How to care for holiday-themed container gardens / Home Garden

 Keep the plants together for as long as possible.

Q. Can you give me some tips on the care of a festive dish garden I've just been given? At what point should I shift the plants into their own individual pots?

A. Keep the plant together for as long as possible. Most Yuletide-themed container gardens will have a mix of tropical foliage and flowering plants. Bright indirect light, room temperature a bit on the cool side, and the soil kept just modestly moist are conditions that will suit most of them. Winter is not a good time for reporting Clip off faded flowers to retain a neat appearance in the little plant collection and wait for the unit early spring to report.

Check to see whether the plants were kept in their own pots when assembled in one container. If this is the case, you will have the option of removing a plant if it becomes unattractive and replacing it with a fresh one.

A word about cyclamens: These showy plants, usually with red flowers held above green leaves beautifully marbled in silver, often appear in the Christmas dish gardens. Warmth triggers dormancy. Flowering will stop and general dieback will occur. Cool, bright conditions short of direct sun can keep the plant flowering for extended periods. Avoid applying water directly to the tuber. Aim around it.

Q. The paperwhites we planted have grown and bloomed well, but the flowers have absolutely no fragrance. In the pots, they would scent the whole house. The flowers look the same as in the ones we've grown before. What happened to the scent? 

A. Perhaps you inadvertently purchased the unscented variety called Inbal. It is a fairly new paperwhite, for people who like the flowers but have an aversion to the fragrance.

Inbal looks like Ziva, probably the most commonly grown variety. Both are white and single-flowered. Erlicheer is double-flowers white, with a sweet fragrance. Grand Soleil d'Or has yellow flowers with orange centers

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