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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, October 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Gardening: Keep your houseplants alive this winter

Winter’s gentle teaser last week is a good reminder that our gardening has moved indoors for the next few months. Here are some tips to keep plants alive and happy. As we get into the holidays, poinsettias are going to find their way home with us and they don’t like the cold; they will drop their leaves if they get too much of it. Try to pick them up as your last stop before going home and don’t leave them sitting in your car. Once home keep them in bright indirect light and away from heat vents and cold drafts. Water them when the soil surface is dry to the touch but don’t let them stand in water afterward. The colored bracts will last well into late winter and beyond. They make a good houseplant year-round but are notoriously difficult to get to rebloom. Check out the Spokane Community College Greenhouse Program’s annual poinsettia sale going on today and tomorrow. See the side bar for details.

Gardening: Some houseplants are poisonous to pets

Many houseplants can cause intestinal, stomach and skin issues or mouth irritation to name just a few symptoms. Fortunately, they aren’t likely to kill an animal unless they eat a large quantity of the plant.

May 25 sale offers discounted plants

Gardeners looking for good deals on plants might check out the sale the Associated Garden Clubs is holding on May 25. The garden clubs had a large number of leftover plants from its annual sale at Manito Park in April.

Take care mixing cats, houseplants

Cats like houseplants, but houseplants don’t like cats. Or, at least, cats don’t do houseplants any good. Take my ponytail palm, for example. My cat is an outdoor cat, but I know that if she came indoors, what a grand time she would have jabbing her claws playfully at the ends of the palm’s wispy leaves. She’d do the same for my orchid’s flower stalk, now weighed down with a row of delicate blooms. Both plants would emerge from such play worn and frayed.

New rules apply when plants come in

We recently brought all our houseplants back into the house. Unfortunately one of those little bitty tree frogs hitchhiked in with the plants and is now croaking somewhere in the living room. The cat found the last one and we were able to rescue it before it became a snack. But it did bring to mind the issues of moving plants indoors after a long summer vacation on the deck and settling them for winter.

Winter good time to tend indoors

Looks like the weather experts weren’t too far off on their prognostications of a snowy winter. Only time will tell how much we really get. One thing is clear though; we won’t be seeing green outdoors for a long while. That makes the next couple of months a great time to tune up our houseplant knowledge. Whether you are a neophyte or an experienced indoor gardener, it never hurts to start your education with a trip to the Gaiser Conservatory in Manito Park. The 3,000-square-foot conservatory is home to several thousand plants from all over the world. It is a great place to see what is possible to grow at home. The conservatory is free and open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. except holidays.

Winter good time to tend indoors

Looks like the weather experts weren’t too far off on their prognostications of a snowy winter. Only time will tell how much we really get. One thing is clear though; we won’t be seeing green outdoors for a long while. That makes the next couple of months a great time to tune up our houseplant knowledge. Whether you are a neophyte or an experienced indoor gardener, it never hurts to start your education with a trip to the Gaiser Conservatory in Manito Park. The 3,000-square-foot conservatory is home to several thousand plants from all over the world. It is a great place to see what is possible to grow at home. The conservatory is free and open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. except holidays.

Let cacti conquer those winter blues

As the end of the gardening season approaches, gardeners can generally be divided into two types: those who look forward to having a break from gardening over the winter and those who need to stay connected with growing things. A perfect solution for the latter group is to shift their focus to growing houseplants. There are a lot of interesting houseplants one can grow but a particularly fun and easy one is the cactus.