Friday, December 14, 2007

More Winter Blooming Plants

This is another great winter plant, not only because it blooms in the winter but the blooms are numerous. It can be a little fussy and most of the information I have been able to gather indicates that most people just pitch the plant after it has finished blooming.

As with most house plants they do need more humid conditions, especially when our furnaces are running and drying out the air. Get a plastic saucer and fill it with pebbles and water so that the water will evaporate and humidify the air immediately around the plant. The pebbles will keep the plant from actually sitting in the water. They also prefer cooler conditions and bright, indirect light. We were in Rome several years ago in January and I was surprised to see cyclamen growing outdoors in containers.

Cyclamen are tuberous plants and to get them to re-bloom they will need a dormant period after flowering. Let the plants die down by reducing and then stopping watering. Let them rest in a cool, dark place for three months, then re-pot and begin watering and fertilizing.

Norfolk Island Pines

Often called a "living Christmas tree," these plants hail from the South Pacific and are not pines at all. Norfolk Island Pines need bright, indirect light and do best in cooler temperatures. Plant them in a good, well draining soil mix and water to keep it slightly moist but not soggy. In the summer, fertilize monthly with a half strength general purpose house plant food. In the winter provide humidity by misting or setting the container in a saucer filled with pebbles and water. They like to be slightly root bound so repot only when necessary, every 3-4 years, in the spring.

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