They are everywhere!! Plants that are ready to brighten up your home for the holidays when friends and family are gathering. You want your place to look nice and most of the garden centers and box stores have just the plant you are looking for.
Here are a few hints and tips for the care and feeding of some of the plants you might want to gift or purchase to share during this holiday season.
Norfolk Island Pine Trees
We know this as the Norfolk Island Pine, truly an outdoor tree, but often purchased and gifted every holiday season. A few key items to consider – they love a cooler room, about 60-65 degrees. Not by the fireplace and not below 50 degrees. No drafts, never full sun and by all means keep the air around them moist. Either mist the tree on a regular schedule (daily) with cool water or place the tree in a pebble filled saucer that has water in it. If you add lights to the Norfolk Island Pine, make sure they do not get too hot. If you repot every three to four years, you should have a great tree for your sunroom and many Christmases to come. Also don’t forget to regularly turn the tree so that it can grow a sturdy straight trunk.
Live Christmas Trees
So you want to promote being environmentally conscious and purchase a live tree to plant – for memories sake. Well, you might want to dig a hole NOW, while the ground is not frozen and fill it with mulch, bags of leaves or something to keep this hole available for after the holidays. You want to keep the tree outdoors for as long as possible in a shady spot with plenty of moisture, before bringing it inside. Any balled and burlapped tree will be heavy, especially with a damp root ball. According to The National Christmas Tree Council, Live trees need to be carefully adapted to indoor temps as well as the re-entry back to its natural seasonal element. An unheated garage is perfect for this. Holiday lights can be quite drying to evergreens, so consider using LED lights. Try to not keep the tree indoors for more than 7 days, gently acclimate it back outdoors by keeping it in the garage for a few days then planting as soon as possible. Remember to stake and mulch your tree to prevent whipping from winter winds and heaving due to winter freezing and thawing. Check with your local Extension Office or a reputable Garden Center for more information. I support my local resource Ecoasis Garden Center . They have some additional information on their website on live and cut Christmas trees.
You have to have at least one right??? This humongous bulb that you watch evolve into this statuesque beauty is easy…if you follow a few key instructions. According to Longfield Gardens, this is one of the easiest bulbs to grow. Although a tropical plant, with a well-draining pot and a cool, sunny location you can grow this with ease. If you plant your bulb in the soil, leave the top 1/3 of the bulb exposed. If you choose to plant it in small rocks, the Amaryllis bulb should gently grace the water that covers the rocks. You can use additional decorative rocks to aid in balancing or centering your bulb in the perfect container. Stay on top of keeping the water at the optimum level, being careful not to let the bulb sit in the water.
Once the bulb pokes its head from the onion like exterior, increase the water, turn the pot for sturdy stems and wait. When the flower buds rise up and begin to open, relocate your Amaryllis to more indirect light and watch the blooming party evolve. For more information about after party care for these amazing beauties, visit Longfield Gardens.
Pretty, aren’t they??? Another plant that loves its indoor surroundings cool with adequate moisture. Easier said than done. If it is too hot – over 68 degrees – your Cyclamen might show signs of distress. Yellowing leaves and fading flowers are a sure sign that the indoor air might be a tad hot – even for this tropical. Watering before the leaves and blooms droop from thirst is advisable. Watering from below, being cautious of any water touching any parts of the plant. Also, allow all of the water to drain after the soil is thoroughly soaked. Cyclamen is one of those plants that will rot from over watering or from sitting in water. A great plant that needs a little special care, but after this awesome bloom, Cyclamen retreats to a dormant state only to reenergize and starts all over again.
What would the holidays be without the scent of Paperwhites wafting through the air? Well, these fragrant beauties offer a lot for such a simple growing existence. Paperwhites are social bulbs and love small gatherings. A moderate to small-sized pot filled with a slight layer of coarse potting soil, cute pebbles or decorative rocks is all that is needed to start. Allow the bulbs to slightly sit – no more than a third of the bulb should be immersed in the planting medium, add water so that the base of the bulbs can sip and watch the Paperwhites as they evolve into a fragrant mass of wonderfulness. Brent and Becky’s Bulbs have so many new cultivars – even some that are not white! Imagine that??? One final tip, you will need to stake Paperwhites if grown indoors. They tend to lean, so perhaps adding your staking choice when planting the bulbs might be a great idea. I love to start my Paperwhite’s right at Christmas. This way, they are in bloom right about the time it is snowing here in Zone 6 – a mid winter’s breath of Spring.
There are so many other options that I found at one of my local garden center’s, Cimonelli’s Ecoasis Garden Center. Miniature evergreens with cute little bows…
To the holiday staple Christmas Cactus….
and a Holiday Lavender….this definitely speaks to nesting and calm for the holidays.As you can see, the options are endless and well beyond Poinsettia’s. Try something new this year, support your local resources and choose healthy plant material. Happy Holidays!!!!by