Holiday Houseplant Care: Tips for growing poinsettia and Christmas cactus

Holiday houseplant care: Tips for growing poinsettia and christmas cactus

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Holiday plants such as poinsettia and cactus are popular as decorations and gifts during the holiday season, but do you know how to care for them afterwards?

Plants are especially popular during the holiday season, both as items used for decorating and as gifts. Once the holidays are over and the plants begin to lose their flowers or bracts, how do you care for them? Is it possible to keep them alive to enjoy year after year or is it best to toss them out with the holiday greenery?

Many popular holiday plants such as poinsettia and Christmas cactus can be kept alive and convinced to bloom the following year with very little care. These plants can even be set outside in your garden this summer.

Holiday Houseplant Care: Tips for growing poinsettia and Christmas cactus

Poinsettias are easy to care for plants


They like indirect sun light and room temperatures no warmer than 70 degrees F. They don’t need to be fertilized until after they quit blooming and prefer not to be watered until their soil feels dry to the touch. Once the time has come to begin fertilizing your poinsettia, you should only do it once a month.

In March and again in June, prune your poinsettia branches back so that your plant maintains its bushy shape. Many people will trim their plants so they are just eight inches tall after being trimmed.

You will need to take the shape and size of your own plant into consideration when deciding how far back to trim it.

Beginning October 1st you will want to make sure your plant receives six to eight hours of bright sunlight and no less than fourteen hours of darkness each night. An easy way to make sure your plant gets the needed darkness is to place it in a paper bag or cardboard box in the corner of a closet, however do not forget to remove it daily so it gets the light it needs as well.

After eight to ten weeks of following this regimen your poinsettia should begin to show color on its bracts.

A second popular holiday plant, the Christmas cactus is also relatively easy to care for

Christmas Cactus

It can be saved and will bloom again the following Christmas. The biggest mistake people make with holiday cactus is improper watering.

Water early in the day so the foliage will dry before the night temperatures begin to fall. Try to keep the soil evenly moist. Touch the soil: if it feels moist, you are okay.

If the soil is soggy or dry, you need to water the plant. Make sure to dump the excess water that runs into the saucer after about half an hour so your plants roots will not rot.

Enjoy your plants for years to come!

Following these basic care tips should insure that your holiday plants remain with you for a number of years to come.

Finally, if you do move your plants outside in the summer, remember to do it gradually and research their preferred outdoor growing conditions so you do not shock or kill them.

After all, you didn’t throw them out this year with the holiday greenery so you sure don’t want to compost them now!