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Holiday plant care

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
by Will Creed on September 03, 2005 05:37 AM
The days are getting shorter as we get into September. That means it is time to make some special preparations for Poinsettias, Amaryllis, and Holiday Cacti.

Poinsettias It is now about time to give your Poinsettias 12 hours of complete darkness every night followed by 12 hours of sunlight during the day. Exposure to artificial light at night can disrupt the cycle. You have to do this for about 8 weeks to get them to flower. Night temps of about 63 degrees F. will also help.

Amaryllis Now is the time to completely neglect your Amaryllis bulbs that should have been growing leaves in bight sun since last winter. Stop watering altogether. Move the pot and plant to a cool, dry location that is out of the light. Let the leaves turn yellow and die. This will start the 6 to 8 week dormant period that Amaryllis bulbs need to produce flowers. You can resume watering anytime after 8 weeks of dormancy.

Holiday Cactus Dark nights of 12 hours and cool temps (as low as 35 degrees F.) for about 8 weeks is what your Holiday cactus needs to produce maximum flowers. If you have had your Holiday Cactus outside during the summer, leave it outside until temps approach freezing (not below!) or until buds are well-established, whichever comes first. After the buds are fat and on the verge of opening, your Holiday cactus can be moved inside where it can be enjoyed.

For complete information on the year-round care of these holiday flowering plants, send me a request at
by Cricket on September 03, 2005 06:33 AM
Hey there, Will [wayey]

Thanks for the great info on holiday flowering plants! [Smile]

Of course, I do have a question. Does very brief exposure to artificial light - such as turning on a bathroom light while in the room - disrupt the cycle?

by Will Creed on September 03, 2005 08:23 AM
Mother Nature is not that rigid. In general, the more closely you can adhere to the strict light/dark requirements, the greater the chances of success and the more vigorous and prolific the flowers. An occasional exposure to artificial light at night is unlikely to cause a problem, especially with Holiday Cacti. Poinsettias are more likely to be disrupted by exposure to light at night.

BTW, many Holiday Cacti owners do not do anything special with their plants and they bloom every year anyway. This is especially true for older Holiday Cacti that are potbound and not fussed over.

Do what you can to follow my suggestions, but do not give up if you cannot follow them precisely.
by Cricket on September 03, 2005 08:50 AM
Do what you can to follow my suggestions, but do not give up if you cannot follow them precisely.
But the more precisely I follow your suggestions, the better fare my plants. [thumb] [kissies]


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