Holiday Gift Plants
The traditional holiday gift plant is the poinsettia. This year break out of the mold and give some unusual holiday potted plants such as moth orchid, cyclamen, and oxalis. These plants not only will be colorful during the winter, but they're easier to grow as a permanent part of your houseplant collection than the poinsettia.
Clean Seed-Starting Supplies
The garden is tucked in, the trees protected, so now your attention can go to getting ready for next year. This is a good time to take an inventory of seed-starting supplies such as potting soil, pots, and labels. Clean clay or plastic pots in a 1% bleach solution. Throw out broken or ripped pots and make a list of new pots and soil to buy for the spring.
Gifts for Gardeners
Trying to find the perfect holiday gift for the gardener in your family? Consider some of these options: Every good gardener has a hand pruner, but how many have a pruning holster that straps onto your belt? A new garden calendar to mark important gardening dates and a sturdy pair of gardening gloves are also practical gifts every gardener can use.
Control Aphids on Hibiscus
If you've brought your flowering hibiscus in for the winter after summering outdoors on the deck, chances are by now you're seeing a shiny, sticky substance on the leaves and small black or green aphids sucking the plant juices. Spray these aphids with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to kill them. Check the plant weekly for more aphid activity.
Turn the Compost Pile
The compost bins are filled with leaves, grass clippings, and old flower and vegetable plants. If the pile has been sitting for a few weeks, now would be a good time to turn it. Turning the compost pile helps it heat up, speeding the composting process. If you want to create a really hot pile, add some high-nitrogen fertilizer and keep the pile moist, but not wet.