Monday, December 14, 2009
In addition to the traditional poinsettia of the season, you’ll find a host of other plants with long-lasting blooms and dazzling foliage. These charmers are a cinch to grow, and some of them rebloom, promising years of enjoyment. Lowe’s carries a variety of these plants to complement any color palette. Each thrives in bright, indirect light—natural light that’s suitable for daytime reading.
Butterfly-like blooms float above a rosette of leathery leaves with marbled silver markings. Press your nose into the flowers, and you’ll detect a light fragrance.
Secrets to success: Keep the soil moist, and fertilize every other week when the plant is flowering. If it dries out severely, flowerbuds will drop. During the summer, put your cyclamen outside in a shady spot and keep it barely moist. Over the course of the summer, new leaves should emerge as old ones die off.
Colorful leaves boast a tough-as-nails constitution; brilliantly hued flowers last for months. Cut off spent flower stalks.
Secrets to success: Bromeliad leaves grow to form a central cup. Keep this cup filled with rainwater or distilled water. Once a month, add two to three drops of houseplant fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro Liquid All-Purpose Plant Food (#93035), to the cup, and pour fertilizer diluted to half-strength on the potting mix.
Bring instant cheer to any room in your home with this holiday favorite.
Secrets to success: When making your selection, look for full color on the smallest bracts (colored leaves) surrounding the center yellow buds. Water your poinsettia when the soil is dry to the touch, and make sure the plant has good drainage. For a long-lasting show, avoid placing it in a drafty area and keep the temperature around 60° to 70° Fahrenheit.
Not a true cactus, the Christmas version prefers evenly moist soil. In winter, place this plant in bright, indirect light. In summer, set it outside where it has protection from direct sunlight.
Secrets to success: Flowerbuds form when night temperatures are 50° to 55° F, or when the plant receives 13 hours of uninterrupted darkness daily for six to eight weeks. You may leave your plant outdoors until the first frost is predicted—then bring your budding beauty indoors.