With Christmas and the New Year right around the corner, it’s time to ponder what to gift to your gardening friends. The classic holiday plant gift is a poinsettia. However, this article will focus on two other great holiday plants, such as amaryllis and gardenia.
Amaryllis is a bulb that produces large, trumpet-shaped flowers. It is also a good container plant and can reach a height and spread of 1-3 feet. This bulb needs well-drained soil, has medium drought tolerance and low to no salt tolerance. It makes a great impact when planted in terraces, at gate entrances or as a border plant in groups of 10 or more. Plant this bulb between September and January. Amaryllis performs best in partial shade and well in sun. Propagation is from seeds, cuttings and smaller bulbs attached to the ‘mother’ bulbs. You can leave bulbs in the ground for years or dig them up and replant them during September and October. Blooms last for several weeks. For more information, see http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp255.
Gardenia produces fragrant white flowers and has glossy, dark-green leaves. This plant can reach a height and spread of 4-8 feet. Full sun to partial shade provides the best flowering. Well-drained soil that has been amended with organic matter is preferred. This large shrub has medium drought tolerance and low to no salt tolerance. It should be fertilized two or three times each year. After flowering has been completed, it can be pruned. However, if you prune after October 1, blooming the following year will be decreased. You propagate this plant by grafting or cuttings. Gardenia can be used as a hedge or groundcover, and it’s beautiful in mass plantings or as a specimen plant. See http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP33800.pdf.
For the gardeners in your life, they may well want nonplant-gardening-related gifts. Consider giving items such as knee pads, a garden cart, a saw or pruner, gloves, seeds, bulbs, pots, mulch, potting soil, perlite, compost, plant hangers, composting bins, composting worms, a microirrigation kit, garden sculptures, garbage cans (I only have 11 and could use more) and dozens of other items gardeners want or need.
The University of Florida IFAS Extension Bookstore, http://ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu/, has an amazing selection of gardening, health and nutrition, homes and home maintenance, health and nutrition, natural resources and wildlife and so much more. Logo items include clothing, umbrellas, key chains, hats, children’s books, toys and more. What a place!
Offer your labor for a specific number of hours or tasks to perform for your friends who may not want or are not able to do them. Tasks could include weeding, planting, pruning, watering, propagating, fertilizing, mulching, relocating plants and more. Please come outside and garden so you can check things off your list, enjoy the outdoors and frolic with nature.
For information about upcoming horticultural programs, visit our website, http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/, and check out our calendar of events at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/upcoming-events/. Wishing all of you safe and wonderful holidays.
Contact Lynn Barber at email@example.com.