Spokane County Extension

Garden - Lawn - Landscape


December


Tender plants in rock gardens will benefit from a light covering of evergreen boughs to lessen desiccation by the wind. Take care not to smother the plants. You should be able to see them throughout the covering.

A home weather station that includes a minimum-maximum thermometer and a weather log is a great gift for a gardener. Other gifts for gardeners include:

  • Good quality hand tools   
  • Decorative faucets
  • Permanent plant markers
  • Garden gloves or hat
  • Bird feeders
  • Bulbs for forcing indoors
  • Cut or dried flower supplies
  • Plant stands
  • Gardening books or subscriptions to gardening magazines
  • Gift certificates from garden centers, nurseries and mail order companies

When decorating for the holidays, do not place fresh, needle-leafed evergreens directly on finished furniture or a mantelpiece; use felt or a tablecloth under them. Sap from branches may take the finish off wooden surfaces.

Avoid overwatering houseplants during the winter months. Lack of humidity is a problem for houseplants in winter. Misting the air around plants is not effective. Set houseplants together on a tray of wet pebbles or use a room humidifier.

 

 

Check for cold drafts that are damaging to houseplants.

Don't let snow pile up on shrubs. Use an upward motion with a broom to remove it.

Fill bird feeders with wild bird seed, crumbs and suet. Water is equally important to birds in the winter. Provide it in wood or cement bowls, not metal.

Cyclamen are often given at Christmas and can provide flowers for a long period of time if given the right care. Cyclamen require very bright light, which is difficult to provide in some homes. They are very sensitive to overwatering - keep the soil barely moist and avoid wetting the crown of the plant. Cyclamens also need cool temperatures; around to 50 - 60°F at night. Remove spent flowers daily. Pull them from the crown, don't cut them.

Be careful when using de-icers on walks that border lawns and perennial beds. Most de-icers are fertilizers that contain salts and will burn plants and turf if not applied carefully. Rock salt and table salt are also very harmful to plants and will damage cement and concrete. It is preferable to use sand on icy walkways or steps.

 

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WSU Extension Spokane County , 222 N Havana, Spokane WA   99202-4799, 509-477-2048, Contact Us