Holiday plants are ubiquitous of the holiday season. Poinsettias, amaryllis, cyclamen and flowering azaleas are all popular choices for bringing colour to your home during the holidays.
The questions is, what do you do with these plants when the holidays are over? If you provide them with the right care, you can keep your plants thriving for months to come.
Amaryllis bulbs provide gorgeous flowers for the holiday season, but after they’ve flowered, the bulbs will begin sending out more leaves. Wait for the flower stalk to turn yellow and wither before removing it from the bulb. You can keep the bulb in an area with bright light and continue watering it as normal, and after the last chance of frost in the spring, you can put the plant outside in an area with lots of sun. In order to encourage more flowers next season, keep fertilizing the bulb about once every two weeks. In October, you’ll need to bring the bulb inside for its resting period, and you’ll need to remove the bulb from its pot and keep it in a cool, dark place for up to 12 weeks. After this point, you’ll start to see new growth and it can be potted again.
If you’re looking for a plant that will give you months of colour and flowers, without the hard work of an amaryllis, look no further than flowering azaleas. These plants can bloom for months with enough light — so keep your plant in a bright window and be sure to water it regularly to keep the soil moist. Azaleas also benefit from occasional misting. Be sure to remove any wilted flowers as soon as possible, and move the plant to a shady spot in your garden after the last frost in May. Fertilize the azalea twice a month, and bring it back inside in the fall before the frost hits again.
You can keep your cyclamen blooming for weeks after the holidays have passed, as long as you keep it in a north-facing window in a cool room. Keep the soil moist, but avoid getting water on the flower as it can encourage mould. While it’s possible to have a cyclamen that blooms the next season, encouraging the bloom can be difficult and time-consuming, so you might consider buying another cyclamen next year instead. If you do want to give it a shot, try withholding water from your plant as the flowers start to fade. Clean the tuber of dead flowers and soil, then store it in peat moss in a cool, dark place. In the summer, check the tuber to see if it has shown any signs of new growth. As soon as new growth appears, you can re-pot it with half of the top exposed — then continue normal watering and fertilizing twice a month. Place it outside in the warm sun, but bring it inside before the frost.
Perhaps the most common plant during the holiday season, poinsettias are usually disposed of after the holidays. Most people don’t realize that poinsettias will continue to look healthy for months with the right care. Keep watering your poinsettia evenly as long as it keeps looking healthy, and keep it in a warm, bright window but out of direct sunlight. After about two months, you’ll begin to notice that the colour changes and the leaves begin to drop. At this point, cut the whole plant back to six inches and re-pot it in a larger pot with more soil, and fertilize twice a month. Once new growth starts, continue to pinch it back so you encourage the plant to become bushy. You can keep doing this until the end of the summer, and keep the plant outdoors after the frost has passed. At the end of September, bring the plant inside and keep it in a dark room covered with a plastic bag during the night. By December, it should be back to its full colour and can be put on display again!
At Dirt Cheap in Kitchener, we have all of the soil and mulch you need to keep your holiday plants looking their best. Browse our selection of products online!