Christmas cactus gets no fertilizer until summer

We have a Christmas cactus that absolutely out-did itself this year. We enjoyed it so much and it is still magnificent. We are wondering how much to fertilize this plant. We have not really fed it for a couple of years now.

The Christmas cactus (Zygocactus) should be treated like members of the true cactus family regarding fertilizer. They should be fed little or none during winter months. During summer, however, set them outdoors and fertilize them about half as much and often as you do your vegetables and flowers planted outside.

I have read that I could over-winter geraniums in a plastic bag hanging in the garage. Well, tell me if I did it right. I dug them up last fall, shook most of the dirt off the roots and cut the tops back about one-half.

I then put them in a plastic garbage bag and hung them from a rafter in the garage.

My garage is attached to the house, but it is not heated. Have I done everything right so far? What is next?


So far, so good. Your garage should not be heated.

The next thing happens in early March when you pot them up, start watering and wait for new growth to begin. Keep you plants in a bright, sunny window. When new growth begins, start feeding at half the rate recommended on the fertilizer package. Set them outside after all danger of frost is past — maybe late May or early June — and start fertilizing at the full recommended rate.

A week or two ago you wrote about what vegetables were easiest to grow. We cannot have a garden, but we can have some flowers in containers on our patio. What flowers do you think would do best? Our patio is pretty shady most of the day.

Try tuberous begonia, coleus, impatiens or browallia. These all can look nice in hanging baskets, too.

We have a thyme plant growing in a sunny window indoors. How often can we harvest leaves from it. It looks like it even wants to bloom. Are the blossoms edible, too?

You can harvest as many leaves as your appetite can handle, but don’t let your plant go to seed. Cut back the branches that look like they are going to bloom and use those leaves for flavoring or to dry. Bloom requires lots of energy, energy that is better used for foliage production.

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