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Home > Care > Tips for September

Tips for September
by Brad Thompson


1.     Fertilizing:  Continue fertilizing regularly using quarter strength fertilizer once a week. Your begonias will not grow to their best if you are a sporadic fertilizer. Your plants should still keep growing strong for a couple more months at least.

2.     Cleanup:  Keeping your plants clean and groomed will go a long way toward keeping them healthy. Rinsing off the leaves occasionally will be a big help and wonít damage the majority of plants. There are a few delicate exceptions but you should already have noticed which plants seem delicate. Keep dead flowers and stipules removed from your plants and also keep them picked up off the lower plants they fall on. Old flowers sitting on leaves can cause rotted spots. Removing spent blooms will put the energy back into the plant and new flowers. Besides your plants will look better. That applies to all plants, not just begonias. Removing dried stipules will help you eliminate a favorite hiding place for mealy bugs.

3.      Pests:  Try hard to keep up with inspecting your begonias and other plants for giant whiteflies and other pests. Giant whiteflies are easy to miss because they make their clusters under the leaves and you donít notice them until they have built a large colony. Looking inside and under the leaves of your plants will help you locate pests and get rid of them before they become a major infestation. Carefully check any plants you purchase to make sure you donít bring home the giant whiteflies from meetings.

4.      Mildew & Disease:  This yearís weather seems to be promoting more mildew than the last couple years. I have noticed mildew on some of my plants and also at other peopleís houses. Last year I experimented with using Rose Defense on mildew and will say that it cured the mildew and didnít harm any plants. As with all products follow the directions on the label and donít spray plants in the sun or if their soil is dry. I have been using the Rose Defense again this year and it seems to be clearing up the problem plants.

5.      Pruning & Pinching:  You donít have to worry too much about pinching and pruning now that the growing season is getting ready to wind down. Do keep trimming back stray branches so your plants will keep their nice shape as long as possible. Many of you have bought a batch of new plants at sales the last couple months. It is more important to get these plants into a nice full plant than it is to try to get blooms. So pinch out the growing tips so theyíll put out new side growth and be better plants for next year.

6.      Watering:  The weather has been kind of variable last month and probably will continue that way. Donít water your plats on a schedule such as every three days, etc. Wait until they have dried out some and are in need of watering. If you try watering on a regular schedule you will risk over watering any plants that arenít drying out according to your schedule. Remember to keep your small plants in a separate area because they dry out faster than the others do and itís easy to miss one amongst the larger plants.

7.      Repotting:  This is about the latest you should repot any begonias and only repot begonias that either have a problem and need new mix, or have filled their current pot so much that they just have to be moved up.


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