How to Care for Your Holiday Plants and Flowers
You’ve got enough think about this holiday season, the last thing you want to do is worry about your poinsettia plant or mini evergreen dying. To help you pull off a beautiful space full of greenery and arrangements, garden lifestyle expert Carmen Johnston is sharing her best tips for caring for common Christmas plants and flowers. Whether you’re trying to get your wreath to last the whole season or gifting amaryllis bulbs to a friend, we’ve got you covered.
The quintessential Christmas flower may be abundant during the holidays, but these plants do not like cold temperatures—Johnston warns against exposing them to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. “When watering, be sure to remove the pot cover underneath, or anything that prevents draining,” she says. “Poinsettias do not like wet feet—meaning do not let them sit in water. They do drink a lot of water, though, and you may need to water them daily. Give them plenty of sunlight as they are a tropical plant and grown in the full sun—this will extend the bloom time.” Check the soil every day for dryness and display on a windowsill (if it's not too chilly outside) or other well-lit area.
Think wreaths, garlands, mistletoe, and other greens that you’d display on your mantel or tabletop this time of year. “Before I make wreaths and garlands, I soak them in buckets of water overnight,” Johnston says. “This helps prevent them from getting crispy and gives you at least another week to enjoy.” When choosing greenery, select the freshest bunch, lightly mist the greens every couple of days, and keep them out of direct sunlight and heat.
These red blooms make a festive addition to any holiday arrangement—and they make a great hostess gift idea, too. Plus, they’ll live for years with proper care. Johnston says that amaryllis bulbs prefer a pot rather than being planted in the ground. “Never let the bulb freeze,” she says. “If you are planting an amaryllis bulb, be sure to use good potting soil and allow the top third of the bulb to sit above the soil. Water no more than every three days or, sometimes, once a week.” You don’t need to keep them out in the sun, and once the blooms begin to fade, simply cut off the flower part so it can re-bloom.
Maybe you like to display these on your front porch or mantel—or even in place of a normal Christmas tree. Whatever the case, it’s fairly easy to keep these alive through the holidays. “They tend to drink a lot of water,” Johnston says. “Place a metal galvanized water pan under the pot (if it has drainage holes) and decorate with moss. Keep the pan filled with water and this will ensure a healthy-looking tree all season long.” Don’t let the soil get too dry—check on it regularly.
Like amaryllis, potted paperwhites make for an elegant holiday arrangement, especially for those who prefer a wintry white decor palette. “Keep these bulbs evenly moist and be sure not to overwater, which may cause the bulb to rot,” Johnston says. “Paperwhites tend to get leggy and fall over, so give them a shot of alcohol. Add a capful of alcohol to a quart of water.” It can be any kind of liquor, from vodka to tequila. Keep them out of direct sunlight and in an environment that’s between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.