Gardening Focus Shifts Indoors
Winter has only just begun, but on the bright side, the days are already getting longer and spring will soon be here (or so we hope)! Gardening chores can still be done if you have indoor plants.
During the shorter days of winter make sure that houseplants receive as much light as possible.
Clean the leaves to help ensure the plant will get all the available light. Over the winter months a houseplants growth slows down so the fertilizing and watering should also be reduced. Fertilize plants once every 8-10 weeks and only water plants as they need it. Touch the plants soil surface and when it feels dry to the touch, give the plant a thorough water using room temperature water. Discard any excess water after 15-20 minutes.
Check houseplants regularly for pests. Check under leaves, and stems for red spider, aphids, mealy bug and aphids, and deal with the problem as soon as it arises, so it doesn’t spread.
If you were lucky to enough to receive an Amaryllis as a gift, don’t throw it out after it has finished blooming. Remove the finished flowers and the flower stalk when all the flowers are finished. Place the plant in a sunny south window where it can receive lots of sunshine, so that the plants leaves can gather nutrition through photosynthesis, as this is when it if forming a new flower and the needed nutrients for it to grow again next winter. Treat it as you would any other houseplant. Place it outdoors in a shady area over the summer months and bring it indoors in September before a killing frost. Store the bulb for 6-8 weeks and then re-plant and it should re-bloom in 8-10 weeks.
Poinsettias can be saved from one year to the next and be brought back into bloom. After the bracts have lost their colour, treat the plant as a regular houseplant and by March/April it can be trimmed back to 20cm so that each stem has 4-6 buds. Continue to give it lots of light, water, and fertilize it regularly with a well balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20.By the end of May the poinsettia will have put on lots of new growth and is ready to be transplanted into a pot one size larger than the one it is in. Use a good quality indoor potting soil. Place it in a area where it will receive lots of bright, indirect light (avoid direct summer sun) and continue to treat as a regular houseplant. In July trim the growing tips back to encourage new and growth and keep the plant looking full and compact. Starting in October place the poinsettia in a space where it will receive 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness each night and 6-8 hours of daily bright light each day. Continue to water and fertilize the plant as you follow this daily routine and after a 8-10 weeks of 14 hours of darkness each day the bracts get their colour and the plant is ready to be enjoyed once again.
Indoor flowering containers will last a long time and can be changed to match the season. Continue to water each pot individually and as the flowering plants are finished blooming, they can be taken out and replaced with either another flowering plant or a tropical plant. If the container is too large for your space, it can be dismantled and the individual plants can be placed around the home.
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
- Highway 16 West at Kimball Road
- Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road ( closed for the season)