Who doesn’t enjoy decorating their home with beautiful living plants for the holiday season: poinsettias, amaryllis, Christmas cactus, and so many others? They create such a warm and welcoming atmosphere… and are just loaded with Christmas cheer.
Fortunately Christmas plants are not difficult to maintain… if you know what to do. Most will remain in bloom into January, possibly even longer if you give them adequate care. However, since they’re living plants, they will indeed need some attention!
Here are a few tips on how to keep them in top shape through the holidays.
In Front of a Window During the Day
Most holiday activities take place in the evening and when you have friends and family over, you shouldn’t hesitate to place your Christmas plant in the center of things, wherever it will be most appreciated. Come morning, however, do move it to your home’s sunniest window. After all, your plant is alive and will need food… and, for plants, food comes from sunlight!
Keep Things Cool
Most holiday plants prefer cool temperatures, especially at night. Cool conditions help their flowers last much longer. Therefore if you can lower the thermostat at night to somewhere between 60 and 65?F (15-18° C), they’ll appreciate it… and it’s good for human health too!
Remove or Pierce the Pot Cover
Christmas plants are usually sold in a decorative wrapper… but this colorful pot cover has probably killed more Christmas plants than anything else.
The problem is that you can’t really tell if the plant needs watering when it’s wearing a pot cover. Ideally you’d remove it, but if not, at the very least, punch a hole in its bottom to allow any surplus water to flow out. Now place the plant in a saucer to catch the water that flows through. Otherwise, without any possibility of drainage, your plant may be constantly soaking in water and thus start to rot.
An intact pot covers also hides the fact that plant is drying out and desperately in need of water. Again, either removing it or punching a hole in the bottom and setting the plant in a saucer help solve the problem. About once a week, either water thoroughly from above until water starts drip from the bottom of the pot or fill the saucer ¾ full of water and let the plant drink its fill for 15 to 30 minutes. In both cases, empty any surplus.
Proper watering will go a loooooong way to keeping the plant alive and thriving.
Increase Ambient Humidity
Christmas plants are produced in greenhouses where the atmospheric humidity often borders 80%. Can you imagine their shock when you bring them into an average home where the ambient humidity is usually 20% or less! That’s why the use of a room humidifier is highly recommended… for both humans and plants. Strive for a relative humidity of 50%: that’s ideal for humans and good enough to keep most Christmas plants happy.
No Need to Fertilize
Back in the plant nursery, Christmas plants were boosted with fertilizers over the last few months to stimulate the best possible bloom. As a result, they won’t need fertilizer for several months, probably not before March.
With the right care, most Christmas plants can remain in bloom for at least six weeks, even up to six months in the case of poinsettias and cyclamens! And now you know exactly how to treat them to get the best results!