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Christmas Tree Shop

Selecting the Perfect Christmas Tree

Michael Fahey, Merrifield Plant Specialist and ISA Certified Arborist

Updated December 2021. This post was originally published in December of 2018.

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to pick out the family Christmas tree. Other than the annual trip to take the kids to see Santa, there’s perhaps no better tradition than gathering the family together for a trip to the nursery to pick out the perfect tree, and then taking it home to decorate. For many, this is a fun and collaborative effort that results in getting just the right tree for your home. But for others, it can be a challenge to get everyone to agree on the best Christmas tree, especially with so many options to choose from. At Merrifield Garden Center, we carry thousands of high quality Christmas trees, which come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. To help you navigate this forest of fresh-cut Christmas trees, here is a quick guide on some of the different varieties we have to offer so you can choose the perfect one for your home.

Fraser Fir, Christmas Tree

Fraser Fir

Fraser firs are one of the most popular Christmas trees we sell, and for good reason. The soft, sturdy needles are dark green with a silvery underside, and have that traditional Christmas tree aroma. Strong, dense branches are perfect for those of us who like to decorate a tree with a lot of ornaments. These trees have a uniform habit with a nice tapered shape from top to bottom, providing a consistent look to the tree on all sides.

Concolor Fir

Concolor Firs come from the mountains of Pennsylvania, and maintain the strength for holding ornaments of the Fraser Fir but with longer needles and a softer feel and appearance. They have a fuller and more rounded shape than the Fraser Fir, with silvery blue tinted needles.

Turkish Fir, Christmas Tree

Turkish Fir

My personal favorite, Turkish firs have a great look and feel to them. The needles are succulent and juicy with a nice, citrus-like fragrance. The top sides of the needles have a darker green color while the undersides have a silvery sheen, which creates and a nice bi-color appearance. Turkish firs have a very open, almost perfectly lateral branching habit, which gives them a nice layered appearance. This branching structure makes them perfect for holding larger ornaments.

Noble Fir, Christmas Tree

Noble Fir

Noble firs have many of the same qualities as the Turkish firs. However, their subtle fragrance is more in line with the traditional Christmas tree aroma.  While the needles at the ends of the branches of the Turkish firs are slightly weeping, the needles on the Noble fir curl up on the ends of the branches.

Douglas Fir, Christmas Tree

Douglas Fir

Douglas firs have softer needles and a lighter green color than their fir cousins. Their fragrance is more of a piney aroma. Douglas firs are sheared by the grower and therefore have a nice, consistent, pyramidal shape that many people enjoy.

Blue Spruce, Christmas Tree

Blue Spruce

Blue spruce have hard needles with a slight fragrance and a rigid branching habit, which allows them to hold heavy ornaments better than other trees. As their name implies, the needles have a blue cast. The combination of the tan hues of the stems with the vegetative buds at the ends of all the branches create an interesting contrast that many people enjoy

White Pine, Christmas Tree

White Pine

White pines have long, soft needles that are very fine, with a light green color. These trees have a less fragrant aroma than others. White pines are a great choice for people who enjoy a softer looking and feeling Christmas tree. They are a good choice for lighter ornaments, but do not hold heavier ones very well.

A Guide for Garden Winterization Tasks

As the season cools and we begin to look forward to the holidays, figuring out what to do with our gardens as they begin to go to sleep for the winter can be a daunting task. October is a great time to take inventory and get started putting your garden to bed, so that both you and your plants can enjoy a winter break.

By doing a little bit of work each month, winterizing the garden becomes quite manageable! You can even take some steps to get ahead for spring, when we are all ready to get right into planting flowers.

October Checklist

Our average first frost is in the second half of October, so while we are starting to have cool nights, our vegetable gardens and annuals are still going strong.

  • Do you have tropical plants or house plants outside?
    If so, bring them inside. Do a good check for insects and other pests before you bring them indoors, and contact the plant clinic if you need to treat them for any issues.
  • Have you replaced tender annuals with cold hardy ones?
    Clean up the old annuals and plant pansies, kale and cabbage that will take you through the cool weather.
  • How does your vegetable garden look?
    Clean up old vines and vegetable plants that are done. Get a frost cloth, if you don’t have one, to keep those cool season veggies going longer.
  • It’s time to plant bulbs, if you want spring tulips, daffodils, etc.
    Bulbs are in store, grab them now!
Camellia Fall Blooming

November Checklist

Peak fall foliage has passed, and the weather is cooling off. It’s time to wrap up work on our vegetable gardens and our lawns for the season.

