You Bet Your Garden

Mike McGrath’s annual Christmas spectacular!


Listen to the full show:

Ready for some holiday greenery that’s really green? It’s time for our annual Christmas spectacular featuring lots of fun facts about holiday plants. And music- seasonal tunes from Kenn Kweder and the Reindeer Band!


Questions of the Week:

“I understand that you recently offered a solution to the problem of paperwhites drooping on your show. Could you repeat the info? Thanks so much! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR SHOW!!!!”

— Holly in Laurel Springs, “New Joysey”

“Mike, I thought I heard you offer some advice for keeping Poinsettias alive. If so, could you repeat it? My plants seldom make it all the way through the Christmas season. Thanks!”

— Stewart in Rockville, Maryland

How to care for paperwhites and poinsettias »


Highlights from show for December 28, 2013:

Jane Pepper on caring for poinsettias

Jane Pepper shares the history of the poinsettia as well as tips for caring for this plant past the holiday season. Jane explains: “I think the other thing with poinsettias that people really need to think about is keeping them out of drafts. Keep them in a place where they get a certain amount of sun but not full sun, you know, just enough light. And keep them well watered.” Mike adds that this particular plant is very sensitive to the cold and that folks need to be aware of that. Mike explains: “And one thing we should remind people if they haven’t gotten their poinsettias yet: it ain’t a little pine tree. This thing is very, not even frost sensitive, cold sensitive which is why they wrap them up so much when you take them home. But you really can’t leave that plant in your car on a freezing cold winter day while you go run an errand for a half an hour, you gotta get that right into the warmth.”

Timing the bloom period for your Christmas cactus

Rosie Learner shares tips and tricks on timing the blooms of Christmas cactus. One trick for year-round growers is to bring the plant outdoors during the summer and then indoors again for the fall. The change in the amount of light it’s receiving will kick its bloom cycle into gear. Learner explains: “The Christmas cacti, or the holiday cacti, tend to bloom at specific times, mostly related to the length of the dark period that they’re going through at that particular time. So for roughly around eight weeks prior to when they actually set bud, the length of the dark period is what is critical … Christmas cactus is one that responds well if it’s brought outdoors for the summer and brought back in for the fall. It seems to like that.”


Sooth your holiday spirit with frankincense and myrrh

Herbalist Judith Benn Hurley explains the soothing effects of frankincense and myrrh. Judith explains: “Frankincense is sort of spicy, woodsy, camphory; and it almost has a citrusy or lemony top note. Myrrh is similar but it’s more earthy. Frankincense is calming. It’s generally considered to be a calming herb when inhaled. And myrrh is more fortifying, rejuvinating, slightly lifting. So if you consider the two of them together, you can have a nice harmonious balance.”





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