Houseplants for the holidays
Many houseplants that bloom in December have become staples of holiday decorating, including azaleas, Christmas cactus, cyclamen, kalanchoe, paperwhites, Phalaenopsis orchids, amaryllis, and, of course, poinsettias. Boston Globe gardening writer Carol Stocker breaks down the rules and tips for caring for each of these popular plants.
Hot, dry, modern houses, however, are a trial for most houseplants, including Christmas plants, which are happier in drafty old homes with un-insulated windows. If you are going to discard the plants after blooming, don’t worry about providing ideal conditions. However, if you want to keep them long term, consider setting them up in a cool, sunny area, such as a porch or sunroom, to be brought out for display when company arrives. Don’t put plants near a radiator or on a TV set or they won’t even last through Christmas. Most have received enough feeding from the professional growers to glide through the holidays without more fertilizing. Careful watering, though, will prolong flowering.