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Taking Care of Three Popular Holiday Plants

by Melodie Smith, Collin County Master Gardener

We are nearing that time of year of gift giving!  If you are lucky, you might receive one of these popular holiday plants as a gift - the beautiful and delicate poinsettia, the dainty Christmas cactus or the bold and beautiful Amaryllis. Each of these come in such variety of colors such as red, white, striped, peach, gold, cream and yellow. Let us start with some helpful tips on how to care for the Amaryllis. 


The bold and beautiful Amaryllis makes a wonderful gift to receive or give. It is a flowering plant that usually blooms in January during the winter months bringing cheer to your home. The amaryllis grows from a bulb. Each bulb grows 2 rows of star shaped, green leaves and on two stems with between 2 to 12 red, funnel shaped flowers. Amarylis enjoy being in a sunny warm indoor home.  Water on a regular weekly basis. The soil should remain moist. Turn the pot occasionally to ensure that the stem stays straight rather than falling over as it grows. If you take care of the bulb, you will be able to enjoy this beauty year after year. 

Reference:  Your Guide for Year Round Amaryllis Care, 12/17/20;


The beautiful and delicate Poinsettia is always a holiday favorite. Keeping a poinsettia through the holiday season is very possible if you follow these tips.

  1. While in full bloom, they typically enjoy semi-cool, humid locations in bright, indirect diffused light with plenty of moisture. Poinsettias should be watered thoroughly but take care not to drown them.  Good drainage is a must. 
  2. While in bloom, fertilization is never recommended. Fertilize if you are keeping them after the holiday season.
  3. Poinsettias like warmth around 60 to 70 degrees but not too hot. They are tropicals native to Mexico.  
  4. Be careful around pets. If a stem is broken, a milky sap can be mildly toxic. 

After following all of the above tips, enjoy all of the colors horticulturists have created.; 4/26/21; Tips on Care of Poinsettias


And lastly, the delicate Christmas cactus which is always a wonderful gift to receive or give to a special friend. The Christmas cactus is a beautiful holiday plant also known as Zygocactus. The Christmas cactus blooms at Christmas and even sometimes at Easter if cared for properly. Christmas cactus’ love indirect light. Too much direct light or heat can stunt growth and burn the leaves. Keep the cactus away from drafts, heat vents, fireplaces and other sources of hot air. Christmas cactus like temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees. Provide a source of humidity as they are a tropical cacti native to Brazil. They do like water but less water is better than too much water. You can also mist the plant 2 to 3 times per week.  A well draining container with well draining soil will make this cactus happy. This cactus also does not mind having a fertilizer to assist plant growth.; 10/15/01; Harmony Corelitz

With a little attention and care, these special holiday plants will last the whole season! Think of giving one of these to some special people in your life for them to enjoy!

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