COLUMN: Offer plants for the holidays

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The poinsettia still reigns supreme among holiday flowering plants, but don’t forget that there are many other plant gift choices that create a beautiful indoor landscape and bring joy beyond the holiday season. .

Here are some plant gift ideas for that special someone on your holiday list.

Alberta dwarf spruce

This tree is often found in small pots, perfect for use as a tabletop Christmas tree; and once spring arrives, it can be planted outside in the landscape. This native of Alberta, Canada can stand the cold and grows in a neat cone shape, with dense blue-green needles. It is easy to maintain indoors; give it moderate light and keep the soil evenly moist but not wet or in standing water.

Norfolk Island Pine

Another popular evergreen tree during the holidays, the Norfolk Island pine is a tropical plant native to the Norfolk Islands. Unlike the dwarf Alberta spruce, the Norfolk Island pine cannot survive our winters outdoors. It is used as a compact houseplant.

The fern pattern on the foliage is what makes this evergreen unique. The plant prefers high to medium light (window facing east or west) and moderate temperatures (50 to 70 degrees). Provide moisture by placing the plants on a tray of damp pebbles without letting the roots sit in standing water.

Rosemary

Rosemaries and topiaries are popular during the holidays. This fragrant and delicious herb is often found in the shape of a Christmas tree. With proper care, rosemaries and topiaries can last long after the holidays and can be taken out in the summer. Rosemary prefers a sunny spot in the house.

Keep the plant on the dry side. To maintain the shape of the tree or topiary, you will need to prune it often. Use your cut pieces in your favorite recipes or save them for later use.

Amaryllis

Amaryllis is an indoor bulb. Its large, showy flowers come in a variety of colors and shapes. More than one, placed in decorative containers, looks wonderful as an indoor holiday display. You can find this plant that is already starting to grow; or you can buy bulbs and plant them yourself.

You can also find amaryllis “kits” that include a pot, bulb, and soil. If you are repotting your own amaryllis bulb, let the bottom of the bulb and the roots soak overnight in lukewarm water. Plant the bulb in a pot just large enough to contain it, using light potting soil, and leave the bulb neck above the soil surface.

Place the pot in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Water sparingly until the top shoot begins.

Christmas cactus

You can distinguish the Christmas cactus from other holiday cacti by its leaf margins and color; the leaf margins have four rounded scallops along the edges of the stem, and the flower colors are usually red or white.

This plant begins to flower in late December and often continues through February or March. This plant can last for years with proper care.

Additional buying tips

If you buy your gift plants in person, take a cardboard or plastic box with you to protect the plants from the shock of the cold.

Ask the seller for basic care instructions to give with the plant; or write the instructions on a pretty card to include with the plant.

Also check out these plants for holiday gifts. Colorful African violets, ornamental peppers, lemon cypress and even orchids. Give plants the unique and personal touch this holiday season!

Consider participating in the training of volunteer master gardeners in 2022! Come visit the Parker F. Extension Writing Botanical Gardens, an educational component of the Oneida County Master Gardeners Volunteer Program. For more information call us or visit HYPERLINK “http://cceoneida.com” http: //cceoneida.comor phone 315-736-3394, ext. 100. Make sure you like us on Facebook (www. facebook.com/cceoneida) and visit our YouTube channel by clicking on the icon at the bottom of our web page.

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