Getting ready for Christmas


Poinsettia hanging basketWell we've put the tree up, decorated it and it looks great! Whilst we were at the garden centre, we decided to buy a poinsettia, and our friend Jill saw it, admired it and mentioned she can never keep her Chrismas plants looking lovely for more than a few weeks.

She's right though – it may sound crackers but Christmas can be really tough for houseplants. Placed in red hot rooms or chilly ice cold droughts, many will be lucky to last longer than the leftover turkey. Poinsettias love warm rooms, but don't put them too close to radiators or fires. They hate being over-watered so wait until the surface of the compost feels dry before watering and  let any excess water drain away.

The secret with cyclamen is to keep them cool- bedrooms and porches are perfect for these beauties. In warmer rooms, the leaves will turn yellow and flop over in days. Keep the plants in a light spot and water every three days or so, keeping the compost just moist.

If your azaleas dry out, their flowers drop off. Keep them well watered, preferably by immersing the pot in a bucket of rainwater (or boiled, then cooled tap water) every couple of days. Treated well, your festive houseplants can live for years and make many more merry Christmases!

Happy gardening

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