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After-Care for Holiday Plants

February 03, 2016
Some holiday plants grow year-round, while others can go out with the tinsel. Learn which ones to keep and which to toss.
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Photo: Longfield Gardens

Holiday Amaryllis

Once your holiday amaryllis blooms, keep it in a room that’s on the cool side to help the flowers last longer, and give the plant bright light and evenly moist soil. When the flowers fade, cut back the stalks to just above the bulb, and let the leaves keep growing. Water and fertilize throughout the next summer and, if you moved your amaryllis outdoors, bring it back in before frost. If it dies back completely, the bulb has probably gone dormant. Stop watering until new growth appears. 

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Photo: Costa Farms. From: Lynn Coulter.

Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus are succulents, not cacti. They need warm temperatures and bright light; after their holiday flowers fade, reduce the amount of water you give them. You can enjoy your potted Christmas cactus as a houseplant or move it outdoors in the spring, after all danger of frost has passed. Give it bright light, but not direct sun, and in some parts of the country, as the daylight hours naturally lengthen and then shorten again, new buds will form. Some gardeners may need to put their Christmas cacti into a completely dark location for 12 hours a day, for several weeks, in temperatures from about 50 to 55 degrees F., to stimulate new buds. 

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Photo: Costa Farms. From: Lynn Coulter.


If they’re kept in a cool spot (but out of drafts), poinsettias can last long past the holidays. Give your plant bright, indirect light and water when the soil starts to feel dry. As with most houseplants, avoid overwatering, and drain the saucer, so the plants’ roots won’t rot. Use a balanced fertilizer every couple of weeks to feed the poinsettia as long as it’s actively growing. Getting the plant to rebloom next year is difficult; most people compost their poinsettias and buy new ones each season. You can also keep them to enjoy as green houseplants after all the red "leaves" drop. 

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Photo: National Garden Bureau. From: Lynn Coulter.


After the holidays, cyclamens need a location with bright, indirect light and cool temperatures. They prefer high humidity, so try grouping them with other plants, or place them in a saucer filled with pebbles and a little water. (Just don't let the roots touch the water, which can cause rotting.) When the flowers finish, the plants will go dormant. Stop watering then and wait until new leaves emerge in fall before you water again. This cyclamen is 'Dixie Pink'.

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