Enjoy plants that decorate the holidays

I just got six beautiful poinsettias from the Ohio State University students growing them for a fundraiser for Pi Alpha Xi, and they are beautiful. Someone asked me about my favorite color, and I have to say it’s am back to the traditional red.

Over the years I have gone through all of the colors. When I first started my career in the early 1980s, the only colors were red and white. As the years passed, more and more interesting colors and bract (the modified leaf that is the colorful part of the plant) shapes were introduced.

I have tried them all and still come back to the traditional red with large, bold bracts. Of course, when it comes to red, there are also many shades from which to choose. I definitely don’t like those that are spray painted.

When it comes to holiday decorating, however, poinsettias aren’t the only plant that works. There are several other types of plants that are great for the holidays as well as for giving when you visit friends and family.

One of my other really favorite plants for the holidays is amaryllis. You can find these in kits (includes soil and pot) or you can purchase the bulb and plant it on your own.

Most of the time, the kits contain smaller bulbs. The larger bulbs sometime cost around $20, but it is worth the experience.

Amaryllis usually takes about six weeks from planting to flowering, so I usually time it so that they are in bloom after the holidays when there is little else in color.

Paperwhite narcissus bulbs are also available and can be potted in soil or placed in a container filled with gravel and water. They take about 6 weeks also. One caution with paperwhites: some don’t like the fragrance while some even would go as far as calling it odoriferous!

Norfolk Island pines are found just about everywhere in every size this time of the year. The larger plants make great mini-Christmas trees for apartment dwellers and can even be decorated with mini-ornaments and bows.

Another traditional flower for this time of the year is the Christmas cactus. This is a succulent that has incredibly beautiful pink, red, or white flowers covering the entire plant. They are a little touchy about watering; don’t let them dry out completely or keep them too wet as the flowers and buds fall off.

A flowering plant that can be found in some garden stores is the gardenia. Nothing beats the heady fragrance of these flowers and they last the entire holiday season.

You will also find beautiful orchids in full bloom now and just about any time of the year. Orchid blooms sometime last 30 days or more and the plants are very easy to maintain as well.

Some of these plants are a challenge to care for after the holidays, and sometimes it’s easier to let them go and buy new ones each year.

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