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Friday, September 22, 2023
Sept. 22, 2023

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Gardening With Allen Wilson: Brighten your home with holiday flowers


I would like to add more color to my home for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Could you give suggestions for decorating with long lasting holiday flowers and greens?

It is a good idea to get started on holiday decorating before the rush of other holiday activities. This includes outside as well as inside. It will be much more comfortable to install Christmas decorations before it gets too cold. And if you want some professional help, now is the time to book ahead. Many landscape contractors are now installing Christmas decorations and lighting professionally.

The chrysanthemum is the favorite for Thanksgiving with its range of fall colors. There are many other potted flowers including orchids, azaleas, kalanchoes and cyclamen. Poinsettias will be available before Thanksgiving. They now come in a wide range of colors including bicolors. If properly cared for, most of these flowering pot plants will last until New Years.

Evergreens not only brighten our homes but add wonderful, natural smells. Almost every home has some evergreen shrubs and trees which could spare some branches for decoration. Does your large evergreen tree have a few branches which are dragging on the ground? Most conifer shrubs could use some shaping.

We have several shrubs such as holly, pyracantha, cotoneaster and heavenly bamboo, which produce red berries. Clusters or ropes of evergreens with some cones and berries make excellent decorations for wreaths, mantels, shelves and banisters

When shopping, if temperatures are near freezing, plants and flowers should be covered on the way to the car. Although a shopping bag is helpful, a scarf or coat will give more protection.

Flowering plants should be placed where they get natural light. You may want to move them so they can be near a window, at least part of the time. Poinsettias are sensitive to cold drafts, so place them away from doorways to the outside.

Potted flowers with decorative foil are in danger of getting too much water. Foil traps water which drains out of pots. This water wicks back into the soil and may saturate it so that there is not enough soil air for plant roots. To avoid this problem, you can remove the foil from the pot when watering in a sink and let the plant drain for a few minutes before replacing the foil. Or simply make a hole in the foil and place a saucer under the pot to catch the water. Far more plants are killed from overwatering than underwatering. If you are not sure if the soil is dry, test it with your finger. It is time to water when soil becomes dry on top.

Don’t forget to add water to cut flower containers. A fresh flower bouquet can use half its water in a day or two.