In the Garden: Hints From a Mrs. Gardener Xmas Plant Follow Up

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Submitted by Joan Regan

The holidays are over, the decorations are put away, it’s now time to address my Xmas plants.

POINSETTIAS: This year I purchased a very pretty one from Peacocks, our local grocery store. Half white and half red – a smaller plant and just stunning. True to any other Poinsettia I have ever had it was half finished by the New Year. So I cut the flowers off and popped them in a pretty vase and said thank you to the rest of the plant for volunteering to be fertilizer for my upcoming garden (she went into the compost). The poor thing was so rootbound she had nowhere to grow. However her flowers are looking lovely as the center piece on our dining room table .

AMARYLLIS: Never having owned one before I didn’t have a clue what to do with one, let alone two. A gorgeous red one from Peacocks, a special treat from me to me, and a pure white one from a Secret Santa at our Xmas WIN team get together. The red was in full bloom when I brought her home and lasted well over the season, two stems full of colour. The white was a bulb that, when opening the box, found that she couldn’t wait to meet her new Mom – she was growing sideways in the box. She straightened up almost immediately after being potted up and put on the window sill. This gal was on steroids! And still is! I cut the flowers back when they were finished and pop, there comes another stem. It grew to just over 14” in just less then 3 days. Now there are signs of three more, but I think these might be leaves. So I googled a few sites and asked a few friends and family for some hints and got a real mixture of hints. So I’m going with the majority of suggestions: when the blooming has stopped for sure, cut it back to just the tip of the stem and keep it in a cool dark space till mid-April. Then take it out and start to water it with half strength fertilizer. I am also going to leave it in its pot. Our laundry room is cool enough but not dark so I will put them in a box (the white one came in one) and I’ll make up a box for the red gal, making sure there is good ventilation by cutting two toonie size holes in each side of the box.

CHRISTMAS CACTUS: So, apparently to get these to bloom they like to be kept in the dark from late October to December. Then into a bright window and start watering with half strength fertilizer every two weeks. Make sure you put them where they will be staying as they do not like to be moved around, especially when they are in bud (the buds will fall off). After the new year you can cut back on the watering, just once a month will do, however still a light fertiliser, watering them well. They are not a finicky plant, just a good quality soil will keep them happy. Actually I top up all my house plants with some good soil this time of the year. Come mid April you can get back to twice monthly watering keeping up with the mild fertiliser. 

I sure hope these ideas help. If you have any tried and proven ideas please share with me so I can pass them along. 

Happy January Gardening – Green side UP, Joni

jpregan@amtelecom.net 519 596 2389