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Winter Care for Houseplants

It’s cold and gray outside but you can warm up your home with some live greenery. Plus houseplants improve the quality of the air we breathe. Choose from a nice selection of ivy, African violets, rosemary, Norfolk Island pine, blooming cyclamen and easy-to-grow succulents.

Here are a few tips to keeping your houseplants looking good in winter Read more [+]

Live Christmas Tree Care

Live Christmas Tree

A cut Christmas tree can add warmth, fragrance and nostalgia to your home. Here are a few tips to keep yours fresh during the holidays. Read more [+]

Easy Poinsettia Care

Poinsettias and RickEasy Poinsettia CarePoinsettia and Fir Tree

Poinsettias are durable easy- to- grow houseplants that take little but bright light and water to be beautiful all winter long. Here’s a few easy tips.

  • Light-Poinsettias can be used to brighten up a dark corner of the room as long as they occasionally get to sunbathe in a warm sunny window.
  • Water- Just pick up the pot! If the plant feels light, water. If your plant is in a cool dark spot, it’s going to dry out slowly. If it’s in a bright sunny window, check at least once a week.
  • Temperature- Avoid extremes. Like most house plants, poinsettias prefer normal indoor temperatures. Avoid drafty entrances or heating vents.
  • When “the party’s over”, the holidays have come and gone, treat the poinsettias like any other houseplant. Bright light occasional water and a little misting if possible. The plant can go outside, mid-April when nights are 60 degrees.

Call me at 618-234-4600 with any questions or e-mail us at effinger@effingergarden.com.
Happy Holidays, Trudy Effinger

Milkweed Madness

Effingers has a large selection of milkweed to choose from. Milkweed is the sole source of food for the monarch caterpillar. Milkweed populations have declined precipitously over the past decade. The development of rural farmland and herbicides have led to the decline of native habitat and wild forage areas. While the orange-flowering butterfly milkweed has been popular and sold at garden centers for years, it is better to plant a variety of milkweed that diversifies and increases the monarch’s food supply.

The following varieties of milkweed are recommended by Monarch Watch and other organizations for our lower Midwest monarch migration region.

 common milkweed Common milkweed (syriaca) – the monarch’s preferred species of milkweed, but it is big, aggressive and can grow as tall as 5-7 ft.,  pink fragrant flowers.
 swamp milkweed Swamp milkweed (incarnata) – the best variety for wet or swampy areas, grows up to 5 ft., bright pink flowers
 butterfly milkweed Butterfly milkweed (tuberosa) – garden friendly and ornamental, tangerine-orange blooms for three months, just 2 ft.
 purple milkweed Purple Milkweed (purpurascens) – shade tolerant although will also grow in full sun, rose-pink flowers, 2-3 ft. tall
 prairie milkweed Prairie Milkweed ( sullivanti) –  2-3 ft., purplish-pink fragrant flowers
  Whorled Milkweed (verticillata) – 3 ft tall, delicate looking foliage with white flower

Pollinator Gardening for Butterflies, Hummingbirds and Bees

Butterfly on fringe treeThe plight of the monarch butterfly has increased the demand for milkweed exponentially over the last few years. While the monarch butterfly is the poster child for pollinators, other important endangered pollinators include birds, bats, bees, beetles, moths and wasps. Read more [+]

Bringing Houseplants, Not Bugs, Indoors For Winter

When temperatures head south, 45°- 50° it’s time to bring your summer loving houseplants indoors. No matter what measures you take, there’s bound to be a little shock. Most plants thrive in our warm humid summer weather and pout when brought into dry heated indoor air. But it’s important to minimize the risk of unwanted pests hitchhiking indoors and aggravating the transition.

  • Check your plants carefully, especially the intersections between leaves and stems and the leaf undersides for insects. If visible, pick off or hose plant leaves with a gentle steady stream of water.
  • Next, check for soil dwelling insects. Scratch the surface of the soil and top few inches. If possible, slip the plant out of its pot and check for bugs at the bottom of the pot near the drainage hole.
  • If your plants aren’t too big, a simple effective way to eliminate both soil and foliage pests, is to dunk the entire plant in a bucket of water with a few drops of dish soap. Let soak, tops and all for about 10 mins. Of course, this is easiest done outside but a bathtub works well indoors.
  • With large houseplants this method is impractical. An insecticidal drench can be applied to the soil of bigger pots, also easier done outside. It’s important to soak the entire soil column and let the drench drain through the bottom, eliminating any pesky critters near the drainage hole.
  • After bringing your plants indoors, keep your eyes on them for a few weeks. If pests still pop up, we can help you with a safe indoor spray.
  • Final tip, a clean humidifier works wonders for your indoor plants during the dry winter months.

Fall is for Gardening

Fall   Fall Wagon  Celosia Intenz

Autumn is one of the best times of year to plant flowering shrubs, evergreens and trees in southern Illinois. Read more [+]

Bee Friendly


Busy Bee Million Pollinator Project

Visit the Million Pollinator
Project for more info

Bees are in trouble. Habitat loss, pesticide exposure and disease have wreaked havoc with our native bee populations. Here is some interesting bee trivia: most bee species are solitary or not formed in colonies, males cannot sting and bees pollinate one third of the food we eat. But you don’t have to become a bee keeper to help. Here are a few simple things that home gardeners can do. Read more [+]

Protecting Your Plants for Winter

Snowy Eucalyptus  Artic Fire Dogwood

There’s really not much to do getting your plants ready for winter. But a few easy steps make the difference between plants merely surviving and actually thriving despite the weather. These tips are especially important for newly planted evergreens, trees and shrubs. Read more [+]

Dwarf Reblooming Shrubs

Plant breeders are geeks. But they know that many of us want smaller sized versions of our favorite shrubs and plants that bloom all season. Classic shrubs like lilac, hydrangea, butterfly bush, and weigela have been bred to rebloom and stay smaller. Read more [+]

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