Holiday Plants

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by Peacock, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

    Messages:
    6,873
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    SW Ohio
    I guess I should ask this in the garden-type forums, but I wanted a general audience's answer, not specifically a gardener's answer. Do you buy, receive as a gift, grow, or maintain plants specifically for holiday display?

    You know...the poinsettias, Christmas cactus, giant Amaryllis, blooming paperwhite narcissus, etc.

    What do you do with them when they're done doing their thing? Toss 'em? Try valiantly to keep them alive hoping they'll someday bloom again? Succeed at this?

    Christmas cactus is the most likely to survive year to year (but not necessarily to bloom at Christmas again!), so let's leave that out. For the other stuff... I cannot bear to just toss out a plant until it's dead and beyond resuscitation. Though I consider myself a fairly experienced gardener, I have yet to keep a poinsettia alive. Or a cyclamen. I did keep a miniature rose alive from Valentine's Day till spring planting time once, but it wasn't easy. The Amaryllis didn't make it either.

    The paperwhites...heck, they didn't even survive their bloom season at my house. They smell like cat pee! Nobody warned me about this! :shrug: With 4 cats I sure didn't need an additional source, so out they went.

    I love plants, love the challenge of keeping them happy. What's your experience?
     
  2. RoseGarden

    RoseGarden Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,492
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2005
    Location:
    Southeast
    I live in a different part of the country than you do, and so have a greatly different gardening experience. With that in mind, the gift plants I get or give usually survive, things like amaryllis and paperwhites survive here just fine if planted in the ground after they bloom. (I too find the smell of paperwhites nauseating and can't stand them in the house although they are lovely in the yard, where they naturalize and form big clumps). I also like those little Christmas tree shaped rosemary plants, because those also thrive here and turn into veritable hedges. They can be bought on clearance here after Christmas and just planted in the ground. The little potted mini roses sometimes live, sometimes die. I think it depends on how well rooted they are, and if they get good humidity after you buy them. They are ususally just four rooted cuttings forced into bloom, and if they don't get just the right treatment, they croak. I bought two just the other day, marked down to sell cheap, some new variety that had these beautiful coffe and cream colored blooms. Poinsettias will grow outside in parts of the state down by the border, and I have even seen them four and five feet tall growing in the old residential part of San Antonio, in people's flowerbeds. I've never had luck with them, though, but my mother has carried them over for a few years in pots on the back porch. Christmas cactus are pretty easy, don't require much care through the year and set their blooms as the days get shorter and cooler. By the way, if your Christmas cactus doesn't bloom at Christmas, it's some other variety, usually the ones that bloom around Easter. Unscrupulous vendors pass them off as Christmas cactus, and of course there is no way to know until you see when the thing actually blooms.
     

  3. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

    Messages:
    6,873
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    SW Ohio
    It's always interesting to get info from a different climate. I think sometimes that if I were in a warmer climate I'd have a wonderfully lush garden and would enjoy it, but the truth is I love where I live, freezes and all. In fact my favorite plants are delicate, shade-loving perennials.

    Most of my houseplants died last year, either by getting torn up by young cats or puppies or while I was moving. I'm starting over.
     
  4. Beaners

    Beaners Incubator Addict

    Messages:
    3,111
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Greensburg, PA
    My grandmother always had wonderful success with Poinsettias, but she will always be my green thumb idol.

    She and my grandfather would always donate money for tons of the potted plants for their church's holiday display. After the season was over, the church would deliver the plants to everyone's houses. She would leave them on a large enclosed glass porch (kind of like a sunroom) that was several degrees cooler than the house but much warmer than outside until they recovered from the stress of not being watered at the church etc.

    Shortly afterwards the plants would come back beautifully. The watering and cooler temperature revived them, and they would have another lengthy bloom from mid January to a little after Valentine's Day. After that their dirt was used to repot the indoor plants that my grandmother maintained. While the plants would live easily past Valentine's day and can get huge in more moderate climates, I don't believe they would be in bloom for some time and therefore weren't worth the extra effort just for their greenery.

    This was in central New York, and the temperatures on the porch the plants were left on would be around 50 degrees. Those plants were absolutely gorgeous.

    Kayleigh
     
  5. Wildwood Flower

    Wildwood Flower Halfway, OR & Wagoner, OK

    Messages:
    3,306
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    I live in Oregon part time, and Oklahoma part time
    I love red amaryllis. I couldn't find any this year. I've tried to save the bulbs but usually lose them by summer.

    I like to get a nice red poinsettia for my kitchen table too. They last and last for me, in the kitchen window. I eventually throw them out, mostly because it just seems weird to have a poinsettia in the Spring.

    I once made a trip to Hawaii and saw a red poinsettia hedge, probably over 20 feet tall that went all the way up a long driveway. Gorgeous!
     
  6. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,553
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I've had some happy results with live holiday plants -- more luck then anything else.

    Corky, from this board, shared Christmas Cactus with us at the Spring Campout - atleast I thought she said they were Christmas Cactus. I transplanted mine, left it outside all summer and fall, brought it in - and it had a beautiful white bloom the week of Thanksgiving - maybe it was a Thanksgiving Cactus?

    One year after the holidays, the discount store had left over little potted pine trees on sale for a buck of two, husband picked one up. I teased him about it being a "Charlie Brown" tree...I planted it outside without much hope that it would survive -- it has. I don't know if it's because it has more root space or what but it's gone from little 1" needles to about 8" needles. It doesn't seem to be growing a rapidly as the other pines but it's doing it's best.

    Then there was the time fall before last that I was the high (only) bidder on three house plants at an estate auction, one was an amaryllis plant that looked more dead then alive. Thankfully, I knew they die back and if allowed to have a cool period can be replanted in the fall. I let the leaves and flower stalk finish dying back and put the blub, and a little dirt in a ziplock bag in the vegetable bin in the frigs. Forgot about it last fall, this fall I noticed it had a little colorless grown on it..thought what the heck nothing lost if I pot it and give it a little water and some sunlight. The tips turned brown and broke off...but the new growth is now about 12" ... no bud stalk yet will have to keep you post. Considering how much amaryllis bulb cost -- my dollar was well spent :) And the other two are doing well also. One was one of those little gift things with three plants all stuffed into a too small container -- repotted in what looked like a too large planter -- they now need to be repotted again.

    Life and living is good.

    Marlene