  • Have you fertilized your trees and shrubs?
    Now is a great time. Use Merrifield Tree and Shrub Food or Merrifield Flowering Plant Food. Root growth continues until soil temperatures dip to 40 degrees, and fertilizing now will improve growth next spring.
  • Do you want to provide winter shelter for wildlife?
    Birds and beneficial insects will use the “mess” from your garden for winter shelter. If you want to give them a hand, consider leaving up some old perennials and keeping some of the fallen leaves in your garden.
  • Do your garden tools need maintenance?
    Drain gas out of yard equipment, such as tillers and lawn mowers, before storing them. Clean and sharpen your hand tools before storing them away. You will appreciate having them ready to go when the weather warms up!
  • Are deer an issue in your garden?
    Deer rutting season peaks this month. Deer are trying to rub the velvet off their antlers on small trees and shrubs. We’ve found the Merrifield two-part tomato cage to be an effective way to protect your plants.
Evergreens

December Checklist

The holidays are almost here, and it’s time to finish preparing our plants for winter.

  • Do you have broadleaf evergreens that need protection?
    This includes camellias, azaleas, rhododendron, figs, hollies and laurels. To minimize moisture loss during the cold, windy winter, apply Wilt-Pruf. Water plants thoroughly before applying this product. Follow all label instructions. Wrap camellias, figs and gardenias in burlap or frost cloth as these plants are particularly susceptible to cold temperatures.
  • Are your container gardens winterized?
    Keep your containers in good shape during the winter, with or without plants. If they do not have plants, turn them over or bring them inside. If they do, wrap the containers in bubble wrap and/or burlap to insulate the plants’ roots, and remove saucers from underneath the containers. 
  • Do you keep bird feeders?
    If so, now is a good time to begin adding food with extra protein and fat, as other resources are becoming scarce. If you have a bird bath, use a bird bath de-icer to make sure the birds have access to the water.
  • Are your deciduous trees and shrubs in need of pruning?
    If so, you can start now, if you wish. Remove crossing and rubbing branches, taking care to avoid injuring the branch collar.

3 Step Pruning for Deciduous Trees

Winter is the best time of year to prune deciduous trees and shrubs, since the trees are dormant and you can easily see the form and structure of the branches. In this video, David Yost reviews the three main steps to take when pruning your trees to ensure you do so in a way that will improve their overall health and appearance.

Seed Starting Seedings indoors in witner

Winter Family Activity: Growing Seeds

Starting seeds indoors is a wonderful way to teach your children about gardening while also providing them with a fun diversion from the cold winter weather. This simple activity can be completed with just a few supplies, and will give children a project that will last for several days or even weeks as they watch their plants sprout.

Seed Starting Supplies and Tools

Seed Starting Supplies

  • Trays with holes for drainage
  • Plastic lid for trays, or plastic wrap
  • Popsicle sticks for labeling seed trays
  • Spray bottle
  • Seed packets (for growing seeds with children, we recommend sunflowers, zinnias, beans, cucumbers or squash)
  • Seed starting media (we recommend Espoma Organic Seed Starter for an children’s activity)

Step 1: Select Your Seeds

Some seeds are more suited to growing with children than others. You can select just about any vegetable or flower that you want for this project, but sunflowers, zinnias, beans, cucumbers, and watermelon are a few favorites that are easy to grow. If you are planning to plant these seeds outdoors after they sprout, check the last frost date for your region and plant your seeds so that they are ready to plant outdoors at the right time.

Seed starting mix

Step 2: Sow

Place your seed starting medium in a bucket and add water to moisten it until the soil has a crumbly texture. Fill your seed trays with soil, pressing down on the soil gently to eliminate air gaps. Insert your finger into the soil at a depth of two to three times the thickness of the seed in a few places in each seed tray cell to make holes. Place a seed in each hole. Once you place all of your seeds, cover them with seed starting media, then mist with water. As soon as you finish one type of seed, label the tray with the plant name and date using your popsicle sticks.

Seed Tray with Dome

Step 3: Light

Cover your tray with the plastic wrap or the tray lid and set it under the light source or in an east or south facing window. For best growth, your seedlings will need at least 12 hours of light per day.

Step 4: Water

If you are using a grow light, place it a few inches above the seeds and raise it as they mature. Check your seed trays for moisture daily and keep the soil evenly moist using your spray bottle.

