Christmas plants

The Christmas decorations are being put away and our homes seem just a bit bare since Christmas came and went. We have our houseplants and in particular, those Christmas plants such as poinsettias, Christmas cactus, amaryllis plants and Norfolk pine, and these plants can use a little extra TLC this winter season.

The general point to note is to make sure your home has enough humidity in it and the plants are watered properly. These are very two significant problems that our holiday plants seem to have after our holiday season is over. The other is asking if our plants have enough light. Generally speaking most houseplants can do with little to no fertilization throughout the winter months. It will depend on which houseplants, holiday or not, that you are talking about.

My house tends to be dry as in humidity and so I will run on the colder days, a humidifier in my living room to not only help the plants out in the house, the people too. I have limited south exposure to light so I will often move my houseplants onto the dining room table, removing them only when we have a meal. This seems to help quite a bit.

There are a few gardeners out there who have managed to keep their poinsettias for years. They are really, really beautiful when they are flowering and then when they only have the colorful leaves. My Christmas cactus plants have been long done with flowering but sometimes, if I make an extra effort, right about mid-March, I can see a few more flowers before they quit until next spring. They have to be in low light which makes them excellent houseplants in my opinion and if I weakly fertilize them once a week, I can bring them back into bloom for a couple of weeks. They don’t have the show that they did at Christmas time but it is still nice to see a few flowers before my spring blooming bulbs start to take off.

This winter my orchids that I have had for a few years are set to bloom. I have not been lucky enough to get them to do this but I think I might know what the secret is — at least this time around. I placed them outside in a very shady garden this summer and took them out of their pots so that if we received significant rain, they would not rot from too much water sitting in their pots. I have also found a wonderful orchid fertilizer that I use just a tiny amount each week. The orchid fertilizer can be found here locally, but you have to look for it! I am waiting for the buds to open with great anticipation since, generally speaking, orchids and I have not always seen eye to eye. The one thing that I enjoy the most about orchids is that once they do flower, the flower remains for a very long time which means you have a lot of time to enjoy them.

For further tips on making sure you have enough light requirements in your home for your houseplants, please see the following fact sheet from the U of M at, umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/houseplants/light-requirements/

For more information on gardening, you can reach me at s.dejaeghere@me.com

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