· January is a relatively quiet time for most insects. Thrips and spider mites are active on avocado, crotons, mango, copperleaf and other large-leaf plants. Blast water under the leaves or use a soap spray on them. Do not plant under the eaves where these insects can really proliferate with no rain to wash them off. Annuals can be chewed off at ground level by cutworms. Fungal root rot can attack impatiens, begonia and vinca in wet areas.
· Eliminate the usual dead wood, crossing branches and stems from plants such as bougainvillea and silverthorn. Remove all suckers and water sprouts from fruit and shade trees. Prune roses back by no more than one-third.
Green Thoughts: It is always interesting that so many plants we think of as weeds have been given more respect by the English. For example, native plants such as goldenrod and beebalm were collected by early English horticulturists and sent back to the motherland to be bred and hybridized. Now we are getting improved versions of our American weeds and paying premium prices for them. Funny how an old weed suddenly jumps in social stature after obtaining British cachet.
PLANT OF THE MONTH
Native to Bolivia to Venezuela, this is best suited to morning sun and
some afternoon shade away from concrete. It likes a somewhat moist location
and will wilt quickly in a dry spot. Expect a height of 8-10 feet if left
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