You must understand your plant’s growing needs. It’s always interesting to remember that somewhere in the world, my houseplants are indigenous and grow untended. Take African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha). As indoor plants, they are considered a bit delicate and fussy yet the native parents of these little fuzzy hybrids we enjoy were found growing from shady, mossy rock crevices in the Tanga region of Tanzania. Located near the equator, air temperatures range from 65 to 85 degrees F., there is plentiful rain, and day length is consistent.
Knowing this helps me understand that my African violets will benefit from well-drained soil (the rocky crevices), indirect light (shady moss), and lots of water and humidity.
First, take a look at your plants. Examine plants, scout for insect pests. Insect pests on houseplants can be hard, but not impossible, to get rid of. These insects have natural predators like ladybugs, praying mantis, and parasitic wasps outdoors. Indoors, it’s up to us as plant parents to scout for and manage these common insect pests.
Good sanitation is key. Repot plants in fresh potting media. Clean off containers and saucers, even trivets used to protect your tabletop. Remove plant dead flowers, leaves, etc. from the soil surface. Wash plants with water about once a month (large plants go in the shower, small ones in the sink) to clean up dusty leaves. Regularly (weekly) examine plants up close. A hand lens and a small LED flashlight really help to show off insect pests.
Hand-pick insects if possible. Treat as necessary with low-impact products like insecticidal soap, horticultural oil and neem oil. They are available in ready-to-use sprays. These are contact pesticides and thus must come in contact with the pest. Follow all the instructions on the label. Use in a well-ventilated area.
Water: More is not better!! The key to watering houseplants is to feel your plant’s soil (or bark or peat - whatever it is planted in) before watering and to make sure the pot is draining well. Root rot is a common cause of houseplant failure. It occurs when plant roots are constantly wet, when a container doesn’t drain well, and when a plant is overwatered.
Along with yellow leaves and leaf and bud drop, a plant that is suffering from root rot looks wilted. People will often mistake this wilting for wilting due to dryness. As the plant roots die in the saturated soil or bark, the plant cannot take up water to hydrate the rest of the plant and results in a wilted plant and, ultimately, a dead plant.
Suspect you have some root rot happening? Repot your plant in fresh, new potting soil or bark. While the plant is out of the pot, examine the roots and snip off any that are dark or mushy. Once repotted, hopefully your plant will have enough roots to take up nutrients and water from the soil and grow some new roots.
Lastly, take time to enjoy those houseplants especially during those cold winter days ahead.
SOURCE: University of Minnesota Houseplant FactSheet
OHIO Beef Team Meetings begin in late January
The OSU Beef Team will offer a Virtual Beef School with one webinar per month beginning in January and concluding in April. The first webinar will feature guest speaker- Dr. Andrew Griffith of the University of Tennessee who will present on Beef Markets and Outlooks at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 24. Interested attendees can register for this and any of the other webinars for free by visiting: https://go.osu.edu/beefschool22.
Forage for horses will be a virtual course
Between January and March in 2022, Forages for Horses will be offered as a virtual course. One live webinar will be offered per month along with “work at your own pace” materials that accompany each webinar. Webinars will be offered live on Zoom. Once registered, attendees will be granted access to the full online course including the webinars and complementary resources. The webinar schedule and topics are as follows: Thursday, January 20, 7 p.m.- Hay Analysis and Feeding Different Classes of Horses, Thursday, February 17, 7 p.m. - Nutrition and Parasites, and Thursday, March 17, 7 p.m. - Pasture and Weed Management, Soil Fertility, and Species Selection. Cost of the course is $75. Registration includes access to all online content through Dec. 31, live webinar access, webinar recordings, the course manual, virtual social hours, and a voucher for free attendance to one of nine planned pasture walks to be offered spring to fall of 2022 at various locations across the state. Current and new members of the Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council are eligible for a $15 discount on registration. Register for the course by visiting https://go.osu.edu/foragesforhorsesregistration.
The OSU Extension Office Update is compiled by Connie Smith, program assistant and master gardener coordinator with the Ohio State University Extension Office in Fairfield County
This article originally appeared on Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: OSU Extension: Caring for those houseplants in the winter