Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006...8:05 am

Christmas flowers and plants

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One of my faithful readers, Stephanie, and her husband are getting excited about Christmas.  Here are three questions she had about Christmas flowers and plants.

1. Are there any pretty Christmas/winter plants for the outside?

2. Besides the Christmas tree and the poinsettia, are there any other nice indoor Christmas plants?

3. Do you happen to know which types of Christmas trees tend to have the longest lives?

Here are my answers.

Question #1 is difficult to answer unless you can tell me the growing zone you are in. It is difficult to find outdoor blooming winter plants in my zone 6. That is why people like to plant hollies for their red berries or certain dogwoods, like Cornus stolonifera . Genus: Cornus,  Species:  stolonifera  Common name: Red Stem Dogwood  with their colored stems or trees like Ulmus parvifolia, Common Name Chinese elm; Lace bark elm with unusual and interesting barks.
 
Plants that do bloom in winter start getting flowers late in the winter season. One of the earliest flowers that pokes up through the snow are snowdrops.  Here is a picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some daffodils open their flowers in the snow. Another early blooming flower are the Hellebores.  Hellebores will bloom for long periods in cool weather if well established and happy in their locations and if it is a mild winter may even be seen blooming at Christmas time.  
 
#2 A nice plant for Christmas is the Amaryllis, a bulb either in a pot or for you to put in a pot in an all-purpose soil mix. This gorgeous plant likes bright, direct light in an east, west or south window.  It likes night temperatures of 55-60 degrees and day temperatures up to 75 degrees F. It likes to be kept evenly moist when flowering.
 
Or the Cyclamen, a plant that likes west or south exposure or bright indirect light.  With cool temperatures, night 45- 55 degree F and day temperatures of 60-65 degree F and keeping it evenly moist ( don’t get water on bulb or base of leaves and keep on pebble tray with water) the flower can last a long time.  Fertilize every 2 weeks in growing season  with 1/4 tsp. of 15-30-15  fertilize dissolved in one gallon of water. (Do not fertilize in the summer.)
 
#3 When brought into the house every Christmas trees has to have its trunk put in water. They will drink at least a quart of water each day the first week they are brought into the house. The firs last the longest when they are freshly cut. Check, before buying the tree, to see if any needles fall off. If they do, the tree is not fresh.  Spruce trees do NOT last long. Check out this site.

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  • My father, who was very tuned in to nature, passed away in October. We had a wonderful surprize a Easter time (March this year). Thousands of snowdrops that had never appeared before, popped up all over my mother’s yard and even in the landscaping! They look to be very deliberately placed, even in perfect rows. How could this have happened? It seems almost like a visit from him we think.

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