With their brightly colored bracts (modified leaves), poinsettias are the very picture of a festive Christmas plant. But there’s more to the holidays than poinsettias. Winter bulbs, tropical houseplants and cacti offer stunning, vibrantly colored blooms just as perfectly suited to Christmas decor.
As an added bonus, these plants are easy to maintain and with proper care, will bloom again next year. Poinsettias, on the other hand, are grown as hothouse flowers and can be challenging to keep alive after the holidays.
Amaryllis. These flowers are breathtaking, with multiple trumpet-shaped blooms on a single stem. The colors are camera ready in bright red, pink, salmon and white. In the Garden Center, look for Apple Blossom bulbs with a blush of pink on the bloom. Another variety, Minerva features red petals with a white star center.
Amaryllis bulbs are sold in a kit with everything you need in one suitable-for-gifting box. Start by rehydrating the cocopeat planting disk, and place 2/3 of the mixture in the container, add the bulb, and finish with the remaining growing medium.
Additionally, the planted amaryllis bulb can be placed in a more decorative container or basket. Set it near a sunny window in a room with a minimum temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that when blooming, plants can be top heavy, so put some rocks in the bottom of the container.
Christmas cactus and other succulents need only bright but indirect light and occasional watering. Let the soil dry out between waterings and make sure the plant doesn’t sit in water to prevent root rot.
Christmas cactus is easily propagated. In the spring, cut off pieces two to three segments long and plant in potting soil. Keep watered until roots are established. By the fall, you will have one or more small cacti ready to bloom.
Bromeliads are a natural choice for Christmas decor. These tropical houseplants feature rosettes of sturdy leaves with either a brightly colored center or a flower stalk.
Although they like humidity, bromeliads have a reputation for handling occasional neglect with ease, making them ideal houseplants for travelers and gardening newbies. If your plant looks dry, give it a spritz from a plant mister. Place bromeliads in a room where temps stay above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants like sunlight, but be cautious of too-bright light that may damage their glossy leaves. In that case, filter light with a sheer curtain or move the container back from the window.
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