Basic Care For All Plants

First, determine whether you’ve acquired a deciduous or evergreen type. This is very important, as it will determine where, and how a plant needs to be during coldest months.

Deciduous plants can be placed in an area of little light, airy, and above their minimum winter zone temperature. i.e. Zone .7. means a minimum temp of -5’F or -20’C. But this is for an established plant in the ground, which has the benefit of bark on its stem/trunk and heat from the soil. This is also a momentary temperature, which would not bring the plants actual temperature this low. If this temperature is sustained, the plant will succumb and freeze. Always allow minimum of 1 zone higher for plants in containers. i.e. zone 7 = zone 8 or minimum of 10’F or -10’C, again not a sustained low temperature.

Evergreen types must always have light for photosynthesis. Failure to provide light would mean weakness, and ultimately, death of the plant. This does not mean full summer light. Plants need seasonal changes to initiate blossom buds that lead to fruiting. So short days, (no artificial light source) by a window, with cooler day temperatures, will help initiate fruiting sequence. Pineapples usually start to flower in November, with fruit being mature in May. Takes about the same time as Apples from blossom to harvest.

Olive and Punica are still ripening on the tree until about mid December. When the fruit has been harvested, is then the time to trim back and tidy up the main bush. This is one plant that needs ‘Chill Hours’, that are up to 300 accumulated hours of under 50’f or 10’c in a cold porch or garage. Being deciduous, after trimming, some or all leaves will drop off. All plants need ‘some’ light, do not put plants into a totally dark sealed area unless you wish to replace it.

Fruiting plants that are setting or ripening in the fall must be kept ‘growing’ to develop fruit. Pineapples, once the flower has finished (Feb-March) should be warmed up and placed in full light to put all that energy into the fruit. Yes, ‘the bigger and healthier the plant, the bigger the fruit’, is a statement for all the plants we grow.

Always, when container growing, have a size that you can manage (on wheels if needed) that will allow sustainable growth over time. It should be large enough to keep moist and easily ‘top dressed’ with fertilizer/mulches.

Trim or prune your plants after harvest when needed, and these varieties should give you years of mouth watering, delicious enjoyment. No plant needs to be in full sun all day. Roots should always be shaded by the plants own canopy of leaves or by companion plants, shade provided by trees or artificial means. Containers can heat up and literally burn the roots off on the side facing the sun. Zingiber Off, (Ginger) is an under-story plant which loves the warmth but not full sun at any time. Dappled light is perfect.

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