Winter Care of Christmas Cactus and Other Indoor Plants
Amaryllis, Poinsettia, Christmas Cactus ...
These plants have beautiful blooms during the holidays and well after but what should you do if you want to try to keep them around for next year?
- When all the blooms on a stem have faded, cut the stalk off about 1" - 2" from the base - be careful not to injure the foliage.
- After all the stems have been cut back, move the plant back to a bright, sunny window to grow.
- At every second watering, add a half dose of liquid bulb booster or African Violet fertilizer.
- When nighttime temperatures remain above 60°F, you can transplant your amaryllis bulbs outside in a sunny location to grow for the summer.
Even if you don't have a green thumb, the poinsettia can provide enjoyment throughout the year as an attractive green foliage plant.
- When the bracts age and lose their aesthetic appeal, usually by late March or early April, cut the poinsettia back to about 8". The amount you cut from the top of the plant will depend upon its shape; some plants will need more pruning than others to achieve a full, rounded canopy.
- After cutting, the plant will look quite stark, but by the end of May you should see vigorous new growth.
- When nighttime temperatures average 55°F or above, place your plants outdoors in indirect sun where they can bask in the warmth of spring and summer.
- Continue regular watering during the growth period.
- Fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks throughout the spring, summer, and fall months with a well-balanced, complete fertilizer.
- Pruning may be required during the summer to keep the plants bushy and compact, but do not prune after September 1st.
Christmas Cactus -
After they finish blooming, Christmas cactus need a rest period of about a month.
- After blooming, place the plant in a cool room and water sparingly. It may lose some leaves but this is not a problem.
- Do not fertilize or prune during this rest period.
- Christmas cactus can be repotted if needed during this time but keep in mind that they bloom best if they are slightly root bound.
- Once new growth begins in the spring, usually around March or early April, you can resume normal watering and fertilizing with a liquid houseplant fertilizer.
- Pruning to reshape the plant and encourage branching can be done in the spring once new growth begins.
- When nighttime temperatures average 55°F or above, the plant can be placed outside in a shady or semi-shady location if desired. Avoid exposure to direct sun as this can burn the foliage.