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Annuals that Do Double Duty as Houseplants


There are several different types of annual flowers that can be brought indoors.  These plants can then do double duty as landscape or container plants.  These include impatiens, begonias, geraniums, and coleus.  

Before the plants are brought indoors, one must first make sure that they are healthy.  Inspect the plants and wash the plant material off outdoors.  Remove any damaged, diseased or dead plant material.  If the plant is in a container that you would like to move indoors, place the container in a bucket of warm water up to the rim.  Allow the container to sit in this water for 15 minutes before removing.  Let the plant and container dry outdoors before moving indoors.  Place the plant indoors in the correct location for that variety.

If moving the plant and container indoors is something that you do not want to do there is another choice.  This option is taking cuttings.  To begin this process, examine the plant and look for several areas where cuttings could be taken.  You will need a cutting that is three to four inches long and has a good stem structure.

Once these stems have been located, it is time to prepare to take the cuttings.  It is best to have all materials available before starting this process.  Cuttings from the annuals listed above can be rooted in water or sand.  If you want them to root sooner, it is best to use a rooting hormone and a rooting medium.  This rooting medium can be vermiculite, perlite, coarse sand or a mixture of sand or perlite combined with peat moss.

When preparing to take the cutting make sure you have a sharp knife and rubbing alcohol.  Measure the stem that you plan to take the cutting from and cut the stem at an angle.  This will prevent the cutting from sealing up.  Once the stem cutting has been taken, place directly into water or sand.  Remove any leaves that are touching the water or sand.  This vegetation will cause plant disease and possibly death of the cutting.

Clean the knife after every cut with rubbing alcohol.  This will prevent disease from being passed from one cutting to another.

If you want to use the rooting hormone method, you will need to prepare your flats of rooting medium.  Once this is done, take your cuttings and dip the cut end into water.  Take the moistened end and dip into rooting hormone.  Place the cutting directly into the rooting medium.  Remove any vegetation that is touching the surface.

Once the cutting has rooted, place in a small container, water in and place in the correct environment for that variety.

Regardless of the method you choose, remove any blooms and/or buds and keep the rooting medium evenly moist.

Geraniums are a unique annual that can be saved for next year by turning them into a houseplant, taking a cutting or forcing them to go dormant.  The dormant process is easy and begins by pulling up the geranium.  Shake off the soil from the roots and remove any blooms or buds from the plant.  Then place the plant, vegetation first, inside a paper bag.  Do not use a plastic bag because moisture will build up and cause the plant material to rot.  Once the plant has been placed inside a paper bag, tie off the top and hang in a well-ventilated area. 

In very early spring, cut down the paper bag and remove the geranium from the bag.  Remove any dead plant material.  At this point, you can take cuttings from the geranium or you can plant the geranium in a pot.  Place the geranium in a sunny location and keep the soil moist.  Once the geranium is exposed to light, it will begin to leaf out and resume growing.


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Keep that Parsley Coming

Parsley is a biennial, often grown as an annual. Plants prefer full sun, but will survive in partial shade.

Parsley can be picked fresh throughout the season, but for use in the winter, cut the leaves in the fall, and dry or freeze them.

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