Tomlinson: variety of flowers ready to bloom over winter

Summer and fall flowers are finished for this year, but this does not mean that flowers should not be part of the environment. There are a number of plants that flower inside during the winter months. Depending on the variety they may flower for a few weeks or continuously. The key to get the plants to bloom is to provide the correct temperature and amount of light for that type of plant. With this information, it is easy to place the plant in the correct spot in which it will bloom.

African violets are an old standby. Given the correct environment they will bloom continuously. An east window that receives good morning sun is ideal. South facing windows work well in the winter, but plants need to be set back during the months when the sun is hotter.

The American African Violet Society recommends a soilless mix consisting of: three parts peat moss, two parts vermiculite, one part perlite, 1⁄4 part ground charcoal. The mix holds moisture but allows excess moisture to flow out the bottom of the pot. Typically, those that are showing their plants add the following nutrients to every gallon and half of soil: two tablespoons dolomite lime, one tablespoon bonemeal, one tablespoon phosphate fertilizer.

The additives give the plants a few extra nutrients but they still need to be fertilized on a regular basis with either a balanced fertilizer or one that is higher in phosphate. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the container.

Water African violets when the top soil is dry to the touch. Watering from above is preferable giving it enough water for excess moisture to flow into a saucer. Always remove excess water or the soil will become waterlogged.

Do not be in a rush to repot African violets as they bloom more in a smaller pot.

Oxalis are one off the easiest flowering plants to grow. The flowers are small but make up for it in numbers. As the plant has shamrock leaves it is usually available around St. Patrick’s Day or in the spring as bulbs or a filler for container gardens. Foliage is either a shade of green or red. Flowers come in white, light pink and yellow.

The plant does well inside and can bloom indefinitely. Given the correct environment the bulbs will multiply and once they become crowded they will need to be split or placed in a larger container.

Plant in a potting soil that allows the water to flow through the mixture while retaining some moisture. Always remove excess moisture as the bulbs will rot is waterlogged soil. If the foliage is allowed to wilt, the plants may become dormant.

Place the pot in bright light but out of direct sunlight. The plants can be kept in a south or north window during the winter but must be moved out of direct sunlight during the summer months.

Like all blooming plants, use a fertilizer that is high is phosphorous, the middle number in the formula.

Crown of Thorns is aptly named as its stems are lined with sharp barbs. Colorful bracts appear at the top of the stems giving the plant its name.

Place this plant in a window that gets direct sunlight for at least three hours a day. Water when the soil is very dry. Fertilize when the plant is actively growing.

If the climate is not favorable, the plant will drop its leaves. Rectify the problem, and the leaves will grow back.

Crown of Thorns is classified as an Euphorbia, the same as a Poinsettia. The sap from both plants can irritate the skin. It should never be eaten.

Take time out of the rush of Christmas shopping to search out flowering plants. They are cheerful reminder of what was and what is to come in the home and office.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com

Just Posted

Shipping oil by rail questioned

Red Deer-area mayors respond

Country star Gord Bamford and The Reclaws perform free Games concert Friday

Show starts at 6:30 p.m. in heated dome off Celebration Plaza in downtown Red Deer

Survey looks at social isolation among older men

Partnership between Red Deer College and Golden Circle Resource Centre

Peruvian brothers travel nearly 8,000 km to volunteer at Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Italo and Mirko Del Castillo say Canadian warmth contrasts with twinter cold

Pride Days celebrated for first time at Canada Winter Games on Feb. 21 and 28

Pride Days are another first for Red Deer’s 2019 Canada Winter Games.… Continue reading

Gardening: What are you planting in 2019?

What’s new in plants for 2019? Checking catalogues, greenhouses and stores will… Continue reading

Opinion: I spy another energy hypocrite

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. The mittens provided to… Continue reading

Canada’s bobsleigh team races World Cup on Calgary home track facing closure

CALGARY — Canada’s skeleton and bobsled teams will race a World Cup… Continue reading

Italy becomes ninth international football league to join forces with CFL

TORONTO — Add Italy to the growing list of international football federations… Continue reading

Toronto Defiant Overwatch academy team to be known as the Montreal Rebellion

MONTREAL — The Toronto Defiant’s Overwatch academy team will be known as… Continue reading

Canadian fashion and design insiders recall Karl Lagerfeld’s charm, ingenuity

TORONTO — Several Canadian fashion and design experts who knew couture icon… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Make your funds move at the speed of life

Change is constant — especially when you’re young. Chances are you’ll cycle… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Most Read