Keep the Holiday Spirit Growing into the New Year

Emmaline Harvey
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After the presents have been opened and the ham has been eaten, it’s tempting to feel a little post-holiday gloom. Why not let your holiday plants help keep your home merry and bright long into the new year? Here’s how.

Caring for your favorite holiday plants such as poinsettias and amaryllis is fairly easy during the winter. Water enough to keep the soil moist, and keep the plants in indirect light and away from heat sources such as vents.

Once your paperwhites have finished flowering, they’re unlikely to bloom again, so most gardeners compost the bulbs after the blooms have faded. 

Poinsettias will stay colorful for a long time in your home if you continue to monitor their water and light intake. You can move their pots outdoors when temperatures warm up, but getting the plants to display beautiful colors again is incredibly difficult, so you may want to compost them after a while.

Red amaryllis flowers.

If you’re an adventurous gardener who likes a challenge, it’s possible to nurse amaryllis back to life in your yard so you can enjoy them annually.

Once the leaves have fallen, store your potted amaryllis in a cool, non-freezing area of your house. Come springtime, once temperatures are certain to stay warmer than 50 degrees, move the pots to your yard or porch in a shady area.

In early September, remove the bulbs and roots from the pots and clean them of all soil. Store the bulbs in a pitch black, cool area of your home and allow the roots to shrivel away so you’re left with just bulbs.

The following spring, plant them in another pot and display them in an area of your yard with indirect light to see them bloom to life every year with beautiful color. 

Compared to other popular holiday plants, Christmas cacti are very low maintenance. These succulents will bloom at Thanksgiving and won’t need water again for several weeks.

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Once temperatures outside are warmer than 50 degrees, you can keep them outside in indirect light, but try to keep them in their original containers. Christmas cacti don’t like being transplanted.

Check the soil in mid-December and keep it moist but not soggy. Store cacti in a cool room after they’ve finished blooming and water very sparingly.

In the spring, make a cutting two to three segments long from one of the plant’s stems. Plant that cutting in soil and keep watered through the spring and summer, then transfer into a bigger pot once roots have taken hold.

When you see blooms forming in the fall, bring the cactus inside to watch them open. By winter you’ll have a beautiful new Christmas cactus to give as a gift!

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Of course, all good things must come to an end. When your Christmas tree has seen its final days, add it to a local compost pile, or drop it off at the Home Depot to be recycled into mulch. (Learn more about other tree disposal options.)

If you chose to deck the halls with a living tree this year – root ball and all – make every effort to return it outdoors as quickly as possible. Follow these instructions for more details.

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