How to keep your festive houseplants happy


The shops will be brimming with some beauties this Christmas – but some plants are better than others. Here's how to get the pick of the pots.

Poinsettias are the traditional Yuletide favourites. Buy them from a shop or garden centre, never from an outdoor market where they might have caught a chill. Look for plants with healthy green leaves, avoid any that are dropping leaves or turning yellow. Once home, keep them in a warm, light room and only water them when they start to dry out.

When choosing a cyclamen, look in the centre of the plant. Make sure there are plenty of little flower buds and no signs of grey mould. Keep them cool, somewhere like a bedroom, hall or porch. If they get  too warm, the leaves will  turn yellow in days. Cyclamen like to be kept slightly moist, so water them  regularly.

Pick  azaleas with healthy green leaves and masses of tight flower buds. They'll flower for longer in a cool room , but can cope with warmer spots. Most of all, they needs lots of watering – give them a soak in the sink for a few minutes every day. That way they'll go on looking blooming wonderful well into the New Year.

Quick tips

Orchids: Do best in a  warm, light spot
Christmas cactus: Like it bright and warm. Don't move them too much or they may drop their flowers
Hyacinths: Choose somewhere cool and turn the bowl regularly to stop the stems bending towards the light.

Happy gardening!

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