Home gardening

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February 2016

Are Your Indoor Plants Healthy? You Might Be Surprised

It can be pretty heartbreaking when your plants look less than stellar. Sometimes an easy remedy to restore plant health is adding more water or moving to a sunnier spot. If that doesn’t work and you’ve tried many options, it could be a sign of a larger problem. Your plant could have a disease.

To help you quickly diagnose and keep your plants looking fresh, we’ve compiled a handy guide below of most common plant diseases you can encounter. So the next time you see a weird substance forming on the soil or strange discoloration of leaves, you’ll be an expert.



What About Fungicide?
Fungicide can be a useful preventative measure for gardeners with plants that are especially prone to rot and disease. If you’re concerned about adding chemicals to your garden, depending on the condition and the disease, there are some natural alternatives:

  • Milk is known as an effective treatment for powdery mildew. Mix a 50:50 milk to water solution in a spray bottle and apply to leaves of plants.
  • Sulfur in dust form can keep disease at bay. Be sure to apply while wearing a mask so the dust doesn’t irritate your eyes and mouth.
  • The “Cornell Formula” is a well known natural fungicide, which includes mixing 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon horticultural oil and 1 to 2 drops dishwashing liquid.

How to Dispose of a Diseased Plant
Many plant diseases can quickly return if the dead plant matter isn’t properly disposed of. In fact, most fungal, bacterial and viral plant diseases are spread naturally by wind currents, rain, soil seeds, insects and other animals. Others can survive on nearby dead plants or infected gardening tools. When you think you’ve collected all of the dead plant, follow these disposal tips:

  • Compost: For less persistent diseases like powdery mildew, simply removing from live plants and allow to die off in compost. If you don’t have a compost at home, check with your local government for a nearby green waster center.
  • Burial: For leaves or fruits with rot, burying the decay in a 1 foot deep hole will work.
  • Bonfires: Dry, woody material like branches can be disposed of by setting a small bonfire. Be sure to handle on a non-windy day to reduce the risk of the fire spreading.
  • Household trash: Infected bulbs, small wooden pruning and collapsed seedling can be tossed into your home garbage can.

Credit: Doctors’ Hangout


How to Choose the Right Rose for Every Occasion

frame do it 2

Roses have become the perfect means for expressing our love and appreciation to someone special. Over the years, the development and refinement of the language of roses has led to the association of many occasions with different kinds of roses. It is most often the color of the rose that determines its corresponding occasion; however, other factors such as the number and type of roses should also be considered. With all of the different colors and types of rose arrangements available, there is a match for practically any occasion.


one dozen red


The obvious choice for romantic occasions is the red rose. Red roses have become the ultimate symbol of love and are ideal for occasions such as Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, or whenever we want to say “I love you.” The relationship between red roses and romance is one of the most enduring and familiar traditions in the floral community. Sending one dozen red roses will convey a clear message of love.
Love and romance aren’t the only reasons to send roses. There are a multitude of other important occasions for which roses are a wonderful gift idea. Here are just a few more examples.

basket of roses2


White roses are traditionally associated with weddings. Also known as the bridal rose, the white rose symbolizes the unity and purity associated with a new bond of marriage. Bridal bouquets are often comprised of white roses, and many ceremonies will feature a white rose motif.

yellow roses


In addition to being a great way to send happy birthday wishes, a bouquet of roses can make a beautiful centerpiece for a birthday party. To celebrate a birthday, yellow roses or an assortment of multi-colored roses are often given.




Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day, a big impression can be made by sending Mom a bouquet of her favorite color roses. Mother’s Day Roses are an ideal way to show how much appreciation we have for everything that our mothers do.

pink roses


Thank You

Roses are a time-honored symbol for appreciation, and any rose can be used to say thank you. However, according to traditional rose meanings, a message of gratitude is specifically conveyed by dark pink colored roses.


long stemmed

Get Well

To say get well, or to brighten someone’s day, cheerful and vibrant colors are usually selected. A colorful bouquet of roses can be just the thing to lift someone’s spirits and let them know that they are being thought of.

white boquet



For expressing sympathy, soft muted colors are the most appropriate. White roses are often used to represent honor and reverence. Pale pink roses are another traditional way to convey a message of sympathy. Roses have been used for centuries as a way to express our deepest emotions. As more and more new types of roses have been introduced, more complex meanings have been attributed to them.

Today, with the wealth of rose varieties and colors to choose from, there is virtually no limit to the kinds of occasions they can be used for. Roses can be used to say thanks or congratulations, or to express our love and sincerity toward those we care about. With so many different options, selecting the right roses can sometimes be a challenge. However, it helps to keep in mind that more often than not, a bouquet of roses will be appreciated for the spirit of love and thoughtfulness in which it is given.




Poisonous Plants in the Home

first frame

Houseplants add color, beauty, and life to our homes, but some should be grown with a little extra caution. Poison-proof your home today with our list of some common poisonous plants.
Have no fear of growing plants in your home; most are perfectly safe. But if you have inquisitive children and pets who may want to chew or crush plants, there are a few varieties to avoid: the handful of plants that can cause allergic skin irritations, stomach upsets, or worse.
Some plants are more toxic than others. The good news is that most must be consumed in large quantities to cause any real damage. Often the bitter taste repels a child or pet and stops them from ingesting much of the plant.
If you suspect that a child or pet has been poisoned by eating or touching a houseplant, call your doctor or veterinarian, go to an emergency room
Use care when growing and displaying these common poisonous plants in your home. This is not a comprehensive list; contact your local Extension Service for more information.


(Narcissus selections): Many spring bulbs, including hyacinths and daffodils forced for indoor blooms, are toxic if eaten by humans or pets. Eating the bulbs (which can be mistaken for shallots or onions) can cause intense stomach problems, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and even death.

dumb cane
Dumb Cane
(Dieffenbachia selections): This popular houseplant grows in low-light conditions. It’s earned one of its common names, dumb cane, because of the symptoms that occur when it’s eaten. The sap causes the tongue to burn and swell, enough to block off air to the throat. It can be fatal to both humans and pets if ingested in large amounts.

easter Lilies
Easter Lily
(Lilium longiflorum): Cats have been known to suffer serious damage after eating Easter lilies. Eating small amounts of any part of the plant can lead to a cat’s death from kidney failure if not treated by a veterinarian within 18 hours. The plant is not poisonous to children, but they can choke on pieces of it.

English Ivy
English Ivy
(Hedera helix): Large quantities of ivy must be ingested to cause serious problems, but all parts of English ivy can cause symptoms that include skin irritation, burning throat after eating the berries, fever, and rash.

(Nerium oleander): All parts of oleander, a popular indoor flowering shrub, are extremely poisonous. Wear gloves and wash your hands when pruning and taking cuttings to be sure you don’t accidentally ingest the sap. It can be fatal if eaten.

Peace Lily
Peace lily
(Spathiphyllum selections): A popular low-light houseplant, the peace lily is toxic only if large quantities of the leaves are eaten.

(Philodendron selections): No other group of plants is as widely used indoors as philodendrons, but they are poisonous to humans and pets. Eating them can cause burning and swelling of lips, tongue, and throat; vomiting; and diarrhea.

(Epipremnum aureum): A close relative of philodendron, pothos is just as easy to grow, but unfortunately causes the same symptoms of philodendron if ingested.

Sago plant

Sago Palm
(Cycas revoluta): One of the oldest living plants on earth, sago palm may have survived so long because animals don’t eat it. All parts of the plants, including the seeds and roots, are poisonous. Ingesting sago palm causes vomiting and diarrhea, and may lead to liver failure.

