This is the time to tidy up your Cyclamen plant. Carefully twist out any dead flowers and yellow leaves. Dead growth should not be cut off o tugged at, it will come away from the tuber almost at a touch if it is ready. When the plant has ceased to flower move it to a cooler location, keep the soil fairly dry and stop feeding. The Clivia., which should now be in bud, needs to have a flower stem of about 15 cms long before being watered freely. Watering before this stage will retard the development of the flower buds.
The Phyllocactus in bud should be given a little more water than usual. It will also flower more readily if it is moved to a somewhat warmer location (a well-lit position with a moderate amount of sun. The plant should not be moved turned during this period. Or it is likely to drop its buds. Nerium Oleander is a plant that tends to lose a lot of its leaves at this time of the year. If this occurs, it is most probably due to a dark, to cool location.
The Gloxinia (also called Sinningia) , which has been kept dry during the winter, has a tuberous root that can now be potted up in fresh humus soil consisting of woodland soil (leafmould), sharp sand (builder’s sand) and rotted cow manure, or you can buy a proprietary peat-based compost and add a little cow manure. The plant should be given a warm location on the radiator or mantelpiece; cover with a sheet of glass or plastic and water moderately to start the growing process. The same procedure should be followed with the tuber-shaped rootstock of the Achimenes: six to eight tubers can be placed in the same pot, but take care not to bed them too deep.
The Rechsteineria (Gesneria, Cardinal Flower), also responds to the same treatment as the Gloxinia. Overwintering Geraniums, Fuchsias, Hibiscus, Abutilon, Beloperone and other shrub-like plant are ready for pruning at the end of this month. Branches that are too long and bare are pruned back to a lower side-branch, but make sure that the cut is made just above a node or healthy shoot. Once the Bougainvillea has ceased flowering, the old and dead branches can be removed. The plant needs plenty of sun, light and water; increase the amount of water as soon as the new growth is visible.
Authors: A. C. Muller-Idzerda, Elisabeth de Lestrieux, Jonneke Krans