Plant of the Month

Watering Christmas Poinsettias

Poinsettia is perhaps the most common plant gift of the Christmas season. It is colorful, traditional and looks like it should be tough to withstand any conditions in the home. Many recipients assume that it will last for months in the home environment. Cared-for properly and the poinsettia will give weeks of color and pleasure to its owner.

The Versatile Plant - All About Mums

When fall arrives, it's hard not to regret the passing of all the summer blooms we love so much: pompon dahlias, Shasta daisies, African daisies, little zinnias, asters, coreopsis, and calendulas.

But take heart, for the fall garden offers all these flower shapes from just one plant, the chrysanthemum. Hundreds of hardy cultivars provide an array of colors and bloom shapes, making mums the divas of the autumn garden. The blooms last for weeks, not days, and the sheer number of flowers per plant will convince anyone that this flower really likes to show off. Add the mum's impressionistic abilities to its longevity, and you have a plant that pulls its weight in the garden.

Chrysanthemums constitute a wide variety of plants including painted daisy, the very popular Shasta daisy and what we commonly refer to as the hardy mum. Hardy mums provide us with a wide array of color and form in the fall. They are a perfect replacement for the annuals you have enjoyed since spring.

Scheffelera

Schefflera is a member of the Aralia family and is named for the eighteenth century botanist, A. Scheffler. Two of the more popular varieties of Schefflera are S. actinophylla is the large leafed Umbrella Plant, and S. arboricola is the smaller, bushy dwarf Schefflera. In this section, "Schefflera" will refer to the larger plant and "Arboricola" will refer to the dwarf plant.

The Schefflera plant is usually multi-stemmed with large, dark green leaves. The Schefflera is columnar, usually with a single vertical stem, and has larger leaves.

S. arboricola is used as a bush, a tree, and as a braided trunk tree. Also, Arboricola is more tolerant of low light than Schefflera. There are several varieties of Arboricola, including green, variegated, and gold.

Spathiphyllum

Spathiphyllum, Spath, Peace Lily
Spathiphyllum
Light Level: Low
Water Level: High

Spathiphyllum is a member of the Anthurium genus. The plant has spoon-shaped leaves in a wide variety of sizes that can be green or variegated. The "flowers" are actually a white bract (this is the spath) that encloses the actual flower. Planterra uses several cultivars.

Of the smaller cultivars, 'Petite' is one of the smallest used. It is about 12 to 18 inches tall with narrow, ridged leaves. There is also a variegated dwarf spath called 'Domino.' S. wallisii is medium with narrow medium green leaves appearing on tall thin stems. 'Mauna Loa' is a larger sized cultivar that has broad, blue-green deeply ridged leaves and stands about 3 feet tall. The largest, 'Sensation' can grow over 5 feet tall and wide; it has huge deeply ridged leaves.

Country of Origin: Central and South America

Flower of the Month

Did you know that every month has a flower associated with it? Here is the Society of American Florists' list:

Month
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Flower
Carnation
Iris, Violet
Daffodil
Daisy, Peonies
Lily, Lily of the Valley
Rose
Delphinium
Dahlia, Gladiolus
Aster, Forget-me-not
Calendula (aka Marigold)
Chrysanthemum
Poinsettia, Holly, Narcissus, Paperwhite