The most awaited season of the year is here and so being the time for you to kick your plant care skills up a notch. Fall and Winter months typically mean chilly weather, cozy blankets and hot cocoa – but while most of us are well equipped to handle the change – the combination of cold air, lower temperatures and shorter days can make it a little difficult for plants to thrive.
For gardening enthusiasts in the UAE, this is the best time of the year. What we call our winter, is the optimum weather for a variety of flowers that are not native to this region and cannot survive our summer temperatures. Thus, late October to mid-April is when our gardens are in full bloom with petunias and geraniums in a riot of colours and enveloped in the sweet smell of phlox and alyssums. And the best part is if you have prepared the soil properly and used good quality seeds or saplings, these plants require minimal care.
1. KEEP YOUR PLANTS WARM – BUT NOT TOO WARM
Many plants are extremely sensitive to cold air. Make sure they are protected from the cold air. You can partly solve this by sealing up your windows and insulating your doors of your home. Also, if you keep plants next to outside doors or leaky windowsills during the warmer months, make sure you move them to other rooms where they won’t get shocked by the cold air.
2. REDUCE YOUR WATERING
Even though your plants are inside, the majority of houseplants go ‘dormant’ in the fall and winter months. Less light means less growth, and less growth means they need less water and fertilizer.
Follow standard watering advice, and only water if the soil is dry an inch or two below the surface. You want to make sure your plants don’t stay sitting in water because that can lead to root rot, fungus, mold, and a host of other issues. If you see yellow leaves or moldy soil, then you’ll know you need to reduce your watering frequency.
3. CLEAN YOUR PLANTS
Sun is in short supply in the winter. To make sure they can take full advantage of the little light they have, make sure your indoor plants’ leaves stay clean and dust-free. Every couple weeks, put your plants in the bathtub and use a handheld sprayer to give the leaves a gentle shower, or use a damp towel to wipe dust and grime off the leaves. Keeping the leaves clean mean they can be more efficient at photosynthesis.
4. GIVE THEM PLENTY OF LIGHT
Plants need light more than anything else in the fall and winter. You will need to be extra careful to rotate your pots to make sure each plant is getting the sunlight they need. If the available natural sunlight isn’t enough, use a full-spectrum lightbulb in a standard desk lamp and shine it on your plants for at least 12-14 hours a day.
For those of you who have seen flowers bloom and admired them on the roads, roundabouts and other parts of the green country. Here is a small list of some of those beautiful seasonal.
These come in a mind-boggling variety of colours and patterns. You can grow them from seeds or buy saplings. The varieties that are imported from the Netherlands but are bushier and bear more flowers. Locally grown varieties are cheaper but they are leggy and have fewer flowers, though they last almost till the end of May. They grow well in containers and beds as long as they can get plenty of direct sunlight.
Another delightful flowering plant to add colour to the garden is salvia. It comes in hues ranging from deep red to shades of orange and purple. The blooms are long lasting and borne on fairly long stalks, hence salvia can be planted behind shorter plants to create a layered look. But keep in mind that it needs some amount of direct sunlight to grow well.
These bright yellow, saffron or red flowers can be grown from seeds very early in the winter season. But they also start dying out by March. Pinching off dead flowers encourages more flowering.
A whole spectrum of colours is available to mix and match zinnias with other flowers in ornamental beds. The seeds can be planted directly in beds taking care the plants receive plenty of direct sunlight.
Snapdragons have an important place and many choices in size and colour are in garden centres now. Planted in early autumn, they should bloom for many weeks. Then they are likely to rest during the coldest weeks of winter before a fresh surge of growth and bloom occurs as days warm in late winter and early spring
We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative and helpful. To buy these beautiful seasonal mentioned in the list and browse through a wider variety of seasonal, visit the Dubai Garden Centre website.