This time of year, the Baker household is a-hustlin’ and a-bustlin’ with activity, getting things ready for our holiday celebrations. So I thought I’d share a few of my best houseplant tips, tricks, and tonics with you to keep them growing while you’re celebrating the season.
Winder Wonder Drug
To keep your indoor herbs, veggies, and citrus trees happy and healthy all winter long, douse them with this terrific tonic every now and again.
1 tbsp. of liquid kelp
1/8 tsp. of dishwashing liquid
1 gal. of water
Mix these ingredients in a hand-held sprayer, and mist-spray your plants every two to three weeks. It’ll feed ‘em AND help fight pests in one easy step!
The Old Brush-Off
Are your African violets, gloxinias, and other hairy-leaved plants looking a little dusty? Give them a gentle going-over with a soft baby’s hairbrush. Never, ever wash them off with water!
Want to make more of your favorite houseplants? Some—such as African violets, gloxinias, rex begonias, and peperomia—root in a flash from leaf cuttings. Simply cut off the mature leaves with 2 or 3 inches of leafstalk, and insert them into the rooting medium until the leaf stands upright. (Make sure you insert the leaf stems far enough into the soil that the leaf blades are touching the soil.) An added benefit of leaf cuttings? Sometimes you get two or more new plants from a single leaf!
Q. The first year I had my amaryllis bulb, it had flowers, but last year, it only made leaves. Help!
A. I plant my amaryllis in pots, and sink them into the ground for the summer. Come fall, I cut the foliage back to 3 inches; set the plants in a cool, dry area; and keep them damp, not wet. Try this method with your bulb—it should do the trick!