When the winter holiday season approaches, it is time to purchase
As with most holiday purchases, shop early to ensure that you get the
plant of your choice. Purchase clean, healthy plants that are properly
Plants should have dark green foliage and abundant unopened flower buds
or fruit. Wrap them carefully before transporting them to avoid
subjecting them to freezing outdoor temperatures.
Poinsettias are the most popular holiday plant sold in the United
States. The bracts, or modified leaves, are available not only in
traditional red but in white, pink, peach, and yellow and in marbled
and speckled patterns. The actual flowers are the small yellow blossoms
in the center of the bract.
To ensure long-lasting beauty, select plants with stiff stems that have
an abundance of dark-green foliage all the way down. The leaves and
bracts should not be dropping.
poinsettias are the number one choice, there are other plants to
While not a flowering plant, a Norfolk
Island pine is a great
year-round houseplant for a medium-to bright-light location. This
tropical evergreen tree can grow to 200 feet in its native habitat but
will probably grow only to 6 feet indoors.
Avoid the mess of pine needles by decorating a Norfolk Island pine with
lightweight ornaments and miniature
are another possibility. For maximum enjoyment, choose plants
with most flowers still in bud. The flowers will last longer if the
plants are kept in a cool spot. Do not allow azaleas to wilt or dry
out. Azaleas purchased from the florist are not hardy enough for
Midwest winters and are difficult to keep from year to year.
has heart-shaped leaves that are dark green with silver
marbling. Flowers are white, red, or pink. The plant enjoys cool,
bright, and moist conditions and can be difficult to grow inside.
cactus (scalloped leave edges) and Thanksgiving cactus
(toothed leaf edges) are some of the most durable flowering potted
plants, re-blooming easily year after year. They have pink, white, red,
violet, or orange flowers. Keep the plants evenly moist while in
flower. High temperatures or excessively dry soil will cause the
flowers to wilt and drop off.
With proper care, most holiday plants will provide you with several
weeks to months of enjoyment.
Source: Jennifer Fishburn,
University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator
of Illinois Extension Hort Corner: Poinsettia
In Season Guide
Norfolk Island Pine
Mini Christmas Lights
Tools and Equipment