Here is the answer I hope to you that wrote about your spider plant...thanks for asking. Keep the questions coming. Love to help with your gardening needs. Becky
Sorry if you got this twice. I am redoing it over for facebook. Wonder if this blog will do as the last blog did 8200 hits...so I am excited.
Weather update: Hazy, hot and humid. Temperature around 90 degrees, humid is up there and there is no breeze....so if outside working drink, drink and drink.
A Guide to 7 Flower Garden Pests That Can Ruin Your Hard Work
These Common Pests Damage Plants in Multiple Ways By Jamie McIntosh
No one likes to find their flower gardening efforts thwarted by hungry insects intent on making a meal of prize specimens. However, some insect pests do more than just snack on our plants; they can introduce fungi and other diseases than can sound the death knell for our favorite flowers.
Gardeners everywhere curse the presence of tiny aphids on rose, honeysuckle, and other flowering foliage growth tips in the springtime. The sucking action of these insect pests causes stunted growth and deformed leaves and flowers. However, aphids bring more havoc to the flower garden by transmitting plant viruses and fostering the growth of black sooty mold fungus.
Start your aphid battle the natural way:
■ Plant sweet alyssum in the flower garden to draw beneficial wasps.
■ Include cosmos to attract hungry lacewings, and add penstemon or yarrow to attract ladybugs.
■ Insect soap and a strong blast of water will take care of heavy infestations.
■ Encourage ladybugs in your garden. A single ladybug can eat as many as 5,000 aphids in its one-year lifespan.
Borers are an insidious pest, destroying your flowering plants from the inside out.
The worst borer in the flower garden is the iris borer, which will tunnel through an entire iris rhizome, leaving bacterial rot in its wake. You should be suspicious if you notice sawdust material around the base of your irises or ragged leaf margins. Pinprick holes in the leaves of iris are the signs of tiny caterpillars that have infiltrated the leaves and are making their way down into the rhizomes.
■ Discourage borers by removing iris leaves in the fall, which provide a host for borer moth eggs.
■ In the spring, you can apply the systemic pesticide Merit or the nontoxic spray Garden Shield.
■ The best non-toxic control is to dig up affected plants after flowering is done, trim out the rotten rhizomes, and replant the good portions.
Only about an eighth of an inch long, leafhopper insects look innocuous enough. The green insects don’t congregate in large numbers on plants and hop away when you approach. However, what you won’t notice is the toxin these hungry pests inject every time they insert their mouthparts into the underside of your flower’s foliage. This allows the damage to travel beyond the chewed part of the leaf, showing up as distorted leaf tips and edges. The insects also spread the aster yellows virus.
■ Remove debris from the garden at the end of the season to eliminate overwintering sites.
■ Use floating row covers to prevent leafhoppers from reaching your plants.
■ Blast leafhopper nymphs from plants with a strong jet of water.
■ Spray adults with insect soap, pyrethrin, or Sevin.
■ Keep dandelion and thistle weeds away from the flower garden, as they provide cover for leafhoppers.
■ Encourage beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, lacewings, and pirate bugs, which all prey on the eggs and larvae of leafhoppers.
Mealybugs don’t draw much attention, as the pests are only 3/16 inch long and move very slowly. The honeydew they excrete supports sooty mold growth. When enough sooty mold accumulates on foliage, it can reduce photosynthesis, weakening the plant and making it even more susceptible to garden pests.
If you notice white fuzzy growths on your plants, you may have mealybugs. Ways to control mealybugs include:
■ Avoid overwatering and overfertilizing since mealybugs are attracted to new growth and plants with high levels of nitrogen.
■ Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and touch it to the pests to desiccate and kill them instantly.
■ You can also spray the pests away with water, or apply Malathion or Orthene pesticide sprays.
■ Use insecticidal soap or neem oil as repellants; these products do not harm honeybees and other beneficial insects.
■ Encourage beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which are predators of mealybugs.
"Plant bugs" is a term that includes a number of true bugs, members of the Hemiptera order of insects. The most common plant bugs of interest to gardeners are cinch bugs, harlequin bugs, and squash bugs.
Like leafhoppers, plant bugs inject a toxin into your plants’ leaves, buds, and shoots as they feed. The result is a plant mottled with brown or black spots and deformed growth. Dahlias, azaleas, daisies, liatris, and asters are just a few of the flowering plants these bugs commonly feast upon. Gardeners should be on the lookout for tarnished plant bugs and four-lined plant bugs, growing up to ¼ inch long. Plant bugs often have an unpleasant odor.
■ Plant bugs are fast moving pests, but you can pluck them off and drop them into a bucket of soapy water if you’re an early riser, as the bugs are sluggish in the morning.
■ Spraying young bugs with neem oil or insecticidal soap will offer some control for most plant bugs.
■ Protecting edible crops with floating row covers will prevent plant bugs from damaging your vegetables.
■ Plant bugs can be killed by spraying your plants with neem, Sevin, or diazinon. Use sparingly, as these chemicals will also kill beneficial insects.
