Doug Hackbarth - Broadview Florist & GreenhousesDuring the short, gloomy days of winter, one wonders if anything could possibly grow and yet, look good enough to actually want it in your home.
Well, the good news is that there are plenty of plants that tolerate these questionable conditions. The easiest among them are the “snake plant” (sansevieria), the Chinese evergreen (agleonema), The ZZ plant (zamioculcas zamiifolia) and the cast iron plant (aspidistra). These plants tolerate low light levels and very little water.
Weeping figs, Hawaiian scheffleria, dieffenbachia and ivy plants are also fairly easy to grow any time of the year, but they do require a little more light and water.
Blooming plants make great fill-in plants for beautiful color but most blooming plants only stay in bloom for 2 to 4 weeks. Two exceptions would be kalanchoe and African violets which may bloom for 6 weeks or more. Kalanchoes are really easy as they require very little water and you can usually buy them while they are “tight” (just starting to come into bloom). This way you can watch them come into full bloom which could take many weeks.
Starting seeds, repotting or propagating cuttings at this time of year is strongly not advised. Everyone gets over anxious especially each time the sun comes out, but try not to do these things now. Rather, wait until the last week in March or early April as that gives you more than enough time to get an early start to the spring season.
The biggest violators are the ones who try to get a jump-start on tomato plants. I have seen cases where gardeners have planted tomato seeds as early as November for the next spring season. Tomato seeds should be planted only 5 weeks before final frost date and pepper seeds 5 to 6 weeks before.

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Doug Hackbarth

Doug's is the former owner of Broadview Florist & Greenhouses in Waynedale. He authors a garden & landscaping article in the newspaper. In his adolescence he attended Hillcrest, Kekionga and Elmhurst HS. His expertise has been shared in print, tv and radio. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer