Master Gardeners offers November gardening tips

Published 12:20 am Saturday, November 13, 2021

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Originally published by Justin Hancock.

Edited by John Green


It is simply amazing the fantastic weather we have been experiencing the past few weeks! According to our local weathermen, cooler temperatures will continue going forward the next several days.  Now is the time to make use of the opportunity and continue with winter garden preparation, moving house plants inside and readying our gardens for spring.   If you’re like me, you procrastinate, wanting plants to enjoy their final days outside before damaging low temperatures arrive here in Southeast Texas.  Here are a few gardening tips to guide you.

Plant Spring-Blooming Bulbs

You can still plant spring-blooming bulbs (including tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, and snowdrops) in your garden.  The later in the season it is, the more important it is to look for good-quality bulbs. Be wary of any bulbs that have soft, mushy spots or appear to be growing mold.

Cut Plants Back

After we have a hard freeze, you can cut back annuals and perennials in the garden if you wish for a tidy winter appearance. Be sure to clean up any dead or diseased foliage to help prevent the diseases from coming back the next year.

Note: If you wish to leave your plants standing, that’s all right, too! Some plants, such as black-eyed Susan and coneflower provide seeds for hungry birds. And many ornamental grasses do best when they stay standing, so their crowns don’t get too wet over winter. Plus, allowing perennials to stand over winter helps you remember where they are in spring.

Clean Your Tools

If you’re done using your tools for the season, clean them before storing for winter. Start by removing any soil or other debris that may be hanging around. Sharpen shovels, trowels, and pruners to make them easier to use in the spring. (You might be surprised the difference a sharpened shovel makes when you’re digging a hole!) Use sandpaper to smooth down any wood handles that may be starting to splinter.

Treat for Pests

Once trees and shrubs go dormant, you can use horticultural oil to control scale and other insects. Be sure to follow directions on the product’s packaging.

Clean Your Houseplants

If you see dust on your houseplants’ leaves, rinse it off with room-temperature water in a sink or shower. Dust on leaves acts like a film on windows; it reduces the amount of light your plants get and makes it harder for them to thrive.

Boost Humidity Indoors

Once you turn on your furnace, the air in your home typically starts to dry (and the more you use the heat, the drier the air gets). Boost the amount of moisture in the air for tropical plants to prevent brown leaf tips and edges. Easy ways to do this are to group your plants in clusters or set your plants on a large dish of water filled with sand or pebbles and water. The top of your plant’s pot should set on top of the sand or pebbles, just above the waterline (so the soil doesn’t stay too wet and rot).

Water Houseplants Less

As the days grow shorter, most houseplants use a bit less water than during the growing season. Instead of watering by schedule, occasionally probe the soil with your finger to see if your houseplants are moist or if they need a splash of water.

If you would like more information or to have your gardening questions answered please contact us:

Orange County TX Master Gardeners


Facebook: Orange County Texas Master Gardeners Association.

Orange County Master Gardner Helpline: (409) 882-7010