Big bold Amaryllis are one of the most popular holiday plants. Mike McGrath, host of You Bet Your Garden, reveals the secret behind my sister-in-law’s run of decade-long Amaryllis success! Plus, answers to all your growing questions.
Question of the Week:
Last Christmas a friend gave us an amaryllis that bloomed beautifully. I kept it alive after the holidays and then moved it outside, where it grew lots of new leaves all summer and fall. But the leaves never turned yellow, and I finally brought it back inside just before our first freeze. Should I cut off the leaves, or are they still nourishing the bulb? How do I care for it so that it will bloom again?
— Rebecca in Silver Spring, Maryland
Coffee Bean Plant
Phyllis in Somerspoint, NJ has a coffee bean plant that she’s had for about seven years. Now around 25% of the leaves are turning brown and she is calling Mike to find out what to do to get this plant healthy again. Mike is surprised to hear the plant isn’t doing well, but explains that coffee plants are relatively easy to grow and make great indoor houseplants. If the conditions are right you can get up to a pound of beans each year. Phyllis admits that she’s kept the plant inside next to a fire place and Mike says “ding ding ding”! Too much dry heat. The plant likes to be moist and would really like a good misting each day. Mike says it likes bright, but indirect sunlight and suggests maybe even hanging an LED shop light over it to get those green leaves back to their full shine!
Ling Ling and Bay Rum
Irene is in beautiful St. John in the Virgin Islands has a Ling Ling tree and a Bay Rum tree that she planted in terra-cotta pots. The soil has dropped down low in the pots and she’s wondering how to remedy that. Mike wonders if maybe the roots are trying to come out the bottom. Irene says that used to happen, before she put the pots up on blocks. Mike has an interesting suggestion: he says to get some help and actually pull the tree up a little and then funnel soil underneath the tree into the pot. The issue is that you really don’t want to cover the trunk with soil.