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Amaryllis Planting and Care

Amaryllis Quick Tips:

  • Planting Period: October until the end of April.
  • Flowering PeriodLate December until the end of June.
  • Flowering time is 7-10 weeks.
  • Larger bulbs produce more flowers.
  • Always store un-planted bulbs in a cool place between 40-50 deg. F.

Amaryllis-One of a Kind

Of all flowering bulbs, amaryllis are the easiest to bring to bloom.  This can be accomplished indoors or out, and over an extended period of time.  The amaryllis originated in South America’s tropical regions and has the botanical name Hippeastrum.  The large flowers and ease with which they can be brought to bloom make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide.  The amaryllis comes in many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange.  There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

Preparation for Planting

The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours.  Remember, if you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them, store them at a cool temperature between 40-50 degrees F.


Plant bulbs in a nutritious potting compost, many are available pre-mixed.  Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots.  Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.

Placement and Watering

Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems.  The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F.  Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more.  At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth.

Flowering Period

Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule.  In winter the flowering time will be longer than in spring.  Set up your planting schedule between October and April with this in mind.  To achieve continuous bloom, plant at intervals of 2 weeks for stunning color in your home or garden.

After-Bloom Care

After-Flowering. After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again.  Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.
Leaf Growth and Development. Continue to water and fertilize as normal all summer, or for at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves begin to yellow, which normally occurs in the early fall, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil.
Bulb Storage. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (40-50 deg. F), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. Caution: Do not store amaryllis bulbs in a refrigerator that contains apples, this will sterilize the bulbs. Store the bulbs for a minimum of 6 weeks.
Plant Again. After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom.

Planting a Live Christmas Tree

Family traditions are a big part of the holiday season. Many families have created landscapes that are planted with evergreens from Christmas past. Memories grow on with Spruce, Fir and Pines that were once a part of the holiday festivities. Properly planned, a live tree can be decorated, enjoyed and eventually planted in the space of three to four weeks surrounding Christmas day.

If you plan to buy one of these live trees, decide in time to take the proper steps to insure a successful transplant. First, select the spot where the tree will be planted and dig the hole early in December before the ground freezes. Dig a hole that is suitable in size to the root that you are planning on planting. Remember, measure twice and cut once! You might want to store your backfill in a wheelbarrow that is sheltered in the garage until you need it. This will insure that the soil in workable and not reduced to a frozen mound of un-movable earth. Next, fill in the hole with leaves and cover it with a tarp until you plan to plant.

Plan on keeping your tree indoors no more than 7-10 days. This way it will only need to put up with dry warm air for a short time. Keep the root ball moist at all times. Many use wooden barrels, plastic or galvanized tubs in order to water properly and yet protect the floor.

After Christmas, plan on acclimating your tree to the outdoors for about two-three days. This can be done in a screened porch or garage. Afterwards, carry your tree to its prepared site. Remove the tarp, scoop out the leaves and place the root ball in the hole. Add the soil from your stored wheelbarrow to fill the hole completely-firm it well with your feet. Give the tree several buckets of water at this time. Mulch the tree in well with the leaves or other compost or bark mulch.

Keep that greenery fresh this holiday season

The holiday season is fast approaching and soon it will be time to deck the halls with decorative greenery and boughs of holly. To make sure all your garland, swags, trees and kissing balls look their best make sure to use an anti-dessicant such as Wilt-Pruf® to keep your greens from drying out.

This is also a helpful tip for prolong the life of greens, holly, berries and boxwood used in outdoor window boxes or winter planters. An application of Wilt-Pruf can help extend the life of your festive display.

You can use Wilt Pruf® to protect and extend the life of Christmas trees and wreathes by reducing moisture loss. Moisture loss is the primary cause of the needle loss and browning that is so common. For wreathes, holly and other seasonal greenery many commercial producers dip the object in Wilt Pruf® and let if drip dry over a catch tray. For the homeowner, spraying is just as effective.

