Keep Poinsettias away from
cold or hot drafts, but near a sunny window. Do not let them get too dry
nor too wet.
If you want a cut tree, try
a Fraser Fir. They retain their needles longer and hold ornaments better.
Maintain the base of your cut Christmas tree in water until you remove
it from the house. A special solution is not any better than plain water.
The only place for an Afghan
Pine living Christmas tree is in full sun, on a perfectly drained slope,
in far west Texas. For a long-lived tree, use Italian Stone Pines
instead in central and south Texas.
Week 2 -
Prolonged exposure to temperatures
below 20° F. can kill the roots of potted plants, even natives and
other usually hardy ones. Water thoroughly and insulate the pots with newspaper,
old blankets and tarps.
Do not burn pine or juniper
wood in your fireplace or wood stove. Those woods contain highly inflammable
Potted Abutilon, Bougainvillea,
Hibiscus, Ixora and Mandevilla placed at a south or west window will provide
sporadic flowering during winter. Do not fertilize them until mid-March.
If temperatures below 24°
F. are forecast, water all landscape plants (especially St. Augustine
lawns) deeply, one to two days before temperatures fall below freezing.
Week 3 -
Drain water hoses between
uses, to maintain them useful during freezing weather.
Give your familial gardener
a gift certificate from his favorite horticultural establishment or a subscription
to a publication, such as: Cactus & Succulent Journal, Fine Gardening,
Garden Design, Garden's Illustrated, Orchids, Organic Gardening or Texas
Apply pyrethroid granules
to pots harboring Fungus Gnats and their larvae.
Never water frozen leaves.
Watering will kill, not thaw them.
Week 4 -
Resolve to be a more observant
gardener in 2020.
Give your chain saw its annual
professional checkup to ensure it will function safely during the January
and February pruning season.
While reading those glossy,
out-of-state mailorder plant and seed catalogs or perusing their web sites,
remember we live in Zone
8, have alkaline soil and hot,
Be a horticultural mentor,
give the gift of gardening to a child in 2020. Share with him the skills
of sowing, nurturing and reaping.