How to Care for Holiday Plants after Christmas: Tips for Growing Amaryllis Bulbs, Poinsettia, Cactus After Holidays

How to care for Holiday plants after Christmas

Last Updated on March 6, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Popular Christmas decorations and gifts include poinsettia, amaryllis, and live evergreen trees. These plants will thrive if given proper care after the Holidays.

Homes and offices are often decorated at Christmas with growing plants, bulbs, and flowers. Live trees, flowering plants, Christmas cactus and poinsettias add festive touches to Holiday decor.

Living plants are often discarded after the Holidays, but keeping them alive is not difficult. Knowing the proper growing conditions for each plant is necessary to maintain its beauty.

Understanding Your Holiday Plants

Quick Profiles of Popular Holiday Plants

Before diving into the care specifics, let’s get familiar with some favorite holiday plants. Each one adds a unique touch to holiday décor, but they all need proper attention to keep them blooming past the festive season.

  • Poinsettias: Known for their vibrant red and green foliage, they’re a holiday favorite.
  • Christmas Cactus: This plant blooms lovely flowers, often around Christmas.
  • Amaryllis: Boasts large, beautiful blooms on tall stems.
  • Norfolk Island Pine: Offers a mini Christmas tree look, perfect for small spaces.

Specific Needs of Each Plant Type

Understanding what each plant needs is key to keeping them healthy. Let’s break down their requirements into light, temperature, and water.


PlantLight Requirement
PoinsettiasBright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight.
Christmas CactusBright, indirect light. Can tolerate direct morning light.
AmaryllisBright light, can be direct or indirect.
Norfolk Island PineBright, indirect light. Avoid too much direct sun.


Each plant has its own comfort zone when it comes to temperature.

PlantPreferred Temperature Range
Poinsettias65-70°F (18-21°C) during the day, not below 60°F (16°C) at night.
Christmas CactusPrefer cooler temperatures, 60-70°F (15-21°C), especially during blooming.
Amaryllis65-75°F (18-24°C). Avoid drafts.
Norfolk Island Pine60-70°F (15-21°C). Can tolerate lower temperatures but not drafts.


Keeping your plants hydrated is crucial, but over-watering can be as harmful as under-watering.

PlantWatering Needs
PoinsettiasKeep soil moist, not wet. Reduce watering after blooming.
Christmas CactusAllow topsoil to dry between waterings. More water during bloom.
AmaryllisWater regularly during growth, reduce later.
Norfolk Island PineKeep soil slightly moist, do not let dry out completely.

Post-Holiday Care Basics

Taking care of holiday plants after the festivities have ended is crucial to ensure they continue to thrive and bring beauty to your home. Proper watering, feeding, and managing light and temperature conditions are key aspects of post-holiday plant care.

Watering and Feeding

Understanding the balance of watering and feeding your plants can significantly influence their health and growth. Here’s how you can do it right:

WateringKeep the soil moist but not soggy. Over-watering can lead to root rot, a common issue with indoor plants.Check the soil before watering. For most holiday plants, once a week might be sufficient, but this can vary based on humidity and temperature.
FeedingUse a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to promote healthy growth and blooming.Fertilize every 4-6 weeks during the growing period. Reduce or stop fertilizing in the dormant period.

Light Requirements

The right amount of light is essential for the health of your holiday plants. Each plant has unique light needs that must be met for optimal growth.

Understanding Light Needs

PlantLight RequirementTips
PoinsettiasPrefer bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.Place near a sunny window but shield from direct sun.
Christmas CactusThrive in bright, indirect light. Can tolerate direct morning light.East-facing windows are ideal.
AmaryllisNeeds bright light to bloom. Can be direct or indirect.South or west-facing windows work well.
Norfolk Island PinePrefers bright, indirect light. Direct sun can scorch its needles.A spot that receives ample morning light but is shielded from harsh afternoon rays is perfect.

Temperature and Humidity

Creating an environment with the right temperature and humidity levels is vital for your holiday plants’ survival and growth.

Maintaining Optimal Conditions

Each holiday plant has its own preference for temperature and humidity, reflecting their native habitats.

