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Video: How To Extend The Life Of Christmas Plants
The New Year holidays are behind, which means that life from the festive rhythm is returning to the work schedule. The skeletons of the recently living forest beauties-Christmas trees, which were left without needles, are now adorned with snowdrifts near houses - a sad picture, but repeating from year to year, and artificial ones are removed on the mezzanine until next December. But besides Christmas trees, many indoor plants are also used as New Year and Christmas plants. So what needs to be done so that they do not suffer the sad fate of the New Year tree, so that they continue to live and delight us further? Let's start with conifers, which are often decorated and used as an outdoor or table Christmas tree.
Of these, in room conditions, araucaria, cryptomeria, cunningamia and cypress trees feel best. All they need is regular watering and a low air temperature - up to + 12 ° C. They even tolerate the dryness of the air in the room quite normally, although they respond gratefully to spraying with water. Read about the care of these plants on our portal in the articles Araucaria varifolia and Large-fruited cypress.
The situation with container spruce, fir, juniper, cypress is more complicated. Many people buy them with the expectation of further planting in the garden. All of them are not indoor plants, but open ground, requiring a dormant period in the winter. Ideally, the best place for them is a subtropical greenhouse with temperatures up to + 12 ° C and high humidity, not lower than 50%, and preferably 60-75%. If you have an insulated loggia, where the temperature conditions correspond to the level from +5 to + 12 ° C, we advise you to keep conifers there. It is desirable that the temperature is kept stable and not subject to fluctuations. Such conditions are most acceptable for junipers. Ate, and especially fir, are considered unsuitable even for a winter garden.
In a room, such conditions are difficult to achieve, in a comfortable environment for humans, where the air temperature exceeds + 20 ° C, the needles inevitably begin to turn yellow and fall off, and then small branches dry out. This is mainly due to the high temperature and dryness of the air, but other factors are also important - a lack of light and nutrition.
The sale in winter is dominated by imported conifers planted in neutral peat. This soil tends to dry out quickly and is rather poor in nutrients. In the process of growing, plants are constantly fed by droplets. But the higher the temperature in the room, the more active the biological processes in the tissues of the plant, and the higher the need for nutrition. Therefore, for several weeks, which they will replace your Christmas tree, it is not superfluous to feed the plants once with a half dose (from the one indicated on the package) of a complex mineral fertilizer for decorative leafy plants. Let not immediately, but the plant should be transplanted into good soil with the addition of loam or rich garden land. To ensure photosynthesis, the place for the plant should be chosen bright, and not in the back of the room.At night, you can move it to an open window or on the floor to the balcony door, where it is cooler.
Juniper Chinese Stricta
A good solution, although not very aesthetic, is to organize a cool "greenhouse" on the windowsill, separating the window niche from the rest of the room with a film curtain. The root system of the plant must be isolated from the lower heating on the side of the heating devices by placing the plant on an overturned pot or other high support. Bring the crown close to the cold window glass. A draft from an open window is not terrible if the temperature outside the window is not too negative, when the tips of the vegetative shoots may be frostbitten. You can build, for example, a glass flower showcase or use an indoor florarium.
Care consists in maintaining moderate soil moisture and spraying the crown 3-5 times a day or saturating the plant with moisture in a bathroom filled with steam for 1-2 hours 1-2 times a week. If you simply keep conifers at a temperature of + 15-25 ° C and an air humidity of 20-30%, a rapid yellowing and falling of the needles, drying of the branches and the whole plant are inevitable. To increase the air humidity, you can put bowls of water next to it, put wet towels on the battery, or use a household humidifier. Small conifers keep well in pots filled with fine expanded clay or damp crumpled newsprint. Conifers need to be watered very moderately, they cannot stand long-term waterlogging of the soil. If you keep them in cool conditions, then the water temperature should be at the level of + 12-17 ° C, if in warm conditions, then the water should also be warm,at the level of + 20 … + 25 ° C, but it will not be possible to preserve plants for a long time in such conditions. And do not allow overflow, excess moisture causes a lack of oxygen in the zone of the root system and active "needles", which usually ends with the death of the absorbing roots and the death of the plant.
Having fulfilled the function of New Year's decor, many conifers end up on an open balcony, in the cold, which is completely unacceptable. A very short stay in a heated room is enough to activate life processes. They ate, for example, in the room, after a couple of weeks, they begin to give young growths. In the cold, such plants, pampered by the heat, die very quickly.
By the way, the appearance of young, bright green growths does not need to be too happy, although they indicate the well-being of the plant. In conditions of a lack of light, the crown forms loose, loses its shape and becomes ugly. If for spruces this process can still be partially restrained by pinching, then it is almost impossible to preserve the compactness of firs.
For a short period, salvation can be a cold basement or a warm garage, where the temperature does not drop below zero. If the temperature there is low, about +2.. + 5 ° C, then the need for photosynthesis is extremely small (at zero it stops completely), and the plant can be preserved until spring, even in the dark. The needles will fade a little, but with their return to light (gradually!) They will restore their color. Still, it is better if there is at least a small window. But if the temperature is up to + 10 ° C, natural light is necessary (but do not arrange lighting in the basement!). And remember to keep the substrate slightly moist.
Special mention should be made of those plants that are sold strewn with sequins. Usually it is a Chinese juniper "Stricta". After the holiday, such a plant must be washed from the varnish with sparkles. However, the varnish is washed off with difficulty, and irreversible damage has already been done to the respiration of the plant. So, purchasing such a plant, you need to consider it as a one-time use - after standing for several weeks, it usually dries up.
