University of Vermont
Department of Plant and Soil Science
Fall News ArticlePOTTING AMARYLLIS AND OTHER NOVEMBER GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Horticulturist
and Charlie Nardozzi, Garden Consultant
Potting amaryllis for holiday blooms, planting spring bulbs and
garlic, and putting out a heated birdbath are some of the gardening
activities for this month.
After their dry summer rest period, watch for signs of shoot growth
on amaryllis. That signals it's time to pot them up or, if already
potted, to resume watering. Use a pot only slightly larger than the
bulb diameter. Set a bulb into moistened potting mix so one-half to
one-third of the bulb protrudes above the soil. Place the pot in a
warm well-lit spot, and don't water it again until the first leaf or
flower shoot starts to grow.
You can buy amaryllis bulbs now, too, to pot for Christmas blooms.
Figure on five to seven weeks from potting bulbs until buds begin
Before snow flies and the ground freezes, November is your last
chance to plant garlic bulbs, to dig gladiolus to store indoors over
winter, and to plant fall bulbs for blooms next spring. If you
don’t get your spring-blooming bulbs planted, pot them, then store
indoors in a cool place (40 degrees is ideal, as in a spare
refrigerator or cold root cellar), just don’t let them freeze.
Then, any time after 12 weeks you can bring into warmth indoors to
force into bloom.
Bring in birdbaths for winter if they’re unheated. Birdbaths can be
found at many complete garden stores with such heating elements
build in to keep the water above freezing. Or, you can buy heaters
to set in them just for this purpose. Just keep in mind that these
should be plugged into properly grounded outdoor receptacles. Check
the water every few days as, depending on the weather, it can all
evaporate. It can be fouled so make sure that birds have fresh
water if so. Birds need water during winter, and there may be few
other sources nearby.
If your landscape is looking a bit drab this time of year and you’d
like to add some color, you can with shrubs with colorful red fruits
like hollies, or colorful stems like the shrub dogwoods. While you
“may” still find these at garden outlets and nurseries now, often on
sale, you may need to just research these now for planting next
spring. If you do find and buy some, you can plant now—the sooner
There are several red (or yellow) stemmed shrub dogwoods that are
easy to grow and are quite hardy. Although most have the
vividly-colored stems in late winter, the cultivar (cultivated
variety) Baton Rouge for me is quite red this time of year too.
For hollies with red berries, don’t get lured with the evergreen
American and Chinese ones that you see in ads and at national chain
stores, unless you garden in a warmer zone than northern New
England. There are a few cultivars that may survive cold if under
snow cover and grow into USDA zone 5 (-10 to -20 degrees F)—the
“blue hollies” with their darker blue-green leaves. ‘Blue Boy’ and
‘Blue Girl’ have been around the longest, but look other newer ones
such as ‘Blue Prince’ or ‘Blue Princess’.
There are the related “deciduous” (lose their leaves in winter)
hollies—winterberries—that you can plant even in cold climates.
They grow well in wet areas too. Like all hollies, they need a male
plant planted near several female in order for the latter to bear
red fall berries.
Other gardening tips for this month include leaving asparagus stalks
to trap snow, cleaning and storing garden tools, draining and
storing garden hoses, stocking up on bird seed during sales, and
storing pesticides where they won’t freeze.
Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist, author, gardening
consultant, and garden coach; gardeningwithcharlie.com).
Return to Perry's Perennial