Workshop on Winter Flowers & Flowering Plants

Flowers are the most beautiful part of the plant. They never fail to please us with their vibrant colors, shapes, and lovely fragrance. When most of the plants go into dormancy during winter there are some plants that are active and bloom at this time. These winter flowers add charm to our homes and gardens in the cold winter conditions.

If you want to grow winter flowering plants and learn more about them, then watch our workshop on “Winter Flowers & Flowering Plants” with our speaker Priyanka Priya Prabhakar. She’s a psychology graduate and a lovely mom from Bihar settled in Gujarat. Loves gardening and has managed to grow some lovely plants in a small space. You can connect with her on her Instagram page “natur_eally”

Priyanka and her tips to grow winter plants:

“Hello, everyone, Welcome to another workshop by TAOS. Today we have with us, Miss. Priyanka Priya. I’ll introduce you briefly to our viewers.  She is from Bihar and is settled in Gujrat. She’ll tell us today about what flowers we can grow in winter and how we can grow plants in a small space. So, let’s get started,” said Zehra.

“Hello, everyone. So, gardening is actually my passion. I started gardening in childhood. So, we’ll start with some winter flowers which I have:

Coming to their requirements, we need to take care of:

Coming to pot size first, for saplings, you can use pots of two-three inches in size. For bigger plants, you’d need about 10 inches size of the pot. Make sure there is a drainage hole in the pot. So, I have taken a dried marigold flower here and a soil mix,” said Priyanka.

“What are the things you have added to this mixture, and in what proportion?”

“I have added one part of garden soil, one and a half of perlite and cocopeat. We won’t be using any fertilizer here.  So, I will tear apart these leaves, spread them in the mix, and cover them with another level of soil. Then, we’ll spray water on it and keep it in a shady room. So, winter plant siblings can be planted from September to October. This will ensure that the plant blooms in winter. 

Coming to soil mixture, the one I’ll tell can be used in all seasons. First, we’ll take garden soil, then perlite, which prevents root rot. After that, we’ll take neem khali powder, which protects the plant from fungus, and cocopeat, bone powder, and compost.  So, the mixture will have one part of garden soil, half part perlite, and compost. We need 25 grams of bone powder for a small size pot and 50 grams for a bigger one,” said Priyanka.

“Did you add all of them in the marigold mix?”

“Except for compost and bone powder. That we will add when we will repot them. We won’t add fertilizers in the initial stage, or the seedling won’t grow. We will use neem khal also at a later stage. The soil mix should not stick to your hand,” said Priyanka.

“We can see that in the same pot, the same plant is of two different sizes. Why is that?”

“The seeds take different times to germinate. Some may even get damaged, and some others’ roots might rot. This is why it varies. We’ll plant our sapling now. Since it is in a delicate stage, we will not use any fertilizer now. We will only water the sapling, that’s all.”

“So, when can we add the fertilizers and neem khal and other things?”

“When the plant grows taller, some branches come out, and when the stem becomes stronger. We will re-pot it in a bigger pot, and then use neem khal on it, at a duration of 15 days.”

“When do we water them?”

“Whenever the soil feels dry.”

“Coming to fertilizers, they are of two types: Organic and Chemical. Organic ones include cow dung and bone meal. For chemical one, we have dap, npk, etc. We also have seaweed fertilizer as liquid fertilizer.  For pest control, we use neem oil. We have to use only 3.5ml of it, with 1 liter of water. Then, we can spray it. Next, I’ll show you how to prune a plant. We are taking a calendula plant for this. You can see there’s a dry flower here. You just have to cut it using a scissor or cutter from the branch. We can dry this cut-out flower and use it to propagate further. I’ll prune another gazania plant to make it clear. You can see all flowers are dry already. These flowers bloom in the daytime only. To pinch it, you just pluck it with your hand. Then, you can use fertilizers on it. You can also use liquid fertilizers, about 25 grams in 1 liter of water. Avoid watering and adding fertilizers in the afternoon. Lastly, we add neem oil to the plant to prevent any chances of pests. Then the costs of these are:

“You buy all of them online?”

