The new year and winter is here!
It can be hard to feel enthusiastic about that when it seems the only thing going on outside is wetness and grey.
However, all you avid gardeners out there know that January is actually a fine time to prepare for a busy spring and summer.
Here’s some suggestions:
As perennials, alstroemeria die back in winter. But they need a period of cold weather in order to stimulate shoot growth, so you can rest assured they are busy doing their thing underground.
Here’s how to support your alstroemeria during this period of hibernation so they can spring out the ground when the time is right:
In garden beds
- Although the alstroemeria varieties we grow are garden winter hardy (withstanding soil temperatures as cold as -10°C) it is a good idea to mulch new plants well for the first couple of winters while they are establishing. This ensures they are protected until they have grown up enough to stand on their own two feet (or many roots)
- It is best to apply a thick layer of leafy or peat-free mulch in Autumn. Composted bark is also a good option. Make sure to keep the mulch about 5cm away from the stem otherwise they may get root rot
- Roots are more vulnerable to low temperatures when in pots than they are growing in the ground so you can move them to a location that is free of frost for the winter, such as a sheltered porch or greenhouse
- Alstroemeria have tuberous, fleshy roots so they require sheltering and good drainage. This will prevent the compost getting too soggy with the winter rains which can also cause the dreaded root rot
- Water lightly but frequently. The compost should dry out on the surface between watering.
- Keep the birds going. Winter can be hard for them as their water sources freeze and food is more scarce so keep those feeders full and leave some of the garden a little untidy (read: wild) so they and other creatures can enjoy a bit of shelter
- Compost/re-purpose your Christmas tree
- Make a bug hotel and help keep your gardens eco system healthy
- Tidy up the shed/greenhouse and sharpen your tools
- Get rid of any dead branches hanging about - plants can get too woody and untidy looking
- Shape/reduce branches of trees and shrubs - they can get too big or start growing in the wrong direction. Relieving some weight off the top also helps the roots get stronger
- Prune plants like roses and fruit trees as this encourages them to flower/produce fruit more vigorously
- Prune the plant before and water thoroughly after transplanting – this helps make it less stressful for the plant
- After pruning follow the drip line of the plant to know the how far out the roots go which will help you know how big to dig the hole
- Be gentle when uprooting by lifting the plant out with the spade without disturbing the soil on the roots
- When in its new spot, add some compost and bone meal to the soil and water thoroughly
Well there’s clearly plenty to be done, so we better get going!