Let’s be honest, prepping for the Holiday season starts earlier each year. Why not jump on board by prepping for winter plants this fall with the Christmas cactus. One of many types of easy-care cactus, Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) is beautiful, with long stems and dainty flowers in lilac, deep rose, salmon, red-orange or white. The plants usually bloom mid- to late December so buying and potting them starting in the fall is wise. After blooming is finished, prune by using a sharp knife to cut off several sections.
Size: To 8 - 12 inches high and 6 - 18 inches wide
Growing conditions: Bright light; 70 - 80°F (55°F in fall); moderately dry, well-drained soil
Herb gardens never go out of style or use. This perennial herb is great to have at hand in any season. Be warned, they can be quite invasive in the garden, so they are better off on their own. You can give one or two oregano planters a permanent place on your kitchen table where they can enjoy some sun. They love the warm indoor air when it is freezing outside so make sure to bring in some fresh oregano this fall to prep for that winter weather!
Tip: Oregano can be grown from seeds, but it might be easier to get a nursery grown plant. You can start more plants from this stock. Pinch the plants often to keep them bushy.
For a fun fall plant, pick a trailing plant, such as the hoya (Hoyaspp.) Liven up any room with its’ smooth, shiny foliage and pink or white flowers with red centers. With a waxy, sweetly scented flowers, hoya is great for hanging baskets or in a vertical garden. If you’re looking for a low maintenance hoya, go with the easiest of the bunch: Hoya carnosa.
Size: To 6 - 12 inches high and 48 inches wide, trailing
Growing conditions: Medium (foliage only) to bright light (for ﬂowers); 55 - 75° moderately dry soil
Holiday cocktails are always better with fresh mint. And because this herb prefers shade, it’s best to bring it indoors. The plants can be started from seeds as well as from sprigs of mint you buy from the shop for culinary use. Plant it in rich soil in a single pot or amongst other herbs.
For a year-round plant that has versatile foliage, you’ve got to go with the classic English Ivy. Its’ dainty demeanor makes it ideal for hanging baskets or Living Wall Planters. It's a great starter houseplant for training on topiary forms or using as a filler. Place English ivy (Hedera helix) on a wall as part of a vertical garden or a top-shelf where the stems can hang down. The stems can grow quite long but are easily controlled with pruning.
Size: To 6 - 12 inches high and 6 - 72 inches wide, trailing
Growing conditions: Medium to bright light; 55 - 70°F; average to high humidity; evenly moist soil
Did you know parsley can be brewed into a tea, in combination with mint leaves, to help calm an upset stomach? Might come in handy with all that rich food that accompanies the winter festivities. Start sowing now! Drop several seeds in rich, moist soil in a medium-sized planter and thin out as necessary, leaving only a few large plants to ensure a regular supply. Leave in a semi-shaded area and watch it grow!