At first glance, scale insects may not even seem alive. The waxy covering that serves as a protective shield on the bugs makes them resemble lichen or other natural growths on their host plants. The scale insect under this waxy covering is very much alive, though, feeding on garden plants throughout the entire growing season and on houseplants throughout the year. Damage appears as stunted growth, leaf drop, yellow spots on leaves, and sooty mold growth that thrives on the scale’s honeydew.
Parasitic wasps love to use scale insects as hosts, and you may see evidence of this as tiny holes piercing the scale’s armor. This same armor makes scale resistant to many pesticides, but dormant oil can suffocate the insects during the winter season.
To control scale:
■ Dispose of affected branches and leaves, which harbor the insects.
■ PIck off the insects by hand—a viable solution if the numbers are low.
■ Dab individual insects with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
■ Encourage beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings, which feed on scale insects.
■ Use insecticidal soap or oils to coat scale. This will require repeated applications but is very safe for the environment.
■ Apply neem oil to affected plants. A concentrated form of neem oil, azadirachtin, is a very effective control.
■ If chemicals are needed, those containing acephate or imidacloprid are effective as systemic pesticides.
Upon disturbance, whiteflies flutter about their host plants like an ephemeral cloud, but their damage is formidable. This is another honeydew-secreting pest, encouraging sooty mold while simultaneously leaving plants yellow and stunted after sucking on plant juices. Some whiteflies also carry plant viruses. Whiteflies are the bane of greenhouse growers, who detect their presence with yellow sticky traps.Whiteflies can be controlled in a number of ways:
■ Take advantage of the small size and weakness of these insects by using a vacuum to remove them from plants.
■ Yellow sticky traps can be used to trap adult whiteflies.
■ Encourage natural predators such as ladybugs and lacewings.
■ Insecticidal soaps work well on heavy infestations but must be applied regularly.
■ Neem oil and other horticultural oils will kill whiteflies; make sure to completely drench plants.
■ Where chemical pesticides are needed, try to use the most organic, short-lived product possible. Natural insecticides containing pyrethrin are good choices.
■ Malathion is a more aggressive chemical that can be used sparingly.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/flower-garden-pests-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com
Perennials to cut back in the fall....I know it is only August here in IOWA but you know fall is coming.
I can't believe I am writing about August gardening chores. It seems like some of them are really fall oriented. That is one thing we can't change is the seasons and how quickly the days, weeks and months go by. ENJOY your gardening is all I can say.
August gardening chores can be a mixed bag. For many gardeners, the month of August begins the downhill slide into offseason. Warm climate gardeners have a second chance, but some don't have a second wind after summer's heat. By all means, take some time to simply enjoy your garden and all the hard work you've put into it. But August weather is often milder than we expect and it's a great time to perk things up in the garden, after July's extremes. Here is Iowa we haven't had the extremes of July....so I suppose we will get it in August. But we did have it June.
Your garden plants are hardier than you think and there are plenty of gardening tasks for August that will keep your flower and vegetable gardens going longer, as well as opportunities to get a head start on next year's garden plans.
Here's a Garden-to-do List for the Sultry Month of August:
■ Seed a fall crop of peas and spinach and keep harvesting. Many flowers and vegetables will revive and continue producing if you regularly harvest the vegetables while they are young and tender and deadhead spent flowers.
■ Pick herbs for fresh use and for drying. Most herbs have a more concentrated flavor if they are not allowed to flower and frequent harvesting will accomplish that. Harvesting will encourage them to send out fresh, new growth and keep them growing longer.
■ Order spring bulbs for planting and forcing. You won't be able to plant them until later in the fall, but you will get the best selection if you order early.
■ Check that your mulch hasn't decomposed and add more as needed. While organic mulches are meant to continue decomposing on your garden beds and help feed the soil, you do not want to leave your soil uncovered at the end of the season. Bare soil is an invitation for weed seeds.
■ Spread a mid-season layer of compost or manure. Your plants will appreciate the extra boost to get them through the final growing months and your soil will need some amendments, too
■ Leave some annual seeds to self-sow. Many annual flowers, like cosmos, nigella, and cleome, will seed themselves throughout your garden. You'll be delighted next season with an abundant, natural scattering of flowers. Don't worry, any that seed in unwanted places will be easy to pull out early in the season.
■ Start saving seeds and taking cuttings. Focus on your top performers and sentimental favorites, so you will have them to grow again next year.
■ Remove any diseased foliage now, so it doesn't get lost in the fall leaves. Dispose of diseased plants in the garbage or burn them. Don't put them in the compost pile unless you are absolutely sure it will get hot enough to kill any lingering spores.
■ Cut back the foliage of early bloomers like Brunnera and hardy geraniums, to revitalize the plants. They are probably looking a bit tired and removing the older leaves will encourage fresh new growth.
■ Prune summer flowering shrubs as the flowers fade. This will help put the energy back into the leaves and roots of the plant, rather than into setting seed.
■ Trim and feed handing baskets to prolong their beauty. Sometimes we take hanging baskets for granted since they tend to be planted with profuse bloomers. However, they will need some TLC after working so hard setting flowers all summer.
■ Take pictures of your garden at peak. Take pictures of container combinations you'd like to repeat. This will give you reminders next season of what worked and which areas of your garden need some tweaking.
