Caring for Your Holiday Plants

December 3, 2019

As the holidays get closer, it’s important to keep in mind that holiday plants have very different needs. It’s unusual for a poinsettia kept indoors to last for much of the new year, but other favorites can last far beyond the season with the right kind of attention. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for choosing and looking after holiday plants.

Poinsettias: Look for the small yellowish-green flowers that appear at the end of each branch. If more than two or three are open, the plant has already passed its peak. A second important indicator of health is the presence of bright green, robust-looking leaves all over the plant, including near the base of the stem where it meets the soil.

– Both underwatering and overwatering can harm poinsettias. When the surface of the soil is dry to the touch, it’s time to water thoroughly and then allow them to drain. The basic rule is once per week.

– Put them in an area where sunlight is bright but indirect. Locations near heating vents will quickly dry them out.

Amaryllis: Large bulbs that feel solid will produce the best blooms. Plant them in a pot that’s one to two inches wider than the bulb’s diameter and allows drainage.

– Water them thoroughly to keep the soil moist.

– Place them where they’ll receive strong light. A sunny window is a good choice. Again, drafty areas or spots near sources of heat will dry plants out.

– When blooms appear, cut the stalk at the soil and keep the plant in a sunny window until May, when it can be planted outdoors until September.

– When September arrives, dig up the bulb and remove any foliage. Keep it dry until November, when you can repot it and cross your fingers that it will bloom again.

Paperwhites: Fill a shallow container with gravel and add just enough water to cover it. Set the bulbs on top of the gravel, pointed side up, and arrange a few stones to keep the bulbs in place. Alternatively, plant them in well-drained potting mix, leaving the tips just above the surface of the soil.

– As roots develop, store the bulbs at a temperature between 50 and 60 degrees.

– When leaves appear, place the plants in direct sunlight.

– These bulbs can dry out quickly, so be sure to keep the water at the same level.

– Use bamboo stakes and twine to support the stems as the flowers grow and become heavier.

– Unfortunately, the fragrant flowers won’t bloom again indoors, so when they fade, add them to your compost pile.

These are only three popular choices among a variety of plants associated with the holidays. Whether you’re assembling a collection on your own or receiving some as gifts, a few minutes of research will help you keep them healthy and attractive through the festive season and (depending on the plant) beyond.

These indoor plants need the same level of attention we bring to your lawn care to stay healthy and thrive through the holiday season and beyond.