Yesterday, I shared the signs of spring out in the late February garden. Well, the plants growing in the conservatory are telling me it's spring, too. We keep the temperature between 50-55° F during the winter, although on sunny days it can shoot up into the 70s.
While temperature is just one cue that plants use to regulate growth, day length also matters for some. And it's the lengthening days that I think is the biggest factor in the changes I see occurring out there.
- The Queen's Tears (Bilbergia nutans) has begun sprouting new plants at the base, and I'll need to up-pot it one of these days. It's blooming now, too. The colors and details of its blooms are exquisite. I took a much better photo of its blooms last year, so I'm sharing those here, but this year's blooms are just as gorgeous.
- This is the second winter that I've kept the Euphorbia hypericifolia 'Breathless Blush' in the conservatory. It waxes and wanes all winter long, but towards the end of winter, it begins blooming. I'm not sure I'll keep it another year. Even though this has nice burgundy coloring splashed on its deep green foliage, as well as a some pink in its blooms, I prefer the growth habit of its cousin, 'Diamond Frost' (a Proven Winners plant).
|Euphorbia hypericifolia 'Breathless Blush'|
- I planted this angel wing begonia (Begonia coccinea) in its container two summers ago, along with a white petunia. Both have bloomed off and on all winter, although the begonia has done much better than the petunia. The begonia has increased its blooming markedly, and the 'Gryphon' begonia (Begonia x hybrida) that I've overwintered for the second year is also putting up a flower stalk that will open soon.
- The geraniums have stepped up their blooming, including 'Vancouver Centennial', which also gets beautiful dark foliage on the side that faces the window. This plant is entering its third year here.
|Pelargonium x hortorum 'Vancouver Centennial'|
Besides the blooming, plants are putting on new foliage. For example, the small potted fig tree (Ficus carica 'Chicago Hardy') that was dormant and devoid of leaves for most of the winter is pushing out new ones. The burro's tail sedum (Sedum morganianum) has new growth too, after staying pretty much the same all winter.
Even though the weather is fickle and is more winter-like at this point, the plants know - spring is under way.