■ Make sure the cold frame is ready to go. Whether you plan to overwinter some tender plants in it or you won't need it until the early spring, you will want it set up and in place before the ground is suddenly covered in snow.
■ Begin dividing perennials. Start with the bearded iris. You will want to get your perennial divisions in the ground at least a couple of months before the ground freezes, so they will have time to set down roots.
■ Pot up perennial divisions for spring plant swaps. Sink the pots into the ground this fall and they'll be one less chore in the spring. (An empty spot in the vegetable garden is perfect for this. By the time you're ready to plant vegetables next spring, it will be time to lift the pots.)
■ Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials now, so they can take root. Keep them well watered, until the ground freezes, since they have a limited root system.
■ Get your fall-blooming crocus and colchicum planted so they'll bloom on time. They bloom in the fall, but they need to be in the ground several weeks earlier.
More for Zones 1 - 3:
■ Start moving houseplants back indoors, so they get used to the limited sun exposure and humidity. Do this while the windows are still open, to ease the transition. Maybe bring some outdoor plants inside, to overwinter, too.
More for Zone 8 and Above
Lucky you, your second gardening season is just beginning. Take some time to clean things up, getting rid of tired foliage and diseased leaves, then dig in and get planting.
■ Begin planting for the fall/winter vegetable garden. This is your peak season and a much more pleasant time to be in the garden than sweltering summer.
■ Plant a spring crop of garlic. Milder climates can plant soft-neck garlic, which is good for storing
■ Get the rose garden in shape for fall planting. Do some deadheading and pruning to shape plants and remove any tired foliage.
■ Order spring flowering bulbs for pre-chilling. If you live in an area that does not freeze in the winter, many bulbs will need a few months of artificial chilling, before they will bloom.
■ Feed citrus trees after harvesting. They will need the extra fertilizer to recover.
Then sit back and enjoy all you've accomplished!
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/august-in-the-garden-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa
I know I haven't posted for awhile. We got back from the Franklin Co Fair, and then had to spend that week getting ready for the Herb Fest in Greene. So now got that behind us and now can get plants organized and growing for sale here. We still have a nice selection of perennials and if you are in need of them come Monday thru Friday 9-6 for them. We are closed on the weekends. Always have something to do even if I am not open so will enjoy the weekends cleaning, organizing and seeing family and friends.
I love non stop begonias but I have noticed mine aren't doing the best. Too them to the fair, so maybe had them in more sunlight than I would have here. But also I need to trim up the spent blossoms because now they are just making single blossoms. They are the female part of the plant and all the energy is going into making seeds for survival. If you are having not the double blooms that is what you need to do.
How to Grow Non-Stop Begonias By Fern Fischer;
Non-stop begonia plants bloom all summer.
Non-stop begonias grow from tubers, and are also called tuberous begonias. They bloom continuously all summer. Just before the first frost, trim the foliage and dig up the tubers for winter storage. Non-stop begonias are not cold hardy, and they require a dormant period.
Non-stop begonias are available in dozens of color combinations; the plant habit may be upright or trailing. Choose the species with the characteristics that suit your purpose.
Select non-stop begonia tubers that feel firm and solid. Small sprouting buds may even appear on some tubers. These tubers are ready to grow as soon as you get them into soil.
Start the tubers indoors in flats for the earliest flowers. Start them about 8 weeks before the last expected frost for your area. Plant the tubers 1/2 inch deep in shallow containers. When two leaves appear from each tuber, move the tubers to individual 4- to 6-inch pots.
Pinch off the first early flower buds so the energy goes into growing stronger plants.
Prepare a garden bed by tilling the soil until it is finely textured. Add compost to improve the soil. Begonias need a location with partial shade and well drained soil. Dappled sunlight is ideal. Tubers will rot if they become water-logged.
To plant non-stop begonias in a container, fill a clean planting container with humus rich potting soil. Transplant the begonia plants to the garden bed or to outdoor planting containers after the danger of frost. Set the plants at the same depth they were growing in the small pots. Water and feed the begonias after transplanting. Allow the soil to become nearly dry to the touch between watering again, but don’t let it get completely dry. Check containers daily. Containers dry out quickly and need more frequent watering than garden beds. Feed non-stop begonias with diluted fertilizer every two weeks. Remove spent blooms to encourage more flowers and keep the plants tidy.
Pinch off the female flowers to keep the plant from wasting energy developing seeds. Non-stop begonias bloom in groups of three flowers. The large flower in the center is the male, and the smaller flowers on each side are the females. Very important to do.......
Examine your begonia tubers. One side is indented, or bowl-shaped. Plant this side up. The leaf and flower stems grow from the indented side, and so do most of the roots. You may notice small buds sprouting when you plant the tubers; they are leaf buds. Be careful not to disturb them.
For a fuller effect in a large container, use two or three plants instead of just one.
taken from https://www.gardenguides.com/112886-grow-non-stop-begonias.html
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't know if you can see the bottom of this bloom. But there is a triangle piece that forms the bloom. That is where the seed will develop as this is the female bloom. All the energy will go to making a seed to survive so that is why the whole plant will look like it is struggling.
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a master gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.