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Agriculture & Natural Resources Updates for Fannin & Gilmer Counties

As we enter into the holiday season, many people enjoy decorating their homes to help them get into the holiday spirit. While some folks just have the knack for picking out the perfect gift, others may be looking for some ideas on how to communicate their well wishes. Personally, I think live plants make a wonderful holiday gift for both loved ones and colleagues.

Living plants bring a unique warmth to a home and their beauty and sentiment can endure time. If you are considering giving someone a potted plant this year, then it will need some help along the way to do well. Having said that, one of the surest ways to ensure your beloved house plant’s demise is by loving it too much. Not sure how much to water? Keep reading to glean a few tips and tricks to keep your holiday plants healthy and happy all season long.

Most flowering plants require bright, indirect light, meaning do not place them in a spot that receives direct sun. Direct sun throughout the day may wilt and fade the flowers. Depending on how much time you have spent around plants, you may have noticed that they tend to grow towards their light source. This phenomenon is called positive phototropism, and it is easily observed with indoor plants. To keep your plants from leaning toward the light turn them weekly.

As tempting as it is to water your plant daily, don’t do it! Resist the urge to overwater your plant and let the soil surface dry slightly between watering’s. When you do water, use enough water to completely soak the root ball. Water should run out the bottom of the pot at each watering, but to avoid root rots do not let the plant sit in excess water for long periods. Plants with flowers and larger leaves will require water more often.

When it comes to holiday décor and bringing some color into the home, the poinsettia is one of the most popular holiday plant options. They are grown for their colorful bracts (modified leaves), not for their flowers. Leaves may be flat or curled, and plant sizes now vary from huge specimens to miniature pocket-sized ones! There are red, pink, white and marbled varieties.

Again, those are leaves you are looking at, not the flowers, which are actually found in the tiny yellow pockets called cythia at the center of each leaf bunch (or bracts). To get the longest life out of your gift plant, try to select plants in which these flowers have not opened. Additionally, poinsettias are very sensitive to environment.

Drafts, cold, heat, dim light, low humidity or improper watering may cause them to wilt or shed leaves and flowers. Maintain a daytime temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and reduce this to low 60’s at night. Put the poinsettia in bright light but never in full sun, which can bleach its lovely color. Select areas where the plant will not dry out. If placed in a window, remove it at night so it will not get too cold. Let the soil surface dry slightly between watering’s and then water until it runs out of the bottom of the pot.

When it comes to holiday décor and bringing some color into the home, the poinsettia is one of the most popular holiday plant options.

Another popular holiday plant is the Holiday Cactus, which is generally available in three types that bloom at different times of the year. In generally, they flower around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter holidays. All three require bright light and moderate moisture levels. South facing windows are good places for holiday cacti. After bloom, remove faded flowers and fertilize. They can easily be grown outside in spring and summer in shady locations. Stem pieces of three segments or more root easily. They flower based on day length, so they should bloom around the same time each year.

Flowering and foliage plants can make great holiday gift and bring a lot of cheer as a centerpiece in someone’s home, just remember that the length at which they remain attractive may be directly related to the care and handling they are given. If properly tended, the colorful bracts of poinsettias may stay bright well after the holiday season has passed.