21 September, 2019

Jan/Feb 2012

Jonathan’s Tips

Check pots with winter bedding in to make sure they are not too dry.

Seed potatoes can be set up to allow them to chit.

Buy your seeds from nurseries or merchants.

Prune down autumn fruiting rasp canes and tie in summer fruiting canes.

Keep your eye on the lawn as moss will soon start to grow.

Bare rooted plants are still available from nurseries so plant up before it gets too mild.


Lily bulbs can be purchased and planted from now onwards.

Check any fruit you have in storage to make sure none is rotting.

Ventilate your greenhouse on mild days to reduce fungus and start your seed sowing.

Watch for early flowering bulbs that are hidden under leaves etc and clear them away.

Watch for perennial weeds as they start growing early. Hoe them up or lift with a fork.

If you grow house plants, it’s time to start feeding again.

Prune off any damaged branches from trees and shrubs.

 Jonathan 2012


Peter’s Advice


Cyclamen as pot plants at Christmas are nowhere near as difficult to grow as you might think. A few words about their management might save some sorrow and/or embarrassment later.

They come in a wide range of colours; some of which are fragrant so try them out if you are buying one.

A good selection of the large flowered hybrids is the F1 ‘Sierra’. These are the large plants that we traditionally associate with Christmas.

Having said at the start that they are not difficult to look after in the home, it has to be said that they need the right conditions if they are to thrive and flower over a long period, and in the years to come.

Avoid high temperatures. Settle for one at around 60F (15-16C.) and they’ll be as happy as sandboys.

Put them in a light and airy place away from fumes, radiators and open fires. Also, keep them away from draughts and sudden changes in temperature.


Remember, they are almost hardy.

Water them carefully and don’t drown them. They are semi-woodland plants where the drainage is always sharp and the ground usually damp but never wet.

Use tepid water to avoid giving the plants a check and don’t water until the surface of the compost has dried out a bit.

The best way to water them is to stand the pot in saucer of tepid water for 10-15 minutes. I often give the advice to put them in at the start of ‘The Archers’ and take them out at the end! If you leave them standing in water too long, you can damage the roots.

I said stand them in water rather than pour it on from above because, under indoor conditions, cyclamen are apt to develop Botrytis mould (the same thing that strawberries and winter lettuces get) in the crown.

This can lead to the base of the leaf and flower stalks going rotten and the plant wilting and often dying.

The first precaution is to make sure that the corm is at least half exposed above the compost. Don’t have the base of the stalks buried under any circumstances and scrape the compost away if it is when you get.

If a plant does collapse on you, if you see what I mean, check the planting depth and spray into the crown with a systemic fungicide. Once it has dried, put the plant back in a suitable place and, touch wood, it should recover.

When a few flowers fade and leaves go yellow, pull them off by twisting them so that they come clean away. Don’t leave bits of stalk attached to the corm, it can go rotten.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot; what was the matter with our flagged plant? It was bone dry. Nothing more serious than that!


Peter 2012


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