We’ve already experienced our first frost of the season. There isn’t much gardening to do when it is cold. FIRST: CUT BACK ON WATER. Just two or three times a week is plenty of water, depending on where you are in the Valley. Established container gardens need water every 4-5 days. If you have newly planted material, give the roots a few weeks to become established and then cut the water back. Too much water through the winter can cause real problems with root rot as plants tend to go ‘dormant’ with no new growth. One final word about winter water: we repeatedly ask you to water early in the day; however; it’s not a bad idea to water a little later in the morning through the winter months. Run off water can cause icy walkways. Water on tender foliage can cause further frost damage. Watering a little later in the morning as temperatures rise will avoid these problems.
What is FROST?
Put simply, frost occurs when ice crystals form on solid surfaces as the temperature drops below freezing. Lawns, flowers, sidewalks–frost can affect any ‘hard’ surface unprotected from overhangs, shrubs and trees above. Vulnerable frost tender plants should be covered with a frost blanket which shields against potential damage of frost. If your plants have already sustained damage DO NOT FEAR. Continue to cover your plants through the cold weather. As you know, our warm days can green up frost damaged plants in no time. It’s never too late for a bougainvillea!! Do not remove frost damaged foliage as it will protect the lower and newer growth.
Fertilizing During The Winter
Liquid fertilizers are the way to go. Powder and granular fertilizers become ineffective when watering is less frequent. Liquid and water soluble fertilizers such as Foxfarm ‘Gro Big’, ‘Flower ‘N Bloom’ and the old-time favorite ‘Miracle Gro’ are all great fertilizer options to keep the flowers blooming through the cold season. This is a GREAT exercise to force new growth on frost damaged foliage.
Winter and Orchids
Many of you come to us from other parts of the country and have a program for watering your orchids that works back home. You may find your watering schedule to be problematic in the Desert. Our climate provides a series of extremes not native to the average orchid plant. Extreme heat, cold and very dry air can be counterbalanced by simply ignoring your tropical treasures. We find orchids thrive through winter with little or no water. The more you water, the faster an orchid will bloom out. We suggest MONTHLY water through the winter; less if your orchid is in an area with low light. Don’t worry about humidity, the orchid is adaptable. Scrooge abounds when it is time to water your blooming beauties; use a very light hand when you water to be determined by the number or orchids and size of your container. Ice cubes are great as long as you avoid contact with orchid foliage. Be certain the water drains to the roots and does not get soaked up by decorative moss. A turkey baster or ¼ cup measuring cup are great watering tools as they disperse small amounts of water. Just a few tablespoons per orchid ought to do the trick.
Houseplants need a little more attention, but not much.
We keep our homes cooler through the winter — even with the heat on. The winter watering rule of thumb remains the same; cut down on the water. Too much water can cause root rot in houseplants as well. Continue your weekly water routine but lower the amount of water just a bit. Avoid fertilizing your houseplants through the winter.
Roses are arriving soon at Moller’s Garden Center and will be ready for release sometime in January. Target date is always dependent on weather! Please visitwww.mollersgardencenter.com for the 2012 ROSE LIST. Feel free to email your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to include your name and phone number
Christmas is just around the corner!!
Poinsettias of red, pink and white welcome you to the Nursery. Don’t forget to visit the Flower Shop for all your fresh Christmas greens, ornaments and centerpiece needs. We have wreathes ready to go and great ideas for the DIY decorators as well. Lots of great gift ideas await you in the garden and gift shops.