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|At this time of the year watering should be undertaken very carefully - if in doubt, do not water. Water used during the colder months of the year should be luke warm. On sunny afternoons, unless the weather is freezing, leave the door and vent open for an hour or so during the early afternoon, as this will be beneficial to the plants. Wipe down the glass on the inside of the greenhouse and then dry. Moisture levels have to be kept low during these longer, darker days. If insulation such as bubble wrap is being used wipe this down and check for any that is sagging - this will allow condensation to settle underneath. Damaged leaves should be removed by gently pressing the leaf stalk upwards, or cutting the leaf away from the petiole. Check that heaters and thermostats are working correctly.|
|Continue to water only when necessary at the beginning of the month, perhaps increasing towards the end of February, especially if some warm days have arrived. Do not wet the foliage. Some tuberous Pelargonium species will enjoy a delicate watering now and foliage could be showing. If the propagator is in use, the cuttings of such tubers can be done, and left to chit in a light place. Cuttings taken off plants brought in from the garden last autumn should be well rooted and can be potted up. Seedlings can
be pricked out and watered carefully with an anti-fungal solution. Sow F2 hybrids in heat. Keep the atmosphere buoyant and leave the door and vents open when the weather permits. Plants for summer shows should receive their last but one stop, depending on the date of the chosen show, but continue to dis-bud. If the sun is strong protect vulnerable plants and newly potted cuttings.
|Spring is now nearly here, but do not be too hasty, there is likely to be frosts and adverse weather conditions. Check the plants, water carefully still and increase the ventilation on fine days. More seedlings can be pricked out and the earlier seedlings can be potted on. It is wise to keep up with all tasks before the spring really arrives. You can sow self-gathered seeds this month, these may be species or some results from crossings. A liquid feed should be increased for all plants potted two months previously. During the growing season feeding should commence five to six weeks after potting. Cuttings intended for training as standards, or shapes, should be taken at the beginning of the month. Show plants should have their last stop in the middle of the month. Check for pests and fungal diseases and spray accordingly.|
|Regals could be in bud now, so increase the feed to a high potash type to encourage giant sized blooms that will be welcome at this time of the year ashouseplants. Start taking cuttings of over-wintered plants. Continue checking all plants and continue watering, feeding a half strength of a general feed such as Chempak No3 or
Miracle-Gro. On warm, but not very sunny days, a foliar feed early in the day will be beneficial. A spray of magnesium or Epsom Salts will make the foliage strong and give it a rich green appearance. Do the final pinch for greenhouse, patio and bedding plants. On mild days begin hardening off the plants outside. Leave doors and vents open all day on fine days, the temperature inside the greenhouse can rise dramatically at this time of the year. Continue checking the plants for pests and diseases.
|May marks the start of the Pelargonium season. All plants should be in bud or flower at this time. The foliage should be mature and a good colour, although some of the ornamental varieties may not have their true shades. Cuttings should have rooted and any taken now will root readily and still give lots of blooms later in the summer. Continue checking and turning the plants. As the weather warms water more frequently. Towards the end of the month plants can be left outside unless there is a chance of a late frost. Plant up patio tubs, troughs and baskets. Check for any pests and diseases, or take preventative action. Do not remove any more buds on plants that you wish to use as show plants after the middle of the month. Prepare areas and plant bedding schemes, ensuring that the ground has been well watered.|
|This is the month to panic if you are an exhibitor. The schedules and show dates should be checked and the plants in tip top condition. Check the plants and tidy as necessary, staking if required. June is often a very warm month and plants in the greenhouse should be shaded. Wetting the staging and floor in the morning will help keep down the temperature. Remove any faded or damaged blooms; feed plants that are outside. By now all of your plants should really be outdoors, this will reduce the need for checking and watering. Keep an eye out for any pests and diseases and spray if necessary. Visit, or enter, the many Pelargonium shows that are taking place at this time of the year. Make notes of any varieties that you have seen and would like - order catalogues for the next season.|
|This month pay attention to the plants - the removal of dead blooms and leaves. July is the best month to take cuttings of temperamental varieties such as Angels and Species. Seeds should be forming on plants and if they are to be kept, gather them whilst dry and store in waxed envelopes, clearly marked with the name, date and parentage. Take off all fading blooms if the seed is not wanted, this will ensure continued flowering. Watering will be requied frequently, and feeding should be continued. Cuttings for next years show plants must be taken by the end of this month to give them a good head start. Some plants may need re-potting. A further spray of Epsom Salts will be beneficial. Continue to check the plants for any sign of pests or diseases.|
|Cuttings of Regals take well this month, although other types can be taken. If holidays are to be taken this month make sure that the plants are in good hands, or measures have been taken for their continued health. Patio tubs, troughs and baskets may need a spruce up - take cuttings from non-flowering shoots of these plants. Show plants will require a rest period so take off any flowers and unwanted growth. If any plants are past their best you can replace them with younger, fresher plants if you wish, from cuttings taken earlier in the year. Seed gathering can still be undertaken and the potting on of any cuttings. Continue to feed plants and check regularlyfor any signs of pests or diseases.|
|You should be able to remove the shading from the greenhouse this month due to the sun power and temperature dropping daily, and the plants should be mature and able to withstand the odd spell of sunshine. Water will not be required as much this month, and you can feed half strength if you wish. At the end of the month plans must be made to make room for the plants to be taken back under glass, or indoors. Pot up any rooted cuttings. Close the door and vents at night. Start cutting back any bedding plants that you plan to keep and spray or dust with a fungicide, checking carefully for any pests or diseases that may be present. Remove all dead flowers and yellowing leaves. Check, clean and disinfect the greenhouse. Check that heaters and thermostats are working correctly.
|Continue to pot up next years show stock plants. The greenhouse glass should be kept clear of debris and the heaters cleaned and brought into action if required. Use an air circulating fan heater if possible. The greenhouse housing Pelargoniums must be kept frost free - a temperature of 5-6C (40-42F) will keep plants ticking over until the spring. If you raise the temperature some plants will be encouraged to flower during the winter. Watering should be kept to a minimum at this time of the year - unless you are keeping them at a higher temperature. Try not to overcrowd the greenhouse. Take some plants into the house, to be placed on a well lit but cool window - sill. Continue to check the plants for any sign of fungal disease.
|Keep the greenhouse glass clean, to allow maximum light to enter, and ensure that the heaters are maintained and in working order. Continue to check the plants for any signs of pests or disease. On good days open the door and vents during the mid afternoon before the outside temperature begins to drop. Keep a special eye on the hygiene of the greenhouse during this month. Next years show plants should be nearly ready for their final pots. Look through the next seasonís catalogues for any plants that you may wish to obtain. It is a good idea to request delivery of the plants at a time that is convenient to you, when they can be accommodated and worked on, as it is no use plants arriving when there is no space for them.|
|This month there is very little for you to do apart from checking the plants regularly for
pests and diseases, and water very sparingly, if the plant requires water. An eggcup full should be sufficient for this purpose if the plant is dry. Make sure that the greenhouse is kept clean and tidy, and that the glass is cleared of any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. You can reflect on the previous season, rectify any problems you may have encountered with your plants, and plan what varieties you may wish to enter into the coming seasonís shows. This is the time that you may wish to purchase F1 Hybrid seeds, in order to have blooms the following June. You will need to use a propagator if you wish to undertake these early sowings.