Monthly Archives: February 2019

Amaryllis, the perfect Christmas gift

I was given my first amaryllis by my garden friend sometime in 2016. The bloom was so stunning that I bought two in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2017.

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My first amaryllis. It has a single flower stalk with two simple but elegant blooms

They are such showy plants that I decided to give a few as gifts last Christmas. The recipients loved them! When I explained that the bulb would bloom next year, they were eager to learn how to make this happen. Here’s a simple explanation.

I have bulbs with white, dark red (“wine”) and pink blooms. My favorite is the pink. The richness and warmth of the large blooms make me happy! I gave my dad a pink one and my mom a white one. You can’t go wrong, really.

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Which do you prefer, wine or pink?

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This ‘double white’ amaryllis has layers of petals that make it look almost fluffy

I tend to look for plants with two flower stalks (why get one when you can get two?) to get more blooms.

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This one has two flower stalks. Each stalk has 4 blooms!

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Really nice when they open

Although more bang for your buck, I’ve found that multiple blooms are too heavy for their stalk so they tend to fall over, regardless of if they are kept in their plastic pots or planted in another pot. No biggie, just cut off the flowers and enjoy them in a vase.

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The elastic band helped to balance the weight of the stalks in an upright position, until one set of blooms starting fading, causing the entire plant to tip over onto the floor

Once you separate the flower stalk from the plant, the leaves will grow to full size and you can enjoy it as a house plant.

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Still enjoyable without any blooms!

Cut off the leaves as they fade and when they are all gone, store the bulb in a cool dry place. It can be stored in its plastic pot or separately. I like to remove them from the soil when it comes from the store and add the bulb to fresh soil when I replant it.

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Bulb replanted after being stored for several months. It will grow new leaves and flower stalks and eventually bloom again

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Do you trash your poinsettias after Christmas?

I usually do. I’m a fan of “water deeply until the water drains out the bottom” of the pot, but “the bottom” of the poinsettia is usually covered in that red wrapping paper that makes it look so festive. So I end up over-watering and all the leaves drop off. In the past that meant trash time. No big loss, I used to think, I’m not really a fan of the plant.

Last summer I noticed that a colleague of mine still had her poinsettia (and wondered why, in God’s name, before proceeding to forget about it). It caught my attention again recently; I have to admit it’s looking pretty impressive!

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It turns out another colleague had been caring for both of these plants through a bought of white flies. The one in the foreground had the worst case, requiring all the leaves to be removed. Now the leaves a growing back!

So I thought I would try to keep the one my mom bought alive, as an experiment. I’m happy to see that it’s started to make new leaves too! I’ve made room for it on my plant table so it can get as much light as possible during the winter.

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I trimmed off the shriveled tops

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Pretty small now but it’s still progress!

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Canadian Tire madness

I’m not big on shopping, but last year I had two mad spending sprees: decorative boxes at Michaels (they rope you in by offering a 40% off coupon every time you buy something) and plants for under $5 at Canadian Tire.

I picked up most of the plants from the Eaton Centre location, just south of Tiny Flower, during my lunch hour strolls.


I really like the contrasting white and green of the dumb cane leaves. I bought quite a few plants (possibly 4 but I can’t remember). One survived, only to be attacked by thrips at the same time that I was dealing with them on the ponytail palm.

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Potted and ready to head home


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You can see the clear little bugs crawling near the damaged parts of the leaf. The black dots are probably frass (poo).

Thankfully, the dumb cane had a better outcome.

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Spraying repeatedly with soapy water killed the thrips and made the plants leaves darker.

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Hopefully this brush with such a damaging pest has made the plant stronger and more resistant to future attacks.


I liked the shape of this mammillaria pilcayensis or bristle brush cactus.

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This one was labelled ferocactus wislizeni. I found it at the Yonge and Church street location with two closed up blooms. I thought that if I managed to get it home without the blooms dropping off, it would have more of a chance of opening than under the dim lights of the store.

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The spikes on this plant are deadly!

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What a bloom! Beautiful!


I was attracted to the thick leaves and red tinge of this kalanchoe longiflora coccinea.

Thankfully, I don’t think this kind makes millions of babies

Biggest regrets

Wish I’d looked closer at this chalkstick plant before I bought it.

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Clearly the stem is black. What was I thinking?! It died. I tried propagating the leaves without success

And I really wish I hadn’t passed on this ponytail palm (I didn’t know the cost, but I assume it was more than $5), especially in light of what happened to my other one. Will keep my eyes open for more this coming spring.

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A more manageable size than the one at work


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