AFTER CHRISTMAS FLOWERS

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is over and that poinsettias are now not at the top of my list. So what’s next? Between now and Valentine’s Day we still have birthdays, anniversaries, get wells and sympathies that require the gift of a beautiful blooming plant or cut flower arrangement. Suggestions include cyclamen, azaleas, kalanchoes, African violets and later, mixed bulb greens.

These crops are relatively simple to keep but you must never expect plants to last forever. Generally a blooming plant is only in bloom for about 4-6 weeks and while many plants can survive that time period as a green foliage plant, you must ask yourself if you want to make it happen. Cyclman usually bloom from November through March and then they are finished until next November. Azaleas normal blooming time is in the spring and kalanchoes bloom just after Christmas. All of these plants can be fooled into blooming any time of the year by professionals but how far are you willing to go yourself.

Mixed bulb gardens are another easily fooled blooming plant because while they naturally bloom in the spring outdoors we make it happen from Valentine’s Day until Easter indoors. It’s simple, you plant them in November or early December and then place them in a refrigerated area until February, then simply bring them to a sunny location and they bloom. The colors of red, yellow, pink and blue as well as the fragrance of the hyacinth cannot be beaten. This is a perfect example of a crop that could be grown in a cold frame.

African violets are interesting because while they look delicate, they are really one of the easiest indoor, blooming plants that you can grow. The main reason that they are so perfect is that they love temperatures between 70 degrees both day and night … just like in your home during the winter. The only special treatment that they need is artificial lighting. Violets really need long days in order to bloom all of the time to equal a day length of 6-18 hours continuously and nighttime of only 6-8 hours. I place my violets under a 2-bulb florescent fixture and turn it on from the moment I get up in the morning until the time that I go to bed at night. This works very well.

The Waynedale News Staff
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