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Hilltop's Gardening Wisdom & Tips

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Holiday Plant Care

  • Poinsettias: The Christmas flower. We grow 5 varieties of red, plus white, shades of pink, striped, speckled, burgundy, and cranberry! Poinsettias are not poisonous! (When I was a much younger man, I worked at a greenhouse that grew and sold thousands of poinsettias. Every year my boss would go on KY3 and eat an entire plant, just to prove that they were not poisonous!) Poinsettias need consistent moisture (not too dry, not too wet) and normal room temperatures and a bright location. They are easy to maintain in an average house.

  • Cyclamen: These are commercially available year 'round from florists. We have a few for Christmas, but have streamlined this year to have most ready for Valentine's Day and the Lawn and Garden Show (when we sell the most). The unique, elegant plants have marbled leaves and "upside-down" flowers. A sunny window in a cool-ish location with even watering will give nice results. Pull out the stalks of finished blooms to keep it flowering. Many colors are available; some are quite fragrant.

  • Holiday cactus: Sometimes called Christmas cactus. Many colors are available at florists. These plants can live for decades if properly cared for. A bright window in the house with normal temperatures is what these plants like. Water when the plants dry out some - but not to the wilt stage. Too wet is not good. These plants must have natural day length to bloom properly. That is, when the sun sets, they must be in the dark until the sun rises; until the buds form. No reading lights, no street lights, no yard lights shining on them. Some of these cactus typically bloom at Christmas, but some bloom at Thanksgiving or at Easter. (Sorry, but we do not grow Christmas cactus.)

  • Amaryllis: These start from a big bulb. The leaves are like long tongue-depressors. The bloom stalk shoots up and is topped by (usually) 4 huge dinner-plate-sized blooms. They come in a variety of colors. They are happy in a sunny spot; a cool-ish spot will give the longest bloom period. After blooming, cut off the flower stalk, but let the long green leaves continue to grow until early October. Then let the plant rest - the leaves will die off; keep the bulb in the pot in a warm spot, but do not water. Let it rest for about 6-8 weeks; then start watering to get it to re-grow. It usually blooms within two or three weeks of breaking dormancy. The green plant may be put outside for a "summer vacation" on your deck or patio.

  • Paper-white daffodils: Typically white or yellow, clustered, small, fragrant. If kept cool, they usually bloom for 2 weeks. When they are finished, put them on the compost pile; they are finished! They do not "recycle". We do not offer these.

  • Cut evergreens: Keep them outside in the cold as long as possible or just use as outside decorations. Inside, cut greens are good for about a week; misting helps some. As the greenery dries, it becomes quite flammable!!! Very traditional, but can be messy!

Gardening Wisdom #15, 11/26/2018 © Hilltop Farm

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