Keeping Holiday Plants Perky, Part 1

Country Woman’s winter Gardening Guide to Amaryllis, Gardenias and Cyclamen.

Keeping Holiday Plants Perky

By Sarah Ehrhardt
Pewaukee, WI

Typically, holiday plants look great when they arrive at your door—lustrous green and full of bright blooms. Unfortunately, their glory may quickly fade before you can say “auld lang syne.” Want to keep that festive feeling long after the season has passed?

Look to this holiday gardening guide for Amaryllis, Gardenias and Cyclamen plants—and watch your living gifts just keep on giving!

Amaryllis

Flower Dossier: The big, splashy amaryllis is a nearly foolproof bulb plant that’s easy to keep going from year to year.

Tips to amazing Amaryllis’

  1. Place the pot in bright light, and increase watering as blooms develop—but don’t let it sit in water. Turn the plant every few days to encourage symmetrical growth.
  2. Once the buds open, you can place the plant wherever you like. After the bloom is finished, pinch off the flowers, wait a few days and prune away the scape (flowering stem), leaving the foliage in place. Continue to keep your plant in bright light, stake its foliage so it won’t break, and feed the soil with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks.
  3. When outdoor temperatures remain above 65°, bring the plant outside and sink the pot into soil up to its rim. Healthy green foliage in summer helps the bulb to build food stores for future blooms.
  4. In September, bring your amaryllis back inside and begin withholding water and applying low-nitrogen fertilizer. As it begins to lose its foliage and go dormant, place the plant in cool storage (such as a basement), keeping it lightly moist until leaf tips emerge in 2 to 3 months.
  5. At this point, scrape away most of the soil, fill the pot with fresh soil and put the plant back into bright light and 70° temperatures…now get ready for this brilliant bulb to shine through the holidays and beyond!

Click here to read Part 2 of our winter gardening guide.

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