November 2011

Flower Review: Amaryllis

"Easy, beautiful and low maintenance, the amaryllis is a bright spot of color"

When you are planning your spring bulb garden, consider the easy, low maintenance amaryllis.  Considered the easiest bulb to bring to flower, the amaryllis comes from tropical South American but can be grown anywhere in warmer temperatures.  Renowned for its ease of blooming and beautiful, vibrant flowers, the amaryllis makes a great companion plant in a wide variety of flowerbed designs.

House Plants That Thrive on Low Light

One of the biggest struggles to decorating with houseplants is to find plants that will do well in the low light conditions many houses maintain.  There are only so many spots near the window to place plants, and you probably will enjoy seeing them more if they are naturally dispersed throughout your home.  That isn’t always possible, however, without providing a light source to supplement them.  There are several plants that do thrive in low light and would make excellent choices in those tricky corners of the house.

Living Wreaths

If you are looking to add something a little bit different to the greenery in your home, or you are trying to come up with the perfect Christmas, housewarming or hostess gift, consider making a living wreath.  Living wreaths are beautiful wreaths made of plants that are still alive and continue to grow and live after you have formed them into wreaths.

Poinsettias: The Quintessential Christmas Flower

No flower so perfectly captures the essence of Christmas like a poinsettia.  Beautiful, vivid red and greens capture the colors of Christmas in a hardy, easy to care for plant.  Even my Dad, who remembered to water his poinsettia about once a month, successfully kept one living into spring.  Here in the next couple of weeks, you should start seeing poinsettias lining up on shelves in markets and stores all over town.  If you are eager to bring Christmas into your home, grab one or two of these beautiful plants and enjoy the colorful foliage.

Fertilizing Houseplants

Indoor houseplants need regular fertilization, depending on how vigorously they are growing and how much light they receive.  Typical indoor plant fertilizers include a ratio of 20-20-20, which is equal parts nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.  Most fertilizers designed for indoor houseplants will work the same, so when choosing a fertilizer, feel free to opt for lower priced options, so long as they contain the proper formulation.

When to Fertilize
Only fertilize your plants when they are actively growing, and especially during blooming season if they are flowering plants.  Dormant plants will not need fertilizer and can suffer from being over fertilized.  A good rule of thumb is to fertilize once per month in spring and summer, but only 2-3 times through fall and winter.  Pay close attention to the needs of your particular plants and stop fertilizing if they show signs of too much fertilizer: