Houseplants for the Holidays
The holidays are a magical time of year where we get together with family and friends to enjoy good cheer and good will to all. During this time, you may be gifted a holiday plant! Whether it’s amaryllis, cyclamen, or paperwhite narcissus, Mitchell’s Nursery & Greenhouse has tips and tricks to help you care for and maintain your houseplants for the holidays and beyond!
Amaryllis is a fragrant flower that has been found to last up to 75 years, if well taken care of. They produce a wonderfully sweet, gentle scent, and can provide some holiday cheer to your home if they are planted 4-8 weeks before the holidays. Amaryllis translates from Greek to “sparkling” which describes the pazzazz they can bring to your indoor spaces with their gorgeous and vibrant blooms. Amaryllis naturally flowers in late spring, producing flowers throughout the spring and summer. If you happen to receive a blooming amaryllis for the holidays, you can either rebloom it in the late spring or wait until October for another year of holiday fun! To send amaryllis into dormancy, once your blooms have faded, trim the flowering stalk down. Let it dry out in a cool, dark space until you’re ready for new blooms. Two months before you’d like to see flowers, trim off any old leaves and start watering to resprout your amaryllis. Place it on a sunny windowsill with a saucer underneath. Amaryllis do not like a large pot and prefer to be pot bound. Once they bloom, let your amaryllis grow for 4 to 6 weeks before sending it back into dormancy. And that’s the secret to growing everlasting amaryllis.
Cyclamen come in many different colors. They make for a vibrant and elegant addition to your home decor. Cyclamen can be a bit tricky to maintain in a home, but it can be done well with the right conditions. The key to keeping a cyclamen happy is to give it plenty of light. They like a sunny window. Cyclamen can bloom year after year, but only in the right temperatures. If your home reaches more than 68 degrees in the day and 50 degrees in the evening, your cyclamen may falter over time. A tropical plant, cyclamen do not fare well in temperatures below 40 degrees. It’s important to keep a happy medium temperature in your home in order for your cyclamen to flourish. Another factor in proper cyclamen care is watering. They’re very sensitive when it comes to watering, so you must adhere to these guidelines. Only water cyclamen when the soil dries enough for the plant to wilt slightly, but don’t leave it in this dry state long enough for it to fade. When watering, water below the leaves so the stems or leaves don’t get wet. This will keep the plant from rotting. Soak your soil well and drain any excess water. Fertilizing is important as well. Fertilize your cyclamen once every 6 weeks with water soluble fertilizer on half strength. Be careful not to add too much, as this will interfere with natural blooming.
After cyclamen bloom, they go into dormancy. The plant will appear to be dying, but it will be able to rebloom a few months later. Stop watering the plant once it goes into dormancy and place your plant in a cool, dark space once you’ve removed the dead foliage on it. Your cyclamen should be ready to rebloom around 2 months later. Simply bring it into the light, soak the soil well and repot if needed. Continue the process and enjoy your cyclamen blooms again for years to come!
Paperwhite Narcissus is a pretty holiday houseplant treasured for its bright white petals and luxuriously strong scent. They need little TLC to truly flourish indoors. Grown from a bulb, paperwhites need to be exposed to air immediately after obtaining them. You can put the bulbs in containers straight away or save them for when you’d like to enjoy them. If you’re saving them, be sure to store them at room temperature in a dark space for 4-6 weeks. Bulbs will grow to bloom 4-6 weeks after planting. To pot, simply fill a 3-4 inch deep bowl or pot without drainage holes with rocks and decorative stones. Place your bulbs into the pebbles snugly, making sure the top of the bulb stays exposed. Add water until it covers the bottom of the bulb. Water as needed. Or you can pot at the bottom of a pot. Put an inch of soil in the bottom and place the bulbs on top. Fill the pot halfway to cover the bulbs. Place in a bright, sunny spot in your home, water and watch them grow! As the bulbs sprout, add soil to the pot. After they’ve bloomed, they won’t rebloom again indoors, so it’s best to discard the blooms into compost.