Phew, what a year 2020 was! Well, it’s over and, at least at this writing, things look hopeful for the future, at least from my perspective. Except if you live in a tropical or subtropical climate, there’s not much distraction from anything gardenwise, for now, so let’s take a close look at a plant no doubt sitting on many coffee tables and windowsills. Poinsettia. I’m not a big fan of their appearance, but I do like them as botanical curiosities.
Let’s share some botanical lore of this plant by setting your holiday poinsettia on a table in good light for a close look at its flowers. I say “close ” because the flowers are not those large, red, leaf-like structures. The large, red, leaf-like structures are just that — leaves, albeit modified leaves called bracts. The bracts attract pollinating insects to the plant.
A recent snowfall draped the landscape in magic. The white blanket settled softly on every horizontal surface to create a harmony in white.
Still, I miss green. Even better than seeing some green plants would be to liven up that green with, from the opposite side of the color wheel, red. And even better still would be to have this red-and-greenery close at hand — indoors.
Three plants fill this bill well, and are easy-care houseplants.
The most obvious and common member of this clan is poinsettia. Breeding, manipulation of their greenhouse environment, and plant growth regulators have transformed this sporadically blooming native of Mexico into a compact plant bursting into large blossoms for Christmas in foil wrapped pots.
(Actually, the “blossoms” are not blossoms, but colored bracts, which are modified leaves. Peer into the whorl of bracts and you’ll see small, round, yellow cups, called cyanthiums in which …
If the garden, indoors and out, has no need of my attention at any time of year, it is now. I probably shouldn’t even be writing anything about gardening because pretty much nothing is going on. So I’ll make this brief.
Lack of light, warmth, and/or enough cool temperatures are keeping plants quiescent or dormant. The bonsai weeping fig, the Maid of Orleans jasmine (Jasminum sambac), the rose geranium, and other
Bonsai weeping fig, biding its time, for now
houseplants aren’t waiting for warmth. They’re indoors. These tropical plants never experience true dormancy; they’re quiescent, just sitting and waiting for better growing conditions, in this case more light.
My amaryllis bulbs aren’t waiting for brighter days. They’re now leafless, so can’t see the light anyway. Like the above houseplants, the amaryllis bulbs are now also quiescent, in this case from lack of …