This is a simple process:

  1. For a long lasting Christmas Tree begin by selecting one that has been cut recently and is still fresh.
  2. Apply Wilt Pruf® to all foliage outdoors in daylight, Wilt Pruf® needs exposure to ultra violet light to dry properly.
  3. Let dry before bringing indoors
  4. 1 Quart RTU will treat the typical 5′ – 6′ Christmas Tree, you can also mix the concentrate at 5:1 dilution and apply with any pressurized sprayer.

Wilf-Pruf® is also a good way to protect evergreen shrubs from Winter winds and chills. It provides a protective layer that helps to lock moisture in preventing burning and helps to keep plants from drying out.

Water Garden Care: Fall-Winter

Cleaning the Pond (Sept-Nov)

Clean out any debris that may have fallen into the pond and sunk to the bottom. Decaying materials, such as leaves and twigs, release gases that are harmful or fatal to fish, should the surface become covered with ice. You may have to drain the pond to accomplish this task. Should you decide to drain the pond, just follow these steps:

1. Pump pond water into a container large enough to house your fish for a time.
2. Put an aeration device in holding tank and put fish into tank.
3. Pump out 75-80% of pond water, then turn off pump.
4. At this time, scoop out as much debris as possible. A fish net makes the job fairly easy.
5. Turn filter back on to clean out any fine material, rinsing pad often.
6. Fill pond with water, adding a dechlorinating agent, such as Aqua Safe, if your water does not come from a well.
7. Add salt to the water at a rate of 5lbs./1000, (use rock salt, pond salt or kosher salt).
Note: only add salt for the amount of water you are adding back to the pond.
8. Let water sit for a day for temperature to adjust, add a product such as Treats-all to help reduce
chance of disease, as the fish will be somewhat stressed, then reintroduce fish to the pond.

Ideally the pond cleaning should be done after the leaves have fallen off the trees. If you wish to clean it before leaf drop, you can place a net over the pond to catch any leaves. Cleaning the pond is a very important step to proper pond health.

Winter Care of Plants

1. Hardy Lilies and Lotus- When lilies and lotus have finished their season, and the leaves have died back, pick off the brown leaves and sink the plants in the deepest part of the pond.
2. Tropical Lilies- While not the easiest plants to winter, their beauty makes it worth the effort. When the plants appear to have gone dormant (usually mid-November), remove them from the pond. Unpot the tubers in a container of moist sand, keeping them at a temperature of 40-50 degrees. Check periodically to make sure tubers remain moist. Tubers can be started again in April in a sunny, warm tub, inside.
3. Tropical Marginals-Most of this group can be kept as houseplants in a window, as long as the pots are submerged in water.
4. Hardy Marginals-This type of plant can be left on the shelf of the pond, or submerged for extra protection. Remember to raise up in early spring.
5. Tropical Floaters-Plants in this group should be scooped out as soon as they turn brown from frost. Don’t leave them in too long or they will sink, making them more difficult to remove. If you wish to try to save these plants for next year, place them in a container of water and keep in a warm sunny spot, inside, although due to the lower cost of these plants, it is not usually worth the effort.
6. Division-Lilies and certain other aquatic plants can be divided in the fall, though most water gardeners prefer to do it in the spring.


As you transition your containers for fall our winter plantings, take the time to plant some spring blooming bulbs in there as well! They will be a welcome surprise come spring!


To plant a container with different species of bulbs, plant the larger bulbs first, then cover them with soil and plant the smaller bulbs. Sprinkle in some BULBTONE as you go along. Fill the container with soil to just below the rim. You may add fall blooming plants at the top or winter foliage in the top portion for fall/winter interest, above the bulbs you’ve planted. Stop in to see all the wonderful varieties of bulbs we have in stock!

Starting Seeds Indoors

The arrival of March means that winter is finally coming to an end and Spring is just around the corner! However, temperatures may still be quite cold during the days and nights, and frost and snow still pose a threat to budding outdoor plants. While it’s not quite an ideal time to start planting your spring garden outside just yet, there are plenty of steps you can take to plan and get your plants off to a great start indoors while you await warmer, longer days that will promote beautiful blossoms outdoors. Starting fruit, vegetable, herb, and flower seeds indoors is easier than you think, and with a little knowledge and effort you can be well on your way to a beautiful Spring garden by the time it warms up outside!

