TLC for Your Christmas Plants

TLC for Your Christmas Plants

Poinsettias

• Poinsettias are very sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. Bring your plant home wrapped in plastic or paper. Do not leave it in your car.

• Once inside your home, place the poinsettia in a warm, well-lit area away from drafts, radiators, or ventilating ducts.

• Place your poinsettia in a waterproof container or saucer so moisture does not damage your furniture or floor.

• Poinsettias do best in moist but not soggy soil. Water when the surface just starts to feel dry. Overwatering a Poinsettia can result in leaf wilt and/or leaf drop. Misting the plant frequently to keep humidity high will prevent the edges of the leaves from turning yellow or brown.

• If you feel ambitious and want to bring your Poinsettia back into full colour for the following Christmas, cut back the stems so they’re about 20 cm (8″) tall in late March or April. This prevents the plant from becoming leggy.

• Give your Poinsettia a short resting period of a few weeks and water less often.

poinsettia christmas bloom

• By early June with new growth underway transplant the Poinsettia into a pot 2.5 cm – 5 cm (1″ – 2″) larger. Keep the plant in a sunny window or move it outside into light shade away from drying winds.

• Fertilize with Water Soluble 15-30-15 and water regularly.

• Watch for insects and spray with an insecticidal soap if necessary.

• In September bring the Poinsettia indoors. For the next 8-10 weeks your plant must receive 14 hours of complete darkness each night. Place a cardboard box over it or put it in a closet overnight. Continue to keep the soil moist and fertilize every 2-3 weeks. When small bracts begin to appear you can return the plant to normal light conditions.

Christmas Cactus

This succulent houseplant acquired its name for blooming around Christmas time. There is also an Easter cactus that flowers later. Stems of these plants are in segments and they arch gracefully as they mature. At the end of each stem a bright pink, red, or peach flower forms.

• Keep the cactus moist but not wet when it is in bloom.

• Let the plant rest once it has finished blooming.

• Water less but never let it dry out completely.

• Place it out of direct sunlight during spring and summer.

• In the fall, keep your plant in a room with daylight only to trigger a new flowering cycle.

• Fertilize with Flower Food 15-30-15 during bud formation and blooming.

Cyclamen

Cyclamens are perfect if you like to keep your home at a cool temperature or you have a window that needs colour.

• Flowers come in shades of red, pink, magenta, mauve, and white.

• Some blooms are ruffled.

• Some varieties are fragrant.

• All Cyclamen have attractive heart-shaped leaves with silver tracings.

cyclamen christmas flower

• Cyclamen do best in a bright east or west window with a daytime temperature of 18°C (65°F) and an evening temperature as low as 5°C – 10°C (40°F – 50°F).

• The cyclamen grows from a tuber on top of the soil.

• Watering should be done from the bottom. Sit the plant in a deep saucer, add water to the saucer, and leave for a half hour.

• Fertilize every 2-3 weeks with Water Soluble Flower Food, 15-30-15.

Azaleas

• Azaleas produce masses of flowers over a 4-6 week period.

• They like bright light and a lot of water. Misting regularly is a definite bonus.

• Soil must not be allowed to dry out or flower buds and leaves will drop.

• To prolong the life of your Azalea, take it outside during the summer months and place in a partial shaded area.

• Water regularly to keep soil moist and fertilize with Flower Food 15-30-15 about every 2 weeks.

• Leave the plant outside until the end of October, spray it with an insecticidal soap, treat the soil with an insecticidal dust, and bring inside. The contrast between the cool outdoor temperatures and the consistent warm temperature inside shocks the Azalea into another round of flower production.

Kalanchoes

• This succulent, desert-like plant comes in cheerful shades of yellow, pink, and red as well as white and peach.

• It loves sun and only needs to be watered every 2-3 weeks.

• When blooming is finished, trim back the flower stalk and keep it in the sunniest south or west window.

• Chances are it will start blooming again in 6-8 weeks.

Chrysanthemums

• Florist Mums are available year-round and provide colour for 2-3 weeks.

• For Christmas, a white Chrysanthemum is grown in a pot with a Poinsettia to become a “Mumsettia.”

christmas amaryllis

Cineraria

• Cineraria comes in intense blue and pink flowers.

• Its daisy-like flowers contrast sharply with very large leaves.

• Be sure to keep the soil moist at all times but not wet.

Mixed Planters

• A popular gift idea is a basket or decorative container planted with 3-5+ tropical plants that might include trailing Variegated Ivy, an African Violet, a Kalanchoe, a Palm, and a Prayer Plant.

• Place this arrangement in bright light and water only when the soil is dry to the touch.

Potted Bulbs

• If you didn’t start your own Paperwhite Narcissus or Amaryllis bulbs earlier in the fall, you can purchase them in tight bud or just as they start to open.

• The trick to keeping the flower stems short so they don’t flop over is to hold back on the water and place in a cool window where they last longer.