Caring for Holiday Plants

The holidays are quickly approaching and with them we have our classic decorative houseplants; Christmas Cactus, Cyclamen and of course, Poinsettias.  Here are some tips for keeping these plants happy and healthy over the holidays: 

Christmas Cactus – these are probably the easiest to care for out of the three, and are often passed down for generations.  They do like bright light and a little direct sunlight, although too much direct sun can burn them.  An East facing window is a perfect location for some morning direct sun and overall bright light.  Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. They do want to keep a pretty even moisture level but they also don’t want to be sitting in water which could rot the roots.  Another great benefit of the Christmas cactus is how easy it is to propagate.  Cuttings can be taken from the shoots, two joints in and put directly in potting soil.  You should wait until after it’s done blooming though as the tips of the stems have the majority of the blooms on them.  These festive plants are also non-toxic to dogs and cats!

Cyclamen- with a long lasting bloom, these can brighten up your home well into January.  Cyclamen prefer a cooler temperature between 50-65 degrees with bright but not direct sunlight.  They also prefer some humidity so try not to have them near a fireplace or heating vent.  A very warm sunny location could force them into dormancy early.  When watering try to water under the leaves and directly to the soil.  It’s best to let the soil dry out slightly, but not to the point of the plant wilting before watering.  As with the Christmas Cactus, don’t let them sit in water.  Cyclamen are toxic to dogs and cats when ingested, particularly the root tubers.

Poinsettias – a holiday classic!  Poinsettias are native to Central America and as such they prefer warm temperatures between 65-75 and do not like cold drafts.  When purchasing a Poinsettia and bringing it home, be sure it’s wrapped up in paper for protection from the cold.  Wilting leaves are a sign they’ve gotten too cold.  They’ll like a bright location in the house and they don’t like a lot of water.  Allow the soil to dry between watering and don’t let them sit in water. Leaves turning yellow or falling off is a sign of overwatering.  Poinsettias are mildly toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. 

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