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The holidays are upon us, and thoughts of sugar plums are replacing gardening ones!
While our focus may be more indoors, it is also the season for giving and receiving.
Holiday plants are a welcome gift to give and receive and can add color and interest
to your holiday decorations. With a little TLC they can also linger, long after the
season has passed.
The red poinsettia still reigns supreme among flowering holiday plants. Yet, poinsettias
are more than the traditional red, flat-bracted blooms. Today, poinsettias come in
a range of colors, including:
There are speckled ones and curly flowered ones called Christmas Rose. They come in
the standard four inch pot, or in miniature or large tree forms. There truly is a
poinsettia for every home.
With poinsettias, give them fairly bright light and even moisture. Avoid dark areas
with drafts. The new varieties have been bred to hold their color for months, and
can add color long after the holiday season. While they can re-bloom for another season,
it is best to start with a new plant each year. Enjoy them while the color lasts,
and then add them to the compost pile.
If you want to branch out, there are other plants besides poinsettia that can add
cheer to the inner landscape. Other choices include:
When receiving a holiday plant, you need to know something about plant care, to keep
it attractive the longest.
Amaryllis are sold from the dry bulb stage to the bloom stage. For the longest enjoyment, start
your own bulb or choose one just beginning to show color. If they are in full bloom
when you get them, they may not last too long. The bulb can linger for years and re-bloom
Anthurium is a rather new addition to our indoor plant repertoire. The Hawaiian flowers have
the right colors to choose from-red, white or pink spathes of color, which can last
for months. Some people use them as a green houseplant after bloom, since it is difficult
to re-bloom them. Let them dry out slightly in between watering.
The florist azalea is different than those we plant outdoors. Keep it cool and in indirect bright light
and it too can last for four to six weeks. While many gardeners attempt planting these
outdoors, many don't survive the winter.
Cyclamen plants come in a range of reds, pinks and whites. These plants grow from small bulbs
called corms. They prefer cool temperatures, and will decline quickly if kept warm
day and night. They prefer bright light and even moisture-too much water can cause
the bulbs to rot. While many toss the plants after bloom, they can re-bloom with proper
care. As the foliage begins to die back, withhold water for a few months. After a
rest period, gradually begin to add water. When you see signs of new growth, increase
water and sunlight.
Gerbera daisies are a semi-hardy perennial in our outside garden, but can last several weeks indoors
as a potted plant. Coming in a wide range of colors, they prefer to be kept on the
cool side with plenty of sunlight.
Holiday cactus are also readily available. While some call them Thanksgiving or Christmas cactus,
these blooming cactus can give enjoyment year after year. Once it is in bloom, it
will last longest in indirect light with even moisture. Leading up to bloom it needs
cool nights and sunny days.
Get more tips for holiday cactus care
Kalanchoe is a succulent plant with a long blooming cluster of flowers. Flower color ranges
from reds and oranges to yellows and whites. They like short days and long nights
and warm, dry conditions. Don't over water this plant.
You may not think of orchids during the holidays, but what showier blossom can you think of that will last for
six to eight weeks with very little care. They can also live to see another day, if
you so choose.
And last but not least, paper white narcissus. These lovely forced clusters of white blossoms often come artfully arranged with
greenery and berries. Like the amaryllis, they are available in all stages, from dried
bulbs to blooming plants. Enjoy them while they last, and then move on to something
else. Re-blooming is not advised.
The holidays are upon us, and who wouldn't welcome a blooming plant? While the care
of these plants isn't difficult, re-blooming may be, and in most cases is not worth
the effort. To ensure the flowers last the longest, in general, keep holiday blooming
plants in a cool room, with bright, indirect light. Make sure you have an even supply
of water-but avoid over watering, which is most common. Extremely warm rooms can cause
flowers to fade quickly. Try to have at least a slight differential from day to night
With so many choices to choose from, why not select several! With just minimal care,
these seasonal favorites are sure to add a boost to any holiday decor.
By: Sherri Sanders County Extension Agent - Agriculturessanders@uada.edu