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Visit the Center for Home Gardening

Stop by the Center for Home Gardening and get your gardening questions answered by our expert staff and Master Gardener volunteers at the Plant Doctor Desk, or check out our houseplant display and other home gardening resources! Be sure to also take a stroll through our 23 outdoor demonstration gardens, which includes a vegetable and fruit garden, cut flower garden, experimental garden, and a newly renovated native prairie garden.  

Plant Doctor Desk (Walk-In) 

  • Hours: Open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (November-March)

Horticulture Answer Service (Phone & E-mail) 


Poinsettia colored bracts

(Euphorbia pulcherrima 'NPCW19280' Christmas Mouse)

Amaryllis Bloom

(Hippeastrum 'Bogota')

Fat Albert Blue Spruce

(Picea pungens 'Fat Albert')


December Gardening Tips

  • During the winter, houseplants typically need less water than in the summer due to reduced hours of sunlight. Err on the side of caution and use tepid water instead of cold water. Overly wet soils can lead to increased numbers of fungus gnats.

  • Only female hollies bear the red berries. There must be a male tree nearby for pollination and fruit production to occur.

  • Holiday poinsettias do best with bright, indirect light and night temperatures in the 50-60's. Keep plants away from drafts, registers, and radiators. Let the soil dry only slightly between thorough waterings. Ensure the water can drain and evaporate; punch holes in the decorative foil if needed.

  • Live Christmas trees hold needles longer when you make a clean, fresh cut at the base and always keep the trunk standing in water.

  • Monitor overwintering dormant plants, bulbs, and tubers by ensuring they are not completely dried out or rotting. 

  • When purchasing houseplants during the winter, be sure to protect the foliage from the cold on the trip home. Place plants in a cardboard box or other protective covering to prevent damage to leaves.

Plastic Pot Recycling Update 2023

We regret to report that the Plastic Pot Recycling program has been cancelled. Garden centers that have had pot recycling collection trailers in the past are no longer accepting garden plastics. Please see the Plastic Pot Recycling: Update and Perspective blog entry for more information about the program's cancellation. Additional questions about pot recycling can be submitted to the Green Resources Info Service at greenresources@mobot.org.