Hippeastrum blossoms. (Glenn E Wilson/Flickr)

Deer Gardener: Bracing for Christmas blooms

By Elaine Nyeholt

Last week I had three people contact me for some Crocosmia (Montbretia) bulbs… people do read this column. A writer always wonders! These hardy gladiola-like bulbs are now dug and two bags have been picked up. There are four more available at 203 Bayview Drive Port Clements, or 250-557-2002.

Time to remove last season’s Amarylis (Hippeastrum) from the cool dark location you put it in, and check for a flower stalk peeking from the bulb. Sometimes the leaves show first but don’t despair — that does not mean a thicker stalk won’t grow in a few weeks. Shake some of the dry old dirt off the bulb and gently repot it in fresh container soil with some bulb fertilizer or bone meal. I like to place a heavy rock in the bottom of the pot so the plant doesn’t tip over as it grows.

Watering from the bottom is preferred, although harder to do. Choose your bottom saucer carefully, it will make the job go much better. Be prepared to stake and tie the flower. When it opens in all its glory, it is heavy and will fall over rather easily, usually in the middle of the night, just for the “what was that?” effect. Could it be Santa coming down the chimney?

Next check the Christmas Cactus we stashed away. If you wish to bring it out of the dark now go ahead, but another week or two would be better. Gently remove it from the pot, and carefully tap it to remove some dry soil without breaking the fleshy fresh roots. Dried or black roots are dead and can be cut off.

Plants bloom better when root bound, up to a point, so avoid a larger pot unless it’s really “all roots.” If you can loosen some outer roots and add some fresh container soil in the washed pot, tucking it around the roots, the plant will figure things out and reach for the nutrient-rich new soil. Be careful about overwatering because the plant will drop its blossoms when they appear. After the blossoms show, it is better to water a little twice a week than to soak it once.

Light fertilizer for blooming plants is recommended. Place the pot away from drafts and in moderate light. It can be tricky to find just the right spot… not too close to the wood stove either, sheesh.

Dahlia did very well for us this year. It is past time to dig them, trim the stems by half and hang them upside down in a shed where they won’t freeze. This is just what I was told to do by my Gramma… I have no idea why. Let the soil dry off the tubers somewhat, then cut the stalks off when they are dried. Store the tubers in sawdust to keep them moist enough but not so much that they rot. I always have trouble finding the “ideal” place to keep them, warm enough not to freeze.

Today I conquered the greenhouse vegetation… final round goes to Elaine! YAY. I am not hard to entertain. Avoiding the mustiness from tomato and cucumber vines is a treat for my allergies. I leave the parsley and Russian kale for as long as it wants to grow, usually most of the winter. Some horsetail has found its way into the beds but I have all winter to ponder that.

It seems to me that a big dose of lime may discourage it… hm… More research to do. What a splendid summer and fall.

Deer Gardener

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Subsea fibre optics running from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii and and then south to Vancouver will improve high-speed internet connection options for Coastal Communities, CityWest said on Oct. 13.
Subsea fibre optics running from north of Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii and and then south to Vancouver will improve high-speed internet connection options for Coastal communities, CityWest said on Oct. 13. (Black Press Media)
CityWest to refresh subsea fibre optics project

Fibre optics project to run cable from north of Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii then south to Vancouver

Federal NDP looks to criminalize domestic emotional abuse with new law

MP Randall Garrison introduces private member’s bill

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More calls come in for Cullen’s removal as NDP candidate

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs demand Cullen’s removal. Ellis says, There’s no place in B.C. for racism

Kelly Lynn Whitney has been acclaimed as the successful candidate on Oct. 16, in the Village of Port Clements by Election. Seen in photos Kelly Whitney-Gould is pictured putting finishing touches on “Ms. Gnomer’s Home 4 Wayward Folk.” (Kelly Whitney-Gould/Submitted photo)
Kelly Lynn Whitney acclaimed in By Election

Village of Port Clements By Election success

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

The Anonymous YVR is an Instagram page that reviews restaurants and other establishments around B.C. based on how well they adhere to COVID-19 rules. (Instagram)
Anonymous Instagram page reviews COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. businesses

There are a number of public health orders various types of establishments must follow to slow virus’s spread

Most Read