WINTER BLOOMERS BY GLADYS JEURINK
suggested that I write about indoor plants that will bloom in the winter
time. The first is a plant that thrives on neglect. The Crown of Thorns
(Euphorbia milie) is very easy
to grow. It will grow to 3
feet tall but there are dwarf forms.
Since I don’t have room for many 3 feet plants, I cut off a
stem early in spring, put it in potting soil to which about ¼ sand has
been added and keep it damp-not wet.
Or you can cut it back any time to fit your space.
In a high light place it will bloom all year. When you water,
water well and then let the soil dry some what.
Fertilize during spring and summer every two weeks.
Water and fertilize sparingly during winter while the days are
short. Red is the one we usually see but there are salmon and yellow
also. It does have some
very sharp thorns and the milky sap is toxic.
Red Hot Cats
Tail, Chenille Plants or Acalypha hispida is a woody shrub about 6 feet tall in its native
tropics. Here we quite
often use it as a hanging plant as there is a trailing form.
It produces long, red fluffy catkins up to 20 inches long in a
greenhouse or high light window with good humidity. Since it is not easy to grow, you will need to watch out to
find one, or you can start one from cuttings in summer or fall. Leaves
will curl in low humidity, will drop if too dry or too wet. Mine was on
the east side of the house all summer and acquired many, many, perfectly
round very little holes in its leaves and its tails are only about 4
In the middle
of the winter the Kolanchoe blossfeldiana has become very popular. It blooms for a
long time in red, pink, orange or yellow.
There are many Kalanchoes
but so very different that you wonder about being of the same genus. The
blossfeldiana blooms for a
long time. They are short
day bloomers so the florists can control how many and when they want
them to bloom. In summer
they can go outside. Let the soil get somewhat dry before watering. In
winter as it gets ready to bloom it will need a moist soil and
fertilizer. You can grow
new plants from leaves or cuttings.
They are a succulent so let the cut ends heal for a day or two
before you plant. If they
are too big, they can be cut back after flowering to allow them time to
grow buds again.
If you are a
patient person and want a “different” bloom, try the Hoya
carnosa. There a number of Hoyas
and some of them can get very large.
Most are recommended for greenhouses. Carnosa
is not a climber without help.
Sometimes call a Hindu Rope Plant, sometimes a Wax Plant, it
produces long stems (the books say up to 20 feet) of twisted leaves.
I put a trellis in my pot and wound the rope up, back down, and
up again. Now after 2
years, I have a blooming plant. The
blooms are waxy, about 3 inches across, in a half circle of about 20
pure white flowers with a reddish center that smell good at night.
My growing directions say do not repot until you have to. Do not
disturb the plant after buds appear, and do not remove the dead flowers
as the next ones come from the same stems. The seemingly dead branch
tips are where the blossoms form. Mine has several branches flowering
and I need a taller trellis, but I will have to wait until it is through
are good for different windows as there are many kinds and sizes. Many
of them are grown for their gorgeous leaves and not for the flowers.
They range from very small to over 4 feet tall.
The “Angel Wings” that get very large during the summer
outside are the easiest for me to grow. However, the same sad thing
occurs every fall. It seems they get too big to bring in and their coral
flowers are still blooming. What a waste.
will bloom year round if they are happy. They hate hot dry days and cold
nights, too much water, and too much sun.
They do like and need high humidity.
Begonia, a leafy bush only 6-12 inches high that is used as a
bedding plant in shade in summer, can be dug up placed in a light window
but not direct sunlight, and it will bloom all winter.
Then I have a Begonia
partita which has a swollen stem to store water and only grows about
12 inches high and is often used as a bonsai plant.
It has more blooms in summer but there are usually a few white
ones in winter. It prefers
a drier soil so makes a good window sill plant in a bright light.
is not about winter blooming plants but thought you might be interested
in a follow-up. I have mentioned before about Ginger
being a good ground cover for shade, but I didn’t mention that I have
been finding it growing in some weird places.
This week in the American Gardener Magazine, I read it is
pollinated by beetles, which is why the little brown blooms hug the
ground. They also say the
seeds all have a little fat tail containing sugar.
Ants carry off the seeds to eat the sugar. How’s that for
special efforts to succeed?
Copyright Oct 15,