Extension News

Ask the ISU Experts

Pink and white cineraria

Note to media editors:

Got gardening questions? Contact the Hortline at (515) 294-3108 (M-F; 10-12 & 1-4:30) or send an e-mail to hortline@iastate.edu. For more gardening information visit us at Yard and Garden Online (www.yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu).




There are large numbers of deer in wooded areas near my home.  Are there any shade tolerant perennials that won’t be devoured by the deer? 


When deer are extremely hungry, they’ll eat almost anything.  However, there are a number of perennials that deer usually avoid.


Native plants that usually aren’t bothered by deer include wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense), turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) and Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum spp.). 


Cultivated (non-native) plants that are usually ignored by deer include astilbe (Astilbe spp.), barrenwort (Epimedium spp.), sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum), spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum), creeping lily-turf (Liriope spicata), lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.) and Siberian squill (Scilla siberica).


Is the European mountain ash a good tree for Iowa?


An important consideration when selecting ornamental trees and shrubs for the home landscape is plant hardiness. In the upper Midwest, plant tolerance to extreme cold is usually the most important quality when selecting plant materials. Cold hardiness, however, is not the sole factor which limits the adaptability of plant materials. Though often overlooked, plant tolerance to summer heat and drought are also important. 


The European mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia) prefers cool, moist summers. Fireblight, borers, cankers and sunscald often prematurely kill trees weakened by heat and drought. Because of these difficulties, the European mountain ash is short-lived and not recommended for Iowa. The European mountain ash is chiefly grown for its clusters of orange-red fruit. If colorful ornamental fruit are desired, crabapple varieties with persistent, attractive fruit would be better choices for home gardeners in Iowa. 



How do you care for cinerarias? 


Cinerarias, a cool-season greenhouse crop, are typically available from January through April. The daisy-like flowers, which are 1 to 4 inches in diameter, are available in a wide range of colors, including pink, red, lavender, purple and blue. Many have white eyes. 


Cinerarias should be placed in bright, indirect light with a temperature near 60 degrees F. Keep the potting soil uniformly moist, but not saturated.  If the potting soil becomes dry, the plant will wilt rapidly and may die if not promptly watered. Pots wrapped with decorative foil should have a hole punched in the bottom to allow for drainage. When watering plants in molded plastic pot covers, carefully remove the pot cover, water the plant in the sink, let it drain for a few minutes, then place the plant back in the molded pot cover. 


Cinerarias should remain attractive for two or three weeks if given good care.  After the flowers dry and shrivel, discard the plants. 


Contacts :

Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, rjauron@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu

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Pink and white cineraria,