Holiday Plant Care in the New Year

December 31, 2015 / Blooms Today

Whether some kind friend or relative blessed you with a popular winter plant or you purchased one to brighten your interior and bring a festive, floral touch to your home or office, you are now charged with caring for the plant going forward. The most popular holiday plants are:





  • poinsettia
  • Christmas cactus
  • amaryllis
  • calla lily
  • moth orchid

Not much heralds the Christmas season as much as the ubiquitous poinsettia, found small and solo in the kitchen, big and splashy at the office, and clustered in groups of reds, pinks and creams in churches and at special events everywhere. It’s almost a rite of passage to have one flanking your hearth or gracing your table during the holidays. And while many folks enjoy, then dispose of, this brilliant plant, once used by the Aztecs to treat a fever, others rise to the challenge of keeping it for the next season. If so, here’s the quick guide:

  • amaryllislet it grow until May, then cut way down
  • water lightly and re-cut halfway down every four inches of growth
  • feed monthly with general purpose fertilizer
  • bring plant inside in September and stop cutting shoots
  • keep in total darkness, 14 hours per day for 4-6 weeks
  • water sparingly
  • bring out when buds form in early December
  • place in indirect or filtered light
  • room temps 65-70 are ideal, 60 at night.

Probably the second most popular holiday plant is the Christmas cactus, known for incredibly beautiful blossoms in shades of red, purple and pink. These tropical plants are a little easier to keep year-round than poinsettias and can surprise you by blooming at odd times and equally surprise you by occasionally not blooming on your holiday schedule. Either way, they are pretty and interesting.

  • sandy soil is best
  • water when soil is completely dry
  • buds drop off naturally
  • like humidity
  • enjoy temps above 70 in the day and under 65 at night
  • fertilize in the spring
  • prune in early April
  • can live outside in summer under shade
  • keep soil extra dry in fall to encourage blooming
  • 4-6 hours indirect light is best in winter

amaryllisMany of the other common holiday plants have their own care regimens you can find on a ticket which comes with the plant or online. Talk to the floral professionals at to determine the best holiday plant gift for the person you have in mind. Calla lilies are adored for their trumpet-like flowers and are especially popular in winter wedding bouquets. Hailing from southern Africa, the beautiful plant is not really a lily and grows like a weed in its native habitat. They are probably most happy in warmer climates in the U.S. where it never or very rarely freezes.

The moth orchid adds a real touch of style to any home or office and is popular for its unusual flowers. They consume a little extra time to care for, yet reward the diligent owner. Orchids are especially sensitive to being either over or under-watered, and they don’t like water on or between their leaves. Household potting soil is not for orchids; there is a special bark mix which works best. Read up on orchid care if you plan to get one or give one so you understand effort is involved.

Amaryllis flowers are gorgeous any time of year with blossoms which maybe be in shades of corals and pinks or bicolor where the edge of each petal is a different color from the flower. They are the perfect pick-me-up in a home, office or waiting room in winter. Like the others, these flowers have their own special requirements for care once the flowers are gone, and they can be forced to bloom again with a little time and attention. Caring for special holiday plants may give purpose and learning experiences to many people on your gift list. can help every step to your decision on which plant and assist with care questions afterward. Happy New Year!


By Joanne M. Anderson /

Photo Credit:

Photographer andreas N offered the photograph of Poinsettia under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer Jenő Szabó offered the photograph of Christmas Cactus under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer Jenő Szabó offered the photograph of Christmas Cactus under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer Tsai Sir offered the photograph of Calla Lilly under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay


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