This is the time of year I start asking myself why I thought I needed those holiday plants. Now that I’m putting away the Christmas decorations I feel half tempted to toss them out. I won’t, of course, but I’m tempted. If you, too, will be hanging on to holiday plants, here are some care suggestions. If you’re tossing yours, you can stop reading now. Or maybe you’ll decide it’s easier to keep them then you thought and give it a try.
Poinsettias will look pretty good for months as long as you keep them near a sunny window, don’t water too much and provide the plant with adequate drainage. When they start looking scraggly and dropping a lot of leaves, probably in February, cut them back to about six inches above the soil. Fertilize, with a 20-20-20- fertilizer, about every third watering. In May or June, repot if necessary using regular potting soil. When the night temperature stays above 55, it’s safe to put the plant outside in a location that gets morning sun. The intense afternoon sun will scorch the leaves.
Amaryllis are in some phase of active growth this time of year. They are blooming, finished blooming or about to bloom. These bulbs put on an amazing display and if you’ve never grown an amaryllis it’s something everyone should do at least once. But they’re like potato chips, you can’t grow just one. When these bulbs are finished blooming and the flower has faded, cut off the long, hollow flower stalk. Leave the foliage intact and treat as a houseplant. Fertilize with a bloom booster and move outside into an area that gets morning sun, when the night temperatures stay above 55.
Paper Whites are only good for one bloom cycle in our area. When they have finished blooming, throw them away or compost them. Isn’t that great? Something you don’t have to save.
Cyclamen are such a beautiful plant that they can light up an entire corner with their colorful flowers. These plants are grown from tubers. When the weather is hot, the cyclamen may lose its leaves and go slightly dormant. At this point, some people think the plant has had it and throw it out. These plants will begin growing again in about a month. Add potting soil or repot if necessary but don’t cover the tubers, which should be half out of the soil. Fertilize with a bloom booster fertilizer when new growth starts. I’ve had the same cyclamen in my kitchen window for many years. It blooms off and on all year and is an easy keeper. Cyclamen can be planted outside in partial shade during the summer when temperatures are above 55.
With adequate light, low water and good drainage any of these plants can be around to give us another show next year. In the meantime, put these plants near a bright window and enjoy the final blossoms these plants have to offer.