When the weather outside is bleak and cold, nothing beats an indoor plant that flowers just in time for Christmas. Some of our most attractive indoor plants come into their own in winter, filling our homes with colour and scent. Here are a few of our favourite Christmas plants and how to care for them.
1. Christmas cactus
Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) have long, flat, segmented stems that look good all year round, but the real attraction is the vibrantly coloured flowers that appear at the ends of the branches in winter. They like a warm, bright position out of direct sunlight and not too much water - allow the surface of the compost to dry out between waterings.
To get your Christmas cactus to flower every Christmas again, you’ll need to give them two rest periods during the year, one straight after flowering and another in September. To ‘rest’ your plant, simply put it in a cool room, ideally around 12°C (53°F) and water very sparingly. Keep it there for about two months, then move it back to its original position.
With their vast crimson flowers and deep green leaves, poinsettias make fantastic Christmas decorations. They have a reputation for being difficult to care for, but the key thing to remember is that they really hate being cold. When you buy a poinsettia, choose one that looks strong and healthy. Keep it wrapped up in its plastic sleeve while you’re getting it home, then place it in a position with bright indirect light, out of draughts and with a minimum temperature of 15°C (59°F). Water sparingly and mist regularly.
In the depths of winter, cyclamens are a vivid splash of colour with their exotic-looking flowers and marbled leaves. They do best in a cool, bright position out of direct sunlight – if it’s too warm, the plant will assume that summer has come and gone dormant, dropping its leaves and flowers. To water cyclamens, simply stand the pot in a saucer of water for around an hour when the compost feels dry, then let any excess water drain away. Feed them every few months with a houseplant fertilizer. When the leaves turn yellow in spring, put the plant somewhere cool and dry over summer and water very sparingly until new growth appears in autumn.
To enjoy flowering hyacinths at Christmas, plant prepared bulbs that have been pre-treated by being chilled for several weeks. Plant the bulbs in pots with good drainage and filled with compost. Water them and place the pots somewhere cool and dark, such as a shed or a garage, for about six weeks. Check regularly and water if the compost looks dry. When shoots start to appear above the ground, move the pots to a brighter but still relatively cool spot where they can grow on and flower, giving you fabulous fragrant flowers in the middle of winter.
Fill your home with colour and scent this Christmas with our fantastic range of indoor flowering plants. Visit us soon to choose your favourite plant!