Indoor Flower Power
(How to Grow Winter Bloomers for the Holidays)
By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin
Imagine exotic, fragrant and colorful plants as part of your holiday décor this season. Unlike the summer bloomers, the winter flowering plants often are sensitive to the shortening day length and cooler nighttime temperatures. In fact, these are key ingredients to successfully flowering a winter bloomer.
If you are looking for winter white blooms that are intensely fragrant then jasmines are your best choice. Jasminum polyanthum loves cool nights, above 32˚F, but below 60˚F, which initiates its flowering. By late fall they will form buds and flower in abundance, just in time for the holidays.
Another jasmine, Jasminum sambac ’Maid of Orleans’ is highly intoxicating and easily grows in a south, east or west window. Flowers form on the new growth in never-ending succession. Keep the temperatures above 65˚F in the fall and stop pruning in early fall so that the buds will open by the holidays.
There are several choices of vining plants, which give a tremendous display of color during the shortest days of the year. A reliable bloomer of traditional red is seen in Passiflora vitifolia “Crimson Passionflower.” We like this passionflower for its bright blooming presence from December to April. Also, this passionflower is easily trained on a wire hoop and creates a lovely holiday wreath effect. Be sure to keep it in a sunny spot.
Another outstanding vine is the “Pagoda Flower” or Clerodendrum splendens. A stunning display of brilliant red flowers fills the holiday window with striking color. To bring into bloom, simply wait for the shortening day length, keep temperatures above 60˚F and keep light levels high during the day (a south, east or west exposure). Then stake this vining wonder and watch the heaviest show of flowers appear from December-April with some continuous flowering all the way into June.
The last outstanding vine that has been a tried and true friend at Logee’s is Thunbergia grandiflora or “Blue Skyflower.” This blue only brings holiday cheer to that bright winter window. It’s open-faced, three inch bloom is best displayed when it is staked upright in a pot. Or if you have the space, let this vigorous climber vine around support and watch the cascading blue flowers enliven your space.
Creating winter displays of bloom are well worth the time because these spectacular floral displays last long after the holidays are over.