Step 5: Observe

Watch how your seeds grow by checking them every day and taking a photo or drawing a picture of what your seeds look like.

Bromeliad, Greenhouse

Solutions to Common Winter Houseplant Issues

The natural beauty of houseplants can really boost our moods and take the bitterness out of a cold winter. Creating an oasis with flowering or bright foliage plants can really chase away the winter blues. But the dry, heated indoor air and limited natural light at this time of year can create a difficult environment for our foliaged and flowering friends. With a little extra knowledge, you can keep your plants healthy throughout the season and resolve many of the issues that houseplants commonly experience.

Too Much or Too Little Water

Seasonal changes in plant activity and the environment in which they are placed can impact the amount of water that your plant needs during the winter months. If your plant is yellowing or wilting, it is trying to tell you that it is under stress. Most often, the main cause of stress in houseplants has to do with watering too much or watering too little. 

Plant roots need oxygen to live and grow. If the soil remains saturated for an extended time, the roots will drown and lead to the loss of the plant. Make sure that the container you’re using has drainage holes and that nothing is obstructing the holes. This will allow excess water to drain out of the container.

The best way to check whether your plant is too wet or too dry is to feel the soil. On smaller plants, you can use a pencil, chopstick or your fingers. On larger plants, you can use a moisture meter. Plants have different preferences when it comes to their soil moisture, but most often, you will want to wait until the soil feels slightly dry before watering again. When you do water, water thoroughly until the it’s draining from the hole of your pot. 

In general:

  • Winter-flowering plants typically need more water. Some plants, like zygocactus and Christmas cactus, need more water during the winter when they go through their flowering stage.
  • Plants that are not blooming during the winter use less water. However, you will need to check the soil as the environmental conditions in your home will have a large impact on the amount of water your plants need.

Leggy Plants

Leggy plants are easy to recognize as they have a stretched out and spindly look. Often, the stems and shoots will flop over since this type of growth is not structurally sustainable. Fortunately, you can easily make some adjustments to prevent leggy plant growth. 

Too little light: A plant that is happy in a sunny spot during the summer may struggle to get enough light in the same spot during the winter months depending on the changing angle and duration of light. Give your plant more light by moving it to a brighter location or supplementing the natural light with a light bulb designed for plants.

Too much nitrogen: Plants that are fertilized too often will develop leggy growth as a reaction to the overabundance of nitrogen. Many plants are less active in the winter months and need to be fertilized less. If you see leggy growth out of a plant that is regularly fed,try dialing back the frequency and amount of fertilizer the plant receives. 

Repotting in a Container That’s Too Large

Oftentimes when plants are struggling our first instinct is to repot the plant to give it more space. However, in the winter this may not be the best solution. Many houseplants actually like to have roots that are a little snug in their pots and only need to be sized up every couple years. The best time to repot is in the early spring when sunlight is increasing, but even then you should only increase the size of the planter by 10 to 20% at a time or you risk harming the plant.

Pests

Pests can be an issue particularly for houseplants that spend time outdoors during the summer months. The pests that are controlled by natural predators and the environment outdoors can get out of control when brought inside for the winter. To prevent pests before they start, spray plants that go outdoors for the summer before they come back inside with a neem oil or insecticidal soap. You can gather all of your plants that are coming inside in a group, then spray them with a hose end horticultural oil. Focus on the interior of the plant and the undersides of the leaves, then allow them to dry for an hour before bringing them inside.

Keep an eye on your plants during the winter and know how to identify honeydew and other early signs of pests to help eliminate potential problems before they get out of hand.

Mealybug and Scale

To the untrained eye these insects may appear to be fungus, lumps, disease, or some unknown substance. Mealybugs and scales are small, sometimes microscopic, insects that make a home for themselves out of waxy or cottony structures for protection while they feed on your plant. 

Catch mealybugs and scale early by checking your plants regularly for “honeydew,” a sticky liquid that may appear before the insects are visible. This is a sure sign of an early infestation, and means you should begin spraying your plants with mineral oils or insecticides whenever there is an opportunity to do so. Spray plants outdoors on days when the weather is around 50 degrees or warmer, or in a ventilated area inside that is free of belongings that could be ruined by oil based sprays. If you do not have a convenient area to spray your plant, try a systemic insecticide, which can be applied directly to the soil or used to sanitize pots that held infected plants.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are almost entirely invisible to the naked eye, so their presence is usually identified by microscope. However, you can detect the presence of these pests by looking for leaf stippling, which makes the leaf look spotted and is caused by the repeated puncturing of the leaf when these pests feed on the plant. Spider mites will also make web-like structures underneath the leaf and inside the plant for protection against predators. 

