Friday, June 5, 2015

Growing Indoor Plants Calgary?

As we get into June and the overnight temperatures warm up it's time to give your houseplants a little summer vacation. First, however, make sure the weather is warm enough, watch that long term forecast, sometimes June in our area is still not warm enough, ie: Highs in the 20's and lows near 10C. Most importantly one just doesn't take a nice houseplant and plunk it on a sunny patio! What would happen if we took someone from Canada in the middle of the Winter and put you on a Mexican beach with no sunscreen or even a hat? You would probably sunburn in about 10 minutes and not feel very good for a while. Thus it is with houseplants, they are not used to direct sun and the elements so they need to be hardened off, the same if you have grown some seedlings indoors for annual plantings, they need to be eased into this situation. Even if you have cactus, like the ones in the photo, they need to placed into shade with only a little direct sun at first. For plants other than cactus you should keep in shade, or dappled shade with no direct sun for a few weeks. If you have a good overhang or covered or sheltered patio that would be ideal, a roof of some sort will protect from falling temperatures, wind and heavy rain. Make sure your houseplants can also withstand our relatively non-tropical nights, some may be unsuitable such as orchids. I grow many houseplants outdoors in the summer like cactus and succulents, spider plants, amaryllis and even a lemon tree, they will love the increased sunlight, natural rainfall and cool nights, you will enjoy the extra room in your house for the summer and can finally clean that dusty corner before the summer visitors arrive!

Here's an Epiphyllum type cactus that loves hanging from my lilac tree in the summer. With regular fertilizing and normal rainfall it excells and rewards us with a show of giant flowers around August.

Just remember when the temperatures dip in September it's time for most of these guys to come back indoors for the winter!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Lilac Time Again!

     We haven't been to the Lilac Festival in many years, and what for? It's a Lilac festival in our backyard every spring! Some of these Lilacs, like the ones in the back are probably over 60 years old and still going strong! I know some people complain that they only last a short time and wish they bloomed all year, well I would like ice cream in the mail! We don't live in the tropics so enjoy them for what they are, a reliable and hardy shrub/tree that come in many colours and types. Lilacs come in three types, French like the ones you see here, Velosa or Korean types that bloom a little later and are mostly in the pink shades and Japanese that are more like a tree and bloom white in early summer. If one invested in a few varieties you could have lilacs from May thru June. I'm not sure why some stress over the suckering of the French types, if you let them grow they will eventually bloom, some years I have cut the suckers and some I haven't, it's all what you want or how much punishment you think you deserve I guess! Some of the more recent varieties have stronger colour, bigger blooms and less suckering, so get out there and have a look at your local greenhouse, there's a lilac for you that will reward you year after year with almost no care.