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Here's How to Care for 5 Different Christmas Plants

With the holiday season reaching its peak and Christmas just around the corner, you're probably re-stocking on decorations and hanging your new wreaths on the door. The only thing left is to get the Christmas plant! In this guide, you'll find some tips on how to keep it alive throughout the season, and how to maintain it for next year. 

How do you maintain Christmas plants?

Each plant requires different care to re-bloom the following year, but there are 2 important tips for all of them:

* Don't display them in front of the fire. This is a surefire way to wilt them on the spot. 

* Remove the wrapping foil, as it doesn't promote drainage. Water that can't escape will quickly rot the roots and your plant won't make it through the holiday season.


How do you care for a poinsettia plant indoors?

Christmas plant - poinsettia

Poinsettias are native to Central America and Mexico. This means they like nice weather. Ironically, they hate the cold and will not perform well if exposed to it. So when you take it home, make sure it's wrapped. 

Keeping this plant for next year may require some diligence, but if you're up for that challenge, here's what to do:

From December to March, keep it at 60°F-70°F (16°C-21°C), with moist but well-drained soil. Keep the plant in indirect light. 

In early spring onwards, let the soil completely dry between watering. Through the last two weeks of April, give it a darkness treatment: 12-15 hours every night of complete darkness. 

Starting in May, your poinsettia will need plenty of sunlight. You can move it outside or keep it inside. Cut it back up to 2/3 of the original size and let it enjoy some direct light. It can handle the scorching sun, which will promote new foliage. At this point, it will still be green. Fertilize every two weeks and water regularly. Continue pinching back new stems to keep the plant bushy and compact. 

In August, take the plant back inside. Starting in early October, give it another two weeks' darkness treatment, starting about 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.

When buds start forming stop the darkness treatment. Mid-December stop fertilizing. 


Related: How to Keep Your Pets Away From the Christmas Tree

Does amaryllis come back every year?

Christmas plant - amaryllis

The answer is a resounding yes! Amaryllis does come back every year. Its average lifespan is about 25 years with proper care, and keeping it is much less challenging than keeping the Poinsettia. Here's how:

To keep Amaryllis blooming all season, place it in bright light. Keep the soil moist - this one likes water, so you can water it once a week if the soil is well-drained. You can turn the pot every few days to keep it upright, as it may bend towards the sun. 

Once a flower wilts away, cut it at the base of the flower. When the stalk is done producing blooms, cut it right at the base.  You can move the plant outside after the last frost. Stop watering early summer to initiate dormancy, and begin watering again in November. 


Do cyclamen like shade or sun?

Christmas plant - cyclamen

Cyclamen, unlike the Poinsettia, do like the cold, and will only bloom in winter. They like bright indirect light but will also do well in shade. If there's water left in the saucer after you water your plant, discard it. Keep it in your coldest room, away from direct sun rays.  

As summer approaches, the leaves will start to brown and wilt. Remove any dying leaves and let the plant go into dormancy for the summer. Don't water it at all. Starting in October, start watering again.  

If the stems are upright and the leaves start to yellow, it's a sign of overwatering. Let the soil dry and ensure optimal drainage. If the stems are droopy, the plant needs water. If you don't water, it will go into premature dormancy. 

Related: DIY: How to Make Christmas Ornaments from Paper

How long do Christmas cacti live indoors?

Christmas plant - christmas cactus

This one will bloom for 4-6 weeks, but with proper care, it can live on and re-bloom for up to 30 years!

Once the plant is done blooming, keep it cold (about 50°F/10°C). Water when the soil is dry. There's no need to fertilize. When it starts growing again, give it a darkness treatment, as you would with a poinsettia: 10 hours of light followed by 14 hours of complete darkness. The temperature should be a little warmer, 55°F-65°F (12°C-18°C). When buds reappear, let the plant enjoy partial light (an east-facing window is optimal) and fertilize biweekly. 


How do you take care of a frosty fern?

Christmas plant - frosty fern

The Christmas Fern isn't officially declared an indoor plant, but it can grow indoors easily. It requires a lot of water with good drainage - keep the topsoil moist at all times, but make sure water isn't pooling in the saucer. Speaking of water, avoid cold water. Room-temperature tap water will do. You can also water it from below: let the pot sit in a bowl of water for 15 minutes, then remove and drain. 

This plant likes bright, 100% indirect light, and a moist environment. So if your washroom is well-lit, you can perk it up with some Frosty Fern! Alternatively, you can plant it in a terrarium that will keep moisture in.  

Source: 1, 2, 3

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