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Sunday, January 29, 2023

How to care for poinsettias – 4 beautiful festive potted flowers

The poinsettia is the staple potted plant of the festive season, but it’s not the only one. Here are three more beautiful plants to complete your Christmas decor.

As well as Christmas decorations, festive potted flowers can add a lot to the Christmas atmosphere in your home or office. The following four plants are perfect for this purpose.

How to care for poinsettias - 4 beautiful festive potted flowers
Photo: Freepik.com

Poinsettias

Native to Central America, poinsettias are the ‘must-have’ houseplant of the season. The basic version comes in the classic Christmas colors of green and red, but pink, yellow and white versions are also available. The flower itself is no different in shape from the leaves, but the contrast between the different colors of the underside and the petals makes this plant truly spectacular.

Poinsettia does best around 18-22 degrees, that is, at room temperature. It is a light-loving plant, so it should be placed in the bright spot of the room. The soil should be kept moist at all times, but the plant will not tolerate stagnant water.

Towards the end of winter, the colorful petals will start to dry out and fall off, but this is perfectly normal. At this time, the plant should be cut back to about half its height and then left in a cooler place until spring, with less frequent but regular watering. You can then move it outdoors in early summer and back indoors in the autumn. If you would like your poinsettia to bloom again next year, place it for at least 12 hours a day in a dark spot from September.

How to care for poinsettias - 4 beautiful festive potted flowers
Photo: 123rf.com

Cyclamen

Cyclamen is a beautiful old-fashioned winter plant. It’s best suited to bright but cool rooms, where it will bloom for the longest time, even from autumn to spring, producing a profusion of flowers.

When watering, care must be taken to avoid water getting on the bulbs and buds, so it is best to water the plant from below, by placing the pot into a bowl. Cyclamen also prefers misting and water spray. Remove the wilted flowers with a twisting motion, together with the stem, directly from the bulb.

Cyclamen need to rest in summer, so it is the best if you place them into a shady spot in the garden or on the balcony.

How to care for poinsettias - 4 beautiful festive potted flowers
Photo: Freepik.com

Christmas cactus

The Christmas cactus is a native plant of the tropics, which is why it flowers around Christmas. The most common varieties are pink and red-flowered, but white-flowered varieties are becoming increasingly popular.

Christmas cactus needs moderate light, and it is not cold-tolerant – it will die at temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius, so it can only be kept as a houseplant during the winter months.

It requires regular but moderate watering and appreciates misting. Add a high potassium nutrient solution to the water once or twice a month. The weak point of Christmas cactus is that it cannot tolerate being moved around, and it may even drop its buds and flowers once they have developed.

For a few weeks after flowering, it is advisable to leave the Christmas cactus in a room at around 14-15 degrees Celsius, with reduced watering and without nutrient solution.

How to care for poinsettias - 4 beautiful festive potted flowers
Photo: 123rf.com

Amaryllis

With its sumptuous, elegant blooms, amaryllis is one of the most beloved potted flowers of the festive season. At this time of year, you can buy them mainly as bulbs; if you want them to bloom by Christmas, get one with a maximum 4-5 cm shoot about 3 weeks before the holidays.

Amaryllis grows best in a bright place at 18-20 degrees, for example in a window without draughts. Water once a week.

You can remove the flower after it withers. The leaves will also gradually wither, but with watering the plant will soon grow new leaves. During the summer months you can move the amaryllis outdoors in a pot or even plant it in the garden.

If you want to have it back to flower by next Christmas, bring it indoors in mid-August, gradually stop watering and let the leaves dry out. Then take the bulb out of the soil and leave it in a dry, dark and cool place for at least 8 weeks. Before the next flowering date, plant the bulb in fresh potting soil, place it in a bright place without direct sun and start watering it again.

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