Posted: December 2, 2015
- You may have already procured the best black Friday deals, decorated the inside and outside your home, and for the most ambitious, put up your tree. Did you purchase live plants too? If so, holiday plants, with proper care, can bring pleasure for weeks or even months after the holiday season ends.
- The newer poinsettia varieties retain their leaves and bracts remarkably well and may stay in good shape for several months. Keep a uniform room temperature for poinsettias between 60 and 68 degrees. Put your plant near a bright window, out of direct sunlight, and remove it if there is danger of chilling.
- Try to maintain the soil moisture at moderate and uniform levels. Never let the pot stand in water for any extended period of time. If the plant came wrapped in foil or other water-tight material, be sure to punch holes in the bottom or remove the wrap entirely, so water won’t be trapped inside.
- While the poinsettia remains the choice of holiday plants, the Christmas cactus is popular too. Most blooming plants will keep better in cooler temperatures and in a well-lit location away from sources of hot air. Watering seems to be the source of most problems with the Christmas cactus. Water thoroughly when the top half of the soil in the pot feels dry to the touch. Discard the excess; do not water again until the top half becomes dry.
- Well-drained soil is a must for Christmas cactus. Use a commercially packaged potting mix for succulent plants. Pruning your Christmas cactus after blooming will encourage the plant to branch out. Remove a few sections of each stem by pinching them off knife.
For more information on holiday plant care, contact the Penn State Master Gardeners in Lackawanna County, and request the free publications on poinsettias and Christmas cactus we can be reached at 570 963-6842 or email us at LackawannaMG@psu.edu.