HOLIDAY PLANT CARE

Tis the season for gift-giving! Chances are you will either purchase or receive a holiday plant such as a poinsettia or amaryllis. They sure look lovely when you receive them, but what about after the holidays? How do you keep them looking great? Here are some tips on caring for some common holiday plants:

POINSETTIAS

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Let me set something straight about these lovely plants. They are native to Mexico and Central America and do not survive outside here in our region! Please keep your poinsettia indoors for now.

Once you receive your plant, unwrap it carefully and place in indirect light. It needs about 6 hours of light per day.

Keep the plant from cold windows, cold drafts and away from heat vents or radiators.

Poinsettias require daytime temperatures of about 60 to 70°F and night time temperatures around 55°F.

Check the soil daily. If possible, take the plant out of the foil and gently water underneath in a sink. Branches are very delicate and can easily break. Allow all water to drain before returning plant back to its foil.

Apply a an indoor plant fertilizer once a month. Do not fertilize while it is in bloom. With good care, poinsettias will last several months.

By the way, contrary to what you may hear, poinsettias are not completely toxic to a child or pet, though if ingested will give them a bad tummy ache.

AMARYLLIS

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These grow from a bulb and are native to South Africa. They form huge flowers up to 7” across and come in a wide variety of colors. After the flowers begin to drop, follow these instructions:

1. Cut the flower stalk after blooming stops, but allow the foliage to grow. You can place your plant outdoors for summer, if you like, in partial shade.

2. Keep watered so the soil is moist, but not wet.

3. Stop feeding in August.

4. Before a frost in fall, move your Amaryllis to a cool, dry spot and stop watering. The foliage will die back and a flower spike will start to form.

5. If you want your Amaryllis to bloom at a specific time such as Christmas, count backwards about 10 – 12 weeks, (mid- October) to determine when to stop watering.
CYCLAMEN

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Cyclamen are native to Europe, the Mediterranean and areas in Iran. They grow from a tuberous root and come in pink, red, purple and white.

When you receive this plant, it’s important to keep it cool and to water it correctly. Most folks make the mistake of putting it in a room that is too hot. Make sure not to over-water your plant. Always wait until the soil surface is dry prior to watering.

Fertilize the plant with a water-soluble fertilizer for indoor plants every 3-4 weeks.

Once it stops blooming it will lose flowers and leaves will begin to wilt. This will begin a stage of dormancy. You can choose to throw it away or put the plant in a cool dry place, let it go dormant until fall. As long as the tuber is plump and hard, it should be fine. Water thoroughly and wait for new leaves to sprout.

CHRISTMAS CACTUS

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Contrary to their desert cousins, these cacti grow in the mountains of south-eastern Brazil in a shady humid environment.

Christmas cactus need a well-lit location away from drafts from heat vents. After blooming, blooming use a fertilizer specifically for houseplants. Trimming back the plant after blooming will encourage more branching.

You may move your plant outdoors in summer but be sure to put it in a shady location; otherwise the leaves can turn red and burn.  Now that you have these tips you will hopefully enjoy your plants well beyond the holiday season.

FIGHT WINTER DOLDRUMS BY PLANTING FOR WINTER INTEREST

The days are getting shorter and winter will soon be here. Leaves will be gone from trees, perennials will go dormant, and your landscape might appear lifeless and dull. Did you know that by adding just a few outstanding plants, you can turn your boring landscape into a winter wonderland? These are just a few to mention:

Riverbirch (Betula nigra) is a large typically multi-trunked tree with beautiful peeling bark that changes from white to pinkish orange. Leaves have a buttery yellow fall color. Birch trees prefer sun /part shade, and grow in average to wet conditions. They are fast growing and  mature to 50′ feet tall. Recommended varieties of River Birch include: DuraHeat and Heritage.

Coral Bark Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum’Sango Kaku’) If you are looking for a smaller tree, this is it! A lovely vase shaped, tree with dazzling orange/red bark, Coral Bark Maples make a statement against a contrasting background such as dark hollies, or against a wall. Fall leaf color is a pretty orange/red. This tree requires well drained soil, full/partial sun, and matures to 15-25 feet tall and wide.

