Jan 29, 2014

Amaryllis & Citrus Trees

While cleaning out the basement we uncovered the amaryllis plants I put down here for hibernation in the Fall. I meant to pull them out before Christmas but they were lost in the mess - whoops! This seems to be an annual delinquency of mine these past few years. Let’s blame the basement.

So now they are watered and back in the light, ready to start growing again. In a few weeks we should see some green which will be a most welcome sight in winter. In about 8 weeks they should bloom again… probably right when spring arrives.

Wood floors and plants don't mix well. Even with trays underneath the pots, I tend to over water and get leaks or splash with the watering can. Somehow dirt escapes and I get rings and stains and hard water ridges. My permanent houseplants can use decorative pots without holes, but that doesn't work for things that live outside half the year that need drainage, like my citrus and avocado trees. My secret to protecting the wood floors from overwintered plant damage? Those puppy dog training pads you can buy from the grocery store or Target. They are inexpensive, disposable, extremely absorbent, and the plastic backing protects the wood beautifully. I use one per tree it works great.

It's not the prettiest solution in the world, but my wood floors are more important. If I need the house to look nice for company I can pick them up and throw them away and put out fresh when everyone leaves. In our pre-baby days I used to put them under $5 washable rugs from Ikea to make everything look nice, but honestly these days it's too much to keep up with.

In our real life, the citrus trees are actually blocked off with baby gates because of Oliver, so I don't even see the floor pads most of the time. I don't want him to hurt the trees (he really likes to pick off leaves and dig up dirt) and I don't want the trees to hurt him. The lime tree has some very sharp thorns and I'm worried about pesticide residue.

The citrus trees have aphids again and the annual issue has bred pesticide resistant buggers. We went to the next level of spray and we did it twice 10 days apart (outside when it was much warmer out), leaving the trees in the garage overnight and then moving them into the basement for a week, just to make sure they were 100% dry. When we moved them back into the dining room, I put the gates around them so that Oliver couldn't touch them, just to be safe. Considering the spray didn't even kill the aphids off, it's probably a little overprotective, but it makes me feel better. And as for the citrus trees with the aphids, I'm hoping they survive until spring when the lady bugs and wasps come back out, since that's the only thing that seems to work. I'm out of fruit tree spray options.

The only good news so far is that aphid population is present but doesn't seem to be booming and the trees are getting ready to flower, so they can't be in too much distress... I hope.

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