Insecticide soaps can be a gentle and useful way to control these unwanted critters. Horticultural oils are also very useful to eradicate both active adults and eggs, but need to be sprayed outdoors or in areas where they can’t stain valuable furniture or belongings. You will need to spray multiple times to eliminate both the eggs and the mites.

Gnats and Whiteflies

Whiteflies on foliage.

Some plant pests primarily create a nuisance in the home. Fungus gnat larvae, for example, thrive in damp soil mediums while the adults fly around our homes and annoy us to no end. To prevent fungus gnats, select high quality potting soils labeled for indoor use and place plants in containers with good drainage. If the problem is already out of control, try using sticky traps to eliminate adults while treating the soil with an insect control like Bt or Eight to deal with the larvae.

Whitefly adults and larvae pose a more serious issue as they feed on our plants. Sticky traps are also a great way to control whitefly adults and spray insecticides can be used to control the larval population, as with the fungal gnats. Insecticidal soaps and mineral oils are great control options for this purpose.

Visit Our Plant Clinic for Additional Assistance

If you have questions about your plants, we encourage you to bring them into the plant clinic. During the winter, bring them in on a mild day, or be sure to wrap them up and protect them from the cold weather in transit. You can also bring plant samples if you are unable to bring in the whole plant. If you’re bringing in photos, please bring an image of the entire plant and a close up of the areas of concern.

Radishes, Cool season vegetables

Growing Fall Root Vegetables

Fall is a wonderful time to grow root vegetables. Carrots, radishes, turnips and beets are easy to grow and add fresh flavor to our favorite seasonal dishes. Give your root veggies a leg up this year by taking a few extra steps to provide healthy soil and a healthy environment where they can grow throughout the fall season.

Preparing Soil for Root Veggies

Root vegetables are taproots, which means that they need garden beds free from rocks, soil clumps and debris that can deform the formation of the root. Before planting check your garden bed for any of these impediments and remove them. After doing this, check the pH of the garden bed. Some vegetables grow better at different pHs, and you may want to add lime to adjust the pH level of the soil. Radishes, for example, prefer a pH of 5.5-6.8.

Row plantings make weeding easier since you can use mulch or straw to prevent weeds between rows. You can put down more mulch during times when there is risk of frost for the added use of preventing your vegetables from freezing. This also lowers the amount of water needed to keep your plants healthy.

Wildlife and Pest Control

To prevent rabbits, gophers and deer from making snacks out of your vegetables, you may want to use a dried blood fertilizer such as Espoma Blood Meal. This organic fertilizer is made out of animal blood and works well as a deterrent to other wildlife. Netting and fencing can also keep out deer, and you can visit our blog post on deer proofing your garden for more ideas. 

Cabbage loopers and other pests on cruciferous vegetables veg (broc, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, etc.) use B.T.

Watering

Watering regularly improves crop shape and flavor. Radishes especially will take on a woody flavor if they are underwatered, so it is important to water them consistently. If you let them dry, moisten the soil slowly over the course of a couple of days as drenching dry carrots and other root vegetables will cause them to split. For more information on watering, check out our watering instructions. 

Other Tips

When working in your vegetable garden, keep in mind that root veggies should be hand cultivated. Digging tools commonly used for working with other vegetables can damage the roots. 

Root vegetables can be overwintered with mulch. Pile the mulch up over the shoulders of the root where it emerges from the soil. Using row covers and cold frames is also a good way to keep your root veggie harvest going most of the winter.

Use successive plantings to ensure a constant harvest throughout the season. This means adding new seeds or plants every 2-4 weeks as the season goes on, which will ensure that you always have some tasty veggies ready for harvest.

Hellebore with bees, Perennial

Perennial Winter Wanderings

As many of us have experienced these past few weeks with the temperatures bouncing back and forth between 10 and 60 degrees, winter weather is “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”  Sometimes frigid temperatures keep us indoors, and sometimes we are fortunate to have almost tropical days in the midst of the frigid ones. I love to wonder around my garden and the garden center on these warm 60-degree days to see what is going on among the plants. While the winter landscape may seem to be fast asleep, there are actually many things to see and enjoy in the forms of wildlife, blooms, bark, and foliage.

