Mid-American Gardener

Do Marigolds Really Repel Garden Pests?


One of our viewers asked when would be the best time to prune and divide perennial geraniums. John has them all over his yard and suggests dividing them in spring or fall to reduce the shock to the plant. Cranesbill, as it’s also called, can sometimes take over a flower bed if left unchecked. Thus, perennial geraniums should be divided every five years for best results. John also shares another hardy, edible plant: the prickly pear cactus. He teaches us his tips for how to propagate this cactus for success, warning to be careful of its sharp spines.


Phil, the bonsai hobbyist, shares his expertise on caring for tropical plants, particularly bonsai varieties. He advises viewers to prune and repot tropical plants during the warmer months when nighttime temperatures stay above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is usually between June and August. He demonstrates how to prune a bonsai plant to encourage bushier growth.


The panelists also answer questions from viewers, clarifying that marigolds do not repel insects as commonly believed. They explain that marigolds are not pest-resistant and, in fact, attract insects like aphids, leafhoppers, and cutworms. John and Phil also discuss techniques to protect plants from rodents and other animals.


John also brings in a clipping from one of his tree lilies, a tall and fragrant plant. Phil then highlights the natural processes that occur in gardens, particularly with tree branches that have fallen due to storms. He explains how dead or dying branches become habitats for various insects and animals, serving an essential ecological role. Phil encourages viewers not to be alarmed by bore holes in tree branches, as they are part of nature's recycling process.


From perennial geranium care and bonsai pruning to cactus propagation and the ecological importance of tree branches, John and Phil share tips for gardeners of all levels. Remember, if you have any questions for our panelists, send them in to us at yourgarden@gmail.com or find us on Facebook or Instagram. 


Episode 1303 - July 27, 2023

Air Dates and Times

Channel Day Time
WILL-TV, Urbana Thursday 7 pm (live)
  Saturday 11 am (repeat)
WTVP-TV, Peoria Saturday 11:30 am
WEIU-TV, Charleston Sunday 1:30 pm
WSEC-TV, Springfield Saturday 11 am
WQEC-TV, Quincy Saturday 11 am
WMEC-TV, Macomb Saturday 11 am
Lakeshore PBS, Chicago/Northwest Indiana Friday 1 pm

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