Starting plants from seedlings is a rewarding, fun experience that ensures your plants’ future success outdoors. While many people choose to buy already established young plants to transplant to outdoor beds, growing your own from seeds indoors first can be more cost-effective, and you’ll reap the benefits of selecting from a larger variety of seed types, watching their progress each day, and providing just the right growing conditions that will make your young plants healthy and strong. March is the perfect time to start seeds indoors, as it can take anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks before your young plants are ready to be transplanted to outdoor beds.

When selecting your seeds, carefully read the packet for instructions on planting conditions as well as length of germination, and how long before your plants will be ready to be brought outside. Also, be sure to pay attention to the date-stamp on the packet; you want to make sure the seeds you purchase are fresh and no more than nine months from the date of use. You can also choose to purchase organic seeds, heirloom or rare varieties, or locally sourced seeds… the possibilities are endless! But as attractive as the pictures on the packets may be, your first priority when selecting seeds should always be quality.

You can’t start seedlings indoors without one of the most important elements- soil! Starting your seeds with the right soil mixture makes a world of difference to their health and progress. You can buy specific mixes made for seedlings or germination, or look for potting soil with a good mixture of sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, and organic matter that is light and fluffy in texture. If the soil is too heavy or dense, young seedlings will have a difficult time pushing through the soil. Fluffier soil also allows for more moisture absorption and better oxygen flow, resulting in plants with deeper, healthier root systems.

Now that you have your seeds and proper soil, the next step to planting seedlings indoors is determining the type of container you wish to use. Many great options are available at your local gardening supply stores, including trays with anywhere from 6 to 72 or more individual cells, larger plastic pots, or individual seed pots made from peat or other biodegradable substances. When selecting a container for your young sprouts, keep in mind how many plants you plan to start, as well as how deep their root systems will grow. If you select a container that is too small, your young plant will quickly outgrow its home before it’s ready to be transplanted properly, and this can cause poor blossom and fruit production later on. When sowing seeds in your containers, also remember that if too many seeds are started in each pot, it can be more difficult to separate the root systems later on during the transplanting period, causing shock and sometimes death to your plants. Peat pots are a great option to start seedlings in because when the time comes, they can be planting directly into your outdoor garden, eliminating the need to dig up your plant from its first container. There are many factors to keep in mind when selecting the proper container to start your seedlings in, but it is generally wise to select a container slightly larger than you think you would need to allow for more root growth and less shock during the transplanting period.

Now that you have all the materials gathered, it is time to start your seedlings! Follow these simple steps, and soon you’ll have young plants ready in time for warmer Spring weather.

How To Start Seedlings:

  • Fill your containers with the soil and water thoroughly until the soil mixture is wet, but not soaking.
  • Plant the seeds. Refer to your seed packet for specific depths and spacing. Many novice gardeners make the mistake of planting their seeds too deep in the soil, so you can err on the side of caution and plant them a little bit less than the recommended depth. You can always carefully add more potting soil around the seedlings later if need be.
  • Provide warmth for your seedlings- they thrive in moist, warm soil! Many garden centers or supply stores sell heating mats just for this purpose, but there are other alternatives methods you can use to keep your seedlings warm. Try placing your containers on top of a refrigerator, near a warm oven, or a space by a fireplace or other heat source; you can even place a regular heating pad (set to a low temperature to avoid burning) beneath your containers for a short time period each day.
  • Warmth is essential, as is incubation. Many cell trays come with a plastic lid to help enclose the plants and retain moisture, creating a greenhouse effect. If you’re using separate containers, you can create a simple incubator using a large plastic bag, or plastic wrap propped up around the containers.
  • Provide water to your sprouts every few days. Use a gentle, wide-set mist from a spray bottle (filled with lukewarm or slightly warm water so as not to shock the plants), or you can set the container’s bottom in a shallow dish of water so the roots receive moisture immediately and tender new growth is not dislodged or disturbed. Be careful not to over-water your little plants though, as this can cause rotting or disease. Wait for the top soil to dry out just slightly, then gently water until damp but not soaking.
  • Now comes the most difficult part- being patient! You may see your seeds begin to sprout within just a few days, or it might take up to 3 weeks for some plant varieties to germinate; again, refer to your seed packet information for specific times. Patience is key- do not overwater or otherwise “bother” your young plants too much, but provide enough moisture, warmth, and a little sunlight once the seedlings are established. Be careful with being overeager in exposing the seedlings to sunlight though- too much can dehydrate the tender young sprouts.
  • After your seedlings have grown and are happy and healthy with a second set of leaves emerging, you can begin using a water-soluble fertilizer to promote stronger root development and more top growth. A general fertilizer product like a 15-15-15 mix will do, or you can find types suited for younger plants. It is best to dilute the mixture to a quarter or a third strength for young seedlings, gradually increasing the strength as they grow and establish stronger roots.