ZZ plant
ZZ plant
(Zamioculcas zamiifolia): The drought-tolerant ZZ plant is a wonderful addition to low-light situations in homes and offices, but all parts of this plant are poisonous. Keep it away from children and pets, and wash your hands or wear gloves if you need to handle it.

Credit :

Rose Diseases and Insect Pests

basket of roses2

Roses are susceptible to a number of disease and insect pests. Roses may survive without a basic pest control program, but they may not be very attractive. A pest control program starts with proper site selection, good soil preparation, good drainage, proper spacing, cultivar selection, and plant maintenance. These all foster healthy roses that are better able to withstand the pressure of disease and insects.

When selecting roses, note the resistance to disease of a particular cultivar or named variety within a class. You want to select by cultivar, not by class. All too often, many gardeners assume that shrub roses (the class) are very tolerant or resistant to disease and make their selection based solely on class. In fact, there are a number of cultivars that are very prone to severe disease injury.

Another interesting fact about diseases is that plants can have two types of resistance: phenotypic or genotypic. Phenotypic resistance is when a cultivar is resistant to a disease in one location or part of the country but not in another. Genotypic resistance is due to the presence of genes that are not affected by climate, location, or horticultural practice. That is why, when the term “resistance” is used as a blanket term and assigned to a variety or class, it may or may not apply depending on where you garden.




This fungal disease can cause almost complete defoliatiation of bushes by early fall, resulting in a weakened bush on which cane die-back and cankers become severe. Blackspot is identified as circular black spots that appear on the upper surface of the leaves, starting at the bottom of the plant and moving upward. Infected leaves turn yellow and fall off prematurely. The fringed margin and black color distinguish this leaf spot from others. Infections on canes are identified as reddish-purple spots. Splashing water spreads blackspot. Infection occurs after leaves are wet for several hours, making it more serious during rainy periods. Some roses are less susceptible than others, so cultivar selection is important. The fungus overwinters in fallen leaves and stem cankers. Raking and removing these leaves as well as pruning out affected canes by spring before the buds swell may help provide some control. Avoid wetting the leaves when watering and locate plants where there is good air circulation. Fungicide spray programs need to be started as soon as new leaves appear in the spring.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungus disease that affects young leaves, causing them to curl and twist and develop a purple coloration. As the disease progresses, leaves become covered with white powdery fuzz. Whereas blackspot is usually most severe on the lower part of the plant, mildew affects the top part of the plant. Mature leaves are less likely to be affected. Mildew is spread by wind and develops rapidly during periods of warm, dry days followed by cool, humid nights. Infections of mildew are actually discouraged by the presence of water on the leaves. However, keeping plants wet all night to avoid mildew provides an environment that allows other diseases to develop. Infection can be reduced through sanitation and fungicide spray programs. Prune out all dead and diseased canes to reduce initial fungus infection. Because new growth is especially susceptible, thorough coverage of new growth with fungicide is important. Plant roses in areas where they receive good air circulation and where the foliage can dry off rapidly in the early morning to prevent many types of diseases.

Stem Cankers

Stem Cankers

There are several fungi that cause cankers on roses. The different fungi can cause different-looking cankers, but they usually produce brown, oval-shaped, sunken, or shriveled areas anywhere on the cane. The cane dies, and leaves wilt from that point outward. Sometimes small black specks can be seen on the cane surface within the borders of the canker. These are fungal spore-forming structures. Cankers should be pruned out each year. Make the cut well below the affected tissue. Protect the plant from cold or freeze injury by providing adequate cover over the winter. Do not cover roses too early in the fall. When roses are mulched before the soil freezes, moisture can be trapped around the canes and this can increase the damage caused by canker disease. Keep plants vigorous with proper culture and disease control. Canker is a disease of stress. If plants are kept actively growing, they stand a better chance of avoiding cankers. There are no effective chemical controls for canker disease.

