Grow Those Winter Doldrums Away

By Bonnie Grant | December 27, 2022
by Bonnie Grant
December 27, 2022

My home is filled with plants. I am just a hoarder, it seems. And I keep acquiring more. So many that I have had to get plant lights for the ones in the lower light rooms. But some of my favorites are ones I have had for a long time. They bloom in winter, a sight guaranteed to make me grin. Several are even ready for a Christmas surprise.

Houseplants that Bloom in Winter

Among my indoor plants are quite a few blooming houseplants. My holiday cactus comes to mind. I have had some difficulty getting it to bloom for the holidays over the years, but now it has its own plant light and the flowers show up reliably. I love the hot pink, tubular flowers paired with the notched, green leaves. They look like tropical flowers, which is appropriate since holiday cactus are native to tropical regions. They are not like their desert cousins, and actually need even moisture and gentle light.

I have an amaryllis plant that I keep potted up year around. In fact, just writing about it reminded me I needed to bring it out of the attic and down to heat, light, and water. It has been in quarantine for about 7 weeks, and now I need to give it a little love. Pretty soon it will send up flower stalks that are blooming around Christmas. I also have some paper whites to start. These types of winter bulbs grow easily indoors and produce blooms by the holidays. Winter bulbs are all over stores this time of year and also make great gifts. I lift my paper whites after blooming and let them dry a bit before I store them for the next year.

One plant that seems to bloom off and on all year is my Meyer lemon. It still has some blooms coming even in winter, but it also has some tasty looking lemons on the little tree. The glossy leaves are gorgeous, but it’s the white flowers, with their citrus scent that are really appealing. Plus, those lemons will put the zing in my holiday cooking.

Poinsettia Problems

One of the plants associated with the holidays is the poinsettia. I have one from last year that seems pretty happy, but it lost its red bracts. I cut it back around April and gradually introduced it to the outdoors. I fed it monthly with a balanced fertilizer and pinched back any leggy growth to keep it nice and tidy. By Labor Day, I moved it back inside. At the end of September, I started the all important short day, long night cycle. I put a box over the plant at night, for at least 14 hours. I did this for about 10 weeks and it is supposed to be coloring up. It is not. Gardening is not an exact science and these are notoriously finicky plants that need exact conditions to produced colored bracts.

In spite of my poinsettia fail, everyone else is doing beautifully. And the poinsettia will continue to get my best care until I try again next year. In the meantime, I have plenty of blooming houseplants to cheer me up this winter.

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