Connecticut Garden Journal: What To Do With Your Holiday Plants

Dec 29, 2017

With the holidays behind us, many are cleaning up after all the gift giving. Like many gifts, some are worth saving and others are better regifted. This is also true of those holiday plants. Let's look at those plants worth saving and those best composted.

Some plants require special growing conditions to flower for the holidays. These include poinsettias, azaleas, and hydrangeas. Enjoy these plants for a few more weeks or even months, then compost them once they start looking ratty.

Florist azaleas and hydrangeas are varieties not hardy in our area and the poinsettias need a special dark treatment for months in fall to turn color again in December.

Other holiday plants, such as kalanchoe and bromeliads, are difficult to get to flower again in most homes. But the foliage is attractive, so you can keep these as foliage plants year round.

The keepers are amaryllis, Christmas cactus and cyclamen. With little care you can get these to flower again next year.

Give Christmas cactus cool conditions and dark nights in fall to stimulate flower bud initiation.

Place amaryllis bulbs in a part-sun location and fertilize and water them all spring and summer. Cut back the foliage in fall and let the bulb dry out in a dark basement for six weeks. Bring it into a warm and bright room, water, and let it grow in December.

Cut back cyclamen leaves to the soil in late spring and let it dry out and go dormant for two to three months in summer. In fall, start watering and it will send up new growth.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about new vegetable varieties. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.