With their brightly colored bracts (modified leaves), poinsettias are the very picture of a festive Christmas plant. But there’s more to the holidays than poinsettias. Winter bulbs, tropical houseplants and Christmas cactus offer stunning, vibrantly colored blooms just as perfectly suited to Christmas decor.
As an added bonus, Christmas plants are easy to maintain and, with proper care, will bloom again next year. Because poinsettias are grown as hothouse flowers, they can be treated as houseplants until the weather warms enough to plant them outside. Read on for more about our favorite holiday houseplants.
Amaryllis blooms are breathtaking, with multiple trumpet-shaped flowers on a single stem. The colors are camera-ready in bright red, pink, salmon and white. Look for Apple Blossom bulbs with a blush of pink on the bloom. Another variety, Minerva, features red petals with a white star center.
Amaryllis bulbs are sold in kits with everything you need in one suitable-for-gifting box. Start by rehydrating the cocopeat planting disk, place 2/3 of the mixture in the container, add the bulb, and finish with the remaining growing media.
Additionally, the planted amaryllis bulb can be placed in a decorative container or basket. Set it near a sunny window in a room with a minimum temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that when blooming, plants can be top heavy, so put some rocks in the bottom of the container for weight.
To help amaryllis bloom again:
- Cut off the bloom stalks close to the bulb after the last amaryllis bloom fades. Allow the leaves to continue to grow. The leaves may appear quite floppy, even if the plants are kept in a very sunny window, but this is natural.
- Keep the soil lightly moist through winter.
- Repot in spring, at about the time of your last frost, to a roomy pot. Keep the top third of the bulb above the soil line.
- Move the plant outdoors to dappled shade until early August.
- Place the plant in a cool basement or dark closet. Water sparingly to keep the soil from going bone dry.
- Set the amaryllis in a well-lit area in November, or about six weeks before you want it to bloom. Water regularly.
Christmas cactus and other succulents need only bright but indirect light and occasional watering. Let the soil dry out between waterings and make sure the plant doesn’t sit in water to prevent root rot.
Christmas cactus is easily propagated. In the spring, cut off pieces two to three segments long and plant in potting soil. Keep watered until roots are established. By the fall, you will have one or more small cacti ready to bloom.
How to help Christmas cactus bloom again:
- Move plants that bloomed in November and December to a cool room and water sparingly for a month. This rest period primes them for a new set of blossoms in late spring. But don’t move plants that are actively blooming; wait until all the blooms have faded.
- Revive rested plants in February by repotting and placing in a bright window. Water well and feed a half-strength dose of a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer.
Bromeliads are a natural choice for Christmas decor. These tropical houseplants feature rosettes of sturdy leaves with either a brightly colored center or a flower stalk.
Although they like humidity, bromeliads have a reputation for handling occasional neglect with ease, making them ideal houseplants for travelers and gardening newbies. If your plant looks dry, give it a spritz from a plant mister. Place bromeliads in a room where temps stay above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants like sunlight, but be cautious of too-bright light that may damage their glossy leaves. In that case, filter light with a sheer curtain or move the container away from the window.
Bright red, pink and white poinsettias add just the right punch of color to your Christmas decor. Poinsettias are native to Mexico, and typically bloom during winter in their tropical climate. Depending on the climate where you live, you can display poinsettias indoors and out, or both.
Inside your home, surround the base of your Christmas tree with a ring of poinsettias. As presents are placed under the tree, move the plants near sunny windows in your home. You can pile poinsettias in entryways, line them on staircases and plop them in large baskets.
Poinsettias like temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When you're entertaining or taking a family photo on a warm day, fill up the porch with these flowers, remembering to bring them inside when temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
After the holidays, treat poinsettias the same as annuals in most areas of the country. They will survive winter in zones 9 to 11. In colder areas, you can keep them as houseplants until it's warm enough to plant them outside in spring.
Give the gift of holiday houseplants this year. Whether you need the right planters, seeds or potting soil, The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.