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Timely tendings: Poinsettias and other holiday plants

If your holiday poinsettia comes in a container wrapped in a foil outer cover, remove it or punch holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain. Keep the soil around the poinsettia slightly moist, but not soggy, and place the plant in a bright window out of direct sunlight.

There are two types of flowering holiday cactus, the Christmas cactus and the Easter cactus. The Christmas cactus, Zygocactus truncates, usually flowers from Thanksgiving to Christmas and its leaves have pointed lobes. The Easter cactus, Schlumbergera bridgessii, has wider leaves, which are rounded. It usually flowers from Christmas to Easter. Allow soil to dry out between waterings and keep the plant in bright light while in bloom. These are long-lived plants that can be kept outside in the shade during most of the year. They do need to be protected from frost and freezing temperatures.

Kalanchoe, a winter-blooming succulent, has become popular as a holiday plant. The showy flowers are in terminal clusters and last for several weeks. Flower colors are yellow, pink, red and various shades of orange. Since this is a succulent plant, let the soil dry out between waterings.

Information from Carol Suggs and Theresa Badurek of the Pinellas County Extension Service and from the Hillsborough County Extension Gardening Almanac. Go to the extension websites at pinellascountyextension.org and hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu.

Timely tendings: Poinsettias and other holiday plants 12/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 10, 2010 3:30am]

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