Growing your own seeds indoors might seem like a challenging task if you’ve never attempted it before, but it really isn’t all that difficult. Once you have the proper supplies, all it takes is a little planning and effort. Before you know it, your seedlings will be growing strong and fast indoors, and by the time the temperatures outdoors are warmer and the days are longer, you’ll be ready to transplant your plants into their permanent outdoor homes in your garden beds. March is the perfect time to get a head start on your spring garden. Starting your garden from the ground up (literally!) is one of the most fun, rewarding, and educational experiences anyone can have. Happy planting!

Houseplants as an Indoor Nature Connection

The mere presence of a lone Peace Lily tucked in the corner of the living room is nice. But, with a bit more thought and effort regarding placement, arrangement and interaction with houseplants, benefits similar to those received from being outdoors in nature can be achieved. Of course, this is all based on having more plants than one….lone…Peace Lily.  If a home is to truly be a plant boosted sanctuary, plants should be placed throughout the home. No worries – there are houseplants suited or adaptable to every level of light and a bit of research or experimentation will likely show there is really no need to be limited to one sunny windowsill. Continue reading Houseplants as an Indoor Nature Connection

It’s all in the Form, for Gorgeous Container Combinations!

Upright (thriller, vertical) plants add vertical interest and a sense of height to planting arrangements, making them more lively and dynamic.

Mounding (filler, anchor) plants are used to create stability in planting arrangements. They bring a sense of balance to even the boldest combinations.

Trailing (spiller, spreading) plants are the final “accessory” in planting arrangements. They fill in gaps, soften edges and tie all the elements together for a truly finished look.


Make room for ‘BIG’ color in your garden this year!

Hot, bold hues and diversified shades of foliage are all the rage. From Tangerine Tango, the new Pantone color of the year, to rich jewel tones galore, make this seasons’ garden space your own tropical paradise. Dramatic foliage plants such as Black Lace™ Elderberry or ‘Black Magic’ Colocasia help create that relaxed island feel. Plant them in lively colored glazed pottery. To complete your setting, add a colorful accent such as ‘Jewel Mix’ Nasturtiums or a basket of Caliente® Orange Ivy Geraniums. Continue reading Make room for ‘BIG’ color in your garden this year!

Nature’s Support System

For all those who garden, it is common knowledge that gardening is truly therapeutic.  However, there may be some folks out there that are unaware of the many impacts that a simple plant can have on one’s state of mind.  There have been many studies linking the health benefits of plants in the work place and at home. What happens to the people that are not able to work or need assistance due to physical, emotional or mental disabilities?  How can they experience the many benefits that plants have to offer? The answer may be in Horticultural Therapy. Continue reading Nature’s Support System

Perennials – A Garden Investment

Perennials come back year after year and give an excellent return on a gardener’s investment of time, energy and money. Perennials can provide a beautifully shifting display of texture and color throughout the seasons, without the removing and replacing of plants that would be needed to bring a fresh look to annual plantings. Most can be divided, after 3-5 growing seasons, providing additional plants to expand the landscape or share with other gardeners. Compared to Annuals, time and money demands for feeding and watering are also much less and the tasks of transporting, planting, removing and disposing of them every season are unnecessary.