Use house plants to brighten your home with colour, scent and festive greenery for Christmas! A little bit of love and attention will keep your plants looking their best over the festive period, and even extend their shelf life as far as next year’s festivities too. Here’s how to care for your indoor plants with the right watering, temperature, and light levels.
Caring for indoor bulbs
If you are forcing indoor bulbs for Christmas, make sure to keep them cool and dry until you come to plant them. Amaryllis, hyacinths and scented paperwhite narcissus are all popular indoor flowering bulbs to enjoy over Christmas. Once planted, keep them in a light spot in a temperature of 10 – 18 degrees and water twice a week.
As soon as you receive your pre-planted bulbs, put them in a bright warm place after a good watering to stimulate flowering. Put Fair Isle jumper or wax coated amaryllis bulbs wherever you want them to flower. They won’t need any further care, but it’s a good idea to keep them away from dry heat.
When the indoor bulb flowers start to fade, don’t remove the leaves, simply cut back the spent flowers and move the bulb to a cool place: put amaryllis on a cool windowsill and plant other bulbs outdoors. Amaryllis bulbs can be induced to flower again next Christmas, but other bulbs will revert to their natural flowering cycle and should either be planted in the garden after flowering, or disposed of.
Caring for indoor flowering plants
Keep your Christmas azaleas, jasmine and stephanotis moist through the festive season. You can prolong their flowering period by carefully removing spent blooms and keeping them away from sources of dry heat. After flowering is over, simply move your jasmine and azalea plants to a cool windowsill, and earmark to plant them outside into beds or containers once the risk of frost has passed. Remember that jasmine needs a structure to climb up, and azaleas prefer ericaceous compost. Stephanotis needs to be kept indoors, so a conservatory or warm windowsill is ideal. All three of these plants naturally flower in the summer months, and they’ll revert to this flowering pattern in the year following Christmas.
Christmas cacti appreciate frequent watering, but don’t like sitting in water. Despite the name, Christmas cacti are not true cacti – they’re native to the humid forests of Brazil, where they grow and bloom in the canopy, rooting in the junctures of large trees. They like humid, warm conditions at 16 – 20 degrees and will flower best in high light levels — keep them healthy and they will flower again for next Christmas!
Orchids like fairly frequent watering, but do make sure the water drains out of the pot and the plant isn’t sitting in it. The aerial roots on orchids appreciate occasional misting with fresh water too. Place your orchid away from draughts, dry heat and direct sunlight — a north facing windowsill is perfect.
Caring for your foliage house plants
If you prefer lush foliage over flowers, there’s a huge variety of leafy house plants to decorate your home with. These plants generally like to be out of direct sunlight and in moist compost. Plants with aerial roots, like a Swiss Cheese plant or Lova shefflera benefit from regular misting, position in a naturally moist environment like a bathroom. Alternatively, place a tray of water and pebbles under your potted houseplant. This should provide sufficient humidity around the leaves, so you can keep your foliage house plants in a warm room over the Christmas period. Remember to make sure your plant isn’t sitting in water.
Move your festive house plants to where you want them on the big day to make your perfect Christmas display. Share your festive houseplant plans for this Christmas with us via social media, or drop us an email, we love to hear from you!
Lead image: Amaryllis ‘Minerva’/Copyright: Visions BV, Netherlands