Botrytis Blight

Botrytis Blight

Botrytis blight is a fungal disease that generally attacks dying tissue. It is frequently found on older flowers and other plant parts. Under certain conditions it may also attack healthy tissue. Botrytis favors moist, wet conditions, often causing the disease to attack entire flowers and produce a gray fuzzy mold. This disease is often called gray mold. Good garden sanitation and removing spent flowers often result in good control of this disease. When this is insufficient in providing adequate control, a preventative spray program may be necessary.



Rose mosaic is caused by a virus. Bright yellow patterns made up of wavy lines may appear on the leaves of some varieties. Other varieties may show no yellow lines, but may be stunted and weak due to virus infection. Virus-infected plants cannot be cured. Plant virus-resistant roses if possible. Try to control insects, especially aphids, since they help spread the virus. If you are pruning virus-infected plants, don’t prune healthy plants unless you first disinfest your pruners. Dipping the blades in a 10 percent solution of chlorine bleach and water for 60 seconds can do this. A 25 percent concentration reduces the time needed to about 10 seconds. All infected plants should be removed and destroyed to reduce the spread of the virus to other plants.

Crown Gall

Crown Gall

Crown gall is a bacterial disease that can survive 15-20 years in the soil. It causes irregularly shaped, rough, dark-colored masses (galls) to appear on stems near the soil line. These galls can appear as small swellings or be several inches in diameter. Severely infected plants become stunted and fail to grow properly. There are no effective controls for crown gall. Severely infected plants should be dug up and discarded and roses should not be planted in that area for at least 5 years. Avoid buying plants with suspicious swellings or gall on lower stems or crowns. However, do not confuse crown gall with normal swellings that you see as a result of the budding process. Protect plants from injury on stems during cultivation. Maintain vigor with fertilization and watering. Crown gall is not specific to roses and can affect apples, raspberries, honeysuckle, euonymus, and many vegetables. For this reason, roses should not be planted where plants susceptible to crown gall have been removed because of the disease. Galltrol-A, a non-pathogenic bacteria, has been used to prevent crown gall. It is often used as a dip on cane root roses prior to planting.

Rose Rosette

Rose Rosette

Rose rosette is becoming more common and can result in significant damage. This pathogen (not yet positively identified) is spread by an eriophid mite. Symptoms include rapid growth of shoots, development of “witches’ broom,” development of tufts of small, deformed reddish leaves and excessive thorniness. Plants decline over time. Because affected plants can’t be cured, it is best to dig out the affected plant and destroy it. Controlling the mite has been labeled as an option but attempts at controlling it have proven inconclusive. It is very difficult to apply sprays in a timely and satisfactory way.

Insect Pests



Aphids are very common pests. Aphids are soft-bodied insects that can be red, green, yellow, or black. They feed on very young succulent shoots, causing distortion. Aphids are often kept in check by natural predators. Alternative control measures include the use of insecticidal soaps, strong streams of water to knock them off the plant, or insecticides.

Japanese Beetles


These hard-shelled, metallic-green, black, and gold insects can cause extensive damage to roses just by their sheer numbers and voracious appetite. They prefer flowers and flower buds but will also attack foliage. Japanese beetles are difficult to control because they are strong fliers and constantly reinvade the area. Home gardeners still find that Sevin provides the best control, but it is only topical. This means that reapplication needs to be done on a regular basis to protect the foliage and flowers. Beware of Japanese beetle traps. Traps are almost too effective and will draw a great number of beetles into an area, making the problem worse. If they are used, they should be placed in areas away from the rose garden. Hand picking is also a suggested control for small numbers of beetles.

Leaf Cutter Bees

Leaf Cutter Bees

It is unusual to see the insects at work, but they make their presence known by the perfectly round holes cut near the edges of the leaves. These leaf pieces are used to make egg partitions inside their burrows. The damage they cause is strictly cosmetic and warrants no control.

It is unusual to see the insects at work, but they make their presence known by the perfectly round holes cut near the edges of the leaves.

