Mid-Atlantic

December, 2004
Regional Report

Poinsettia Pointers

Poinsettias can be kept from year to year with a little care and patience. Keep your plant in a cool but bright and sunny location with the soil slightly moist. Don't be alarmed if it begins to look bedraggled as the weeks go by; this is normal under home conditions. Do not fertilize it now. Next spring, cut it back very hard to stimulate fresh new growth and then begin fertilizing regularly. In the fall you'll need to begin keeping it in total darkness every night to get it to color up again.

Saving Amaryllis

Amaryllis bulbs will rebloom next year with some basic care. Once the blooms fade, trim off the bloom stalk but leave the foliage intact. Set the plant in a sunny window and water to keep the soil slightly moist. Fertilize every other week with a water-soluble fertilizer for foliage plants. Next fall, plan on giving the bulb a rest period before replanting it grow and bloom again.

Provide As Much Light As Possible for Houseplants

Most houseplants need as much light as possible this winter. Make sure your windowpanes are clean; if possible, remove the window screen and pull aside curtain sheers to allow more light in. Dust on the leaves also reduces the available light, so feather dust them or use tepid water to gently rinse the foliage clean.

Evaluate Landscape

Winter reveals the underlying structure, or so-called bones, of a landscape or garden. Without the distraction of greenery and color, we notice both the good and the bad points, sometimes all too easily. Take a little time to observe and jot down a few notes and/or snap a few photos. These will help you plan ahead for next spring and summer.

Take Classes

Many botanical gardens, parks, recreation departments, and education programs offer gardening, landscaping, and related classes during the winter and early spring. Investigate what is available in your locale, and sign up for what interests you as soon as registration opens. Avoid the frustration of seeing a great class too late.

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