Chance for Winter Color
and Laurelynn Martin
the cycle of plant growth moves through the season, there are critical times
for propagating, potting and pruning. Performing these cultural
activities at the correct time will bring floral perfection and create
spectacular future shows. Now, during the first few weeks of
September, is the last chance for pinching and pruning to insure winter
environmental factors, shortening day length and cooler nighttime
temperatures, are the mechanisms that stimulate flowers in most of our
that are sensitive to the shortening day length need to be under a 13-hour
threshold of light. Usually by the time we reach the first part of
October, this requirement is met. Keep in mind that the plants need to
be kept in normal or natural day length even though it is a shorter exposure
final pruning or pinching needs to be done before the shortening day length
threshold is met, this gives the young growth time to emerge and sense the
short days. In most cases, a later pruning will delay the flowering or
stop the process all together.
day length plants are as follows:
haematocephala- the “Red Powder Puff” - flowers from November until
grandiflora - the “Blue Sky Flower” makes a stunning show throughout the
winter, but don’t prune it too late.
jamsonii - “Marmalade Bush” - great for standards and baskets.
the “Mosquito Flower” also great for baskets and standards.
a dark blue flowering African native that can be pruned freely through
the short days and still come back into flower.
luteo-rubra - “Twining Firecracker” - We grow it in pots and in a basket.
It will bloom any time under the shortening day length.
thyrsoideus - the
“Blue Coleus”- A spectacular sky blue winter bloomer that thrives
in cool day temperatures (needs a 60°F night) and, as long as the
days are short, it will continue to flower until March.
closely related to the poinsettia and great for 5 months of flowering.
nights are the next requirement for some winter bloomers. Generally
the temperature threshold is below 60°F and above 32°F. Remember to
maintain a consistent cool night and hold the plants under these
temperatures until the buds are visible and well developed.
the most part, when we keep these winter bloomers cool through the winter
months, the show keeps going. Also, daytime temperatures can be warm
or cool. It is the nighttime temperatures that stimulate bloom.
Nighttime Temperature Winter Bloomers are as follows:
violacea or the “Happy Wander” from Australia, puts
on a grand show right in the depths of winter.
polyanthum - the Winter Jasminum that’s fragrant and
showy all at once.
verticillata or “Honey Bells” one of the most
fragrant plants that we grow and great for baskets.
canariensis - the “Canary Island Broom” with its
sprays of yellow fragrant pea flowers that go on until April or
Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchid are mainstays in winter color and although it does not
need as cool a night as many, it will bloom reliably when grown under
night temperatures in the mid-to-high 50’s. Keep them
constantly at these temperatures for four weeks and, like magic, a
spike will appear. The earlier you cool them down, the sooner
you’ll have flowers.
get out your pruning shears, embrace the shorter days and cooler nights and
soon you will be rewarded with your indoor Eden of color during the winter
You can find other winter bloomers in our Winter
Back to List of Articles