Houseplants, Amaryllis and Paperwhites bring us joy through the winter months. When gardeners can’t dig in the soil to plant, we get creative! There are a handful of things you can do on your own to garden indoors.
Airplants, or Tillandsia, are low-maintenance houseplants. They do not require soil to grow. Their natural environments range from jungles to deserts where they live on other plants, trees, or rocks, pulling nutrients and water from the air, rain, and natural debris around it. These epiphytes are adaptable and tolerant of our home conditions and require minimal care. Indoors, they enjoy bright light to filtered sun and temps in the 70’s. Water once a week by dunking the plant into water, soaking for 5-10 minutes. Gently shake off the water and allow your airplant to dry completely between watering again. Design tip: Mount airplants on wood, rocks, trees. Hang from wire or fishing line. Place in whimsical or clear glass containers.
You can create dried arrangements using plants and flowers from your own gardens even in winter! If you have not cut flowers to dry in fall, simply look outside for Hydrangea, Sedum and Allium flowers, Rose hips, grass plumes, evergreen cones, seed pods, branches, and bark pieces. What catches your eye outside will also attract interest indoors. Arrange them in your favorite vase or lay them on a table. One Hydrangea flowerhead set on a bookshelf is simply elegant and striking. A collection of pinecones fill up a tall clear vase rather nicely. Another option is to make your own wreath using a grapevine wreath. Weave the dried flowers into the wreath and use hot glue to attach other natural embellishments. Earthy tones and use of natural elements is trending now in home décor.
Consider planting annuals and perennials this year that are good for cut arrangements, fresh or dried. Yarrow, Roses, Lavender, Glove Thistle, Salvia, Statice, Strawflower, Scabiosa, Celosia, Gypsophilia, Centraurea Montana, Liatris, Baptisia, Lady’s Mantle, and Eryngium are a few perennials good for cutting. When growing a cutting garden, remember a bud will continue to open once it is cut, so cut your flowers for drying before they are fully bloomed. Gather the flower stems into small bunches, wrapping tightly with a rubber band or string. Hang the bunches upside down and have ready to make your next dried arrangement.
Forcing Branches Indoors
Brighten up winter with a simple technique called forcing branches. By bringing twigs from flowering trees and shrubs indoors, out of dormancy early, you’re rewarded with colorful leaf buds and beautiful flowers. A few of our favorite trees and shrubs to use are Forsythia, Quince, Cherry, Magnolia, Redbud, Pear, Crabapple, Pussywillow. Even some Maples produce interesting buds.
Branches force best when cut on a warm day with temps above freezing. The later in winter you bring them inside, the faster they will bloom. Twigs cut now may take a few weeks. Those snipped in March may open in just one to two weeks. You’ll need clean pruners, branches, a bucket filled with warm water, and a vase or container.
Gather and snip nonessential branches at least 12” long. Be selective, considering the shape of the plant as you cut. Fill a bucket with warm water. Place fresh stems in the bucket and wait for the buds to swell, changing the water every few days. Keep branches out of the sun and mist occasionally. Once the buds begin to swell, arrange the stems in a sturdy vase or container and enjoy!
There is still time to join our Staghorn Fern Wall Art Workshop with other gardening friends! And we have opened our Old Farmhouse giftshop on weekends in February. Step inside for houseplants, home decor, and spring inspiration. We are just as excited to dig in and garden again as you. Spring arrives at The Growing Place on April 1 when we open for the season!