16December 2, 2015

We are into December and many of you will be bringing home some variety of holiday plant. Let me take a few moments to discuss some of the holiday plants.

The poinsettia is the ultimate Christmas plant. The brilliantly colored leaves make a stunning display. Poinsettias do not like to be kept cool and they definitely don’t like to be in a drafty area. Poinsettias do their best when they are kept at a temperature of mid 60’s to low 70’s. They can tolerate cooler temperatures at night but we always keep the store at 67 degrees to keep the poinsettias happy. Poinsettias do need bright light to continue to flourish in your home. If you hold your hand about 6 inches above the plant and then pass your hand over the top of the plant and it creates a shadow from your hand, the plant is getting the light it needs. Poinsettias don’t like the soil to be kept soaking wet. If you have a foil wrap around the pot, keep in mind that the foil will hold water. If you over water the soil and the foil fills with water, the roots of your poinsettia can rot from the water that accumulates in the foil wrap. It is best to remove the foil wrap when you water the plant. Use lukewarm water to water the plant. Once the soil is moist, drain any water and then you can put the foil back on the pot. The plant will not need to be watered again until the soil begins to just get dry on the surface. By the way, there has been an old wives tale that poinsettias are poisonous to children. This is simply not true. There may be some issues with pets eating the leaves, but it is not an issue with children.

If you have a cool home, the Cyclamen is the plant for you. Cyclamen flowers are help above the foliage and each flower will last for a week or more. Cyclamen are champions at producing many flowers buds that keep the plant in bloom through the late winter. The secret to success with cyclamen is to fertilize them with a blossom booster type of fertilizer about once every 2 weeks. This helps to keep buds being produced and flowers to form from those buds. The soil also needs to be kept moist all the time. If you let the soil dry out, your cyclamen will collapse their leaves and flowers. Depending on how dry the soil has gotten, the plant may recover if you get the soil moist again. Cyclamen do best in a very bright window. They will tolerate some sun, but the sun can dry out the soil pretty fast.

Amaryllis is another plant that is a sign of the season. This bulb produces 1 to 4 flower stalks. The number of flower stalks you get is based on the size of the bulb. Many times you will get an Amaryllis bulb in a box with a pot and soil. You will pot up the bulb following the directions on the package. Amaryllis need warm feet to get their roots growing. Once the roots have formed, the flower stalks will appear. This could take from 6 to 8 weeks. The flowers will last longer if the plant is kept cool when the flowers begin to open.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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