The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 5, 1976 · Page 101
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December 5, 1976

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 101

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Sunday, December 5, 1976
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Page 101
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Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, December 5, 1976-F17 Christmas Plants May Survive With Proper Care f Bob Robson uLxLJ months. Allow the soil to dry a bit between waterings. Keep in full sun and low to medium humidity. For best bloom the ideal room temperature at night should be from 55 to 60 degrees. Many of these do not do well as outdoor plantings others do. If geraniums are your wish, ask the nurseryman or florist if it is hardy type for outdoors. BEGONIAS Begonias come in three models. Fibrous and tuberous rooted ones vary primarily in coloration, have watery stems and brittle, pointed leaves. Both may be grown in pots as house plants or outdoors as bedding plants. The Christmas gift type, which is semi-tuberous, is the showiest of the three and the most fragile. Your best bet is to keep it in full sun and water it for as long as it blooms. Then give it the old heave ho. Keep the soil moist, feed with solu-able or liqifid fertilizer monthly and keep it out of direct sunlight. It requires moderate temperatures and high humidity. CHRYSANTHEMUMS Chrysanthemums are florist plants for all practical purposes. Most are totally unsuited for garden planting in South Florida. Potted and indoors, they do well in a window that allows full sunlight. Frequent waterings are required, and they do best in a temperature range of 60 to 70 degrees. I doubt, however, that you will succeed in keeping mums all year indoors. After they have done their best, toss 'em. GERANIUMS Geraniums, those of the red flower among deep green leaves, may also turn up at Christmas. As a house plant, they do well in cooler Potted poinsettias and other plants peddled between now and Christmas probably will surpass the peanut production of Plains, Ga., for a year. A problem for many recipients will be what to do when these plants begin to waste away. For some types it will be a royal ride to the city dump. Others may find happiness by staying perpetually potted. The hardier, adaptable ones can seek their fortune in the great outdoors. However, they will require more than a passing glance and an occasional glass of water, if they are to be around when Santa comes again. Plants are gorged with fortified foods, given supplements of growth hormones, raised in greenhouse sterility and forced to grow night and day by artificial light. The result of all this is that many assume an anemic appearance right off, and some are not adaptable to the demands of outdoor life at all. Most anywhere, except in South Florida for example, poinsettias can be a big pain indoors and impossible outdoors. More or less native to our subtropical climate, they are easy to care for as a house plant, whose faded beauty can be rejuvenated rapidly by planting in the garden. If they happen to be hothouse darlings, imported from some steam-heated greenhouse, they may be sensitive to the slightest discomfort and curl up in their pots. These simple indoor requirements for poinsettias should keep them healthy and in good bloom for a couple of months, at least on red varieties and longer on whites. Keep plants in a relatively cool room, near 70 degrees. Place them where they will receive as much direct sun as possible. Do not keep them under artificial light at night. Extended light reduces blooming. Keep soil moist but never wet. Feed monthly with liquid or soluble fertilizer. 0 When colored bracts and flowers are gone, prune back one-third to one-half. As sturdy new growth comes on, remove the plant from the pot with all possible soil and plant in yard. CHRISTMAS CACTUS The Christmas Cactus is gaining in popularity as. a living gift. Numerous, flat-stemmed, fleshy tained in total darkness for at least twelve hours per day. Do not allow artificial light to reach it indoors or out. If this seems like cruelty to plants, nonadherence is a primary cause for bloom failure. GLOXINIA Somebody's bound to turn up with a Gloxinia. Grown from tubers, it is a very beautiful plant with minimum stem, maximum, broad velvety leaves and deep bell-like flowers of brilliant colors. This is strictly a house plant here. branches that also serve as leaves give the plant an interesting, unusual appearance. Showy, pink, pendant-like flowers massed along all edges of younger plant parts creates spectacular color. A Christmas Cactus plant should come to you with all of its good attributes intact. To keep it that way through the year takes a little doing: During winter, spring and summer, keep the soil moist. In fall months, allow the plant to dry slightly between waterings. grow in For the cooler months, full sunlight. Grow in a cool, shaded area in summer. Beginning about Sept. 1, the Christmas Cactus should be main- u u Homeowners Can't Deduct Repair Costs From Taxes 1 . -: :. "y. . 0 v" Robert J. Bruss mm investing in vacant land. Next time you invest in realty, I think you'll do better with depreciable income property, such as apartments, which usually have a predictable value and can be much less speculative. Q I'm interested in that tax rule on capital gains tax deferrals. If the property involved is a rental house, can I sell it and then buy a more expensive rental building, such as apartments, without paying tax on my profit? Or must I make a direct trade? Hlriam S., Florida. A To defer the tax on your profit from an investment property that is not your personal residence, you must make a direct trade for a more expensive "like kind" property investment. You could trade for land, another rental house, apartments, offices or stores, for example.; This exchange rule differs from the "residence replacement rule" which permits tax deferral on your personal residence. You can sell your residence and buy a more expensive one within 18 months and defer the tax on the profit. But to defer the tax on investment property profits, you must trade for a larger "like kind" property. Q A few months ago we sold our home. The buyer got a new mortgage from another lender, and we had to pay a $540 prepayment penalty. Can we deduct this $540 cost on our tax returns? Evan A., Minnesota. A Yes. Mortgage prepayment penalties are tax deductible as an interest expense if you itemize your tax deductions. Q My wife and I just bought an old five-bedroom house that was built in 1903. It is very run-down and needs lots of repairs and major improvements We figure it will cost us at least $20,000 to get it into good condition. Are these costs tax deductible? Can we deduct the cost of landscaping, insurance and depreciation? Larry M., Maryland. A Buying older property for improvement is usually a smart investment if you don't have to spend too much for upgrading. When a house is used as the owner's personal residence, unfortunately, you can't deduct the repair, improvement, insurance or other costs just mortgage interest, property taxes and some purchase expenses. Add the cost of your capital improvements, such as landscaping, to your cost basis. However, if you decide in the future to rent the house to tenants, then your repair, maintenance, insurance, depreciation and other costs are tax deductible operating costs. You can't depreciate a personal residence. Q My husband and I will be spending a year in Europe and Africa. While we're away we plan to rent our house to tenants. Some neighbors rented their house for $350 per month recently. Is there any way to decide how much our house rental should cost? Karna B., Iowa. A Homes usually rent tor about one per cent per month of their market value. For example, if your home is worth $40,000, it should rent for about $400 per month. Another criteria is the rent should be 25 per cent of your tenant's monthly income. That means your tenant should earn at least $1,600 per month for a $400 monthly rental. Q About four years ago I invested $27,000 In some vacant land near a proposed freeway interchange. I've been paying the mortgage Interest and property taxes, which are now becoming a burden to me. The freeway still hasn't been built and it looks like it never will be built. I can't sell the land for the amount I have Invested In it. If I accept the best price I can get for U, I will have a $14,000 loss. Is that loss tax deductible? Reuben M., California. A Yes. Most losses on nondepreciable investment realty (except personal residences) are tax deductible as a capital loss. Your situation shows the risky nature of ''i' J k1k luqlt pfocfc Ill Oil 11 r i ir n rri i . M I;.-1 if Ml ! 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