By Jannie Vaught
Here are a few.
Pointsettia, the many varieties from white to red Amaryllis bulb that is forced and blooms its spectacular trumpet, heralding in the celebration. Paper Whites, narcissus with its erect stems with Sweet fragrant white star flowers. Rosemary that blooms the tiny blue flower, as a sweet nectar for the pollinators and Christmas cactus.
These are just a few examples.
Then there are the trees with the many varieties we bring indoors to decorate and make swags and wreaths. And the Holly with the red berries and the mistletoe hung where you can’t see. But today we will focus on that most excellent Christmas Cactus.
Let’s go to Central Texas Gardener.
Christmas Cactus,(Schlumbergera), this is a tropical and not a true cactus. It likes humidity and is not cold tolerant. In winter keep it indoors in a sunny window. In warmer weather, it can go outdoors in a shady area, a hot west window may be too much unless you have a window shade. Even though they are tropical they do not like wet soils and water to moist only when the soil is dry. In their natural growing habitat, they live high up in trees with very little soil. These plants need long nights to bloom so that is why they bloom in December for Christmas.
They do like humidity and will drop their buds if the air in the house is too dry or their soil has gone dry for too long. These plants can be long-lived and the older stems will get woody looking this is normal. You can snip these off at the segment and place them on a new pot with soil for propagation. When they have outgrown their pot transplant only one size pot up. If it’s in a 4-inch go to a 5-inch pot, not a six. Keep them compact. Other than that they need very little fussing with and give a beautiful long lasting flower that some even use for a centerpiece when decorating.
Here is a quick” To Do “list for December and the coming winter.
I will update you more as we move through the season. Plant ornamental and wild: Hardy perennials, trees, roses (best time). Winter annuals of Calendula, snapdragon, pansy, viola, and dusty miller. Snapdragon, ornamental kale, cabbage. Alyssum, stock and cyclamen. Avoid planting tender plants like a pride of barbados, Esperanza ( yellow bells) lantana and plumbago. There are some herbs you can go in with now, but be prepared to cover when the extreme cold comes in. These are perennial thyme, oregano, cilantro transplants, parsley, dill, fennel, chervil, summer savory, borage, rue, and chives. With all the cold wind and chilling temperatures its always good to put your cares aside and take a walk in the garden.
The growing really never stops, it just takes a nap.
Growing green Jannie