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Taking Care of Holiday Plants
by Kathy Bond-Borie
Poinsettias, African violets, cyclamen,
azaleas, holiday cacti, and kalanchoe—all are popular
holiday gifts to give and receive. But once they are
settled in their new homes, how do we keep them
healthy and thriving? Here are some tips to keep in
mind. Include the key points on a care tag with the
plants you give as gifts.
Keep soil moist, not wet. Saturate the soil with
room-temperature water in the morning so foliage can
dry before nighttime. If water drains out immediately,
the plant is rootbound and needs to be repotted with
fast-draining soilless potting mix. Water cyclamen
and African violets from the bottom by setting them in
a tray of water for a few minutes and letting the soil
soak up water.
Turn on the lights. Flowering houseplants often
do not rebloom because of insufficient light. Place
plants in a south-facing window or set them under
full-spectrum grow lights.
Gardening With Charlie
By Kathy Bond-Borie, guest columnist
Caring for blooming gifts
Provide optimum temperatures.
Indoor temperatures of 55 to 70° F are usually
adequate for most flowering houseplants,
although tropicals, such as holiday cacti and
gardenias, need cooler temperatures of 60 to
65° F to set buds.
Fertilize. Use a dilute-soluble fertilizer
according to label directions when plants are
in active growth and flowering. When plants
take a rest, stop fertilizing. Once a month,
flush the pots for a few minutes until water
drains from the holes to remove any built-up
Raise humidity. Many flowering
houseplant species are accustomed to high
year-round humidity. Run a humidifier near
the plants, or group the plants together on a
two-inch layer of pebbles in a tray of water.
The water should not touch the pots.
For more tips and garden information visit
A former floral designer and
has spent 20 years as
a garden writer/editor.
Courtesy of Family Features.