Managing spider mites in the garden and at home. Dahlia leaves covered in white webbing and red-orange spider mites.

Spider mites are a common pest on many types of plants. The most commonly encountered species is the twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae). While we often think of them attacking houseplants, particularly during the winter months, they can also be a problem on fruits, vegetables, and landscape plants, particularly during hot, dry weather.

Add some fireworks to your garden this Fourth of July. Pink flowers of nodding onion.

The Fourth of July holiday often includes parades, barbeques, and fireworks. Fireworks often fill the night sky with their colorful, albeit fleeting displays. The fireworks don’t have to be restricted to the Fourth, though. Whether it be their color, flower shape, or name, a number of plants can add some “fireworks” to your landscape to enjoy throughout the growing season.

Caring for spring-blooming bulbs after flowering. Red and yellow tulips with green foliage.

Our days are getting longer and warmer, and many gardens are awash in color from spring-blooming bulbs like daffodils and tulips. Unfortunately, the blooms will eventually fade, leaving many of us wondering what we can do to help make sure that they are ready to go again next year.

Helpful tips for creating a successful container garden. Pots with yellow, purple and pink flowers.

Do you have limited space to grow plants outdoors? Or maybe you have an area that could use some color but don’t have anywhere to put plants in the ground. Container gardens may be the solution to your problem.

Almost anything that you can grow in the garden can also be grown in a container. You just need to provide a few basic needs to your plants – a container, growing media, water, nutrients, and light. When growing plants in a container, here are some things to consider:

ruby throat hummingbird feeding from flower

Every year, hummingbirds travel from their winter homes in Central America and Mexico to North America. Hummingbirds are currently making their trip north with an expected arrival to west-central Illinois around April 10 to 20. Knowing when these birds will arrive can help us prepare for their much-awaited arrival.

How to grow sunflowers at home - A great addition to any garden. Yellow sunflower and blue sky with white clouds.

Sunflowers (Helianthus annus) are a great addition to the home garden. Not only do they provide colorful flowers, but they can also be a potential food source for people and wildlife. With various shapes, sizes, and bloom colors, sunflowers are an easy plant to incorporate into your landscape.

pruners cutting dried hydrangeas

When pruning species that bloom on new wood such as panicle and smooth hydrangeas, you can remove as much as one-third to one-half of the total mass of the shrub. Hydrangeas are a popular blooming woody shrub that add attractive foliage and large, striking blossoms to landscapes. An important part to keeping those large blossoms is pruning. If hydrangeas don’t bloom for a season, it is likely due to not enough sun, an early frost, or incorrect pruning.

What’s wrong with my seedlings? Troubleshooting seed starting problems. Leggy plants reaching for light.

For many of us, the desire to start gardening gets stronger and stronger as we near spring. Seed starting is a popular way to kick off the gardening season. Despite the advantages and relative ease, there are a few things that can go wrong when you start your own seeds.

How to take care of amaryllis and get them to rebloom! Amaryllis flower with red on outer part of petals and white center

Along with evergreens and poinsettias, another sign that the holidays are approaching is the appearance of amaryllis in stores. Whether you’re buying them as gifts or for yourself, these relatively carefree plants are a great way to add a splash of color indoors.

flowerhead in the sunset

As the chill of fall finally settles in, many Illinoisans find themselves outside cleaning up leaves, the garden, and landscape beds. It makes one ponder the seasonality of plants. One Good Growing reader had such a question and posed it to us, “How do plants know when to flower?”

How to plant flower bulbs for a colorful spring display. Different types of spring-blooming bulbs

The days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are finally getting cooler, meaning fall has arrived. While many of our gardening activities are starting to wind down, it’s time to start thinking about planting our spring-blooming bulbs. Bulbs such as crocus, tulips, daffodils, as well as a host of others, can provide a burst of color early in the year before many of our other landscape plants begin blooming.

It has begun. The corn has turned. Transforming much of the Illinois landscape into a sea of tan. The soybeans are following with their yellow hues. Combines churn away, as the heavy scent of plant debris permeates the truck cab. Bright seas of goldenrod sway in the wind, as if a welcome mat laid down for autumn. Within the goldenrod mass, you may spot dots of purple asters. I was once told the colors of Western Illinois University were inspired by the fall colors of the prairie – goldenrod and purple aster.

Why do my mums always die? How to grow and care for fall mums in your garden. Yellow, white, orange and pink mum flowers.

As the calendar turns from August to September, chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum x morifolium), aka mums, start appearing in nurseries and garden centers. These plants are a staple in many landscapes in the fall and can provide some much-needed color to our landscapes when most other garden plants are starting to decline.

How to divide and plant bearded iris. person digging a bearded iris clump

Irises are easy to grow, long-lived, and relatively carefree perennials, making them some of the most popular flowers in gardens. They can also be found in a variety of colors, ranging from pink, purple, yellow, peach, green, white, tan, bronze, to almost black, and bi-color.

The American Iris Society divides irises into three main classifications: bearded, aril, and beardless Irises. The most common type of iris grown are bearded irises.

Garden tasks to help get your landscape through the summer. vegetable and flower garden with mulch path in-between.

