Winter Plants in The Southwest. Well, it’s official, fall has arrived here in the southwest and winter is close by. So the calendar says. Living here in the southwest fall may not feel like it until another few weeks. Never the less we can still enjoy the cool mornings and beautiful nights for the next few months! With this in mind, we can add splashes of living color outside our home with flowers that can last up until next spring.
You probably already need to replace some of your summer annuals anyway. Right? Pansies and Violas are some of the hardiest winter garden colorful plants and annuals that can provide us with a plethora of colors ranging from warm reds and yellows to cool blues and whites. Some with faces and some without. These beauties can be planted in the ground or in pots.
Both have upsides. The ones planted in the ground will have better root insulation. This plays a factor when we are dealing with very cold temperatures. The ones planted in pots have an advantage as they can be moved for viewing from inside the home or to a sunnier spot. Either way, these frost resistant bloomers can freeze into a solid-state for a brief period of time, thaw out and continue to provide for the rest of the other mild winter days we are blessed with. Dianthus, snapdragons, ornamental kale and cabbage also can produce some winter color especially if kept closer to a structure, wall or in a courtyard, when temperatures start to drop.
If you acquire these at this time make sure they are blooming or have buds (except for the cabbage and kale of course) before the temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When planting in pots or in the ground, be sure to use a soil mix that is light in weight. This helps to provide rapid root growth and lessens the chance of root rot. A small amount of fertilizer may be needed if the foliage begins to turn light green. If you have trouble getting these to keep blooming try placing them in more sun and use a fertilizer that contains a high amount of phosphorous.
Removing Spent Blossoms
The quick removal of spent blossoms will also ensure continued color thro ought the rest of the winter season and into spring. If you choose to plant in containers there is an array of pots to choose from such as glazed, clay, plastic, and even cloth. Any type will work as long as you have a good soil mix as stated previously. Excellent drainage is a must! Most of these can also be allowed to almost dry out in much cooler temps.
Winter Plant Help
A good rule is to pick up or move the pot if it seems light then it is time to water if it seems heavy wait another day or two. When planting these bedding plants do not break the roots apart unless the roots are completely and extremely intertwined. Gently pull the roots apart to help guide them into their new soil retreat.
Again only do this if they are completely root bound! Turn the TV off, forget about the political campaigns for a while and do some relaxation gardening. This is truly one of the best times of the year to be outside, at least in the mornings and evenings.
Do you live in the Southwest? Find out here where the Southwest is according to wikipedia.
By Gary Guzman
Paul Guzman – Husband, Father, Grandfather, Gardener, and Webmaster of GuzmansGreenhouse.com