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Noon Edition

Tender Plants

begonia

I have some grow lights in my basement so each fall I cut back hard my pots of annuals, such as dragon’s wing begonias and geraniums. Some of the pieces I cut off go in clear glass vases on a windowsill in my laundry room. Clear glass allows me to see the water levels so that I can top them off every time I do laundry. Over the winter the cuttings put out water roots, and in the spring I pot them in soil.

The plants that have been chopped off go in the basement under the grow lights. About once a week when I go into the freezer in the basement, I water those pots. In the spring after the last frost, I put the pots back on my patio and fertilize them well over the summer, and every few years I repot them in new soil.

My clivia houseplants that summer outdoors stay out for a period of cold weather to ensure that they bloom later in the winter. They have to come in before a hard freeze, of course, which would kill them. Clivias are native to South Africa, and here they bloom indoors in January. They like to be root bound.

I should add that all plants that come indoors at my house are hosed off well to rid them of pests and given a dose of granular rose and flower systemic fertilizer containing insect and disease control. Any houseplant, except for clivias, that have become too ungainly, such as tropical hibiscus, are cut back hard so that they’re manageable indoors.

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