House Plants for Winter

20171217_092501We’ve made it through Christmas. Monday is the New Year. After that excitement is over, how will northern gardeners get through the dark and cold days of winter?

Some of us focus on house plants. But even house plants have a difficult time in the winter as a few of my prior posts have shown. The low light and dark cloudy days cause even the best bloomers to temporarily say “that’s it! Enough! I need a rest!”

There are a few exceptions to this rule, of course. There are the wonderful winter blooming zygo cacti that I have been showcasing in my “Wordless Wednesday” posts.

Then there is this great plant, a tropical evergreen known as the sweet olive or osmanthus. This is where common names do us no favors because there is nothing “olive-like” about this plant, except, perhaps the fact that it has small, off white blooms.

It is actually a member of the rhododendron family, however, so if you have an allergy to olive trees, don’t despair.

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The “sweet” in its name actually does does mean that this plant is fragrant. And for me, it is almost constantly in bloom.

In my northern climate, in winter, its in a south window. In the summer, it goes outside under a thickly leafed dogwood in an eastern exposure where it may get an hour or so of early morning sun, but that’s it.

This is a very easy care plant–it’s only slightly finicky requirement is that it does not like fertilizer. Try finding soil without some version of that! Luckily, it’s a slow grower and doesn’t need re-potting very often.  When I do re-pot it, I use soil that’s been outside for some time and has (I hope) had all the fertilizer washed out of it!

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