Did you think December was a quiet month for Gardening? Not so for indoor gardening and decorating. December is an exciting month! Of course there is a great selection of Pine greenery or Holly with red berries for wreaths and mantels, but there are even more choices available for the home at garden centers and nurseries. Beyond the many selections of Poinsettia, the Christmas flower, there are also amaryllis and paperwhites. These are some of the most spectacular and elegant flowers of the holiday season and easy for anyone to grow. Buy them potted and ready to bloom, or buy bulbs to grow.
Amaryllis bloom in many colors of red, white and pink to even greens and candy stripes. The bulb itself can be as big as the palm of your hand and the flower stalk can grow two feet tall with large, eight inch blooms on top. Enjoy a single Amaryllis or use several of the same type to create a living arrangement of color on top of a table or mantel. Miniature selections are also available. Tuck in a few potted ferns and mosses to finish out the display. Sometimes the very large flowers of amaryllis need a little help standing straight and tall, so consider picking up some bamboo stakes available in natural tan color or dyed green. The stalks of amaryllis tend to lean towards light, a perfect lesson in phototropism, so turn these potted plants often. In most cases you can buy amaryllis in kits with bulb, soil and pot all in one package. Growing instructions are always included, making it a simple bulb to plant indoors.
Paperwhites are narcissus bulbs – “Ziva” is the classic paperwhite – the fastest from bulb to bloom and the easiest to grow. For indoor forcing, just place three or four bulbs in a bowl with pebbles or beach glass and water to below the bulbs. You don’t even need soil for these flowering plants. The cupped flowers and petals are pure white, dainty, and very highly fragrant.
All of December’s indoor garden choices are a welcome delight for the winter and holiday season. They do make for great gifts as well. Tuck in some garden gloves or clippers and you will delight any gardener from the beginner to the seasoned, but don’t forget yourself. Enjoy this indoor flower season and have a very Merry Christmas.