Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2001
Regional Report

Caring for Amaryllis

Caring for a gift amaryllis bulb so it'll bloom again is easy. After it's through blooming, cut off the flowering stalk - not the leaves. Place the plant in a warm, sunny place to grow. Water generously, and fertilize regularly until Labor Day. Watering with a quarter-strength houseplant fertilizer solution each time will provide constant feeding for gradual growth. In fall bring it indoors let it go dormant before starting the growth cycle again.

Transplanting Poinsettias

You can plant your poinsettia in the garden to give the garden a colorful show. First, clip branches after the third node to encourage bushier growth. Then choose a sunny spot outdoors that's protected from wind and place the plant there for several hours each day, bringing it indoors at night. Keep the soil moist, and apply a slow-release or quarter-strength regular fertilizer every week or so. After a month, the poinsettia can be successfully transplanted into the garden.

Pruning Spring-Flowering Shrubs

Wait to prune spring-flowering ornamentals such as forsythia until after they bloom. Pruning these shrubs now will remove the wood that already has blossom buds set, stimulate frost-tender new growth, and possibly remove wood that was not truly dead. After they flower, prune to shape the plant as well as to remove weak or dead growth.

Plant Bare-Root Trees

Plant bare-root fruit and nut trees, except citrus and avocados, from now through early March. Buy trees that have a well-developed fibrous root system, a single well-shaped leader, and no serious bark injury. Avoid trees with circling or tangled roots. Branches should be growing from the trunk at angles more horizontal than 45 degrees.

Make Wide Planting Holes

Tree roots can spread up to 3-4 times the distance from trunk to drip line, so make the planting hole at least 1-2 feet bigger than the rootball. Loosen soil and add some compost and manure if the soil is poor. Don't be too generous with the amendments, though, or the roots will not grow into the surrounding soil for nutrients.


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