The Santa Blog


What's the point? (poinsettia, that is)

December 21st, 2009 | Filed under: news | Posted by Elf Matt

How do you care for Holiday Botanicals?

So much of Christmas decorating involves natural greenery and holiday flowers. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, it is easy to incorporate these elements into your decor. All it takes to keep live and cut botanicals fresh during the holidays is tender, loving care.It is a myth that poinsettias are poisonous, but they do have a bitter taste.

To care for poinsettias, keep the soil moist, not wet. After the holidays, transfer the plant into a larger pot, trim the branches back once the bracts or leaves fade, and feed it every three weeks with fertilizer. As the weather warms to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, place the plant outdoors and continue trimming its branches. In October, expose the plant to 14 hours of darkness daily to force the leaves to color.

Holiday greenery such as holly, ivy, and evergreen branches will remain beautiful longer by adding a commercial floral preservative to the water. Spritz arrangements with water daily and monitor their temperature. The cooler the room, the longer the greenery stays fresh. Leaves dipped in household floor wax can last up to six weeks. This also works for decorative fruit such as grapes and pears. It gives them a shine and can keep them from spoiling for at least three weeks.

Christmas trees need water daily. Adding a commercial preservative to the water will extend the life of the tree. For a live tree, place the burlap-wrapped root-ball in a tub, and water it daily. After Christmas, dig a hole twice as large as the root-ball, carefully remove the burlap, then place the tree into the hole.

Ranging in color from red to yellow, kalanchoes and other succulent plants are excellent holiday bloomers. Though the plants can withstand relatively dry conditions, keep the soil moist. After the holidays, treat kalanchoes like poinsettias, trimming the branches and feeding regularly. In the fall, allow the plant to dry out between waterings and expose it to at least 12 hours of darkness to encourage flowering.

To force bulbs like paperwhites, narcissus, amaryllis, and irises, plant them in October with the pointed end up in a shallow container on a layer of pebbles. Fill with sandy potting soil or with more pebbles. Water at planting time and regularly when growth begins. Place the bulbs in warm sunlight, and fertilize just before and during blooming. When flowers begin to die, reduce watering until the leaves have withered. Plant the bulbs, or place them in a cool, dark, dry place until next year.


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