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Winter Houseplants: Three Great Gifts for the Holidays

by Joe Cooper, All About Lawns Columnist

Loving that poinsetta you received for the holidays but not sure how to care for it? Winter can be a great season for certain plants, but providing proper care is the secret to success. Take a look at these easy tips for getting the most out of your seasonal plants this winter.

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  • Poinsettas
    • Keep it indoors until its leaves begin to fade. Poinsettas need good light, and do well in indoor temperatures.
    • Add fertilizer to the pot every two weeks or so, and water it every few days.
    • Plant it outdoors and cut it down to 5-6" from the root. Indirect light is best for poinsettas, and be ready to move it to a shadier location later in the year.
    • Move it into the shade and wait for the days to get shorter. Your poinsetta should begin to bloom again once the temperatures fall.
  • Christmas Cactus
    • Put it anywhere. That's the best part about having a Christmas cactus. Like the poinsetta, it needs at least 12 hours of darkness to bloom.
    • Keep in a dark, cool place. Christmas cacti should receive indirect light during the day and total darkness at night. Also, the room should be cool but not freezing.
    • Only water sparingly. It's a cactus, after all.
    • Only prune lightly, and in the spring. If you plant your cactus outside, the same rules apply; indirect sunlight, and don't overwater.
  • Dracaena
    • Place in a nice dark corner. Like other good winter plants, this "dragon plant" enjoys minimal, indirect light during the day.
    • Plant easily in the spring. Dracaenas don't need fancy fertilizer, and should be planted in regular soil. They can also be planted in water if you have a pond in your backyard.
    • Keep foliage clean. Sometimes, a dracaena's stems can get long beneath the nicely colored foliage. Simply trip this back and create layers between the foliage to let the foliage breathe.

Winter plants like the ones above make great gifts, and allow for "less than green" thumbs before the spring season. Remember to keep the light dim and the water sparse for these cold weather plants and enjoy their heartiness, indoors or out.

About the Author
Joe Cooper writes education, home services, and design articles, and manages corporate communications. He holds a bachelor's in American Literature from UCLA.

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