Thursday, December 02, 2010

Gardening Inside Your Holiday Home

I love the fragrance of paperwhites around the holidays and each year I order some along with my amaryllis.  One year I went a little overboard and ordered fifty bulbs thinking I would pot some up for friends and portion out the rest so that I would have paperwhites blooming for many weeks. This was a great deal of work and certainly took away from the easy bulb it is to grow.

I am planting Paperwhite "Ziva", a very floriforus fragrant variety, in soil because I just want to see some leaves and flowers and not the bulb.  However, paperwhites can also be planted in stones, just like the amaryllis I planted previously.  They bloom quickly, about three weeks, so try to time it so you have blooms for the holidays.

They should be planted shallow, more soil can be added as the leaves sprout.  Moss can be added before they bloom.  Decorative branches can be inserted to hold the leaves and flowers.

I put three bulbs in each of the tin and copper pots.  They are packed tightly but that is okay since these are one time use bulbs in my area.

I am starting mine now and will hold them in the attached garage for a week if I have to, just want to make sure they are in bloom.  They cannot freeze, but if you have a cool place you can keep them from breaking into full flower too soon.

I have also planted eleven bulbs in this large container. 

They are set down a few inches in the container because they become quite tall.  Their leaves do flop and lean towards the light so this is another plant that will benefit from some type of support.  Again, I will use the branches, maybe gold this time.  There is a formula of grain alcohol and water that supposedly stunts the growth so that they do not flop, check it out on  I tried it once and honestly I cannot remember if it worked!

This is the new holiday green and it really looks better with my vintage furniture than the darker green we have used for years.

My amaryllis grew very quickly and may not last through the holidays.  I could have held it in the garage at a certain stage but I was so anxious to see the flowers.  It is a Christmas amaryllis and I knew it would be faster and shorter than the other types.  I may not even need the branches to prop it up as the large leaves have not developed yet.

Christmas Amaryllis Cocktail

Cyclamen has always been a favorite plant to have around the holidays but I have never been able to keep it going.  It requires a cooler environment and not too much water.  I think I have finally found a place that it thrives.

Last winter I bought three small cyclamen at Home Depot and put them in a decorative container in an upstairs bath on a tiled window seat.  They did beautifully all year until recently when they outgrew their pots and began to look challenged.  I decided to replace them with larger cyclamen and potted them into my matching McCoy urns.  They look great and seem to be rewarding me with oodles of flowers.

The poinsettia is a favorite holiday plant, however, be careful where you place them.  Keep them away from drafts both hot and cold and away from children and pets (although not as toxic as once thought).  Water sparingly (moist, cannot sit in water) but do not let them dry out or the leaves will curl and fall.  The flowers of the poinsettia are almost unnoticeable, it is the leaves that turn those beautiful colors.

This is a variegated poinsettia that I purchased at Costco.  I bought the same poinsettia last year and it held up throughout the holiday season.  It is low growing and very full.


Edith Hope said...

Dear Eileen, Your indoor arrangements look very glamorous and full of festive spirit. I too love the Narcissus and Cyclamen, although as you say, the Cyclamen can be tricky to suit with central heating.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Eileen.My Amaryllis are growing also and I cannot wait to see if they bloom. Love your Christmas containers.So festive.A variegated poinsettia, now that is beautiful. I have never grown a Cyclamen indoors before. Yours is just beautiful. I think I need to try one don't you? LOL!

Becca's Dirt said...

What a beautiful amyrillis. You have some nice plants and pots inside. I know you must really be enjoying the blooms right now with all the snow on the ground.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Wonderful! You are doing such a great job decorating your house!

mary anne said...

Good Morning Sunshine: I mean that literally!!! Your indoor plants are beautiful!It looks as tho' you have just plucked them from your summer garden! Your photo's are especially striking and I love your new Gatsby Garden wallpaper!
So festive!

Shirley said...

