December Gardening Tips

  • Use snow-melt as little as possible to eliminate snow and ice on walkways and driveways.  Avoid using fertilizer and salt which can damage plant materials in the vicinity.
  • Amaryllis bulb kits as Christmas gifts provide striking color inside and breathe life into winter.  Only moisten the bulb when first planted, keep warm (70-75 degrees), water more as the stalk elongates, and provide enough room and stability for 1 to 1 ½ foot tall leaves as it grows and blooms.
  • Live Christmas trees are still a tradition in some homes.  Check it’s freshness by tapping the branches; few needles should fall.  Stroke the branches to make sure the needles are resilient not brittle, have an aromatic fragrance, and good green color for the species.  Before bringing the tree indoors, cut 1-inch off the bottom before placing in the water receptacle, and fill it with ½ cup regular 7-up plus 1 quart water or tree preserver.
  • Place Christmas poinsettias near a sunny window but away from cold glass, and avoid cold or hot air drafts.  Moving to a cooler room (55-60 degrees) at night can prolong the blooms.  Water when dry to the touch, soak the soil to the bottom of the pot, and discard excess water.  Fertilize every two weeks (20-20-20 or 20-5-10 fertilizer) using ¼ teaspoon to one pint of water every 5-7 days.
  • Consider a garden shop gift card, garden tools, or offering to clean or refurbish and sharpen garden equipment for the gardener in your life.  Books on their favorite type of plants, or a gift card to a popular gardening catalog also are welcome gifts.
  • Visit the USUBC and Ogden Botanical Gardens websites to enjoy garden beauty and gardening events from 2013.  Make plans for 2014 to be a part of classes and great gardening experiences at the USU Botanical Center in Kaysville, and the Ogden Botanical Gardens.  Websites will be updated soon with events and classes to look forward to next year.