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Did you know some poinsettias can grow up to 8 feet tall? You could use it as a Christmas tree.

Kim from Burnet asked: “What should I do with my poinsettias after Christmas?”

Kim, poinsettias are great garden perennials. Keep them inside in a sunny spot until the spring. Water them when the soil feels dry. Then, in March, you can plant them in the soil where you think they would best brighten your day. Before placing a poinsettia in the soil, trim it back halfway. As your plant begins to flourish during the summer, pinch/prune growing shoots to keep it compact. Poinsettias prefer sunny spots over partial shade.


1. In the flower department, plant sweet alyssum, ornamental cabbage and kale, Johnny jump-ups, pansies (faceless are our favorites), snapdragons, violas, and stock.

2. Plant vegetables: artichoke crowns, asparagus crowns, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and spinach. You can still plant strawberries and herbs such as chervil, chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Start choosing onion sets and get them into the ground. There are many varieties these days, so take your time in your final selection.

3. If you are blessed to have a greenhouse or cold flats, start tomato seeds indoors.

4. Time to spray fruit trees with dormant oil. Orange oil is good for this and safe for the environment.

5. Check (and repair, if necessary) your irrigation system. Also, design your system for the spring.

6. On those cold days, working inside is best and a wonderful opportunity to clean and oil gardening tools.

7. Mulch, mulch, and more mulch is the mantra for the winter. Mulch promotes moisture retention and protection from the cold.

8. Fertilize established pansies with dried blood meal or cottonseed meal at the rate of 3-4 pounds per 100 square-feet of flowerbed.

9. With the heavy dew and light rains, keep an eye on your bird feeders. You want to make sure the bird seed doesn’t mold. Moldy seeds can make birds sick. Be kind to your backyard buddies.

10. Continue to prune the dead wood out of oaks and other shade trees. Removing the dead wood, especially at “head height,” will provide kindling and allow sunlight to reach inside the umbrella of the tree.

11. Trees, shrubs, plants, etc. need to be watered during the winter. Check the soil around your trees. If you’ve had less than 4 inches of rain in the last 30 days, “deep water” trees — a slow drip (very slow dribble) for a 24-hour period at the drip line.

12. WARNING! Don’t prune your fruit trees yet. Pruning promotes growth and budding. Pruning flowering plants during the winter confuses the plants. Deadheading or pruning sends signals to the plant or tree that it is spring. We don’t want to fool our fruit trees or roses as to what season it is.

Have a Merry Christmas, y’all!

Till next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden! Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

“In the Garden” is written by daughter-father gardening team Martelle and Bill Luedecke. If you have gardening questions, contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or or Bill at 512-577-1463 or