A DIRTY GIRL'S GARDEN

Planting and Caring For Amaryllis

Well, I did it again…I forgot to plant to plant a few Paperwhites and Amaryllis bulbs I purchased a few months ago.  It never fails I always buy a bunch of Paperwhites and Amaryllis with the intent of planting them all winter long so I can have a little springtime indoors.  If you are like me and this has happens to you, you may be wondering if the bulbs are still viable.  If the bulbs are over a year old and haven’t been stored properly chances are they may not be.  Bulbs stored in a paper bag with peat moss or wood shavings should stay dry in a cool dark environment.

Here are a few easy tips on planting Amaryllis and Paperwhites bulbs…

They are big beautiful bulbs and extremely easy to grow. Cultivars are available in a wide range of colors, various shades red and white, even deep pinks and salmon, they have large multiple single blooms on one stalk or they are available in double flowered varieties as well.  Paperwhites have beautiful clusters of white star shaped flowers that are extremely fragrant.  One of my favorite varieties is ‘Ziva’, they have large flower umbels and sturdy stems.

When choosing Amaryllis bulbs make sure the bulb has a large circumference, that will give you the largest showy blooms. All bulbs should be firm to the touch and not spongey. You also want to make sure the bulb has no greenish or soft powdery looking spots, that indicates bulb is moldy.

You generally don’t need a large pot to plant Amaryllis bulbs.  A 6”-8” pot is sufficient, I like using terra-cotta. It’s simple natural look doesn’t compete with the beautiful flowers.  They also look great in glassware.  I have a ton of glass jars that I use for terrariums always at the ready.  Both Amaryllis are Paperwhites are so easy to grow in soil and decorative stones.

When planting the bulbs always use fresh potting mix, place a little soil in the pot, covering the bottom place your bulb inside and fill in around the bulb with soil to about there.  Leave the upper portion or neck of the bulb exposed.

Place in a warm sunny window, once they start to push some growth lightly water. Once they are actively growing let plants dry between waterings.  In 7-8 weeks you’ll enjoy these beautiful long blooming flowers. Plant now and throughout the winter months. Be careful not to over water your bulbs, this is a common mistake.  Overwatering can soften the bulbs and promotes mold growth.

Here are a few easy tips for Amaryllis care post blooming…

So your Amaryllis bulbs have stopped blooming, what do you do now.  It is possible to keep the bulbs and force them to flower the next year.

Cut off flower and the stalk, leaving 1-2″ above the bulb, keep foliage.  The leaves providing essential nutrients that are stored in the bulb for the next years growth cycle.  Keep in a sunny location and continue to water when soil is dry. Fertilize every 2-3 weeks with a water soluble houseplant food.

In mid may put plant outside in a shaded location, and don’t repot.  Bring indoors at the end of summer.  By then leaves will turn yellow. Cut back to the crown of the bulb.  Now it’s time to give your plant a rest, let it go dormant for 6-8 weeks.  Place plant in a cool place…55 degrees is ideal, in a low lit room and don’t water.

In November repot and place plant in a warm sunny window and water regularly, be careful not to overwater until leaves appear.  Buds and blooms are soon to follow in time for the holidays

A DIRTY GIRL'S GARDEN, VIDEO

Garden Minute: Overwintering Tropical Plants

tropical

As a horticulturist and grower I love to collect many types of plants, especially during the summer. Once the threat of frost or hard freeze approaches during the month of October I am always sad to see the end of the growing season. Now is the time to take inventory of my tropical plant collection, since I don’t have a greenhouse, or a sunroom, and prepare the indoors for the many plants that are going to spend the wintertime indoors.

