Dabney's Garden Tips
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!
This is the season for interior color and decorating with plants, and I wish to share my "TOP SIX" and their care:
I. Poinsettia- By far the most popular and available in natural colors, as well as in "painted colors" now.
A. keep damp-not wet and out of "drafts", being careful that excess water drains off and not "trapped" in foil or non-draining pot.
B. varieties today have a longer blooming season-after blooming, prune 1/2 way and feed&water regularly as a house plant.
C. Mid-september - place in total darkness 14-16 hours/day to force bloom by Christmas.
II. Amaryllis- Traditional with HUGE blooms
A. can be grown in soil or water, take care to stake since they are so "top heavy"
B. as blooms dry, cut off since they can rebloom muktiple times.
C. as foliage appears, feed&water regularly-to force bloom let dry in august,rest your bulb in dark for 8 weeks, bring out to sunlight,
begin watering regularly and you will have blooms at Christmas.
III. Christmas Cactus-Grandmas favorite, these can be "handed down" for years
A. a succulent that prefers neglect thus always water sparingly and keep in good sunlight.
B. repot after blooming using a cactus soil or add some sand to all-purpose potting soil, feed&water regularly.
C. to rebloom, keep outdoors during summer, delay bringing in until mid-October since cool temperatures encourage heavy
IV. Cyclamen-bloom & blooms in cool temperatures and short days
A. another bulb plant that needs to be kept damp but never wet! keep out of southern windows.
B. these plants will die down in mid-spring, place in dark to "rest" until mid-August, then bring into bright sun and feed&water
regularly through blooming season.
V. Orchids-this blooming plant knows no season!
A.easiest plant to grow,mist regularly and water when dry, since soil is mostly bark, you will have to water frequently.
B. repotting can be done April-August using orchid soil in orchid pots,roots on top of pot are air-roots and does not hurt the plant.
C. always feed with an orchid food to induce blooming but will not necessarily bloom at the same time next year,so grow several to
assure color next holiday.
VI. Norfolk Island Pine-the only foliage plnt to make the "top six" list!
A. slow-growing tree that does well indoors if you do NOT over-water-i find watering lightly does better than drenching.
B. refrain from repotting too frequently, and to not put in too large a pot since they like to be root bound.
C. decorate with light ornaments and lights for the season.
As we decorate indoors with fresh greenery, keep in mind to preserve your fresh-cut tree using a formula of 2 aspirin,1 cup karo syrup to 1 quart of lukewarm water in your tree stand--this will keep your tree fresh. for cut greens-spray with a commercial formula (Bonide Wilt-Stop, Wilt-Pruf, or similar product) to prevent from drying out.
Remember safety over these festive days-keep flammables away from direct heat, turn lights on trees off before retiring or leaving and be mindful of candles!
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!