Although St. Clair Shores is too cold to grow much of anything outside during the winter, there is plenty of gardening you can do indoors when the weather turns frigid. In fact, at Mancuso’s Florist, indoor gardening is one of our favorite winter activities. We put together a list of our favorite plants to grow and gift in the wintertime.
1. Christmas Cactus
These beauties are sensitive to the amount of light they receive each day, which is how they reliably bloom close to Christmas, hence the name Christmas cactus. When they bloom, Christmas cactuses have exotic-looking, tube-shaped flowers in alluring shades of pink, red, purple, orange, and white. They also are one of the few plants that aren’t poisonous to humans, cats, or dogs. This means you can safely display your Christmas cactus even if you have small children and household pets.
The Christmas cactus is actually native to the humid forests of Brazil, not the desert. As a result, they’re not nearly as tolerant of drought as their desert-dwelling cousins. To keep your Christmas cactus healthy, place it in a pot that drains easily with soil formulated for cacti or succulents. Keep in a sunny location and water when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.
Another favorite for the holiday season is the amaryllis. These plants have clusters of large, red flowers that look perfect as a centerpiece or other holiday decoration. Amaryllis are bulb plants and can be re-rooted and flowered year after year. Once your amaryllis flowers have wilted, store the bulbs in a cool, dry place for the spring and summer. Then you can plant them again in the fall and expect fresh blooms after six to eight weeks.
The amaryllis is a cousin of the lily. Although their toxins aren’t as potent as those found in lilies, they are still poisonous for cats, dogs, and people. Be sure to display yours in a place where your household pets and small children will be safe.
Cyclamens are one of our favorite choices for giving the gift of flowers during the holiday season and for warming up your home with bright colors. Their shooting star-shaped flowers bloom in colors ranging from light, rosy pinks to reds, deep magentas, and violet. They also come in a pretty snowy-white shade.
These lovely plants are native to the Mediterranean and will bloom all winter long if you care for them properly. Cut back wilted flowers and seed pods as they sprout. Provide plenty of sunshine and keep the soil moist, but never soggy, at all times. When your cyclamen goes dormant come spring, it might look like it’s dead, but it isn’t. Store it in a dry, cool location for the summer and resume watering in fall.
Blooming Poinsettia Basket
This holiday mainstay is a perfect way to celebrate and decorate because poinsettias bloom naturally in the winter in response to the shorter days. While red and white poinsettias are the most popular during the holidays, they also come in yellow, orange, and pink varieties, which can create a fun take on traditional holiday decor.
Many people mistake a poinsettia’s brightly colored bracts for its flowers, but the plant’s true flowers are actually the small yellow clusters that sprout at the center of the bracts. To keep your poinsettia’s bracts vibrant throughout the season, place your plant in a sunny location and keep the soil moist, being careful not to over-water the plant. Always allow water to drain completely from the poinsettia’s pot, being careful not to let it sit in standing water.
Although (and because) they remind us of tropical weather, orchids are the perfect winter plants. They bloom naturally in response to the cooler temperatures of winter — perfect timing for a splash of exotic color or snow-white petals. Plus, an estimated 30,000 different species of orchids grow around the world, which means there are just about endless varieties.
Orchids like a location with plenty of filtered or indirect sunlight, a pot that drains easily, and a humid environment. If your house is a little drier in the winter, you can mist your orchid with water or specially formulated plant spray.
Keep Your Air Clean with These Lovely Green Houseplants
When your house is sealed up tight for the winter months to keep the heat in and the cold outside where it belongs, indoor air pollution can become a problem. Filling your house with lots of green plants will purify the air naturally! We recommend English ivy, dragon trees, spider plants, snake plants, and bamboo palm.
For more information about indoor gardening, personalized plant recommendations, and tips for growing winter plants inside, we welcome you to stop by Mancuso’s Florist any time this season.