Gardening expert Aileen Acheson imparts more gardening advice

When the garden is a mass of colour and the vegetables are tasty and plentiful, we tend to forget the pot plants. Now in January and all through winter they come into their own.
If you have an African Violet, St. Paul’s, it likes a bright window sill, but it must be shaded from strong sunshine. Behind lace curtains it usually does well. Stand it in a saucer of water once a week. Watering from above makes the plant rot. Use only tepid water.
A peat based compost is what this little plant likes. You should change the compost every two years. Not too big a pot. If the pot is too big, the compost will go sour. It usually likes the kitchen best. The leaves gather dust so wash the St. Paul’s leaves with tepid water and a small brush from time to time.

You can slip geraniums anytime and pot them up. They bring colour to the kitchen. In summer put them outside. They seem to thrive in summer rain. Pelargoniums are the loveliest of indoor pot plants. To re-pot, take them out of the original pot and tease the old soil from the roots.

Fill the pot with fresh compost but not too big a pot. Otherwise, you will have a soggy mess of unused compost when the plants are growing.

Now is the time to plant gloxinias. Use a fairly small pot, fresh compost and keep them covered to provide darkness until they are peeping well above the soil level. Then take them out and keep in a warm, though not too hot, a place. The kitchen window sill is usually suitable.

Outside, plant Salix Caprea in a big tub. At the moment its branches are covered in catkins which look lovely. Plant cineraria seed in a small pot. You will need to use two packets of the coloured variety. The seeds are tiny so mind you don’t drop any. They take a long time to grow and flower but are lovely to look at. Keep indoors on your crowded kitchen window sill.

Watch your stored hyacinths. If you set the bulbs over a month or so, one every week, they should flower one after the other. They must be taken out of the darkness when they are about an inch and a half above the top of the pot. Then you should keep them in a cool bright place for a week or so and only then bring them into a heated room.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own