Have you ever wondered what to do with all of the potted holiday gift plants after the holidays are over? While some of these are difficult to grow here, others can make beautiful additions to the garden or home for years to come.
First, we will decide which ones not to keep after they become unsightly in their pots. These include many bulbs, such as crocus, hyacinth, tulips, and daffodils. Drastic measures must be taken to see these bloom again. Even the refrigeration will not help if you ever put the bulbs in your fridge. Better to just say goodbye to these. The chrysanthemum can live after its first season but will never look like it did. The gift gardenias are seldom grafted, so that they can become ruined by nematodes if put in the ground. Many oriental lilies won’t bloom again. Mistletoe will thrive outdoors, but birds can often spread the seeds to trees, which would later result in these parasitic plants sucking nutrients from your good trees. Norfolk Island pines can quickly become 60-80 feet tall if not frozen when young, and their mature size and shape require a large yard and large surface roots can form as well.
Fortunately, there are some exceptionally good gift plants which we will want to keep after the holidays are all over. The Easter lily is one of these. Planted after the flowers fade, this beautiful bulb can return and bloom for many years. Hydrangeas can be sustained also, as long as they are given morning sun and afternoon shade, along with adequate water and mulch. Remember that their color depends on the soil acidity, so if you like blue, they will need acidic soil, along with pine straw, pine bark mulch, and azalea food. American holly does grow here, though it can be susceptible to witches broom, especially when subjected to frequent pruning.
The Christmas cactus can make a nice potted houseplant or porch plant if given proper lighting. Strong direct sun can scorch these, and over watering is deadly. Just remember that they are succulents and treat as such. Orchids are heavenly as potted plants and can happily live outside in a hanging pot in a large tree. Just remember that they are cold sensitive and move your plant into a garage or warmer area during cold weather.
Amaryllis can be either left in pots or planted in the ground. If you choose to put them out, find an area of light shade, such as under pine trees. Full sun can yellow the leaves, and deep shade will prevent adequate blooming. Remove bloom stalks as soon as the flowers fade, before seeds form, for best performance. Amaryllis look best planted in clumps. Lubber grasshoppers and caterpillars can find these plants, so be sure to watch the leaves carefully, and pick the pests off.
As previously written, the poinsettia ranks high on the list of plants to keep.