PlantPreferred TemperatureHumidity Needs
PoinsettiasComfortable at 65-70°F (18-21°C) during the day and not below 60°F (16°C) at night.Prefer higher humidity. Use a pebble tray or a humidifier to increase humidity.
Christmas CactusBest at cooler temperatures, 60-70°F (15-21°C), especially during blooming period.Likes higher humidity. Misting can help increase moisture.
AmaryllisEnjoys 65-75°F (18-24°C). Avoid drafts.Does not require as much humidity. Regular home environments are often sufficient.
Norfolk Island PinePrefers 60-70°F (15-21°C). Can tolerate lower temperatures but not drafts.Enjoys moderate to high humidity. Misting helps.

Keeping these aspects in mind and adjusting your care routine accordingly will help your holiday plants not just survive but thrive in the post-holiday season. Water wisely, provide the right amount of light, and maintain comfortable temperature and humidity levels to enjoy your festive plants all year round.

Special Care Tips for Popular Holiday Plants

Caring for holiday plants requires more than just the basics. Each plant has its own set of needs, especially after the festive season. Here are some tips to ensure your plants not only survive but thrive.

Poinsettias: Ensuring Longevity

Poinsettias are notorious for being a bit fussy post-holiday. Their vibrant leaves, or bracts, are the main attraction and keeping them bright and attached is the goal.

AspectCare TipsReason
LightPlace in bright, indirect sunlight.Mimics their natural, tropical environment.
WaterWater when the top inch of soil feels dry.Prevents root rot and stress.
TemperatureKeep at 65-70°F (18-21°C) during the day.Avoids shock from temperature changes.
Leaf Drop PreventionAvoid drafts and drastic temperature changes.Prevents stress-induced leaf drop.

Maintaining these conditions will help Poinsettias stay vibrant and healthy well into the new year.

Christmas Cactus: Encouraging Future Blooming

Christmas Cactus blooms are a festive favorite. Encouraging them to bloom again requires a bit of effort but is well worth it.

AspectCare TipsReason
WaterAllow topsoil to dry out between waterings.Prevents root rot, mimicking desert conditions.
LightProvide bright, indirect light.Supports photosynthesis and growth.
TemperatureCooler temperatures (50-55°F) to initiate blooming.Triggers blooming cycle.
FertilizingFertilize with a high-potassium fertilizer.Encourages flower development.

Following these steps will help your Christmas Cactus bloom beautifully year after year.

Amaryllis: Bulb Care After Blooming

Amaryllis is admired for its spectacular blooms. Post-bloom care is crucial for it to flower again.

AspectCare TipsReason
After Bloom CareCut off the spent blooms but not the leaves.Allows energy to be redirected to the bulb.
WateringContinue to water and fertilize.Supports the growth of leaves, replenishing the bulb.
Rest PeriodProvide a dormant period of 8-10 weeks of no water.Mimics natural cycles, encouraging rebloom.

Caring for the Amaryllis bulb in this way ensures it will delight you with blooms in future seasons.

Norfolk Island Pine: Maintaining as a Year-Round Houseplant

Norfolk Island Pine can transition from a holiday decoration to a cherished houseplant with the right care.

AspectCare TipsReason
LightBright, indirect light is best.Supports healthy growth.
WaterKeep soil consistently moist.Prevents stress that can lead to browning.
HumidityMist regularly or use a pebble tray.Maintains the humidity they love.
PruningMinimal pruning, only to remove dead branches.Keeps the plant healthy and shaped.

Treating your Norfolk Island Pine with care will help it grow into a stunning year-round feature in your home.

Care for Amaryllis Bulb after Christmas

caring amaryllis bulbs

Amaryllis bulbs produce large flowers on tall stems and typically bloom six to eight weeks after planting. After the bloom has faded, the flower stalk should be cut close to the base of the bulb. The leaves should not be disturbed and allowed to grow.

Amaryllis need sunlight and can be kept in a sunny window until all danger of frost has passed. Then the bulb can be moved outdoors and either left in its container or put directly into the ground. The bulb should be fed and watered regularly for at least eight months.

In the fall the plant will need to rest for about eight weeks to produce a new flower. This can be accomplished by bringing the bulb into a garage or basement where it will not freeze.

After the resting period watering can be resumed and the plant moved to a sunny spot. Most bulbs will bloom again in the spring or summer.

