Robin’s Nest Floral & Garden Center – 9399 Ocean Gateway, Easton, MD 21601 (410) 822-8700
WINTER GARDENING TIPS
1. Keep leaves raked-up on your lawn and landscape areas. Allowing them to remain creates an environment for over-wintering insects and diseases. Whenever possible compost the leaves for use next spring.
2. When you purchase plants, request a plastic or paper sleeve or sack be placed around them for protection against cold temperatures (most houseplants are damaged by temperatures less than 50 degrees F). Don’t allow live plants to sit in a cold car while you run holiday errands. Arrange your shopping so that plants go straight home when temperatures are in the freezing range. When you get home, remove the colorful paper, plastic, or foil covers from pots to allow water to drain. Otherwise, holiday plants will likely experience some form of root rot.
3. As a reminder, store all your chemicals, tools and unused seed for the winter. Avoid storing pesticides where they will freeze, like in a garage or shed. Some materials cannot withstand cold temperatures and will become ineffective. If odor is an issue, store in tightly sealed containers. All garden hand tools should be cleaned and sanitized with alcohol, and all unused seeds should be stored in air-tight containers in the refrigerator.
4. Cyclamen thrive in cool temperatures (50-60 degrees F). Place them in a spot where temps tumble overnight. Display them in a warmer spot during daylight hours — somewhere you can enjoy the pretty blooms. Keep soil consistently moist.
Keep plants in an average room temperature of 65 degrees to 70 degrees during the daytime and 60 degrees to 65 degrees at nighttime. Avoid drafts from registers, radiators, baseboard heat and open doors. Locate plants in bright indirect light (never full sun). It is important to feed each time you water. Tests have shown that it=s the lack of nitrogen in the leaf tissue that causes the bracts (colorful leaves) to drop. Always check the soil in the morning by touching the soil to see if it is wet or dry. Only water when dry! It is also recommended to mix up the fertilizer mixture in a milk jug. This will allow the plant to receive only room temperature watering, which is better for the plant. Never display poinsettia plants in the kitchen if you have bananas on the counter. Ripe bananas release ethylene gas which causes poinsettias to drop their bracts.
Amaryllis bulbs need well-drained, gritty soil and to be planted in good, heavy pots, since the blooms are large and can make the pot top-heavy. Plant the bulb with the top third showing above the soil line and no more than a 2” gap around the bulb. Water the pots thoroughly and place them in a warm room. Maintain moderate moisture, not allowing the bulb to dry-out or set in water and fertilize each time you water. They should come into bloom in about five or six weeks at normal home conditions. The flower stalk will rise first, then the foliage. The flowers can last up to two weeks, and if you have a larger bulb, you may get more than one or two flower stalks.
Cacti are probably the easiest plants to grow and care for since they require little water. Simply place them in a south-facing window. They can handle a range of temperatures from 38 degrees to 80 degrees. Some varieties will require cooler temperatures to set their flowers. Plant cactus in well-drained sandy soil, watering only when the soil is dry to the touch, allow the water to drain from the bottom and dump out. Never allow the cactus to sit in water and fertilize only in the spring and summer months at half the recommended rate, every third or fourth watering. They can summer outside in the full sun but remember to bring them indoors before the temperatures fall below 60 degrees. Do not rotate your holiday cactus when watering as you do with other indoor tropical plants. Doing this after the flower buds have set will cause the buds to bend toward the light, thus severing and causing them to drop off. If you water in the sink, simply draw a line on the pot which is closest to the window and place back in the same location, in the same position.
Listen for Ken’s tips on the air Tuesdays (7:20am) on 96.7 WCEI. Ken can be reached at Robin’s Nest at 410-822-8700.