The people's voice of reason

Southern Gardening - Potpourri for January

A new year with new beginnings and hopefully a year we see Covid in our rear view mirror. My sincerest wish is for each and every one of you to experience a happy and prosperous 2022.

Back in the garden, there some things we all need to take care of. If you have chilled tulips for 4-6 weeks, go ahead and plant them this month either in pots or in the garden beds. A good technique, which I have mentioned in the past, is over planting tulips with pansies, dianthus or even dusty miller. The effect is quite stunning with a ground cover of low flowers and the spiked look of the upper tier of the tulips. This garden design of over planting can be used in the beds with low annuals and over planted with taller flowers such as Gaura. Overplanting with the shorter flowers and taller ones is also great for very formal beds.

Daffodils and other bulbs can be planted now, again in outdoor pots, in beds or in naturalized areas. I prefer to naturalize the daffodils outside of the flowerbeds. All looks beautiful during their bloom cycle, but when they die down, the leaves turn yellow and brown for about a month. One must remove the blooms but allow the leaves to die back in order to feed the bulbs for next year's blooms and to assist in the bulbs multiplying. If the yellowing leaves are trimmed back (as they are unsightly) next year's blooms will be stunted.


The Christmas Cactus is a succulent and a cousin to the cacti that thrives in the deserts. They bloom for long periods of time around Thanksgiving and Christmas indoors with some of the most exotic blooms in nature. It is truly a plant that keeps on giving. They are easy to propagate either rooting in water or in potting soil. To speed the process, which normally takes about 2 weeks, the cuttings should be placed in a sunny window. If you are propagating in soil, take a cutting where there are knots or calluses and plant it in the soil and water until slightly moist. They prefer a drier environment. Do not over water or let the soil get too soggy as the stem will rot rather than root. They are peculiar in that they like to have crowded roots or what we would call root bound and love clay pots since these are porous with good air circulation. In addition to the moist soil, they love misting from a spray bottle and watering only at the base of the plant. To keep the plant with continuous bloom, be sure to deadhead all of the spent blooms. People keep Christmas Cactus year round mainly for their interesting leaf structure.


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