by Kay Wedel Landrum
As the song says, “O the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful…” Many gardeners use winter as a time to read garden books and magazines. Many people use winter as a time to evaluate what worked well this summer and to plan for the following spring. But just because it might be cold on the outside doesn’t mean that you can’t garden inside your home. Here are a few things you can do inside this winter to keep your green thumb happy and warm.Amaryllis are easy to grow and are beautiful flowers. Since my grandmother and great aunt already had everything they needed, they always looked forward to receiving one for Christmas. Wedel’s has 20 varieties of amaryllis. We can plant one for you at the store using our selection of containers or you can bring in your own. Make sure to pick up a copy of our care sheet on amaryllis, too.
If you would like to plant your own at home here are some directions for success: The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for 2 or 3 hours. Plant bulbs in a nutritious potting mixture – we recommend Fertilome Ultimate potting mix. Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting mix, being careful not to damage the roots. (Do not cover the neck of the bulb.) Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.
Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems. The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F. Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more. At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth. Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule.
Another plant to grow inside this winter is rosemary. I find the scent of rosemary very stimulating and almost invigorating. Most people find that our winters are too cold for rosemary to survive outside, but they can grow well with the right care inside.
The first thing rosemary needs is light. The plant should be placed by a sunny window or near a grow-light. You will find that rosemary might not put on much growth during our winter months but that is normal. As long as the foliage is a healthy green, your rosemary is doing fine.
The other thing rosemary needs is even moisture. Rosemary does not like to be too wet but should not completely dry out between waterings. At the garden center, I check the rosemary even other day for moisture and water when needed. Another thing I will do is mist the foliage about twice a week. When rosemary is outside during the summer, it enjoys a more humid climate than our homes provide. I have found in the past that leaves dropping off of rosemary brought inside for winter occurred when I did not mist the foliage.
I hope you stop by the garden center to check out the amaryllis, rosemary, other indoor bulbs and our Christmas displays. But most of all, I hope that you and your loved ones have a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year.