The longer and warmer days of early March bring welcoming signs of spring in the garden. Snowdrops are in flower, hellebore buds are up and daffodil foliage is showing. The great spring awakening has begun!
Tropical house plants that have spent the winter months on the sun porch awake as well. New growth on the ivies, buds on the geraniums and flowers on the abutilon all herald the coming of spring.
Overwintering insects that have been in a winter slumber on these plants are also waking up and getting active as the days get longer. Aphids, mealy bug, spider mite and scale insects can seem to appear on these plants overnight. I isolate any infected plants until a warm day arrives that gives me the opportunity to bring them outside to apply a light spray of all seasons horticultural oil.
Other plants that have grown weak and leggy over the winter months can be pruned back and shaped this time of year. A great way to help rejuvenate winter weary tropical plants is to place them outside on a warm rainy day. A more permanent move to the outside for the summer season will have to wait until May.