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Gardening and More: Feeling garden deprived? Try growing succulents inside

TRY SUCCULENTS INSIDE — Different heights, colors and textures add interest to this container garden of succulents. In the back is crassula “Hobbit,” the yellow plant in front is sedum “Lemon Coral and the trailing plant is the aptly named “String of Pearls.” Photo courtesy Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses.

SPRINGVILLE — You can’t dig outside in your garden right now, so turn your attention indoors and have fun with houseplants.

Start with succulents. These are great, even for beginners, or for lazy gardeners like me, because they don’t need a lot of care.

Succulents need to be watered only about once every three weeks, said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, located at 118 South Forest Road in Williamsville, N.Y.

Succulents are plants with thick, heavy leaves such as jade and aloe. I bet that if you have both those plants, you have them in separate pots. But these plants don’t have to be loners. You can mix succulents in a larger pot, to create a container garden. It’s a fun little project that allows you to get your hands dirty, even at this time of year.

You get a chance to use your creativity, as you mix upright and trailing plants and plants of different textures and colors. Use the same design techniques that you would use to create an interesting flower arrangement or lovely container of annuals.

Succulents are good for vertical gardens, too. You may have seen them hanging on walls or fences outside, but they can be used inside, as well. Mischler’s sells containers with small compartments that help hold the soil and plants in place.

Mischler’s will have succulents for sale at Plantasia, which will be held March 20-23, with a preview night on March 19, at the Fairgrounds Event Center and Expo Hall in Hamburg.

If you want an indoor plant that flowers, get a cyclamen. Cyclamen don’t need a lot of watering, either, and because of that, attentive gardeners might find cyclamen tricky to care for.

“They don’t want to be over-loved,” Yadon said.

Cyclamen like it a little on the dry side, so you shouldn’t over-water them, he said. They also like to dry out between waterings. If you’re not sure how much to water, err on the side of dry. If they wilt, give them a little water and they’ll bounce right back.

If this lack of watering leaves you feeling unfulfilled as a gardener, there is one thing you’ll like about the cyclamen. You need to dote on it a little, to keep it flowering. You need to deadhead, remove the dead flowers, to keep these plants blooming.

Cyclamen like a bright but cool space, Yadon said. You need only a mild fertilizer.

They should continue to bloom until it gets very warm, in spring or early summer. After that, you can enjoy their foliage. Some people have had success getting the plant to rebloom the following fall.

Cyclamen come in standard and miniature sizes. The flowers are pink, purple, red and white.

Have some fun now, with indoor plants.

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.


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