pile or spread it out in the garden. If the containers are clean and dry, protect and store them in the garage or basement.

  • Don’t worry if your evergreen trees and shrubs will lose their innermost needles in the fall. It is normal for the internal growth to turn yellow or rust and then fall to the ground. These are the oldest needles, and new ones will develop at the branch ends next spring.

  • Before the temperature drops in the 20s and snow covers the soil, cover the strawberry plants with clean straw to protect the crown. Straw insulates better than leaves. Isolate the strawberries grown in the container or take them to a protected area.

  • Northern hard roses are good if the root area is covered with a leaf cover – they don’t need anything more.

  • There are plenty of box elms and Asian ladybugs this year! Fill a spray bottle with soapy water and spray them while sunbathing on the south wall on sunny days.

  • Reduce the chance of snow mold developing next spring by mowing the lawn at 2-1 / 2-3 inches until it is asleep. The long grass left over in the winter bends under the weight of the snow, forming wet pockets that help the snow mold grow.

  • After one or two killing frosts, plant the garlic. One or two days before planting, separate the cloves and plant them upside down in well-drained, composted soil.

  • Take out the tomatoes and peppers and bring them in as soon as frost threatens. The peppers do not ripen further, but they are delicious at any stage of development. Although not as tasty as maturing in grapes, the tomatoes are well worth it indoors.

  • To minimize dehydration caused by dry winter winds, continue watering trees (especially evergreens) and shrubs until the soil freezes.


Ask the Master Gardener: Oleanders can be houseplants, but watch out for their toxic effects

Consuming even a small amount of any part of a plant can cause serious illness or even death to a person or animal.

You can get answers to your garden questions by calling the new Master Gardener Helpline at 218-824-1068 and leaving a message. He’s called back by a gardener. Or email and I’ll respond in the column if space allows.
The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners are qualified and certified volunteers at the University of Minnesota Extension. The information provided in this section is based on university research.


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