Three Holiday Plants to Brighten Your Home
With winter approaching, plants (except Christmas trees, of course) are usually not the first thing that come to mind. But there are many indoor plants you can enjoy both during the holidays and all year round. Many of these plants are considered winter-themed because they flower in winter. Here are three houseplants that are sure to put you and your home in the holiday spirit.
Poinsettia plants are one of the most well-known Christmas plants because of their colourful bracts. Bracts are the specialized leaves that surround the flowers of the poinsettia plant to attract insects. They traditionally come in red but also come in many other colours such as pink, white, green, orange, and multi-coloured. Native to Mexico, poinsettias bloom when the days become shorter and the nights get longer, making them a great indoor winter plant. Poinsettias are also perennials and will rebloom year after year in winter, if cared for properly.
- Poinsettias prefer several hours of bright daylight and are best placed in a south, east, or west facing window or under a grow light.
- Poinsettias grow best at room temperature (20°C). Avoid placing in places that experience large temperature fluctuations.
- Water when the soil feels dry to a light touch or if the pot feels light. Never let your poinsettia sit in excess water or allow them to get so dry they wilt.
- When you see new growth on your poinsettia, feed with an all purpose plant food such as Jocelyn’s Soil Booster Worm Manure.
- To improve drainage, add a top layer of Jocelyn’s Soil Booster Activated and Inoculated Biochar to your poinsettia’s pot.
- Wear gloves and wash your hands when handling your poinsettia as their sticky white sap may cause a rash.
Amaryllis plants are perennial bulb plants native to Africa that are a popular Christmas gift. They come in many different colours such as red, white, pink, salmon, apricot, rose, burgundy or multi-coloured with red and white being the most popular. Amaryllis can be bought as a bulb or a fully grown plant.
- Plant your bulbs in potting soil mixed with well-draining material such as Activated & Inoculated Biochar to promote aeration and drainage. Make sure to choose a pot that is 2-3 cm larger than the widest part of the bulb and twice as tall so the roots have space to grow. The top of the bulb should sit above the edge of the container.
- Keep in direct sunlight when blooming and out of direct sunlight when buds start to open.
- Water when the top 5 cm of soil feels dry and allow the pot to drain thoroughly.
- Feed your amaryllis Worm Manure when new growth is visible to promote blooming.
- To keep your amaryllis blooming again and again, cut off faded flowers, remove the flower stalk once it is yellow, and move it into direct sunlight to promote blooming.
The Christmas cactus is a hanging succulent plant that flowers magenta and white flowers close to the end of December. Their distinct flattened leaf segments rounded with a few notches on the end help to distinguish them from similar species such as Thanksgiving and Easter cacti. Like the other plants on this list, the Christmas cactus will bloom year after year so long as it is properly cared for.
- Christmas cacti require 4-6 hours of diffused light/partial shade during winter bloom months.
- Christmas cacti prefer temperatures between 21-26°C during peak growth months (April to September). They need night time temperatures to drop to 13-18°C and 13h of darkness to flower. Avoid placing your Christmas cactus in areas with high temperature fluctuations.
- Christmas cacti need humid conditions. This can be achieved by misting the plant or placing a wet pebble tray beneath the pot.
- Like other succulents, water only when soil is almost completely dry. Adding a top layer of Jocelyn's Soil Booster Activated & Inoculated Biochar to your Christmas cactus’ pot can improve drainage and add nutrients.
- Apply Worm Manure monthly during spring and summer to encourage new growth.