Read more: Amaryllis flower meaning and symbolism

Move Live Christmas Trees Outside

original Kim christmas tree mini front porch

Small Christmas trees can be moved outdoors and planted in the ground. It is best to gradually acclimate the tree by placing it outside for short periods and then gradually increasing the time.

An important factor to consider when choosing a location is the eventual size of the tree. It is sometimes difficult to envision the future size of a one-foot tall tree. Good drainage is also important when planting as soggy conditions can damage tree roots.

Poinsettia can be Moved Outdoors after Danger of Frost has Passed

poinsettia plants outside

Although getting the poinsettia to bloom again is very difficult, the plant makes a nice green addition to the garden. It should be moved outside after all danger of frost has passed. In areas that do not experience a hard freeze, the plant can be put into the ground.

Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension House and Garden Center says to ” take the plant outdoors once the night temperature remains above 50 °F. Fertilize the plant every two to three weeks during the spring, summer and fall with a well-balanced complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10.

The poinsettia’s need for long periods of total darkness each night makes it impractical for most to attempt to get the brightly-colored leaves the following season.

Christmas Cactus are Easy to Grow

A Penn State Publication on Christmas cactus care reports that they are easy to grow, and that “Christmas cactus often thrives more on neglect than tender loving care.”

The Christmas cactus, when planted in a well-drained soil mix rich in organic matter, should live a long time. It needs rest in the fall to encourage flower bud production. Cuttings can be taken and rooted in vermiculite or sand and then planted.

Proper care of Holiday plants will keep them healthy and provide pleasure all year.

Read also: 26 Types of cactus with pictures

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Taking care of holiday plants can sometimes be challenging. You might face issues like drooping leaves, discoloration, and pest problems. Knowing how to spot and fix these problems can make a big difference in the health of your plants.

Addressing Common Issues

Here’s a guide to help you identify and tackle some of the most common problems:

Drooping LeavesLeaves hang limp, not firm as usual.Check for over or under-watering. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Make sure the pot allows for proper drainage.
DiscolorationLeaves turn yellow or brown; may affect entire leaves or just the tips.Often a sign of too much direct sunlight or nutrient deficiency. Move the plant to a less bright spot and consider a balanced fertilizer.
Pest ProblemsVisible insects, sticky residue on leaves, or unexplained damage.Isolate the affected plant. Use mild soap and water to clean the leaves, or consider an appropriate pesticide if necessary.

Specific Plant Troubleshooting

Each holiday plant has its own set of potential issues. Here’s how to identify and rectify issues specific to each type:


  • Issue: Leaf drop is common post-holiday.
  • Fix: Keep the plant in a well-lit room away from drafts. Consistency is key with these plants; avoid sudden temperature changes or moving them frequently.

Christmas Cactus

  • Issue: Failure to bloom or bud drop.
  • Fix: Ensure a darker period of about 14 hours of night for 6 weeks before the desired bloom time. Keep the plant in a cooler room (around 50-55°F) during the night.


  • Issue: Bulb rot or no new growth after the resting period.
  • Fix: Make sure the bulb is not sitting in wet soil. For the resting period, store the bulb in a cool, dark place and reduce watering.

Norfolk Island Pine

  • Issue: Brown or droopy branches.
  • Fix: These are often signs of dry air or insufficient water. Increase humidity around the plant and ensure the soil is evenly moist.

By paying close attention to the signs your plants are showing, you can often prevent or correct issues before they become serious. Regularly checking for pests, adjusting light, water, and temperature conditions, and providing the right nutrients are all essential parts of keeping your holiday plants healthy. With a bit of care and attention, you can enjoy these beautiful plants long after the holiday season has ended.

Repotting and Pruning

For your holiday plants to thrive and grow, repotting and pruning are crucial steps. These practices not only help in maintaining the health of your plants but also in enhancing their appearance. Let’s delve into how and when to repot and prune your holiday plants for their best health.

Guidelines on Repotting

Repotting is essential for providing your plants with fresh soil and more space to grow. Here’s how to determine the right time and method for repotting:

Signal for RepottingStepsBest Time
Roots are circling the pot or coming out of drainage holes.1. Choose a pot that is one size larger. 2. Gently remove the plant and trim any dead or excessively long roots. 3. Place in new pot with fresh potting mix.Early spring is ideal, as plants begin a period of active growth.

