The garden is a treasure trove of possibilities for holiday decorations.
Living plants for indoor color include African violets, azaleas, begonias, Christmas cactus, Jerusalem cherry, cyclamen, and kalanchoe, as well as the ever-dependable chrysanthemum and poinsettia. Be sure to give these living plants bright indirect light, keep them cool and out of drafts, and water them just enough to keep the potting mix barely moist.
Cacti and succulents are also good choices, but they need direct sunlight and very little water when kept indoors.
Norfolk Island pines can become mini-Christmas trees, with their own tiny lights and ornaments. Provide each room in the house with its own individually decorated tree – like cookie cutters hung with red ribbon bows for the kitchen!
Houseplants Need Rest
Don't worry that your houseplants don't seem too perky now – they're going dormant, just like plants outdoors. Plants need this rest, so stop feeding them, and water them less frequently. Also, be sure they're not getting blasted with hot air from a heater vent or fireplace.
Plants close to windows may get too much cold air at night, so move them or provide a shield between them and the window.
The most comfortable temperature range for indoor plants is 65-75 degrees, with extremes of 60 and 80 degrees.
Unless we get considerable rain, continue to water your overwintering outdoor plants to keep the soil moist.
Irrigation should be reduced, not stopped, as plant photosynthesis slows down and cold weather dries plants out.
Plants that are stressed lack of irrigation are more susceptible to frost damage.
Prune fruit trees and vines through mid-February, but only when all of the leaves have fallen. This indicates that the plants are fully dormant, and pruning will not damage living tissue.
Don't clip spring-blooming shrubs, however, or you'll remove this coming year's color. Wait till bloom is over.
Also wait to prune outdoor fuchsias till they leaf out and you can see just what frost damage occurred.