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Connecticut Garden Journal: Make holiday plants last into spring and beyond

Christmas cactus covered with pink and white flowers near November English garden in Haslemere, Surrey, England, UK.
Rosemary Calvert
Photodisc via Getty Images
For holiday cactus, find a bright, cool, room indoors for them to grow.

After the holidays, many gardeners wonder what to do with the holiday plants they purchased or received. Many of those plants can have a second life indoors and outdoors. Let's go through the list.

Poinsettias aren't hardy outdoors during our winters, but they do hold their bract colors throughout spring. The best use for poinsettias is as a houseplant this winter to add a little color indoors and then pair them with spring annual flowers, such as violas, pansies; and perennials, such as heuchera and bleeding heart, outdoors in the garden. As long as it doesn't frost, you can create a colorful spring scape using your poinsettias. Once summer comes and they start growing new green leaves, it's time to compost them. Check out Connecticut Gardener Magazine for more ideas on using poinsettias.

For holiday cactus, find a bright, cool, room indoors for them to grow. In spring, hang holiday cactus plants in small trees, such as crabapples, as they would grow in Nature to give them a taste of the humidity and light.

Amaryllis are perennial bulbs and are easy to bring back again for a repeat bloom next year. Remove the flower stalks, once spent, and leave the leaves growing your amaryllis in a sunny window. In early summer move the potted amaryllis outdoors to a part shade location with other low growing perennials. The green leaves provide a perfect backdrop to more colorful annuals and perennials. Come fall, move it into a dark, cool room, stop watering, remove the leaves and let it stay dormant for a few months before it starts growing again.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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