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Colorful Holiday Plants

and How to Care for Them

by Paul “Dr. Q” Noe

Staff Horticulturist/Certified Horticulture Advisor, Star Nursery

The holiday season is here already and it’s time to start decorating our homes for the festive occasions ahead. Poinsettias are the most traditional of

the colorful plants that will decorate most homes. These are popular because of their large, colorful flowers which are actually leaves, called bracts, and the flower is only the small yellow growth in the middle of the colorful bracts. For years poinsettias have had the bad reputation of being poisonous. They certainly are not meant to be eaten by humans or pets and ingesting poinsettias would probably cause some stomach upset, as would eating most any houseplant. They are a member of the euphorbia family that have a milky white sap that can cause an itchy rash, or other problems, for people with sensitive skin or have allergies to other plants or flowers. However, poinsettias have undergone extensive testing and there is no evidence that they are toxic or unsafe to have in the house.

By following a few basic rules, you can keep these beautiful plants looking great from now through the end of the year. You should keep the soil moist. Don’t let them dry out completely, but don’t let them stay soggy wet either. Water thoroughly and discard all the drainage – they don’t like to stand in water. The kitchen sink is a good place to do your watering, and when you do, remove the foil wrap from your pots and let the water completely drain out of the pot before replacing the foil. Water again when the soil surface feels dry to the touch. Select a place to put them that has bright, indirect, natural light. The location should be free from hot or cold drafts, like vents, fans, or fireplaces. Don’t display a poinsettia near an entrance door since you’ll create a draft every time it’s opened and closed. Maintain a temperature of 65-75 degrees during the day and no lower than 60 degrees at night. It’s best to keep your poinsettias out of the reach of small children and pets because the plant is fragile and breaks very easily.

Other colorful plants for the holidays include Christmas cactus, which can be an indoor plant all year long and bloom several times a year. These bright flowering Zygocactus are most commonly seen in colors of red, pink, orange, white, or lavender and can be used as a patio plant during the warmer season. Cyclamen can be used indoors or as an outdoor shade plant for winter color. Chrysanthemums are also colorful, decorative plants that are a perennial and can be planted in the yard after the holiday season. They will bloom during the fall and again in the spring.

All of these plants take about the same care as an indoor plant and make great holiday gifts, as well as colorful decorations for your own home.

For more information: Star Nursery

(702) 771-7827 | |

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