Blooms

Hellebore with bees, Perennial

Hellebore

My most recent walk around the garden center revealed the Christmas Rose’s (Hellebore niger ‘Jacob’) white blossoms in full bloom. The weather has been so warm that the honey bees were even out foraging upon them! This compact perennial is shade loving, evergreen, winter blooming and a warm-spell pollinator savior. There are numerous types of hellebore which bloom later in the winter through early spring, but this variety has been blooming now for several weeks.

Paperbush

Paperbush

Another sight to behold right now is the Paperbush (Edgeworthia) shrub. This plant features beautiful, spotty bark covered with dangling umbrella looking yellowish blossoms at the tips. I have one strategically placed under a window on the east side of my house, so that when those warm days of winter show up, I can open the window and let its beautiful fragrance float in. Since it’s a zone 7 shrub, this placement by the house also helps to protect it during long, severe cold snaps.

Buds and Foliage

Dwarf Mondo

Planted under my Paperbush is the daintiest of evergreen groundcovers that can live in the deepest shade. Dwarf Mondo (Ophiopogon ‘Nana’) measures in at only 2-3” tall. I can only see it in the fall and winter, after the Paperbush has shed its leaves. A hidden treasure of tiny cobalt blue drupes hides within its foliage if you get down on your knees and move the foliage around. This plant is a slow spreader, but worth it for its beauty and ability to grow in deep shade.

Candytuff

Continuing my walk, my Candytuff (Iberis) with its little evergreen shiny leaves has swollen white buds ready to pop when spring arrives. It contrasts nicely in front of the purple toned winter foliage of my azaleas. I love to see these signs that spring is on its way!

Seed Pods

There are a number of plants whose seed pods look splendid in the winter. As a bonus, many of these plants attract birds, who find the seeds a valuable food source during a season where resources are scarce.

Siberian Iris Seed Pods

Siberian Iris

Looking splendid when “dead” for the winter, the bronze seed pods of the Siberian Iris protrude out like a porcupine’s quills. This Iris brings architectural interest to the garden all season long, and it does very well in the clay soil of our northern Virginia region. Of course, it is also beautiful during its bloom season – I know it doesn’t flower long, but when it does, it’s like a gorgeous, floppy butterfly.

Rudbeckia Seed head

Black-Eyed Susan

At the end of my garden walk, birds were feasting and frolicking around the numerous seed heads of the Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia). The seedheads of this plant look lovely when left standing in the winter, and of course, it is wonderful to provide food for the birds.

Holly Winter burn

Winter Damage: What is it and What Can I do About it?

We’ve faced some brutal cold spells this winter and are already seeing the damage to some of our more vulnerable landscape plants. With winter damage, plants typically have dry, brittle and brown leaves, and many people assume these plants are dead. The good news is that plants are amazing in their resiliency and more often than not they will put out new growth and fully recover this spring. If you have plants that appear to have winter damage, resist the urge to dig them up. We recommend leaving them in the ground to give them every opportunity to live and thrive this spring.

Winter Damage, Nandina

Identifying Vulnerable Plants

The plants most vulnerable to winter damage are:

  • Broadleaf evergreens
  • Those that have been planted in the past year
  • Container plants
  • Any plant that is at the boundary of its viable gardening zone

Examples of vulnerable plants include gardenia, camellia, southern magnolia, nandina, laurels, boxwood, hollies, figs, hydrangea and rosemary. Container plants are especially susceptible to winter damage since the roots are adapted to growing in the sheltered soil environment. With a limited amount of soil to insulate and protect the roots, they may freeze and die. Recently planted broadleaf evergreens are vulnerable to winter damage because they continue to pump water through their leaves year-round (this process is called transpiration). During extended cold spells, water in the soil can freeze and become unavailable to the plant. This becomes more problematic when we do not get sufficient snow or rain to replenish the soil moisture. Windy conditions will also increase transpiration rates causing the foliage to dry and turn brown. Imagine you planted an evergreen holly this summer. It is still in the process of establishing a full root system, therefore its ability to absorb water from the soil is limited. This year (2017-18) winter arrived early with very cold, dry and windy conditions. With this combination of stresses, it is likely this plant will experience some amount of damage.

Azalea, Winter Damage

What Can You do to Mitigate Winter Damage?