Eileen, these are absolutely gorgeous! Seeing your lovely flowering amaryllis and the paperwhites sprouting makes me miss the greenhouse so much! I worked there a few years all year round and, to this day, yearn for the magnificence of poinsettias and amaryllis spanning tables throughout the greenhouse. You've inspired me to get to the nursery!!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Edith,

I know the cyclamen can be fussy so I am hoping these large ones will do as well as the little ones I had last year.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Lona,

I think I found those containers at T.J. Max Home Goods.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Becca,

I am loving the blooming amaryllis. We just had a dusting of snow so far but we are supposed to get a big hit tomorrow and the weekend.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Tatyana,

With the weather I have moved indoors. I do look longingly at my garden several times a day.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Mary Anne,

I am enjoying seeing something blooming indoors.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Shirley,

I am enjoying the indoor flowers. I used to grow just green inside but the last several years I have to see some flowers also.


Zoey said...

What a great collection of indoor flowers you have, Eileen. I was at Kmart looking at some paper whites last week, but decided against buying them. I really don't do well with indoor plants. I always admire them in other people's homes, though.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Zoey, you would be great with paperwhites, no care, just plop into a pot with a little soil and they bloom.


The Whimsical Gardener said...

Wow, that amaryllis did bloom fast! I'm planting my paper whites tomorrow! Thanks for the inspiration.

Grace Peterson said...

I agree with Edith, Eileen. "Glamorous" seems very fitting for your blossoms. I think I might need to get some paperwhites. Thank you for the inspiration.

Karen said...

Eileen, what an uplifting post! The amaryllis is gorgeous and so is the poinsettia. But I think my favorite of all is the cyclamen; even the leaves are beautiful! I so admire your creativity and zest for gardening indoors, you are truly a dedicated, expert gardener.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi WG,

The amaryllis bloomed faster than I would have liked, but that is the nature of the Christmas type, half the amount of time of the regular amaryllis.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Grace,

There have been years where I have not grown the paperwhites and I am always sorry, especially when I see the price at the florist.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, I too like cyclamen and buy them every year usually not able to keep them alive very long. Last year was the first time that they lasted for months.


joey said...

Excellent planting tips, Eileen. Love them all ... cyclamens are always a favorite and your variegated poinsettia is lovely. You put me to shame ... since I just returned home, I have yet to get started decorating but hopefully will finish this weekend.

myfrenchkitchen said...

Your indoor decorations look beautiful! I'm drawn to amaryllis paint and to was my mother's favourite flower andcan you believe that I hated them as a child? I am looking forward to seeing these bulbs all in full bloom...bringing lovely colour to the midwinter!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Well now I want to plant some paperwhites! I had some last year and loved the smell in the house.
I wish I would've remembered to plant my Amaryllis in the glass vase like you did, it looks so pretty. If I get another one I'm going to copy your idea.
I love Cyclamen too, it will grow outside here, but is still mostly sold as a houseplant.

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Your amaryllis is spectacular! Paperwhites are a big favorite of mine and I have been hunting the stores this week looking for some. I wish that I had ordered bulbs like you!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Joey, I have a lot of lists going trying to get everything done. This blog writing has made me a lot more focused on what I need to do.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Ronelle, I was never a lover of amaryllis either. They always seemed too out there and a little too big. However, a few years ago I received one as a gift and it just lit up my home. So, each year I order the amaryllis bulbs.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Catherine, I hope you find some paperwhites. I can't believe you can grow the cyclamens outside but I need to be reminded what zone you are.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Jennifer I hope you find some paperwhites. I love to put them in places where people can enjoy the odor up close like in the bathroom or on the coffee table where people will be sitting.


Beth said...

Eileen, I love your header photo. Very festive! Your amaryllis, cyclamen and poinsettia all look great.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Beth, I am really getting into the houseplants that flower, miss the outside garden a lot.


meemsnyc said...

I adore paper whites also. And amaryllis. It's not Christmas in my house without them. I have some paperwhites well on their way, hopefully will flower in time for Christmas.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Meemsync,

The paperwhites should flower in time. I usually have them going too early and then putting them in a cool place to slow them down.


Cottage Garden said...

What a gorgeous post Eileen. Your seasonal blooms are lovely and I'm now totally inspired by your Amaryllis in its elegant glass vase.

I love paperwhites - it really isn't Christmas without them is it!