This is the time of year I ask myself why I wanted those holiday plants. It’s February and I’m tempted to toss them out because I don’t have room for more houseplants. I won’t, of course, because some of my favorite plants hold memories from past holidays. If you, too, are hanging onto holiday plants, here are some care suggestions that will get you into summer. If you’ve already gotten rid of your plants, read on, maybe you’ll decide it’s really easier to keep them then you thought and give it a try next year.
Poinsettias will look pretty good for months as long as they get bright light, don’t get too much water and have good drainage. When they start looking scraggly and dropping a lot of leaves, cut them back to about six inches above the soil. In the spring, re-pot if necessary, using regular potting soil. Fertilize every other time you water from spring until mid December using a complete fertilizer. When the night temperature stays above 60, it’s safe to put the plant outside in a location that gets morning sun. Be careful, the intense afternoon sun will scorch the leaves.
Amaryllis are in some phase of 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 you should do at least once. When these bulbs have finished blooming and the flower has faded, cut off the long, hollow flower stalk. Leave the foliage intact and treat the amaryllis as a houseplant. Move the plant outside into an area that gets morning sun when the night temperatures stay above 60. Fertilize with a bloom booster until mid summer.
Paper whites are only good for one bloom cycle in our area. When they have finished blooming, throw them away or compost them. Something you can get rid of without guilt!
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 most of its leaves and go slightly dormant. At this point, some might think the plant has died and will want to throw it out. These plants will begin growing again in about a month and will usually be in bloom around the holidays. Add potting soil or repot if necessary but don’t cover the tubers, which should remain half out of the soil. Fertilize with a bloom booster when new growth starts. I’ve had the same cyclamen in my kitchen window for many years and it’s one of my favorites. Cyclamen can be planted outside in partial shade during the summer when temperatures are above 60.
It’s fun to save plants from year to year and it’s easy to do. With proper light, adequate water and good drainage any of these plants can be kept and grown to put on another show next year.