Garden Clippings

The know-how to buying and caring for holiday plants

| December 2005

Poinsettias, Christmas cactus and amaryllis are some of the plants we bring into our homes for color during this time of year. With care, these plants will provide cheer throughout the holiday season.

• Poinsettias are a plant that most of us have had, and several of us have been disappointed by them because of the dropping of the lower leaves. Here are a few tips to guard against having this occur.

Be picky about the plants you buy. Select ones with dark green foliage that don't show signs of wilting. Those with yellowing or wilting foliage are stressed and may keep declining in your home.

Once the plants are home, pay attention to water, light and temperature.

Poinsettias suffer if there's too much or too little water. They like a moist soil, so the plants should be watered when the potting soil is dry to the touch. Saucers should be emptied after watering to prevent the plant from standing in water.

Poinsettias should be placed in an area that receives five to six hours of light each day. The lighting should be bright, yet filtered, to prevent direct sunlight from fading the colored bracts. A plant that doesn't get enough light will become anemic in appearance and will lose its leaves.

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