Winter Gardening

I repotted houseplants the other evening. It’s such a simple task – although I always make a mess with the potting soil – but a very satisfying one.

We could call it winter gardening.

The plants in the corner of the living room had outgrown their pots to the point that they all had roots coming out the drain holes in the bottom. One was even sending roots into the air in search of fresh earth. So, I hauled them all into the messy sink that I use for these dirty jobs and played musical pots. Invariably, I need to buy one bigger pot – which I did – and the biggest one moves into there. Then the next biggest plant moves into the recently vacated pot, and so on down the line. They all get a trim while they’re there and have their dead bits trimmed off and their shape improved. The floor gets cleaned and back they go – this time, I rearranged the plant stands and moved some to different windows because they weren’t happy with their light.

When I was rummaging for pots, I found a pair of old amaryllis bulbs starting to shoot in the basement – after they bloom, I put them down there, and eventually they send up shoots again. So I repotted those since they’re still dozing and won’t be as troubled as when they’re awake.

Ha. It’s like having all new plants! They look so good and so healthy. My hibiscus have recovered from the jolt of coming back inside this fall and are in bud again. The jade plant is doing well after his big reshaping this summer. The grapefruit tree – which came from a seed I found in a grapefruit that already had a root – is over four feet tall now and had to move to a new window. The cactus didn’t survive moving inside so off they went to the compost. The Christmas cactus is already in bud, but the African violet needs to be in a different window. I moved it and it’s stopped blooming for the first time in four years. Maybe it just needed a break. The schifflera (sp?) was reaching for the sky, so I chopped it down and rooted the pieces in with the main root – it looks more like a bush now, so I hope the pieces take root.

There are a few strays still awaiting my attention but I’ll get them potted up by the weekend. And now that I know what colours of amaryllis are showing signs of life, I might buy another bulb. There are lots of amaryllis bulbs in the stores right now and they’re not too expensive. The flowers are quite spectacular and they’re very easy to care for – the only mistake you can make is giving them too much water. They’re much less fussy than poinsettias – which really want to be in Mexico, growing wild, not potted up in some house in Canada, desperate for sunshine.

I think I need a red amaryllis.

Which are your favourite houseplants? Or your favourite flower or houseplant to have in the winter?

6 thoughts on “Winter Gardening

  1. My favourite houseplant? One that won’t die on me. LOL.

    I killed a pothos a few years ago. A grape ivy later, an airplane plant bit it earlier this year, a white flag plant decided it hated me after 20 years and left no note.

    What I adore seeing bloom in my window is primroses. I need to spend some attention on that poor little plant I currently have. No doubt, my black thumb will kill it though.

    Maybe I should just stick to cut carnations through out the house. 😉

    Happy potting and good luck with the search for a new am. They are so pretty.


  2. I used to have schefflera (sp?) and pothos, but alas, the new cats (well, not so new any more, but not Scotty and George) do NOT do well with plants. They pulled the pothos down from its hook and attacked it. Fortunately they didn’t swallow enough to make them ill.

    So, we no longer have house plants – my mum took them all.

    I did have an amaryllis at one point as well that I loved.


  3. I like African violets, and surprisingly one of the few plants I manage not to kill over a period of time, lol. My grandmother has the greenest thumb and some of hers are like 15 years old or more; when she repots, she splits and sends me some over every now and then. I like the Christmas cactus for the holiday. Various years my grandmother gets the poinsettas, and they don’t die on her, one shot up to almost the size of a small tree.


  4. Well, I got two amaryllis bulbs at the grocery store – a red one called Red Lion and a stripey one called Apple Blossom. They each already have a little green leaf pushing out!


  5. PamP – I’m impressed with your grandmother’s talent. Mine was the same way. My African violet is having a sulk – I moved it to a different window and it’s stopped blooming. I’ll have to find another place for it. And my hibiscus are dropping their leaves like crazy this week – it’s the darkest month of the year and they hate it. They’ll perk up come January when the days start getting longer.

    Do people grow scented geraniums in the house, Diana? They always seem to get leggy when people bring them inside for the winter.



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