Avoid winter gardening woes
Winter can give many plants a hard time.
Too often, plants are placed in unsuitable situations. If soil, drainage, sun and shade conditions are not ideal, they won’t thrive, will become poorly and perhaps die.
However, you can grow something successfully in the spot you want to grow it, if you create a better environment for it.
Citrus trees, for instance, resent wet feet and should be grown in an area that is free-draining and sunny.
To stop citrus and other plants getting waterlogged roots, dig a spade blade-deep trench around existing gardens, or with citrus, just beyond the drip line. Surplus water drains into the trench where wind and sun will help evaporate it.
A monthly spray of Perkfection Supa will help build up plant immune systems and prevent wet root diseases.
Frost tender plants should be protected with a spray of Vaporgard, or covered with frost cloth.
Popular winter flowering Cyclamen are plants that love the cold and require ample bright light. They hate it too warm and also detest wet feet.
Indoors, they should sit on a windowsill in as much light as possible. Every few days turn the plant 180 degrees so that the room side gets its share of good light for a while and stops the plant becoming unbalanced.
To water, wait till the foliage or flowers droop a bit through lack of moisture then give it a reasonable drink of cold water or even better, plunge it into a bucket of water, wait till it stops bubbling and then place it outside on a sunlit porch or patio for a couple of days before returning it to the windowsill.
A bit of a liquid plant food in the water also helps the bulb.
At night the cyclamen should be in the cool area between the window and the curtain away from too much room heat.
All indoor houseplants need to be near windows especially when daylight hours are short.
In winter, pot plants don’t need much water and over-watering can be fatal. A wet mix makes for colder roots, and when the heating goes off, can lead to root rots. Ideally, wait till the mix is just about bone dry and the plant’s leaves start to droop before giving them a small drink to moisten the mix a little. In heated rooms the dry air sucks moisture out of the plant’s foliage, which can cause the leaf tips and sometimes the whole leaf to go brown.
Place a shallow dish of water above or near the heat source, or try drying washing in the room – the plants will enjoy the moisture
Assist indoor plants by supplying a little Wally Fruit and Flower Power every month. The potassium and magnesium keeps the foliage from yellowing and hardens up the growth making plants more cold resistant.
Look after your plants now and you should still have them with you later in the year.
Problems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 357 0606) Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web site www.gardenews.co.nz
Cyclamen provide glorious winter colour galore, but need a bit of supervision and care if they are to be at their best indoors. Photo: FAIRFAX NZ