“Yes, online.”

“Then, for the rose plant, you can see this flower is almost dry. We have to do soft pruning here, thereby cutting it just a little below the flower,” said Priyanka.

“When do we have to prune hard?”

“Only once, before the winter season, is enough. So, then we will add bone meal to the soil. We just need one fertilizer, either bone meal or NPK, etc. Then we will churn it well, and we will find new roots within 15 days,” said Priyanka.

“How do you decide when to prune?”

“When the flower goes dry, we have to go for soft pruning. Once a year of hard pruning is enough.”

“What are the benefits of hard pruning?”

“The plant grows more roots and flowers. The growth rate increases.”

“Which is better, NPK or DAP?”

“Both are almost the same.”

“How can we collect rose seeds from plants?”

“That is actually tough in the case of rose plants. Nursery is the best option, actually.”

“Is it easy to grow rose from seeds or by propagation?”

“Propagation is a better option since seeds aren’t suitable for all climates.”

“How often do you add NPK to the soil?”

“We have to take 12 grains, make a powder of it, and take half a teaspoon of it. The gap between the two phases happens to be of 15 days.”

“Do you use vermicompost too? Can we use it with chemical fertilizers as well?”

“Yes, I do. It is, in fact, very good for every plant. It can be used with chemical fertilizers too.”

“Do you use any flowering hormones?”

“No, nothing as such.”

“Can we grow flowering plants when there is a lack of sunlight?”

“The plant can grow, but for the flowers to bloom, it is essential to provide 4-6 hours of sunlight. For less light situations, it is better to go for indoor plants.”

“Do you prefer using growth hormones for flowering plants?”

“You can use it, but it isn’t essential. They can grow well on their well itself.”

“I have a Kalanchoe here, which is also known as a late bloomer, as its flowers bloom after a long time. In fact, we need to stop watering it to provide some stress to it. It needs to be kept in extremely cold conditions for it to bloom. For pruning, you can break the dry flowers using your hand itself,” said Priyanka.

“In which season did you plant it?’

“Mid-September to mid-October is the ideal time.”

“So, we’ll look at re-potting next. We’ll take a container and add neem khal first to the soil. Then we’ll add 50 grams of bonemeal. We’ll take perlite and mix them well. Since we need well-drained soil, we won’t be using cocopeat,” said Priyanka.

“What is the difference between desi and foreign kalanchoe, and which fertilizer is best for them?”

“Primarily in the type of flowers, nothing else. NPK and bonemeal can be used for them.”

“Can we use sand instead of perlite?”

“Yes, you can. However, it tends to get warm in summer, so perlite is preferable.”

“So, to cover the drainage holes, you can use plastic or coconut shell, then plant the plant in the pot. We need to make sure the finger length of the stem should stay above the soil. I won’t add any chemical fertilizer to it. We can add them after twenty days. That’s all,” said Priyanka.

“Any other plant you want to talk about?”

“I have a desi gerbera. There are two varieties, desi, and dwarf. In dwarf, the flower and branches are bigger. You can see it is getting dull. I had applied NPK fifteen days before. We have to prune it and cut the plant since it is dying. New flowers will grow from it,” said Priyanka.

“You also have succulents, right? Do they grow well in winter?”

“Yeah, they grow considerably well in winter.”

“Do you keep them indoors or outdoors?”

“Outdoors, since they need a good amount of sunlight.”

“Are there any pest issues with this?”

“Yes, and we can use neem oil or seaweed solution for the same.”

“How do you grow more from it?”

“We propagate it. We just have to break a leaf and then plant it in the soil. It will grow automatically,” said Priyanka. 

“That was an amazing session, Priyanka. Thank you so much for joining us today.”