After some up and down temperatures earlier this year, it seems summer has settled in for good. While a lot of the work we do in the garden happens in the spring, that doesn’t mean we can coast through the summer. Here are some things we can be doing in our landscapes to help keep them going through the summer.

Spring brings spring beauties to the landscape - a clump of blooming spring beauty plants in turf

Have you ever noticed small white flowers dotting the landscape this time of year? Chances are they’re spring beauties (Claytonia virginica). While they may not be the first wildflowers to bloom, spring beauties are one of our earlier blooming wildflowers and a sure sign that spring has arrived. Individually, these wildflowers may not be the most impressive plants out there, but when growing in large masses, they are a sight to behold.

garden with fruit and veggies

The year of 2020 brought a new experience for many as over 20 million novice gardeners picked up a trowel for the first time according to Bonnie Plants CEO Mike Sutterer. New adventures come with excitement; however, as those rose-colored glasses become clearer with further attempts and another year of gardening, the frustrations and failures can grow. Therefore, we have come up with some tips to help those 2nd time growers stay optimistic.

Gray hairstreak butterfly (Strymon melinus) feeding on a Coreopsis flower. Flower has bright yellow petals with a dark red center

Butterflies are among the most popular, if not the most popular, insects out there. In fact, many cultures around the world use a butterfly as a symbol of the human soul. Many people consider a butterfly landing on you to be good luck, for example, this Irish blessing:

pink seed cards made for Valentine's Day

There are many different stories as to how we came to celebrate St. Valentine. Some stories say Valentine was a priest that secretly wed young couples. Others say he helped Christians escape prisons before being imprisoned himself. Before being put to death, he wrote a love letter and signed it “From your Valentine,” which is still used to this day.

2021 All-American Selections winners

Out with the old and in with the new. A new year means the garden catalogs are starting to arrive and that it’s time to start planning this year’s garden. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a veteran gardener, consider growing something new this year in your garden.

pots with dormant plants covered in snow clustered together on a porch

Have you ever gone a little overboard buying plants and run out of room or energy to plant them all in the fall and figured it could wait until spring, only to find out most, or all have died? Or maybe you’ve had a container planter with perennials and excitedly waited for them to resume growth in the spring, but it never happened.

Pink, purple, and yellow blooms of fall blooming bulbs. Autumn crocus, Crocus speciosus, Autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale, Hardy cyclamen, Cyclamen hederifolium, and Saffron crocus, Crocus sativus

When it comes to bulbs, this time of year (fall), much of our attention is focused on getting ready to plant spring-blooming bulbs, and rightfully so. From crocus and daffodils to tulips and alliums, these plants provide a burst of color early in the year before many of our landscape plants begin blooming. While spring blooming bulbs get most of the attention, there are some bulbs that will bloom in the fall that can also provide a splash of color.

blazing star seedlings under grow lights

Spring is finally here! March 19, 2020 is the earliest first day of spring it's been in 124 years. Many of us are finding ourselves spending more time at home and looking forward to gardening, in many cases for the first time. In the coming weeks, the Good Growing team - Chris, Katie, and I - will be doing several articles on starting a garden.

Scarlet runner beans growing on a fence

When we think of the typical home landscape, our garden areas are usually separated by the type of plant being grown. We have a separate bed for flowers and ornamental plants, one for vegetables and one for herbs. Often the vegetable and herb gardens are tucked away in the backyard and out of view from the neighbors. However, in recent years there has been an increasing trend to incorporate edible food crops into landscapes or edible landscaping.

branches from cherry tree blooming indoors

The weather this year has been a bit of a roller coaster. One day it feels like spring, and the next, we are reminded that we’re still in the middle of winter. Despite some of the warmer temperatures we’ve had this year, we still have a way to go before the warm weather sticks around for the long haul (the median last frost date in Jacksonville is April 19).

pictures of the 2020 AAS Winners Cucumber Green Light F1, Pumpkin Blue Prince F1, Tomato Apple Yellow F1, Tomato Celano F1, Tomato Early Resilience F1 Watermelon Mambo F1, Coleus Main Street Beale Street, Echinacea Sombrero® Baja Burgundy, and Rudbeckia x American Gold Rush

The garden catalogs are coming thick and fast this time of year. There may be no better way to beat the winter blues than to thumb through these catalogs and start planning this year’s garden (it will be time to start seeds before you know it). While making plans for this year’s garden, take some time to review your notes from last year. What varieties and cultivars did you grow last year? What produced well, what didn’t? What tasted good, what didn’t?

Spooky and Scary plants with doll's eyes plant berries

Halloween is a time of trick-or-treating, witches, ghouls, and ghosts. When it comes to plants, we typically think of pumpkins. Carnivorous plants may also come to mind, what could be scarier than a plant turning the tables and eating insects? There are plenty of other ‘spooky and scary’ plants out there to help get you in the mood.

Herbaceous peonies are a common sight in many gardens and some of the most beautiful flowers you will find. They belong to the genus Paeonia which is native to Asia, Europe, and Western North America. They have been cultivated in Asia for more than 2,000 years. These cultivated peonies were brought to Europe and later the United States around 1800. In addition to their beauty, they can be quite long-lived. Many plants have been growing and flowering for more than 50 years, and some plantings have been recorded to be over 100 years old.