  1. Check the soil moisture throughout your landscape with special attention to vulnerable plants. If you discover they are dry, take time to water them on a day when temperatures are above 40 degrees F.
  2. Be patient and wait for signs of recovery this spring. Most plants will show signs of recovery in April and May, however, others may be delayed until June. Resist the urge to remove or start pruning until we know the extent of injury.
  3. After you see new growth beginning to emerge and you are able to determine the extent of injury, prune to remove dead branches. Avoid removing live, green growth as the plant needs leaves to produce food and aid in recovery.
  4. As the new growth begins to emerge, fertilize with a good quality, slow release plant food to speed up the recovery process. See our staff for specific fertilizer recommendations.
Winter Damage, Juniper

We are here to help!

There are many factors that influence the extent and effects of winter damage your plants will experience. Exposure to wind, temperature and moisture extremes, plant species, root establishment, pruning, mulching and watering practices all will guide our decisions in how best to assist our plants through recovery. The more information you provide us, the better we are able to help you. Photographs are useful in determining the pattern and extent of winter injury, but don’t tell the whole story. We need plant samples to examine and determine if the buds are viable. Bring 6” to 12” twigs, along with photos of the plants in question, to the Plant Clinic at any of our three Merrifield Garden Center locations for consultation and evaluation with our plant specialists. Don’t let the winter get you down! Lilacs, cherries and spring bulbs are just a few of the plants that thrive following a cold winter. There will be plenty of blooms to reward us this spring and we’ll be here to help make the most out of your garden.

Streptocarpus, Greenhouse

5 Flowering Houseplants to Brighten Up Your Winter

It’s cold outside, and in the middle of winter many of us find ourselves spending more time looking out our windows at a garden fast asleep. This season can be a peaceful time, but if you are longing for a vibrant pop of color to break up the drab browns and grays of the season, consider adding any of these blooming houseplants to your space.

African Violet, Greenhouse

African Violet

With long-lasting flowers that appear year-round, the colorful African violet is an easy-to-grow choice for anyone looking to add some color to their home. Flowers come in white, pink, purple or blue, and some may be bi-color or variegated.

  • Light: Bright, indirect light. Also grows well under a fluorescent light when it has enough exposure.
  • Humidity: Place your plants on a tray of moist pebbles or under your humidifier during the dry winter months.
  • Water: Let them dry out a little between watering. Use temperate water to prevent spotting on the leaves (as we like to say, no one likes a cold shower).

Streptocarpus

A member of the same family as the African violet, Streptocarpus is similar in appearance and has many of the same qualities. With blooms coming in a variety of colors in sprays above the foliage, anyone can add this plant to their home for a pop of color in the winter.

  • Light: Morning or soft afternoon light is best for Streptocarpus
  • Humidity: This plant is well suited to normal house conditions.
  • Water: Let the plant dry a bit between waterings, and water with lukewarm or tepid water.

Bromeliad

These bold, tropical plants develop flower spikes in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors that bloom freely throughout the year. Bromeliads have no stem – instead, their leaves form a tight rosette which collects water for the leaves to absorb. Their roots are used primarily for anchoring to surfaces, since nutrients can be absorbed through the leaves.

  • Light: Most prefer either bright indirect light or several hours of direct sun.
  • Humidity: Place your plant on a tray of moist pebbles or under your humidifier during the dry winter months.
  • Water: The rosette needs to remain full of water. Empty the rosette periodically to prevent the water from becoming stale. Roots should be kept moderately moist as we
Begonia, Greenhouse

Begonia

You can find these showy plants in bloom at just about any time of year. With glossy, round leaves and blooms that can be as large as 2 inches across, this is a great flower to introduce vibrant color into any home during the winter season.

  • Light: Prefer bright, indirect light.
  • Humidity: Plants need good air circulation to prevent diseases.
  • Water: Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, when plants are in flower. Allow to dry slightly between waterings.

Orchid

With beautiful blooms that can last for weeks, orchids are a classic favorite among houseplants. Intricate blooms come in a seemingly endless variety of colors, sizes and shapes.

  • Light: Prefer bright, indirect light. If needed, place under a fluorescent grow bulb.
  • Humidity: Orchids need between 50% and 70% humidity. To achieve this, you can either place the plant on a tray of gravel filled partially with water or mist the plants. Just be sure to mist them in the morning so that the leaves are dry by night time.
  • Water: Orchids are very sensitive to overwatering and are often planted in coarse, very well drained bark, moss or potting mix. Water only when the ground media begins to feel slightly dry, and then water thoroughly.

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