A Garden for All: Oh, the weather outside is … Perfect!
Today, I’m out to save those wee holiday trees. You know the one that you got as a gift, a couple of weeks ago, the one that’s still on the kitchen counter? Ya, that one.
If it is any kind of Dwarf Spruce, it wants to be outside. If it is a Norfolk Island Pine, keep it on the counter, right where it is. Here’s more information on moving the spruce trees to the outdoors:
The Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca) likes to be cool. It was discovered in Alberta, after all, where the climate is more similar to Spokane than to Seattle, especially this year.
That forced, hot air from the furnace will dry the wee pot out too fast, and too frequently, and spruces prefer damp soil around the roots, even in the summertime.
But the poor thing really wants to be outside.
To get the plant used to the change in temperature, first move it to a cold room, or to the garage, for three, or four days. Keep the soil moist, and take off that foil wrapper while you’re at it. Then, you can move it where you like outdoors. If it’s subzero temperatures outside, you may want to stage again somewhere close to the house. This way, it will adjust slowly, and it won’t be shocked by the dramatic change of environment and temperature. (Wouldn’t you like to adjust slowly too?)
You can plant your wee spruce if the ground is not frozen. But if you are in a freezing/snowy area, place the wee pot by the house or in a sheltered spot until springtime. Make sure it gets water and the soil and roots stay moist.
A note for all outdoor pots in freezing areas: make sure they are getting enough water. I know it sounds odd, but the cold air is desiccating, and your containers will need water if all it’s doing is snowing outside. This will help them to survive this weird winter we’re having.
Now, the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is an indoor plant and tropical one too. They love to be 60 degrees, or above, all year-round.
It doesn’t mind getting a bit cool overnight, down to maybe 50 degrees F. But avoid the extremes with this one, it won’t like it. It wants a bright, indirect light location and keep the soil moist.
The Norfolk Pine is also a fast grower, don’t rely on them to stay small in a miniature garden environment for too long. It doesn’t like to be transplanted either, so wait for as long as you can between pottings. It’s pretty, but a bit fussy.
Now think spring. We’ve paid our dues here in West Seattle. Come on sunshine!