Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Norfolk Island Pines and Colorful Plants
Norfolk Island pines can become mini-Christmas trees, decked out with their own tiny lights and ornaments. Provide each room in the house with its own individually decorated tree. Use cookie cutters hung with red ribbon bows to decorate the kitchen tree. Other living plants for seasonal indoor color include African violets, florist's azaleas, begonias, Christmas cactus, Christmas (Jerusalem) cherry, cyclamen, and kalanchoe, as well as the ever-dependable chrysanthemum and poinsettia. Be sure to give these living plants bright indirect light, keep them cool and out of drafts, and water them just enough to keep the potting mix barely moist. Cacti and succulents are also good choices, but they need direct sunlight and very little water.

Clever Gardening Technique

Plastic as Chill and Frost Protection
Use plastic sheeting to provide temporary light shade or to protect the southwest side of a plant from chilling winds. Be sure it doesn't touch the foliage, as this may increase frost damage.

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