Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Favorite or New Plant
Keep That Gift Amaryllis
It really hurts for me to see bloomed-out amaryllis in someone's greenwaste bin. With just a bit of attention and care, they'll be a permanent and increasingly prolific bloomer in the garden. Once the blooms have faded, tuck the container in an out-of-the-way area to fully ripen the bloom stalk so its energy will be reabsorbed into the bulb. Then, cut the shriveled stalk about an inch above where it emerges from the bulb. Place the container or replant the root ball in a warm, sunny place to grow. Water it generously, and fertilize regularly until Labor Day. Watering with a quarter-strength houseplant fertilizer solution each time will provide constant feeding for gradual growth. Don't let the soil get dry at any time, as this will disrupt the cycle. During summer, a spot in filtered sun outdoors is fine. Flower buds set better in fall when night temperatures are cooler, from 50 to 55 degrees.
Tool or Gardening Product
Rubbing Alcohol for Pruning
An excellent, inexpensive, and easy-to-use disinfectant for pruning tools is rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Wipe shears with the alcohol after every several cuts to avoid spreading any diseases. Clean the blades thoroughly before moving to another tree or bush.