Episode 9: Caring for your Christmas House Plants

Episode 9: Caring for your Christmas House Plants

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Caring for your Christmas house plants, our plant of the month; Prunus serrula, perfect pairing (2 plants that go well together); Hamamelis mollis and Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna, listener's questions and jobs to do in the garden this month.

Download: Episode 9: Caring for your Christmas House Plants
File Size: 14.6 MB, Duration: 31' 45"

In this month’s edition of the podcast we discuss seasonal gardening jobs to do in the garden during the month of December and a selection of plants that look good at this time of year, including the ubiquitous Christmas house plants the Poinsettia and the Christmas Cactus.

Plant of the Month - 05' 45"

10c4343b53f3f853b6051a8dc932aed4Our plant of the month for December is Prunus serrula also known as the Tibetan Cherry.

  • Height 12m, spread 10m
  • Hardy, full sun or partial shade
  • Average growth Moist, well drained loam
  • Flowers May, white; cherry-like fruits Dark green, willow-like leaves turning yellow in Autumn
  • Amazing shiny, rich brown peeling bark

Perfect Pairing - 08' 40"

For the month of December we've picked two plants that compliment each other because of their fragrance:

Hamamelis mollis – Chinese witch hazel

  • Slow growing hardy shrub
  • 4m tall, 4m spread
  • Full sun/partial shade, moist, well drained ericaceous soil
  • Flowers: fragrant spidery yellow, Jan & Feb

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna – Sweet Box

  • Slow growing, evergreen, hardy shrub
  • 1.5m tall, 2m spread
  • Partial/Deep shade, moist, well drained loam soil
  • Flowers: vanilla scent fragrant, cream white tassel like, Dec to Mar; long flowering period

Jobs in the Garden - 12' 47"

  • Care for your Poinsettia
  • Care for your Christmas Cactus
  • Garden furniture, pergolas, trellis and archways can be painted with wood preservative
  • Cover borderline hardy perennials with a protective mulch of compost
  • Horticultural fleece can be used to protect larger tender plants
  • If heavy snow falls, shake off branches of trees & shrubs to prevent snapping under weight
  • Fruit tree pruning
  • Stop the water supply to outside taps & leave open; lag to protect from frost damage

In the Vegetable Garden - 17' 41"

Plant out: Rhubarb crowns

Harvest: Spinach, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Leeks and Kale

Plants of Note - 18' 27"

Another two plants that we felt we worthy of note for this month are:

Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’

  • Fast growing, evergreen hardy shrub; architectural
  • 5m tall, 4m spread
  • Full sun/partial shade, moist, well-drained soil
  • Flowers: fragrant yellow, Nov to Mar, long flowering period
  • Dark green holly-like leaves Purple berries

Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’

  • Fast growing, hardy shrub; interesting bark
  • 1.5m tall, 1.5m spread
  • Full sun/partial shade, moist, well-drained soil
  • Flowers: cream/white, May & Jun
  • Dark green oval leaves Bright coral-red stems

Listener’s Questions - 22' 10"

Faith Perry - I cover my clematis when frost is forecast. Can I just leave it covered even though the weather improves? Also, does it need a double thickness of fleece or will a single one be sufficient? It is beautiful but hard work when I have to go out and cover it each night that a frost is forecast.

Izabela Russell - Why are my strawberries and snowdrops coming up in November?

David Bradbury - Do garden fertilisers - bonemeal, blood and bone etc. have a shelf life?

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