Houseplants For the Winter-Weary: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day January 2014

– Posted in: What's up/blooming
20 comments

A forced hyacinth brings fragrance and color to the winter-weary gardener

The flower color is actually more purple than blue.

I‘ve bought yet another plant after saying I was tired of my houseplants. I pounced on this forced hyacinth in bud while grocery shopping. I didn’t force any hyacinths myself this year because I was short of funds and many of the bulbs I tried to force last year went moldy on me. But right now I am enjoying the fragrance of this one, and I have another hyacinth glass for my collection in the bargain.

We have been having a roller-coaster kind of winter with sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures and inches of snow, followed by spring-likes thaws and rain. Back and forth, back and forth, like some kind of sick pendulum.

There is nothing to be done except to expose oneself to as many living plants as possible, preferably thriving plants. That is where I am falling down. The ‘HGC Jacob’ hellebore that was my previous yield to temptation is putting out lots of flowers, but the leaves keep turning yellow on me.

HGC Jacob hellebore

Three weeks after purchase, this HGC Jacob hellebore is blooming more than ever, but the leaves look sickly.

As a matter of fact, I already gave it one trim about ten days ago.
Trim dead leaves off your houseplants to keep them healthy and attractive

I trimmed all the dead and ugly leaves off this hellebore ten days ago, and now it needs another trim!

Believe me, after bring back Josef Lemper from the brink of death, I am being very careful not to overwater. As a matter of fact, I am starting to wonder if I should be watering a bit more often. It is in a south facing window in a cool room. I don’t know what else to do for it. Any suggestions?

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

20 Comments… add one

Donna@Gardens Eye View January 28, 2014, 8:10 pm

I need to expand my winter plant growing…

Laurel January 23, 2014, 4:32 pm

I am a firm believer in keeping plants inside! The greenery can be so uplifting, especially in these dreary winter months. Thanks for the great post!

Peter Roberts January 22, 2014, 4:26 pm

Loved this post! People always think winter is going to be dreary, and I tell them that all you need to do is some interior landscaping to cheer you right back up, even if it’s just buying a new houseplant!

les January 16, 2014, 7:32 pm

I can almost smell that hyacinth.

Leslie January 16, 2014, 11:21 am

Hellebore advice – since the new leaves come as the plant is flowering, having the old leaves turn yellow is normal. In the garden they should be cut off because the look ratty. I agree with the comment that it probably isn’t happy with the temps and the lack of light inside. Give it warm days outside and if you can just harden it off hand have it live out there until you can plant it. I put these in containers outside and leave them there all winter (z5-6) and they are fine and blooming. They go into the ground when the pansies go into the container. It is not a fragile thing- tough, tough, tough

Donalyn@The Creekside Cook January 16, 2014, 11:01 am

I’m very tempted by the pots of in bloom daffodils in the stores this week. I bought 2 big pots of the teensy ones on sale at Lowes after Easter a few years ago, and last spring they were so beautiful, coming up all over the garden.

As for at home, my Christmas cactus is still blooming, but that is it.

Rodrica January 16, 2014, 10:29 am

I have the same hellebore as you and it looks the same. I trimmed mine, too, when I couldn’t look at those unsightly leaves any longer. It is on the floor of a cool greenhouse and seems/looks? happier now. I think it is a natural process for hellebore leaves to yellow and be replaced. Since these plants were forced, who knows exactly where they think they are in the natural order of time. I predict both plants will make it until spring when they can be planted in the ground. I’m enjoying it since I forgot to take the amaryllis out of the basement which are usually starting to bloom right now.

Rose January 16, 2014, 9:33 am

I’ve resisted the urge to buy anything blooming during my shopping so far, but I may have to break down soon. No advice on your hellebore–it looks so much better than my anemic houseplants!

Frank January 15, 2014, 7:57 pm

I can only hope the hyacinths I potted up will look 1/4 as nice! You were smart to buy it. With all your houseplant buys I detect a bit of cabin fever?
I have no hellebore advice. I would put it outside whenever the temperatures get just over freezing. Might as well put the yo-yo weather to work since I bet it’s just not happy with the lower light and little air flow and warm dry air….. but again I’m only guessing.

Chloris January 15, 2014, 6:11 pm

Who said: ‘Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom’? Well I think life’s too short to force hyacinths. They are as cheap as chips to buy all ready in bud. Why bother going to all that trouble and worrying about when to get them out and then finding they’ve gone mouldy?
Chloris

Kathy Purdy January 15, 2014, 6:27 pm

If it’s something you don’t care to do, then of course it’s better to buy them already forced. But you will get a better selection of color if you buy your own bulbs from a reputable dealer, and you then have the pleasure of watching them grow. It all depends on whether it is the process or the end result which gives you more pleasure.

jess January 15, 2014, 1:44 pm

I love the hyacinth glass! I am going to troll my own grocery stores and look for a few forced bulbs (and hellebore, which I’ve never seen here!).

jess | Quaintrelle

Angie January 15, 2014, 1:39 pm

I wonder if your Hellebore would benefit from some Epsom salts. I’ve often read that this is a cure for yellowing leaves – although for houseplants I’m not so sure. It might be worth looking into.
It’s a pretty Hellebore and it would be a shame too loose it. Good luck with it.

Cindy, MCOK January 15, 2014, 11:04 am

I’m imagining the heavenly smell of that hyacinth and envying you. I wonder if my grocery store has any?

Leslie January 15, 2014, 10:51 am

I don’t blame you for succumbing to the lure of that hyacinth Kathy…it surely lights up your winter.

Joene January 15, 2014, 10:47 am

I cannot offer any hellebore advice but I so understand why you succumbed to the blooming hyacinth. I’ve been able to resist such temptations … so far. Perhaps because I have jasmine blooming this Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Betsy January 15, 2014, 9:51 am

Kathy, This is a good candidate for your outside the window garden. Then you can watch it all winter. Maybe that is what you plan to do.

Kathy Purdy January 15, 2014, 10:09 am

Betsy, you are right. The hellebore will be shoehorned into the cabin fever bed if I can keep it alive long enough for the soil to thaw out.

commonweeder January 15, 2014, 8:37 am

I’ve punked out this bloom day. The Christmas cactus is just looking too tired even though it has a few languid blossoms. I wish I had thought to force at least one hyacinth.

Kathy Purdy January 15, 2014, 10:08 am

It’s not cheating to buy a forced hyacinth, Pat. That’s what I did!

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