Shrubs

Camellias are the true stars of winter.   You might do a double-take seeing one in bloom. They have lush dark evergreen leaves, and hundreds of  stunning blooms. There are 2 basic categories of camellias: Camellia Sasanqua (blooming late fall -early winter ) and Camellia japonica (blooms late winter to early spring). Camellias require morning sun/afternoon shade in well drained slightly acidic soil. They typically mature to about 6-8′ tall to 5-7’wide. Pictured is Camellia sasanqua, ‘William Lanier Hunt’, a smaller variety maturing at 5′ tall and 5′ wide.

Perennials

Do you have limited space? Try planting some Lenten Roses (Hellebores). Hellebores have large evergreen leaves and are available in a multitude of varieties and colors.  Flower colors range from pastel pink, and green, to deep red, and pure white. Flowers typically emerge late January through March, and may persist until April.  Hellebores thrive in part-sun to shade in well drained soil and form clumps 18”tall and 24” wide. We love this brand new variety from the “Winter Thrillers” series called Red Racer.

Photo courtesy of Chris Hansen

BULBS

Another quick and easy way to add some winter/early spring color is by planting bulbs. Crocus, Daffodils,  Snowdrops and Hyacinths are very easy to grow and will multiply for years to come.

On a final note, don’t forget, you can still plant trees and shrubs as long as you can work the soil.  Remember to continue watering your new plants and give them a layer of mulch before a heavy frost comes.

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Support your Community & Participate in the 2013 Beautification Project

Support Silverbrook Nursery on November 24th- Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is November 24th..come out and shop with us!  Store-wide sale, ponsettias, Christmas ornaments & more!Image

Christmas Trees Arrive Next Week! Pre-Order your Tree Today!

Silverbrook Nursery is offering customers to Pre-Order Christmas Trees this year.  Have piece of mind by pre-ordering your tree and reserving the one that you really want.

Holiday Festival Saturday December 1st 11AM-3PM

Join Silverbrook Nursery for Santa, children’s entertainer, Groovy Nate, and more!  $5.00 per person. 

To RSVP visit, :https://www.facebook.com/SilverbrookNursery#!/SilverbrookNursery/events

Tips on How to Recycle your Halloween Jack-o-lantern!

Each year we spend ample time choosing just the right pumpkin to help decorate our homes for the Halloween season.  After trick-or-treat is over and the costumes are put away, what do you do with your carved jack-o-lantern that you spent so much time creating?

Make a Pumpkin Planter

This a fun and easy way to include the whole family in a project. As long as you haven’t seen your first frost, this is a great way to add a little natural beauty to your front porch. Silverbrook has lots of colorful pansies and mums that would look wonderful inside your new pumpkin planter!

Roast your Pumpkin Seeds for a Tasty Treat

Seperate your pumpkin seeds from the stringy insides and wash them off in the sink. Lay out your clean pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, making sure the seeds are covered with oil, and watch them roast to pumpkin perfection in the oven.

There are endless combinations to this fall favorite! What is your families favorite way to eat roasted pumpkin seeds?

Feed the Wildlife

If your a bird watcher or a nature lover, cut your your used jack-o-lantern into smaller pieces and toss it outside in your yard, away from your house and watch the wildlife come and enjoy a rare treat. Cardinals, robins, and blue jays are just a few that absolutely love to munch on pumpkin seeds. And, deer, squirrels, and chipmunks love to eat the fleshy inside of the pumpkin.

Create a Beautiful Fall Decoration by Creating a Pumpkin Serving Bowl and Candle Holder

To create a unique serving bowl to show off to your guests “simply place your hollowed-out pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush the insides and the tops with a little vegetable oil, and season as desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, and these babies are ready to serve your favorite soups or dips. They’ll be great conversation-starters, and you can toss them into the compost pile after dinner is over.”

To create a candle holder use a small pumpkin or a similar shaped gourd and cut a hole in the top and hollow out the inside. Except this time push the pumpkin top down into the pumpkin to help prop up the small tea light candle. This is a great place setting idea to invite your guests to your Thanksgiving table!

      

Compost your Pumpkin!

‘Just like fruits and vegetables, pumpkins are considered organic waste. Before adding the pumpkin to your compost pile, make sure that you remove any candles or non-organic decorations, as well as any remaining seeds so you won’t start growing new pumpkins in the pile.’ In the spring you will have some amazing nutrient rich soil to plant your beautiful flowers, shrubs, and trees in!

Need ideas, beautiful plants, or decorations to enhance the beauty of your home this holiday season? Stop by Silverbrook Nursery & Landscaping, we have all your holiday needs!