The holidays are gone, but don’t throw away those living decorations! Maybe you were gifted a Christmas cactus or Hawaiian Christmas tree and who didn’t buy a poinsettia or two? The leaves are wilted, the flowers may be gone but, just like us—the once beautiful creatures are just a little tired! Please, please don’t throw them away. What you have can thrive again with just a little tender loving care.
• Remove all holiday wrapping from the plant’s container.
• Make sure the container has drain holes.
• Aerate the soil and if there is room, add a little fresh potting soil.
• Trim all dead leaves or foliage away.
• Place container on or in another saucer or container that will collect drainage.
• Position plants near a good light source that is also away from direct drafts.
• Water at least once a week. Soil should be dry on top but feel moist at least one inch down before you re-water.
These are good general tips for any houseplant. What you need to remember about holiday houseplants is that the blooms will not last forever. That is okay. Christmas mums and azaleas can easily be trimmed and kept safely indoors until spring temps stay above 60 degrees at night. At that time, find a nice spot in the garden and plant them. They will reward you with new blooms come fall!
Your Christmas cactus will also lose its lovely blooms. Find a sunny windowsill and come Easter, you will probably have blooms again. These plants will do well indoors all year round, but a shady patio placement in the spring and summer will get you lots of new growth.
If you received an Amaryllis, the lovely, large flower will also die back at some point. The plant itself is a large bulb, so when the leaves and flower begin to yellow, plant the bulb at least two to three inches deep outside in a flower bed and mulch well. The foliage and bloom should return next year in the late fall.
Poinsettias can be tough to look at when they shed all their leaves and only have the showy red bracts left at the top of the stem. Do not despair, there is still life here! Group these stick-like creatures together in one large, well-draining pot and sit this near a bright window. Only water once a week and before long you will see little leaf shoots on those bare stems. When the new leaves appear, trim away the red bracts. Poinsettias will do well in pots in partial sunlight outdoors. By the end of fall, they will once again begin to grow the red bracts and you will have a new poinsettia for the holiday season!
Remember that, as living things, we are all connected. A little patience, a little care, a little houseplant reminds us that holidays can last all year! Happy New Year!
Email your gardening questions and comments to Lisa at [email protected].