Caring for Christmas Flowering Houseplants

 

As the days get shorter, the landscape turns brown. It is a welcoming sight to see colourful plants in indoor spaces. It can be challenging to grow plants in houses as central heating and cold drafts can damage plants. Here are some tips to keeping various Christmas plants looking their best through the holiday season.

AMARYLLIS

These popular easy to grow bulbs produce large lily-like flowers in various shades of red, orange, pink, white, and combinations thereof. Bulbs will take 7-10 weeks to flower from the time of planting.

  • Choose a pot that has a 15-20cm diameter with drainage.
  • Fill the pot one third full with good quality potting soil.
  • Place the bulb into the pot spreading the roots out gently.
  • Fill the pot the rest of the way with soil, leaving the neck of the bulb exposed.
  • Water thoroughly once, then sparingly until the bulb starts to grow.
  • Place in a bright, warm area
  • Flower stalks should push up within a few weeks, leaves may appear at the same time or later.
  • Rotate pot regularly to encourage even growth.
  • Once flowering starts move to a cooler spot away from direct sunlight, that way flowers will last longer.

AZALEA

These floriferous plants prefer a cool humid location. A small spreading shrub with dark green leaves and clusters of flowers at the tips of the branches. Produces masses of flowers for a 4-6 week period.

  • Prefers a cool location, away from hot, direct sunlight
  • Keep soil moist; if plants are allowed to dry out buds, flowers and leaves will drop
  • Place container on a pebble tray to increase humidity
  • Every 2 weeks with a flowering plant fertilizer when in bloom

CHRISTMAS CACTUS

These are beautiful succulent plants with arching segmented stems. Brightly coloured flowers are produced at the tips of the stems usually around Christmas.

  • Prefers bright indirect sunlight
  • Keep cool, on the dry side until buds form
  • Keep plant moist, not wet, once in bloom
  • Fertilize during budding and blooming with a flowering plant fertilizer
  • Let plants rest after flowering
  • Water less but never let plants dry out completely after they have flowering has finished

CYCLAMEN

An ideal choice for houses that are kept at cool temperature or on windowsills. Attractive heart-shaped leaves with silver marbling and colourful inverted flowers. Plants will bloom for several months.

  • Prefers a bright indirect light, away from direct sun and any heat sources. A bright east or west window with daytime temperatures around 18°C and evening temperatures as low as 5-10°C
  • Keep soil evenly moist, water from the bottom.
  • Fertilize every 2-3 weeks with a flowering plant fertilizer

KALANCHOE

This easy care succulent has clusters of long-lasting flowers in a variety of colours.

  • Bright direct sunlight
  • Allow soil surface to dry between watering
  • Once blooming has finished, trim back the flower stalks and keep in a sunny spot. Plants may start blooming again in 6-8 weeks.

POINSETTIA

Showy, colourful holiday plants. They require a little bit of care to keep them looking their best.

  • Prefers warm well-lit area away from cold drafts and excessive heat. Indirect, natural light is the best, away from direct sunlight which can fade the bract colour.
  • Extremely sensitive temperature fluctuations—plants can drop leaves when exposed to cold or heat
  • Water plants thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to a depth of 1 inch. Ensure plants don’t sit in water, if pot is wrapped with a sleeve remove the sleeve prior to watering. Over-watering can result in wilting and leaf drop.

Keep holiday plants looking their best this year!