January! Already Thinking Spring!

January! Already Thinking Spring!

January! Already Thinking Spring!

We’re already thinking about spring here at Blomidon Nurseries! Once the Christmas items are all packed away, the seed racks and the seed catalogues arrive, and we literally just roll over to the next season. Spring propagation, seeds, and all the supplies that you’ll need. But remember, we’re just thinking spring. So hold off a bit before starting anything. It’s only January.

I do want to touch a little bit on house plants. In the wintertime, people are very anxious to take all of the energy that they used on their plants outside and want to give that energy to the plants they have on the inside. January and February are not the best months to repot your plants. Many people don’t know this fact, but March is the best time to repot your houseplants. In the same way that your plants are dormant outside, your plants are semidormant inside. You still have shorter light-days, and the plants slow down. The less light that your plants get, the less growth they’ll put on, and the less water that they will need.

Then, for the next couple of months, all you’re going to do is cut way back on the watering. It all depends on the type of heat in your house. If you have a very dry heat, whether it’s oil or electric or wood heat, sometimes if you keep your temperatures up high, your plant is still going to go through a bit of water. You really need to look at each plant separately and stick your finger in the pot to see if it needs water. This is the time when people overwater their plants and kill them. Your plants are still not using as much water as they did during the summer months, so you need to really slow down and water them sparingly.

So, if you can hold off on repotting, then do so. I know some plants are really rootbound, but in the house plant world, most plants like to be really tight in the pot. You never want to keep repotting them on a regular basis. You need to let them be really quite tight in the pot. Once March comes around and your plants start to get more daylight hours, that’s when the plants start to come to life and start to put on some new growth. That’s the time to repot them.

Cut back on the fertilizer at this time of year as well, because even though your plants are still growing, they are growing very slowly. I would just cut back from fertilizing every other time that you’re watering to fertilizing every third watering. It is important to always use the recommended dose on the fertilizer container. Don’t use less, don’t use more, just whatever dose is recommended. But don’t use it as often as you would in the summer months.

It is easy to see where people who have that “green thumb” would be giving too much attention to the inside plants when they have no plants to take care of outdoors. In the store at this time of year, we see many Christmas shoppers coming in and buying all these nice decorative pots for the house plants. I always tell them to hold off and just leave the plant in the pot it’s in now and set your nice new decorative pot aside. Keep it there until March and then repot your house plant in the new pot.

When you are repotting your plants, remember that you can’t go from a 4-inch pot to a 12-inch pot. They are usually sold in increments of two inches, so it’s 4-inch, 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, and so on. Whatever pot your plant is in, and even if it is really tight in that pot, you should only go one pot size bigger. That will give you a couple of inches around the side, and it should give you a couple of inches more depth in the bottom of the pot. That is all your house plants need. If you give them a really big pot, you will see absolutely no growth on the top because it’s going to take months and months before that pot is filled with roots. Only then will you start to see some top growth. A little bit at a time is much better, and never plant any deeper than the original pot that it was in. When you finish repotting your plant, you should be able to see that old soil surface. It should never be buried any deeper.

If the plant is top heavy or floppy in the pot, you should buy a pot that has a wider base. There are pots on the market that are narrow at the base and wider at the top and the roots can’t spread out wide enough to support the plant. The wide-based one allows the base of the plant to be more widely distributed over a larger surface and keeps it from flopping or falling over.

Don’t forget—seed catalogues are out in January, seed racks are in, and supplies of lights, heat mats, domes, and trays are all available at Blomidon Nurseries. What a great time of year to begin preparation for the warmer months!