Follow the Sun, and take note of where the sun plays upon the rooms in your home. Most tropicals prefer warm, bright surroundings, but some can do well in moderate indirect and even low light, depending on the variety of plant.  Temperatures in the 60 -70 degree range during the day are ideal.  Temperatures above 80 degrees can cause poor air circulation, which can lead to insect problems down the road.

hibiscusTry and be selective when deciding what plants you want to over winter. Take serious inventory of your potted tropicals and bring in only what you have room for.  If you want to overwinter a flowering tropical such as hibiscus decide you have enough light for the plant to continue actively growing and flowering during the winter.  If not, consider cutting the plant back approximately 1/3 and let it go dormant. Do the same for tropical vines, Dipladenia and Mandevilla vines.  If you are considering bringing in annuals, like geraniums, lantana, or coleus, find the sunniest location and modestly cut back, and or take cuttings from them. Tropical foliage plants such as Boston Ferns, Peace Lily and varieties of Palm are great to over winter, because they enhance the beauty aa well as the air quality in your home.  Succulents aside from being a strong trend in home design are the easiest to maintain and can adapt to, not only bright indirect light, but moderate light as well and require little care and water.

IMG_0085Transplant any plants that have outgrown their pots over the summer.  Select a container with proper drainage holes and a slightly larger diameter than the pot the plant is currently in. Keep plants away from any forced hot air, like heating vents and any severely drafty windows.  You also want to increase humidity in your home.  Don’t worry it sound a lot more complicated than it actually is.  Simple take a saucer filled with crushed stones and keep the stones moist. Another trick I use often is grouping my plants together if space allows.

Allow plants to dry thoroughly between each watering, this helps to minimize fungus gnat problems that may arise from the soil.  Be sure to hose down the plants with water and an insecticidal soap before you bring them indoors. You want to be sure to clean off insects that may be hiding out on your plants.  Add a granular systemic insect control to the soil every 4-6 weeks to ensure your plants stay insect free and healthy.

Overwintering tropicals can be a fun project for the winter months.  It will keep your hands in the soil and your passion for gardening all year long.

A DIRTY GIRL'S GARDEN

Flowers Make People Happy…They Make Me Happy!

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Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.

Luther Burbank

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A DIRTY GIRL'S GARDEN

Propagating Succulents

succulentsSucculents are the hottest trend In gardening but can be expensive.  It takes very little time to grow plants from your existing plants by propagation.  Here are some tips when propagating succulents.

In a pot or tray filled with cacti/succulent soil, be sure to pre-moisten soil, cut a leaf from the main plant and lay in the soil.  Be sure to cover the ends of cutting.  I like to lay them In pattern to maximize the space…plus they look pretty too.

Place pot or tray in a south facing window and water only when dry, check every 10 days or so.

In a few weeks you’ll see roots growing and rosettes forming.
It’s that easy!

A DIRTY GIRL'S GARDEN

Overwintering Tropicals, No Greenhouse Required

IMG_0085As a horticulturalist and avid grower of many types of plants I am always sad to see, the end of the growing season.  The threat of frost or hard freeze is always looming as we approach the late days of October which makes me feel anxious to take inventory of my tropical plant collection and prepare the indoors for their long winters stay.  I don’t have a greenhouse, nor a sunroom,but that doesn’t stop me from bringing in all my favorite tropical houseplants and succulent gardens.

Follow the Sun
Take note of where the sun plays upon the rooms in your home.  Most tropicals prefer warm, bright surroundings.  Bright light with temps in the 60 -70 degree range during the day is ideal.  Temperatures above 80 degrees can cause poor air circulation, which can lead to insect problems down the road.
Cut back any plants that are too tall.

Be Selective
Try and be selective when deciding what plants you want to over winter.  For example, take serious inventory of your potted tropicals. Bring in only what you have room for.  If you are overwintering hibiscus decide if that plant will have enough light to continue actively growing and flowering during the winter.  If not consider cutting the plant back approximately 1/3 and let it go dormant.  If you are considering bringing in annuals, like geraniums, lantana, or coleus, find the sunniest location and modestly cut back, and or take cuttings from them. Tropical foliage plants are great to over winter, because they enhance the beauty and air quality in your home.  Succulents are the easiest to maintain and can adapt to, not only bright light indirect, but moderate light as well.
Allow plants to dry thoroughly between each watering.  Allowing plants to dry out minimizes fungus gnat problems.  Be sure to hose down the plants with water and add a granular systemic to the soil every 4-6 weeks to ensure your plants stay happy and healthy.
Overwintering tropicals can be a fun project for the winter months.  It will keep your hands in the soil and your passion for gardening the entire year.

