The holidays are over, and now it’s time to clean up and get the house back in order. But some of the gifts won’t easily fit in a cupboard or closet. Holiday plants that you bought or were given as gifts can make a nice addition to your home in winter. Some can even turn into permanent fixtures in your home. You’ll just have to decide which holiday plants are worth keeping and which are best composted.
Holiday plants such as poinsettia, Christmas cactus, amaryllis, kalanchoe, azaleas, and bulbs will continue to grow best in a brightly lit room with air temperatures on the cool side (60 to 68 degrees F). Keep the soil barely moist. The most common cause of death for these plants is overwatering.
The next step, after the plants start looking a little ratty, is to decide which ones you will keep. Flowering bulbs, such as paperwhite narcissus, hyacinths, and tulips will most likely not bloom again, even if planted outdoors in spring. These are best composted when they finish blooming. Poinsettias will hold their colorful bracts for months. But once the leaves and bracts drop, getting them to color up again in fall is an involved process, so they too are best composted. Kalanchoe is a pretty houseplant, but getting it to rebloom can be difficult. If you’re happy with just the succulent leaves and don’t care whether the plant reflowers, keep it as a permanent addition to your houseplant family. Flowering azaleas are in the same boat as kalanchoe. Unlike other azaleas species, these aren’t hardy outdoors in most areas.
The two easiest holiday plants to keep are Christmas cactus and amaryllis. Christmas cactus will rebloom fairly easily next fall and winter provided they have cool temperatures and a dark room at night in autumn. Amaryllis will need to be grown outdoors in summer and allowed to go dormant in fall. But you should be able to coax more flowers from the bulbs next winter.
So be honest with yourself about which holiday plants you want to keep, and always remember there will be plenty more to choose from next year.