December is the time for Christmas and Summer holidays!
Who can resist a potted gift for Christmas? Plants are long lasting, often looking great for months after the memories of Christmas Day fade. Many of the varieties grown especially for Christmas sales are easy care, almost indestructible and perfect for beginner plant enthusiasts and have been proven to act as indoor filters improving air quality.
Top 5 Potted Plants for Christmas Gifts:
Anthurium ‘Flamingo Flower’ is a striking long lasting perennial that will tolerate a wide range of indoor conditions. Although flower production is increased with a high natural light position they will tolerate low light positions. Forgetting to water them periodically doesn’t cause a problem as they are tolerant of drying out between waterings. Anthuriums will survive through many fashion trends, becoming part of the family as they will live in a pot for up to 30 years.
Repot annually and fertilise regularly. Ideally apply a controlled release formulation such as PowerFeed Controlled Release Plant Food around the base at the beginning of every season and apply Seasol (30mL per 9 litres of water) and PowerFeed liquid fertiliser (50mL per 9 litres of water) over the foliage every fortnight.
Spathiphyllum ‘Peace Lily’ is another foolproof variety that contrasts dark green foliage with strong white lily flowers which stand well above the leaves. Peace Lilies are stunning mass planted and will tolerate a contained root zone for ages. Very tolerant of low light positions, they will also look good in bright alfresco areas.
Zamiocaulis ‘ZZ Plant’ is one of the hardiest indoor plants available. They will tolerate low light, in fact it has been said that they will survive being locked in a dark cupboard for months. The dark green glossy foliage will look good with any décor. Perfect for self-confessed ‘black thumb gardeners’ the ZZ plant will ensure everyone has success with something green. Fertiliser requirements are minimal and the addition of controlled release fertiliser at the beginning of every season will ensure they stay healthy.
Scindapsus ‘Snake Vine’ is one of those hardy creeping plants that survived the house plant trend of the ‘80s and is back again for good reason. Perfect for hanging baskets and trailing planters the Snake Vine is almost impossible to kill. With brightly variegated leaves they are a highlight in a mixed planter and will benefit from regular applications of liquid fertiliser over the foliage and around the root system.
Syngonium ‘White Butterfly’ is another plant that our parents will remember. Incredibly hardy these indoors keep performing for many years. The added bonus is they will strike easily by pieces, so sharing them around as the plant develops is a great way to encourage ‘non’ plant lovers to have success. Tolerant of a wide variety of light levels the Syngonium is the ideal starter indoor plant.
LIVING CHRISTMAS TREES
The potted Christmas tree is a great option for long lasting value. Bring it inside over the festive season and enjoy the benefits for the rest of the year as a potted display. Conifers are a good choice as they are slow growing and will keep their shape in a pot for years. They will tolerate being inside for about 3- 4 weeks over the festive season. Before bringing inside drench the soil thoroughly by dunking in a container of Seasol (30mL per 9 litre of water) for a couple of hours. Let drain and place in a deep saucer. Indoor potted trees will tolerate water in the saucer for up to 6 weeks before any effects of waterlogging will show up. When indoors water regularly with Seasol (30mL per 9 litres of water) every 2 to 4 weeks.
When Christmas is finished and all the decorations are removed, take outside and allow to acclimatise in a shady position. Apply Seasol over the foliage and around the roots at weekly intervals. As the weather cools down the tree can be moved to a sunnier position.
GIVE THE GIFT OF FRUIT
Blueberries are incredible bearers of fruit and will grow successfully in a pot or in the garden. They are an ideal gift for someone who loves growing their own food. Why not bundle a plant, pot, potting mix, Seasol and PowerFeed together for a gift for the gardener of the family? There is a blueberry variety that will suit the majority of regions in Australia. If you live in a warmer area select a variety guaranteed to fruit in warmer climates. If planting in the ground Blueberries thrive in acidic conditions and will benefit from the addition of composted cow manure to the soil at planting. Place in a morning sun position and mulch with a composting mulch. Apply Seasol (30mL per 9 litres of water) and PowerFeed (50mL per 9 litres of water) every 2 to 4 weeks.
GORGEOUS LAWNS FOR CHRISTMAS
If your lawn is looking a little crunchy due to lack of water and heat stress, it’s not too hard to get it to come back to looking amazing before Christmas. Warm season varieties such as couch and buffalo will recover from stress fairly quickly. The first and most important step is to apply a wetting agent to allow the water to soak in to the root zone. Seasol for Lush Lawns is ideal as it contains wetting agent and Seasol and liquid compost. This way you get the best of both worlds a soil and plant conditioner and the ability of water to soak in.
Next, check how much water is being applied to the soil at each watering by putting catch cups or straight sided containers around before the irrigation is applied. Run the sprinklers for the same time and measure how much water is in each container. A lawn requires about 10mm of water at each watering. This is enough water to allow the lawn to grow through summer without wasting water.