How to maintain holiday plants

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It’s popular to give and receive seasonal plants as holiday gifts, but once the celebrations are over, how do you keep those plants thriving?

Kathleen Reed, a Virginia Cooperative Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Roanoke County, notes that, although keeping them alive can be challenging, it can be done. She offers the following suggestions on how to care for holiday plants. 

Poinsettias: Poinsettias require bright light and temperatures between 65° and 70°. Keep them away from drafty windows or active vents around the house. Let the soil dry between watering times, and be sure not to overwater.

Christmas Cacti: It’s all about the nighttime to get these beauties to bloom. They’ll develop buds and bloom when given bright daytime light during the winter; long nights and short days, and nighttime temperatures between 55° and 65°. These potted cacti also prefer to be a bit tight in their pots – you should only re-pot once every three years. Water sparingly.

Amaryllis: To get them to bloom, keep them in a warm room with plenty of light. As they begin their new growth and flowering cycle, water moderately. If you’d like to keep your plant year-round, set it outside in a semi-shaded spot after the danger of frost has passed in the spring. Continue to water until September, when you will bring it in and store it in a cool, dark place until next year’s holiday season.

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