Monthly Archives: December 2015

Is a new tree on your wish list?

Not all gardeners enjoy reading seed catalogs.  If you are more interested in planning for a new tree then here are a few resources to get you started.

Keeping the Ho Ho Ho in Holiday Plants

holiday plantsHoliday tables just wouldn’t be the same without a few blooming plants to add to the festivities. While poinsettias are the most popular of the flowering houseplants, there are plenty of others plants with colorful foliage that make nice gifts – either for you or someone else.

If you take a few minutes to learn about your plant’s specific needs, you’ll be able to keep those beautiful flowers blooming into the New Year.

One of the top tips for holiday plants is to either remove the container’s foil wrapping or poke holes through the foil on the bottom. This step improves drainage and helps keep plant roots healthy. Be sure to place the container on a plant dish or saucer to catch water runoff. Dispose of any water that remains in the saucer after the plant gets a good drink.

PoinsettiaPoinsettias prefer to be kept in a cool area. Place your poinsettia plant near a bright, sunny window, but keep flowers and leaves from touching the glass. One of the most important care tips for poinsettias is to give the plant some humidity to help hold its leaves. Spritz lightly with water every day or place the plant’s container on a gravel-filled saucer that’s filled with water. When the top few inches of soil dries, water with a diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer. This step helps keep flowers on the plant longer.

CyclamenAnother popular holiday plant is a Cyclamen. These plants can be kept in full bloom for weeks with the right care. Plants need sun, but not intense sunlight, and temperatures from 60-65 degrees during the day; cooler at night. Watch for flower buds that start at the crown, and be sure to keep the crown dry. It’s best to water slowly and deeply near the edge or rim of the container. Water only when the top inch of soil is dry or if the plant starts wilting. Remove flowers as soon as they fade and clip off any leaves that turn yellow. Fertilizing every 3-4 weeks will encourage the plant to keep sending out flower buds.

HydrangeaHydrangeas make for a beautiful holiday display because of their showy and ornamental blooms. To keep hydrangeas blooming indoors, place them in bright, but indirect light. Like most houseplants, hydrangeas need to be kept out of the way of cold drafts and blasts of hot furnace air. Keep soil moist, but not soggy, while plants are in bloom. Apply a diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer every other week.

Christmas cactusMy favorite flowers for the holidays grow on Christmas cactus plants. The trick to keeping these delicate-looking flowers longer is to place plants in cool locations that have indirect sunlight. A consistent temperature that keeps plants away from cold drafts and blasts of hot furnace air will keep flowers and flower buds on the plant longer. Christmas cacti like a drier soil, but avoid wilting by watering when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry. Use a standard houseplant fertilizer to keep plants healthy.

Do you have any tips or tricks to keep your holiday plants looking good? Please add them here!

By Jodi Torpey
A Denver master gardener

Botanical Ice Lanterns

I can’t wait to try my hand at making these unique botanical ice lanterns. All that is needed are a few readily available supplies, cold weather (or a freezer) and a bit of nature’s beauty. Detailed instructions for creating them can be found at, photos courtesy of Erin Boyle.



Posted by Linda McDonnell, Denver County Master Gardener