Monthly Calendar April
The Azalea and Cyclamen, having spent some time in a cooler location after their flowering season, may now possibly be plunged out of doors in a cool, shady spot in the garden, if the early spring weather is favourable. The Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is now ready to be brought into growth. If you haven’t already done so, cut it back now, unless it is still flowering. April is also a good time to taking cuttings of the Bellflower (Campanula Isophylla).
Select healthy young shoots about 6-10 cms long and insert a number of them around the edge of the pot. This way they should reward you with a new, profusely flowering plant. The Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus) should now be stimulated into a new growth; if necessary replace the surface with a fresh layer of compost (rich in humus and mixed with sphagnum moss). This plants does not really like to be repotted. Increase the water supply and feed once a fortnight.
Although succulents and cacti that have overwintered in a frost-free environment are liable to grow out of their pots at this time, they are, in fact, happier in their small container. However, if you feel they really need a large pot, give them one. Plastic pots are ideal for succulents.
The Bougainvillea can now be sprayed regularly, until bud formation is clearly evident. The flowering Hortensia (Hydrangea) requires a cool position in the room, away from direct sunlight. It needs plenty of water and a weekly feed, preferably with a lime-free nutrient solution.
The Sansevieria is now rready for propagation. This is best done by division of the rootstock, which should be carefully cut into several pieces, each of which should have at least one shoot attached. Transplant the portions into pots just large enough to accommodate the roots. Plants that have grown too large need to be divided as and when necessary; such is often the case with, for example, Anthurium, the Maranta and the Umbrella Plant (Cyperus). In order to avoid damaging their delicate roots, some species are best devided under water.
It is now important to give your houseplants some protection from the warm spring sunshine. Plants such as the Cineraria, Gloxinia, Primula, Anthurium, Slipper-flower (Calceolaria), will flourish best if they are given a good light situation but are screened from too bright sunlight.
Authors: A. C. Muller-Idzerda, Elisabeth de Lestrieux, Jonneke Krans