Melodie Lamprinakos loves the beauty and color of the plants that adorn her home during the holidays.
Preserving that beauty year-round is a skill she not only finds practical, but financially wise.
"Each year my bulbs go to waste (after the holidays)," said the Northeast Richland resident. "I'd like to know that I can have it again (the next year) without investing too much."
Lamprinakos is counting on a longer blooming season for her holiday poinsettias and Christmas cacti after taking a class on holiday plant care basics Friday at the Cooper branch of the Richland County Public Library.The class is the latest offered through the "Garden like a Master" series sponsored by the Richland County Public Library and the S.C. Midlands Master Gardeners Association. The program features year-round workshops on various issues related to plant care.
On Friday, master gardener Sandi Bailey shared tips on preparing plants for the holidays and helping them thrive throughout the year. The class covered various holiday plants and addressed such topics as when to prune, sufficient watering levels and intervals and ideal growing temperatures.
"They either over water or under water," Bailey said, explaining the most common mistakes committed by amateur gardeners. "It's the simple things that sometimes makes the difference."
But Friday's instruction wasn't restricted to the simple things of plant life. For the more ambitious, Bailey discussed how to vary periods of light with intervals of uninterrupted darkness to "force" certain plants into bloom.
She also talked about ways to keep holiday plants healthy year-round, including the best times to move plants outdoors and how to care for them during the warmer spring and summer months.
"Why spend your money and just let that plant die?" she said. "Our economy is just too bad for that."
Jill Sinclair of Forest Acres said she was surprised to discover how many Christmas plants can be moved into a garden and how long they can maintain their color.
"That's my plan, to have my poinsettia last" well into the new year, she said.