How to Care for Holiday Flowers

As the holiday season approaches we are thinking about gifts for our friends and relatives and as gardeners our thoughts will naturally turn to plants. Among the most popular for gifts are poinsettias, cyclamen, and Christmas cactus. Poinsettias are particularly tricky when it is cold outside and so here is some timely advice from Mary Ann Ryan which I found on The Master Gardeners website.

As gardeners, we often receive plants or give plants for the holidays. Poinsettias, cyclamen, and Christmas cactus are among the most popular plants given. Here are some tips to growing your holiday plants and keeping them alive through the winter months.

Keep your poinsettia away from cold and drafty places. Hot spots, such as by a fireplace, near a heater, or above appliances are areas that you should avoid. Poinsettias like the sun, so lots of light is a must for the plant’s health and survival. Near a window that is not drafty is the best location for your plant. Water your plant well when the soil is dry to the touch. Be sure not to over water the plants. If there is any water in the saucer 15 minutes after watering, be sure to empty the saucer as the excess water can cause rotting of the roots.

It is best to discard the foil or plastic that is surrounding the pot. Proper drainage is necessary to the health and survival of the plant. If you want to keep the paper on for festive color, one to two weeks is the limit. Many garden centers offer a multitude of containers that you can sit you plant in that is a festive or an “every day” container.
Keep an eye out for insect infestation. Whiteflies, spider mites, mealy bugs and aphids are common insect problems. Scout the plant frequently, and if any are detected, spray with an insecticidal soap. More than one application is normally necessary to control these insects. Be sure to read the label on the bottle before applying.

See more at The Master Gardeners