Pruning Tips

Pruning helps in removing dead or diseased parts, encourages healthy growth, and shapes the plant. Here’s how to do it right:

Reason for PruningMethodTiming
To shape the plant or remove dead parts.1. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. 2. Cut just above a leaf node or junction for healthy regrowth. 3. Never remove more than one-third of the plant at a time.Late winter or early spring, before new growth starts.

Special Tips for Popular Holiday Plants

  • Poinsettias: After the festive season, cut back the stems to about 6 inches to encourage bushiness.
  • Christmas Cactus: Prune by pinching off segments to encourage branching and more blooms.
  • Amaryllis: Cut off spent flower stalks close to the base. Do not cut the leaves as they feed the bulb for next year’s bloom.
  • Norfolk Island Pine: Avoid pruning the top as it can stunt the tree’s growth. Only remove dead or damaged branches.

Transitioning Plants for the Next Season

As seasons change, so do the needs of your holiday plants. Transitioning them properly can ensure they not only survive but thrive, ready for their next blooming cycle or growth spurt. Here are strategies for gradually adjusting your plants to new locations or outdoor environments and preparing them for the upcoming season.

Gradually Adjusting to New Environments

Moving your plants to different locations, especially outdoors, requires a gradual approach to prevent shock.

AcclimatizationStart by placing plants outside for a few hours each day, gradually increasing their time outdoors over a week or two.Reduces shock from direct sunlight and temperature changes.
Location SelectionChoose a spot that mimics the plant’s indoor light conditions before moving to a more permanent location.Ensures a smooth transition to the plant’s new environment.
MonitoringKeep an eye on the weather and bring plants inside if extreme temperatures are forecasted.Protects plants from conditions they are not yet accustomed to.

Preparing for the Next Blooming Cycle

Preparation is key for encouraging a healthy and vibrant blooming cycle. Here’s how you can get your plants ready:

FertilizationBegin to introduce a balanced, slow-release fertilizer as the plant adjusts to its new environment.Start this process as new growth appears, indicating the plant is ready to take in more nutrients.
PruningTrim any dead or damaged parts to encourage new growth.Do this just before or during the early stages of the plant’s transition outdoors.
Watering AdjustmentGradually adjust watering to match the plant’s new environment and growth phase.Increase watering as the plant shows signs of new growth, keeping the soil moist but not soggy.

Special Considerations for Popular Holiday Plants

  • Poinsettias and Christmas Cactus: These plants can be moved outdoors in a shaded area during summer but require bringing inside before temperatures drop in the fall.
  • Amaryllis: After the blooming cycle, continue to water and feed the plant as it prepares for a period of dormancy before the next growth cycle.
  • Norfolk Island Pine: Although primarily an indoor plant, it can benefit from being placed in a shaded outdoor area during warmer months to increase humidity and encourage growth.

By following these strategies, you’re setting up your holiday plants for success in their next season. Gradual adjustment to new environments and careful preparation for the next blooming cycle or growth period are crucial steps in nurturing healthy, vibrant plants. With patience and proper care, your plants can continue to flourish, bringing beauty and joy to your home throughout the year.


Taking care of holiday plants after Christmas is more than just a routine; it’s a commitment to the life and vibrancy these plants bring into our homes. We’ve walked through the essentials—from understanding each plant’s unique needs to troubleshooting common problems, and even preparing them for the seasons ahead. This journey shows the importance of proper care, ensuring these plants flourish well beyond the festive season.

Let’s shift our perspective and see these plants not just as holiday decorations but as year-round companions. Their continued growth and beauty can bring a sense of accomplishment and joy throughout the year. So, cherish your holiday plants, give them the care they need, and they will reward you by thriving and adding life to your space no matter the season.

Additional Resources

For those eager to dive deeper into the world of plant care, here are some resources that can offer further guidance and inspiration:



  • The Spruce ( Offers a vast collection of articles on plant care, including specific guides for holiday plants.
  • Gardeners’ World ( Provides expert advice on gardening, including tips on caring for indoor plants.
How to Care for Holiday Plants after Christmas: Tips for Growing Amaryllis Bulbs, Poinsettia, Cactus After Holidays