Spider Mites

Spider Mites

Mites are very tiny relatives of spiders. They can be red, black, or brown in color. Mites pierce the underside of rose leaves and suck sap, causing the leaf to turn gray or bronze. A fine web is a sign of a heavy infestation. Mites reproduce rapidly, resulting in high populations in a short time. Mites flourish in crowded, stagnant gardens. A high-pressure washing with water from a garden hose directed to the underside of the leaves every 2-3 days can manage mites. This will interrupt their life cycle. Miticides such as dicofol help in heavy infestations. Insecticidal soaps are also effective in controlling mites.


Thrips are extremely small, brown insects usually living and feeding inside of the blooms. A deformed flower with flecked or scratched petals is usually a sign of a thrips problem. The rasping mouth parts of thrips causes this injury when they scratch the petal surface to feed. Thrips are especially attracted to yellow or light-colored roses. Some control can be achieved using materials such as orthene, malathion, or insecticidal soap, but even these often give poor results. They tend to be worse during late June, July and August when temperatures are warm.

Rose Midge

Rose Midge


The rose midge is a tiny fly that lays eggs in the buds and shoots of roses. The larvae that develop start feeding and causes bent, mishapen or blasted flower buds and withering of the stem tips. Eventually they turn black. Control consists of pruning out buds and applying insecticide if the problem persists. Midge damage usually shows up in July. Because the larvae fall to the soil to pupate, an effective control is to place weed barrier fabric under the plants to catch the larvae and prevent them from entering the soil to pupate.

Sawfly (Rose Slug)


The common rose slug causes skeletonizing or window pane like damage to rose leaves in spring and early summer. The larvae look like caterpillars but are actually more closely related to bees and wasps. Common rose slugs are green with a light tan head and often have may hairlike bristles. Although they look like caterpillars, products with a BT are not effective because they are not larvae of moths or butterflies. Control can include hand picking and the use of horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps.

Fungicide Spray Programs

Fungicides generally recommended for blackspot control include:

  • Daconil 2787 or fungicides containing Daconil
  • Phyton 27
  • Mancozeb
  • Funginex
  • Orthenex.

Frequently used fungicides for control of powdery mildew include:

  • Captan
  • Daconil 2787
  • Phyton 27
  • Funginex
  • Orthenex

Materials used in limiting botrytis are:

  • Captan
  • Daconil 278
  • Mancozereblogged from :

Rose History

Rose garden Frame

The origin of roses and their early evolution is merely a matter of conjecture. Fossils seems to indicate that roses existed in prehistoric times and rose gardening probably began in China, some 5000 years ago. Over the centuries changes occurred in the genus Rosa either through natural or artificial hybridization.

Botanists seem to agree that roses of prehistoric times were of the single bloom type. Surprisingly the genus Rosa is found exclusively in certain zones of the northern hemisphere in the wild: in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and America.

During the Roman period, roses were grown extensively in the Middle East. Pliny the Elder devoted a large part of Book XXI of his Historia Naturalis to roses. Even though it is not always possible to attribute modern botanical names to ancient roses based on translations from original Greek and Latin texts, we are almost certain that the following roses existed in Roman times: R. canina, R. gallica, R. x alba R. x centifolia and R. x damascena. In Roman times roses were given as presents and used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes (rosatum or rose oil), and as a source of perfumed wine.

From the sixteenth century on roses were carefully selected, bred and improved to form new rose varieties, especially in Holland. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries roses enjoyed resurgence in popularity, and many of the rose classics we admire today stem from that period.

New requirements, such as resistance to disease, excellent floral quality, and winter hardiness, lead to the development of modern shrub varieties and other modern roses of the twentieth century.

Different types of Roses (by bloom type)
One of the ways to differentiate and identify roses is by their bloom type. Rose blooms can have different forms, which can be summarized as follows: single bloom, semi-double bloom, double bloom and quartered bloom.


Credit: Lily’s rose Gardens

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