BOISE - Cold weather has arrived, and gardening season has ended. But that doesn’t mean you have to retire your green thumb for the winter.
Today on “You Can Grow It,” garden master Jim Duthie shows us how we can keep our green thumbs in shape by bringing the garden indoors, and brighten up the gloomy winter days with houseplants.
It’s time to bring your green thumb indoors, so today we got together with Matt Johnson, the florist at Edwards, to get some tips on a few popular houseplants and how to care for them.
“I love scented geraniums. A lot of people use their geraniums in their patio pots,” said Johnson.
This is one plant that can be easily moved indoors after spending the summer outside. Dig it up, or remove it from its pot, and take a look at the roots, and even loosen them up a bit.
“And then we’ll look for dead leaves, and especially insects.”
This geranium is being transplanted into a clay pot that has a drainage hole in the bottom to prevent overwatering.
“The biggest thing is good drainage.”
“So we’ll add a good inch of gravel, and that just helps the drainage a little bit.”
Set the plant in the pot so that it’s about three-quarters of an inch below the rim of the container.
“And that just makes life a lot easier for watering.”
“So we’ve got the plant at the proper level, and now we’ll just pack soil in about it.”
And there you have it. A classic plant in a classic clay pot, ready to spend the winter indoors.
Perhaps you’ve got a decorative container or an antique you want to put a plant in. It still needs to provide good drainage, but you’ll want to protect it from any water damage, so you’ll need to line it first with a waterproof material, such as plastifoil. It’s plastic on one side and foil on the other, so it’s decorative and waterproof at the same time.
“And it’s a good way to use the things that you’ve collected that you like, you know, the different pots that you have and you want to showcase. You just have to make sure to protect them properly.”
Matt has picked out this colorful cyclamen, and selected a container that’s just about the right size for the plant.
“I know already that I’m going to want the plant to sit about three inches off the ground, so that it sits at the top of the pot.”
Adding pea gravel to the container will lift the plant a little higher, and provide the necessary drainage.
“I think that’s about enough gravel, so now I’ll put the cyclamen down.”
“And that seems just about right.”
Placing a little moss on top will help to hide the inner pot and the plastic lining.
And here’s a helpful watering tool.
“This is a moisture meter. It’s really easy to operate and easy to read. It’s got a scale of ten – dry, moist and wet.”
You can find one at any garden store. This cyclamen was watered today, so it’s good for several more days.
“The number one thing is that we never want to overwater our plants. A plant can come back from being underwatered, but it has a very difficult time coming back from being overwatered.”
The ficus is a popular houseplant, and this variety is different and interesting. It’s called a fiddle leaf ficus. Note the large, glossy, violin-shaped leaves.
This is the bush form of the fiddle leaf ficus.
And it also comes in a topiary, or tree style. Afterall, Boise is the City of Trees.
Looking for a plant that would do well in a low light setting?
“This plant is called a ZZ plant.”
That’s easier to say than it’s official name - Zamioculcas Zamiifolia.
“It’s got beautiful, beautiful glossy leaves.”
“This is a plant that you really can’t overwater.”
Here’s an old favorite that’s been around for years.
“So this is a Sansevieria. A lot of people know it as a Mother-in-Law’s-Tongue…. Because it’s so sharp, right? Exactly – pointed.”
Sansevieria is often called a snake plant, or a sword plant. It’s easy-to-care-for and has a unique shape, and it also does well in low light situations.
“And people seem to love it. It comes in a lot of different textures as well. Sometimes golden.”
And it would make a great holiday gift for, well, perhaps your mother-in-law.
“Thank you, Matt Johnson, the florist at Edwards, for giving us some ideas on houseplants to keep our green thumbs busy during the winter time.
Besides providing the right amount of water, houseplants need the right amount of sunlight, too. Most will do well with indirect light, within three to five feet of an east, west, or south-facing window, and several varieties of houseplants will tolerate low light or shady conditions.
Be sure to follow the directions on the label of the plant to provide the right amount of sunlight and water. And don’t forget to fertilize your plants every few weeks.
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