Poinsettias, Christmas Cactus, Norfolk Pines…it must be Christmastime! Learn how to properly care for these varieties for beautiful blooms and happy plants all holiday season.
CARING FOR POINSETTIAS
WATER: Poinsettias like to be kept evenly moist, but do not like to sit in water. Make sure to remove any foil wrapping and dump out saucers, so water is able to run out of the bottom of the pot and drain completely after watering.
FERTILIZER: When blooming, poinsettias do not need fertilizer. If you plan to keep them longer and after the bloom cycle, you will need to apply fertilizer.
LIGHT: Poinsettias prefer bright filtered light, so avoid placing them in direct sunlight. A south-facing windowsill is best.
ENVIRONMENT: Keep your poinsettias away from heating vents, as well as cold drafts, such as near a doorway. The prefer temperatures of about 68 degrees F during the day, and cooler nights.
CARING FOR CHRISTMAS CACTUS
WATER: Keep the soil moist, but not soggy while the plant is growing. After flowering, water sparingly until new growth begins in spring.
FERTILIZER: Feed every 2 weeks with a balanced fertilizer, diluted by half. After the blooms have dropped, stop fertilizing for a month.
LIGHT: Place in a bright area with indirect light, but not in direct sunlight to avoid leaf burn. If you want to grow indoors in a south or west window, provide shade with curtains. No diffusion of light is needed if placed on in a north or east window.
ENVIRONMENT: Christmas cactus prefer warm temperatures, but eventing temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees F can initial flower bud formation. Keep away from drafts or heat vents.
CARING FOR NORFOLK PINE
WATER: Norfolk Pines enjoy an evenly moist environment. The soil should be kept moist, but well drained. Make sure to water regularly with lukewarm water and take care not to overwater. Limp branches are a common sign of excessive watering.
FERTILIZER: Apply a balanced fertilizer every two week during the growing period. In summer, especially if outdoors, feed with an acid fertilizer such as rhododendron food as the high nitrogen concentration stimulates better foliage growth.
LIGHT: Place in an area that receives ample light, but never direct sunlight. As a houseplant, Norfolk Pines do very well in covered patios, sunrooms and other areas with a steadily cool temperature full of light to partial shade with good ventilation.