This week, I have some tips on buying and looking after indoor house plants, preparing for cold and a reminder that it's planting time for fruit. Don't forget to check out my monthly tips too!
- Reduce water given to cacti and succulents in winter. They will still need a little, and will also benefit from a weak feed every month or so. Christmas cacti need more regular watering otherwise they will drop their flower buds.
AlanGardenMaster holding a Christmas cactus
- Reduce the feeding of house plants to fortnightly and reduce watering. If they are very leafy or near to a heat source, they may still need more frequent watering. Remember that it's generally better to give a thorough, less frequent soak than a regular dribble!
- Indoor Cyclamen are at their very best this month! They are perfect for cool rooms, halls or conservatories. Water only from the base to avoid diseases attacking the centre of the plant.
- When choosing cyclamen to buy, you can tell that it is well grown by putting your fingers between the flower stems and inverting the plant onto the palm of your hand without having an ill effect on the plant. It might raise a few eyebrows when you do it in the shop!
A well grown plant bearing its own weight on its leaves
- Remove any dead flowers or yellow leaves from cyclamen by holding the stem between forefinger and thumb, twisting through 90 degrees and giving a sharp tug towards the centre of the plant. This way, you will avoid leaving the base of the stem that can rot and spread to other stems.
- If you have an indoor plant that is not growing as well expected, never be afraid of knocking the pot off and seeing if the roots are alright. Lots of dead roots may be a sign of over-watering. If the root ball is full of roots, then it probably needs a bigger pot.
- On cold nights, make sure that indoor plants are on the room side of curtains so that they aren’t shivering on the wrong side!
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Dull but important
- Disconnect your hosepipe from the outside tap and store it. Lag the tap to protect it from frost.
A flexible garden hose
- If you can’t put your garden furniture inside, it's probably worth investing in a cover. That way, you can whip the cover off and sit in the garden whenever the sun shines!
- Wooden garden furniture should be cleaned down and treated with good oil when dry.
A Lutyens style garden bench seat
- Wash bird feeders and tables with Jeyes Disinfectant to minimise the spread of bird diseases. There’s plenty of natural food this month, but you’ll soon need to help them out by putting out more bird feed.
- Check stored fruit regularly. Remove and eat any that are ripe and check for any that are rotting. Watch out for mice too!
- Plant fruit canes this week and throughout winter. Raspberries, loganberries, tayberries and other hybrid cane fruits are easy enough to grow if you have the space for them. These will also tolerate a bit of shade.
- Plant fruit bushes now too. Gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and blueberries are easy to grow. Many varieties of containerised and pot grown stock are available at this time of year.