From Mélie’s Garden
When I turn my calendar page to the month of February I feel my spirits start to lift. This month, you can actually see the days getting a bit longer due to the increase in light and our plants indoors start to wake up. My Camellias are beginning to bloom and I have a small lime tree that is also starting to flower. This gradual change in light signals the growing season of plants inside while the outside ones sleep away in the cold.
Once the light increases to ten hours, it is a good time to give all your houseplants a dose of fish emulsion in their water to replace nutrients, which keep them healthy and encourage new growth. It is also when you should inspect their leaves for pests. If the plant is portable, put it in the shower and give it a good wash. Afterward spray it thoroughly with insecticidal soap. If the plant is too large to move, put a plastic dry cleaning bag over it tying or tapping the bottom to the rim of the pot. You can spray insecticidal soap through the hanger hole at the top of the bag and tie it off. Leave the plant in the bag for a number of hours or overnight to fumigate the bugs. Keeping bugs under control as you winter over houseplants is one of the biggest challenges. I am absolutely thrilled in May when I can haul them outside again and let nature take over!
One success I have had this winter is potting up some small succulent plants I bought from Race Rock last spring for a very sunny location. I took them out of the planter in the fall and potted them up to bring inside. They have done amazingly well thriving on little water and neglect when I am away. One plant has even bloomed brightening up the winter days. Amaryllis also is an easy bulb to grow and its spectacular flowers really jazz up the house on dreary days. I have had some Amaryllis bloom the following year after placing the bulbs in the garden for the summer. Clivia is a relative of Amaryllis and after not watering the plant in the fall; it is time to start up again in mid-February to encourage it to bloom in March or April.
Midwinter is also an opportune time to clean vases with a bit of hot water and Clorox or white vinegar. A cut lemon will remove a water stain on the glass. It is good to get them clean if you are lucky enough to receive roses for Valentines Day. If they arrive, give the stems a fresh cut in hot water and then place the roses in a clean vase with cold water and add an Aspirin or 1Tbs of sugar and 1/2Tbs of bleach which encourages the roses to last.
And finally, make sure to sharpen and oil your pruning tools so you are ready for March – which is the prime pruning month in the year!