From the Desk of Ed Hume: Flowering Potted Plants

December 25, 2009 at 1:42 AM Leave a comment

Good morning all and MERRY CHRISTMAS! I’ll keep this short as I’m sure you’re all busy with your family and loved ones today.  Hope you have a great holiday with the people you love the most!

Want to add a bright spot of color to your home during the holidays?  There are some really attractive and colorful seasonal flowering plants that are great for adding that special touch to your indoor holiday decorating.

Of course, the most popular one is the beautiful Christmas Poinsettia.  The red, white, and pink varieties are the most common, but specialty florists, nurseries, and garden centers often feature some of the more unusual dual-color pink and white, or speckled, varieties.

The poinsettia’s colorful leaves are not the flowers, but instead they are leaf brackets.  The actual flowers are the cluster of small buds in the very center of attractive leaves.  So if you want a plant that should remain in bloom the longest, select one which has the actual flowers in tight bud or barely open.

In recent years, I have noticed the quality of plants has really varied.  For example, if the plant’s leaves are hanging downward or are a bit off-color, it’s maybe a good idea to by-pass that one or maybe even  that whole group. I always look for three things: 1) good leaf bract color, 2) dark green leaves and 3) leaves that stand outward and look natural.

Once you get the plant home, it will do best in a warm 65 to 72 degree room.  Place it in a spot where you can best enjoy its beauty.  After the holidays, you can worry more about light exposure and other placement considerations.

I have found that poinsettia blossoms and the plant in general will do a lot better if you simply place a glass or decorative vase of water near the plant.  The reason is that as the water evaporates, it helps provide humidity for the plant.  But keep in mind this has nothing to do with watering; you will still need to water them as needed.

Different growers use varying soil mixes, so you may have to check the plant’s watering needs every day at first to determine how frequently your plant needs to be watered.  Of course, other factors that determine watering frequency include where the plant is placed in the room, temperatures, and light exposure.  I should note that these factors all apply to all types of indoor holiday flowering plants, not just poinsettias.

Another of the really popular holiday plants is the Christmas Cactus.  It comes in white, pink, and red flowering varieties.  These plants like it a bit cooler, say around 55 to 65 degrees ideally.  Like the poinsettias, though, keep them away from heating ducts.

If you have a Christmas cactus that doesn’t bloom at Christmas, chances are it isn’t a Christmas cactus. It’s probably a Thanksgiving or an Easter cactus, as they’re all in the same family.

I’ve also noticed a lot of Azaleas and Mums (Chrysanthemums) being sold for seasonal potted plants.  Also, potted plants of Cyclamen, Kalanchoe, and miniature Roses in full bloom are being featured during this holiday season.I think these are great plants too, because you can plant many of them outdoors once the weather warms-up and enjoy them for many years to come.

Any of these flowering potted plants will add a bright spot of color indoors during the holidays.

Happy Holidays!

-Ed

PS Expect our regular schedule to return next week.  Sorry for the delay!

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Podcast Mondays: Flowering Potted Plants Clip of the Week: Providing Humidity for Houseplants

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