A DIRTY GIRL'S GARDEN

TOP 5 FLOWERING HOUSEPLANTS

IMG_0089-900x900Here are the top 5 MUST HAVE flowering houseplants

 

1) ORCHID

Enjoy this easy, low maintenance marathon bloomer.  Phalaenopsis Orchids are the easiest to grow indoors.  Adapting to most lighting situations, ranging from bright to medium indirect light, water when thoroughly dry, and mist 2-3 times per week.  Temperatures should not fluctuate more than 10-15 degrees from day to night.  Fertilize once a month with a 20-20-15 nutrient ratio.

 

 

Begonia-IMG_0089sm-600x4002) BEGONIA

Begonias range from flowering Tuberous Begonias to Rex Begonias, with is brightly colored leaves. Tuberous Begonias burst with a wide variety of beautiful spring color and bloom prolifically in bright light throughout the season. Rex begonias are technically not known for their flowers, but pack a punch with their brightly colored foliage.  Both are low maintenance and prefer the soil to dry thoroughly between each watering. Don’t be afraid to bring your Begonias outdoors for the summer.  They are awesome in shade containers and bloom all summer!  Fertilize weekly during the growing season with all- purpose 20-20-20  nutrient ratio.

 

Unknown3) AFRICAN VIOLET

A beloved plant for generations the African Violet, is one of the most collected species for most plant enthusiasts.  It is compact in size and produces a huge pop of color periodically throughout the year.  Prefers to dry between waterings and a Northeastern exposure to bask in the morning light.  Fertilize bi weekly with a 8-14-9 nutrient ratio.

 
images4) CYCLAMEN

Enjoy this plant during the months of January a d February.  It offers bright pops of color ranging in pinks, purples and white, the white being the most heavily scented.  Easy to care for and enjoys a brightly lit, cool window, water plant from the bottom.     Fertilize weekly with all-purpose 20-20-20 nutrient ratioE

 

 

 

 

images-15) BROMELIAD

Great Outdoors, but even better indoors, Bromeliads are sometimes referred to as urn plants.  They provide bright color and bloom for months at a time.  Water when dry and mist 2-3 times per week.  Fertilize during the growing season monthly with  all-purpose 20-20-20 @ 1/2 the recommended rate.

 

Hope you enjoy these beautiful easy to grow indoor flowering plants.  If you have any questions regarding the plants listed , or any other plant, please feel free to submit your inquiry below.

A DIRTY GIRL'S GARDEN

Think Positive Thoughts. Love Your Plants and They will Love You Back!

FullSizeRender   Not a day  goes by that I don’t talk to someone and they say to me,” Oh I can’t keep anything alive.”  “I have a brown thumb”  “I kill everything.” My initial thought is plants are not that complicated.  A little water, light and occasional feeding is all they need.

We all have the best intentions when we head out to the garden center and browse the plant yard and greenhouse.  You may not know what you are looking for and then it hits you, the most beautiful flower or foliage plant you have ever seen, whether it be for indoors or outdoors, you must have it.  You make that purchase, take it home and then it happens.  You either give  them too much love, or life gets in the way and you forget to give the plant any love at all, until it is too late.  Both options have the same result, death of the plant.  Plants like to be left alone to do their own thing,  grow healthy roots, foliage  and flowers.   They do so by not being overwatered, under watered, under exposed, over exposed, or under and over fed.  With that being said, make sure the plant is right for you and your location.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions to find out how much love to give your plants, knowledge is power.

Always remember to keep thinking positive thoughts, plants are like animals, they smell fear.  The end result,  plants that love you back, beautiful healthy, happy plants!

Plants want to grow; they are on your side as long as you are reasonably sensible.- Anne Wareham