Many people who love flowers throughout the spring and summer are hesitant to try indoor color for lack of space or anticipation of a mess.

It does not take a sunroom to enjoy fresh flowers inside during the winter months. In most cases, a window and sill are all that is necessary.

Professional growers call them pot crops — specifically planted and grown for this purpose. The flowers easily adapt to indoor conditions and bloom despite the season’s short days. The choices now found on nurseries’ shelves take out much of the guesswork as to which plants work best.

Primula (Primroses), Kalanchoe, Cyclamen and Gerbera daisies are four showy selections that come in a variety of colors. These plants know the meaning of the word tidy. They stay compact in the bounds of their container and need little in the way of care.

Position them in a cool place for these prefer temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees. Avoiding drafts from heating vents will increase the longevity of each flower and help deter mites. Allow the plants to dry between watering to avoid root rot.

If you are up for a little more care and a little less money, buy one of the fall annuals. They will also brighten a windowsill through the winter. Dianthus, snapdragons and pansies all enjoy the same growing conditions as the pot crops.

Transplant your favorite in a four or five inch decorative container and give it a sip of fertilizer. Take extra care to remove the dead flowers and keep these from forming seed. Negligence on this point will cause the plant to stop blooming.

Expect a more open growing habit. Occasional snips will keep the size of these annuals under control.

Use your imagination. Try planting some for a living centerpiece this Thanksgiving using shredded colored paper for mulch on the soil.

Pot crops are easy — purchase, position and enjoy. The price is a little higher, but not outrageous. These plants make fine gifts. Whether a thank you for the host or a blessing on a new home, pot crops need little more than a ribbon to be complete.

Before the days head for holiday busyness, remember the homebound person or a nursing home resident. A carefree spot of color will remind them they are loved.

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