Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > January 2016 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Caring for Holiday Plants

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Caring for Holiday Plants

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had numerous people ask me how to care for the holiday plants they either received or bought for Christmas, so here is a quick guide.

Poinsettias—If you choose to keep your poinsettias, take them out of any decorative foil they came in.  Keep them in a sunny window and allow to dry partly (but not completely) between waterings.  Around the middle of March, cut each flower stem back to 8 to 10” to encourage side branches.  Fertilize occasionally.  I set mine outside around the first week of May.  If you are not going to try to bloom it again (it does make a very pretty green plant),  bring in around the middle of October.  If you want to try to bloom it again then around the middle of September, bring it inside and place in a dark closet from 5 at night until 8 in the morning.  During the day, it goes in in a very sunny window.  Continue to do this until the top leaves begin to turn color—usually mid-end November.   At that point you can leave it out. 

Amaryllis—Cut off any spent flower stems, leaving about a ½ inch “stump.”  Do not cut back any leaves which might have begun to sprout.  Keep in a sunny window and begin to feed with a good houseplant fertilizer.  Place the pot outside for the summer around the first of May, remembering to keep watered and fed.  Bring inside the middle to end of October and allow to go bone dry.  Cut off all the leaves and store the bulb in the pot someplace cool, dark, and dry for 8 to 10 weeks.  I check mine after 8 weeks and if I see a bright green bloom shoot starting to poke out, then I bring it out then.  If not, then I leave it 2 more weeks.  You can keep amaryllis for years and years this way and they’ll bloom reliably every year.

Paperwhites—If you have grown paperwhite bulbs in water and rocks, then toss them.  The bulbs basically “eat” themselves as they grow and bloom so are not worth the trouble to save.  If you have grown them in soil and want to try to save them, then treat pretty much like an amaryllis, though the leaves usually dies back early summer.  With paperwhites being so inexpensive, however, I save the sunny spot that a pot of paperwhites would take up for something else.

Christmas Cactus—A holiday cactus is a true cactus so needs some direct sun.  Place in a bright window and remember to allow to go almost, but not quite, completely dry between waterings.  Fertilize regularly.  I put mine outside the first of May and leave it outside until night temperatures are falling below the low forties.  Usually, by the time I bring it back inside, it already has tiny little buds forming.  It’s the combination of the shortening day length and cooler night temperatures which contribute to bud formation.  When you bring it back inside, put it back in that sunny window.

Remember, when you move any plant outside for the summer, get them accustomed to outdoor sunlight gradually so as not to sunburn the foliage.
Posted: 1/18/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: Bonnie's, Garden
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