December 4, 2015
Holiday Plant Care
Growing up, my family always included flowering plants as part of their decorations for the winter holidays. Poinsettias and Christmas cactus were staples. In more recent years, I have added Cyclamen to my holiday collection. The flowers of all these plants come in an ever-increasing range of colors and patterns. Last season I decorated with all white poinsettias for a very elegant look. My Christmas Cactus was a light peach with brownish tipped leaves. I originally had a bright magenta one, which must have been 20 years old and bloomed every season. Unfortunately, my new rescue pup, Zadie-Zee, had fun uprooting and playing with that one. My peach one is on its third season, and so far Zadie-Zee does not seem interested in it. The red and white cyclamens are so festive, but I chose a bright pink cyclamen with lovely white variegated leaves. With the cyclamens, I often find that the leaves are as attractive as the flowers. All these flowering plants add a special touch to the holiday season and are relatively easy to care for.
Poinsettias like it bright. Protect them from excessive heat, cold and draft. Water your poinsettia thoroughly when it feels dry. If you like to display the plant in a foiled pot; pierce the foil at the bottom for drainage, as you don’t want the plant to stand in water. With this type of care my poinsettias last well into spring and towards the end of May, I bring them outside to fill in between the planted pots by my front door. They usually hold their flowers through July. If you’re really committed to your poinsettias and want to try reblooming them, there are light and temperature requirements on our website under care sheets.
Christmas Cactus (tropical cacti) requires direct sunlight. During the summer, if the midday sun is too strong, you might want to place your cactus in indirect light. Water your cactus thoroughly when the soil is decidedly dry. I tend to water my cactus every two weeks starting in the fall until buds appear and then weekly through the summer, if they are dry. Do not be tempted to repot your cactus often, as I find crowed roots produce more flowers. You can find specific light and temperature requirements for reblooming your cactus on our website care sheets page, but quite honestly I just follow the care listed above and enjoy new blooms every year.
Cyclamen require very bright indirect light to flower. They prefer to be kept moist at all times and will droop quickly if left to dry out. The plant develops from an underground corm, which is similar to a bulb. When watering, do not pour water into the center of the plant (corm) or it could rot. Rather water around the edges of the pot.
Happy Holiday decorating!
Marilyn Fanning | Greenhouse Design & Sales