A herringbone or juniper intended for planting in the country is gradually accustomed to the cold. You need to keep them on the balcony or next to it, first 15-20 minutes, then 30-40 minutes, 1-1.5 hours a day for a week, in order to then take them out to an unheated balcony and keep them there without watering and spraying until spring.
Now about the very possibility of planting New Year's container conifers in the ground. On New Year's Eve, various conifers can be sold that are not sold in the fall, but usually these are inexpensive varieties. Do not trust the recommendations of those sellers who promise that container fir will then be able to grow in the garden - it will not survive until spring at room temperature. In addition, as a rule, Nordmann fir is offered for sale, which freezes up to ground level in our country. It is clear that you should not suffer with her. The gray spruce "Konika" is finicky, in spring a new danger lies in wait for it - it burns heavily in the sun, so it needs shading. Juniper Chinese "Stricta" feels good with us. But considering that in winter these plants did not receive the necessary "hardening",in the first two wintering, they need to provide shelter - mulching the root system with a compost layer of several centimeters, tying the crown with white cotton cloth or spruce branches, throwing snow. At the same time, success is still not guaranteed, they may not endure severe frosts.
In the presence of cool conditions for wintering, allowing the plants to be preserved until spring, it is safer to use them not for planting in the ground, but for seasonal container decoration of a garden or balcony with overexposure in the winter in a garage, shed (a slight minus is no longer terrible) or in a cold greenhouse. When transplanting into a new container, we recommend adding good garden soil or just loam to the purchased soil for conifers so that it retains moisture better. Every year, special fertilizers for conifers are required, since the volume of the substrate is limited.
Forcing bulb plants
We do not have a stable tradition of giving flowers for the New Year. But many people buy hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses in pots. After flowering, do not rush to remove the plants that have lost their decorative effect to the far corner - on the contrary, they need to be provided with everything necessary in order to get not a small baby, but good replacement bulbs, which are planted in the garden not in spring, but in autumn, at the usual time for planting bulbs. Read more about this in the articles forcing hyacinths, forcing crocuses. Do the same with daffodils.
Oriental hyacinth Royal Navy
Hippeastrum, incorrectly called amarylissa on the market, are distilled in industrial and indoor conditions, achieving flowering for the New Year, Christmas and other holidays. Usually it is possible to get 1-2 flowering per year, some enthusiasts achieve three flowering times from one bulb. The number of blooms depends on the size of the bulb (large ones bloom more often), as well as on the forcing conditions and dormancy periods. It is important to remember that after distillation, the plant is greatly depleted, becomes weak and can fall into a period of semi-dormancy (there are leaves, but there will be no flowers) for a long time, sometimes for several years. And flowering 2-3 times a year can lead to the death of the bulbs.
Hypeastrum hybrid Charisma
At the end of each flowering, be sure to let the plants rest for two months. Top dressing during the dormant period should not be carried out, otherwise the plant will quickly come out of the dormant period. Hippeastrum bulbs that have completely lost their leaves can be kept in dry soil without removing from the pots, or stored in bulk in boxes, bags in the dark at a temperature of + 5 + 10 ° C, without watering. If the leaves are preserved, keep the plants in bright, diffused light at a temperature of + 10-12 (up to + 15 ° C), with occasional, moderate watering.
Poinsettia (Christmas star). This is a spectacular plant, which in the West, and here in Russia, is used mainly as a plant of one flowering. It is difficult to get re-flowering from it, the plant will not look so impressive. If you tune in to keep the poinsettia at the end of winter flowering for 3-4 months in a cool (temperature + 10-12 ° C), practically in the dark (in a closet or under a black bag), on a short day of light lasting 2-4 hours, watering very moderately - re-flowering can be expected. You can see information on successful secondary flowering of the plant - Poinsettia re-flowering is possible.
Poissettia (euphorbia most beautiful)
Cyclamen. As a Christmas plant, Cyclamen Persian is usually used, because its natural period of flowering falls on the winter months - from December to February and even longer. However, European forcing Cyclamens are also on sale. This is not very good, because when the plant is forced to bloom out of time by artificial methods, the biological rhythm of development is knocked down for at least 1 year, from which the plant suffers greatly, "comes to life" for a long time, and the florist spends a lot of effort on resuming flowering, but often these efforts end in plant death and disappointment.
As with poinsettia, cyclamens are also considered “disposable” plants. And in vain, because they are able to live in an apartment for several years and annually delight the owners with flowers, and the flowering of cyclamens can be both single and long-lasting, and double, but somewhat shorter. It is important to know the developmental biology of each type of cyclamen and create the necessary conditions for plants. There are cases when cyclamens lived for 20-25 years and at this age they bloomed no worse than young ones.
The flowering of cyclamens will last long if the plants are kept in cool conditions, at a temperature of + 12-14 ° C. True, breeders have already bred some "heat-resistant" varieties, suitable for keeping in an apartment all year round at a temperature of + 20-25 ° C.
And do not be afraid that at the end of flowering, the leaves begin to turn yellow and disappear. The Persian cyclamen loses all of them by the spring and goes into deep peace until about September. During this period, it does not need light or watering; it is better to keep it in the refrigerator or at a temperature of + 10-12 ° C. Only rare soil moisture is needed so that the tuber does not dry out or shrivel. And Cyclamen European leaves for a dormant period with a certain amount of leaves - it must be left in bright diffused light, watered, rarely (once a month) fertilizing with nitrogen-free fertilizers or not at all.
Many questions on our forum indicate that not everyone will have time to help with these tips, but we sincerely hope that by the next New Year's celebration you will be armed with the necessary knowledge.
Photo: Rita Brilliantova, Maxim Minin
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