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LET’S TALK GARDENING – Holiday Plants

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

TIS THE SEASON

We are now into the third week of November. It seems that everyone has the holidays on their minds. With that mindset, many people are looking at all the beautiful and popular holiday plants. Here is a brief rundown of some of the most popular holiday plants along with some care tips.

POINSETTIAS

The obvious and most popular holiday plant. Protect poinsettias from the cold when transporting from the garden center to your car or from your car to the home or office. Place the poinsettia in bright indirect light, allowing the soil to dry moderately between thorough waterings—do not let roots stand in water. Plants wrapped in colorful foil should have holes punched through the foil on the bottom to allow the pot to drain.

CYCLAMEN

My personal favorite. The florist cyclamen is a cool-season bloomer and is usually available from September through March. The beautiful flowers resemble some orchids and come in red, pink, salmon, lavender, and white as well as fancy frilled or bi-color flowers. Cyclamen prefer very bright indirect light or some direct sun. Cooler temperatures will keep them looking their best. Allow the soil to surface dry between waterings, and provide good drainage. The florist cyclamen requires a rest period after flowering. Allow the plant to die back in April and store the tuber in a dry, dark location for three or four months, then bring it back out to light and start watering once again.

AMARYLLIS

We will sell both dormant bulbs and potted Amaryllis. The Amaryllis become available to purchase in November and December. The Amaryllis is a tropical bulb that cannot tolerate being outside in our winter months. If given good care, the bulb will get larger and larger each year, producing more flowers each blooming period. If you purchase potted amaryllis already in bud or bloom, place it in a cool, bright location, and allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings—do not let roots stand in water. Turn the pot a quarter turn every few days to keep the flower stem straight. If you purchase a dormant bulb, you can plant it with the top third of the bulb exposed in a pot 1 ½ inches larger in diameter than the bulb. A clay pot or a ceramic pot works best. Flower buds appear before leaves.

PAPERWHITES

Like Amaryllis, we will sell both dormant bulbs and potted paperwhites. Paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta) are tropical bulbs, so cannot be planted out in our part of the country. You can purchase paperwhites already potted up or pot your own in soil or in gravel. Pre-potted paperwhites should be placed in a very bright to sunny window, and kept moist but not saturated. To start paperwhites in gravel, choose a watertight container at least 3 inches deep, add a thin layer of gravel, and arrange the bulbs on top. Add more gravel as needed until all but the top tip of the bulb is covered. Add water until half full and keep cool until roots form.

HOLIDAY CACTUS

The Christmas cactus and the Thanksgiving cactus have been popular holiday plants for over 100 years. The original species have been hybridized so that now growers can bring them into bloom as needed, thus the name Holiday Cactus. Control of day-length and night temperatures is used to induce flowering at the appropriate time. They may live for 20 years or more and are often passed down from one generation to another. When in bloom, flowers will last longer if the plant is kept in a cool bright location, away from drafts or heat vents. Allow the soil to dry moderately between thoroughly waterings. Do not let roots stand in water. After flowering, allow the plant to rest for a few weeks. Most holiday cactus will flower on their own eventually, so if you don’t care when they bloom, just sit back and let nature take its course.

ENJOY THESE BEAUTIES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!!!!!!

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4 thoughts on “LET’S TALK GARDENING – Holiday Plants

  1. Ben,
    Thank you for being a reader of my blogs. And, I am glad you find them informative and educational. Doug

  2. What’s the best course to overwinter an amaryllis so that it blooms again? (I’m not fussy about when!) i never asked this question before!

  3. Barbara,
    If you just got a bulb this year. Then, let it grow and flower. Once the flowers are done then you can cut the flower stalk. And then care for it like a houseplant and let it grow these long leaves from now through the until fall next year. At this time you then cut the leaves, stop watering and let the bulb “rest”. In about six weeks you can then start watering and bring the bulb “to life”. good luck, Doug

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