Don’t wait until Groundhog Day to know if winter still has some bluster left. Soothe your cravings for the outdoors now with a few simple activities.
From planning your spring garden and grooming houseplants to adopting an indoor bloomer, these simple tasks will help see you through winter’s last dark days. Here are just a few ways to get excited and a head start on the growing season ahead.
Groundhog Day Duties for Flower Lovers:
- Plan now for spring. A garden plan can be as modest as a quickly drawn sketch on the back of an envelope or drawn to scale on graph paper. Either way, you’ve got a plan.
- Freshen up your houseplants. Clip off withered leaves. Wipe healthy leaves clean with a damp cloth, holding one hand under each leaf as you clean it. Periodically rinse the cloth to remove accumulated dirt. Finish with a thorough watering.
- Add houseplants that bloom from winter to spring. In addition to starry cyclamens and dainty African violets, hybrid begonias are breathtaking when they bloom in late winter, and they are very easy to grow. Keep décor fresh by slipping houseplants into a slightly larger, more decorative container. Drainage holes are not necessary when a container is used temporarily.
- Feed houseplants with liquid fertilizer. If you’re repotting, choose a potting mix with a slow-release fertilizer built into the soil. Follow product directions to know when and how much to use.
- Start easy-to-grow annual flower seeds such as bells of Ireland, bachelor buttons and scabiosa (pincushion flower). These flowers can tolerate cold if started from seed now and set out in early spring, and they are as lovely in a vase as they are in the garden.
- Start cool-natured annual vines including sweet peas, asarina (trailing snapdragon) and thunbergia (black-eyed Susan vine) indoors, too. Pinching back tips when the plants are four inches tall encourages them to grow into stocky, heavy-blooming plants.