The holidays bring cooler weather and new varieties of plants! We encourage you to use this guide to help you take care of Poinsettias, Cyclamen, Christmas Cactus, Norfolk Island Pines, and Christmas Trees. We want you to get the most out of your plants and be as successful as you possibly can be. If you are still struggling with you plant after reading through this guide, feel free to come in and speak with a sales associate at Garden Seventeen! We encourage you to bring photos as well so the we can help diagnose issues faster and more accurately!
Christmas Tree Care Guide
We want you to get the most out of your Christmas tree this year. Below we will list some tips and tricks for you to follow so that you can have your tree up for as long as possible!
We sell quality Fraser Firs which are an extremely popular choice when it comes to tree varieties. They are known to retain their needles for a longer time period than other varieties. They also feature strong branches and a wonderful piney scent.
After you leave the store with your new tree, you will want to keep it in a sheltered, cool space until you’re ready to bring it inside. We suggest placing it in your garage. Be sure to always keep your tree in fresh water. Warm water is best as the tree sap can start to leak out and form a barrier at the base within 4 hours of being out of water. This makes it difficult for the tree to absorb enough water and will cause it to start drooping and dropping needles. If you notice your tree stump has been sitting out and is dry, make a fresh cut a few inches up the trunk and immediately place the tree in water.
When you arrive home, clear a space for your new tree, lay out the tree removal bag, then place the tree stand on top of the bag. Now your space is ready for the tree to come inside! Tighten the stand bolts so your tree is snug in place, then fill the stand with warm water. This process is made easier with our water funnels, which eliminate the need for bending down to the ground to refill the basin.
Special tip: At Garden Seventeen, we can place the tree in a stand for you before you leave the store whether it’s a stand you buy from us or a stand from home!
Watering your tree is extremely important and you should be monitoring the water levels daily in order to prevent the tree from going dry. You do not want the sap to start forming a seal and preventing the tree from absorbing water. If that occurs, you will have to remove the tree and make a fresh cut on the bottom. Your tree can absorb at least one quart of water a day, if not more.
We recommend using Superthrive to give your tree a boost of nutrients! This product will help your tree to stay looking fresh longer, and as an added bonus, Superthrive can be used on a wide variety of other plants.
For any questions or concerns, speak with one of our knowledgeable sales associates in the store!
Wreath & Garland Tip: Spritz with water once a week to keep them looking fresh for longer!
Poinsettia Care Guide
Poinsettias have long been regarded as the most popular holiday plant besides the Christmas tree. Native to deciduous tropical forests in Mexico and Central America, when grown in the wild they can reach heights of 15ft as a poinsettia tree! Here in Central Texas though, they stay primarily as holiday houseplants.
The bright, petal-like bracts appear in late fall and, with proper care, continue through New Years. They come in a variety of colors from the classic reds and whites to new varieties like pinks, marbled red and white, and creams. The “petals” we see are actually modified leaves and the true flowers are the small yellow flowers in the center.
Home care tips:
- When bringing your new poinsettia home, try not to expose it to the cold, even driving with the windows down can cause them to drop their leaves.
- Place in a room with bright, indirect light and be sure to avoid direct light on the leaves!
- Avoid hot or cold drafts from air vents or radiators.
- If the pot is wrapped in decorative foil, create some holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain out.
- Water plant thoroughly whenever the top of the soil is dry to the touch, poinsettias like staying evenly moist, but not soaking wet.
- Misting the leaves or bracts will cause fungal issues and leaf drop. If you mist your other plants, keep these away from the misting zones.
- There’s no need to fertilize during the blooming period. If you are keeping the plant through the year, you can start fertilizing in the spring at half strength.
- To prolong the bright color of the bracts, temperatures should not exceed 72 degrees during the day or 60 degrees at night.
As a helpful reminder, poinsettias are in the Euphorbia family and are poisonous. The sticky, white sap from broken stems and leaves can irritate skin and stomachs for both humans and pets. Make sure to keep them out of reach from young children and curious pets! If you have pets and children at home, try keeping them up higher on a counter top, mantle, plant stand, or hang them from the ceiling or a curtain rod.
Click HERE to shop Poinsettias on our online store.
Christmas Cactus Care Guide
Christmas Cactus are a popular holiday houseplant because of their beautiful blooms that appear during the winter months! Use this guide to help you properly care for this plant!
Potting soil: Well draining succulent/cacti soil is your best option for this plant. If you have regular potting soil, try adding a bit of sand and expanded shale to increase drainage! Click HERE to shop our preferred soil medium.
Light Requirements: Bright indirect light to partial direct light is best for your Christmas Cactus. We suggest placing the plant in an east or south facing window. If they receive too much direct sun, their leaves will start to bleach and burn.
Humidity: Unlike other cactus varieties, Christmas Cactus appreciate a bit of humidity. A bright bathroom or bright kitchen is our recommendation, or anywhere else where there is no direct air blowing on them through a vent. These plants do best at about 40% humidity. The average house ranges from 20%-60% humidity which is adequate for these plants!
Watering Needs: Water your Christmas Cactus when the top half of the pot is dry. If the soil is 6 inches deep, water when the top 3 inches are dry. An easy way to tell if the soil is dry is to stick your finger into the soil and feel if it is damp. Make sure the pot has good drainage so the plant does not sit in water. Proper watering is crucial to healthy blooms and longevity of flowers during its blooming period. Letting it get too dry or too wet will affect the blooms on your plant!
Fertilizer: Fertilize once every 2 weeks in fall and winter, and once every 4 weeks in spring and summer. We recommend using THIS fertilizer during the blooming period and THIS fertilizer during the spring and summer months for best results.
Propagation: Christmas Cactus are very easy to propagate! Separate the plant’s foliage at the segment between leaves to encourage branching and flowering. Let the pruned pieces callous for a few days before sticking it into a new pot, or back in the original pot. Doing this encourages new growth and can fill out empty spaces in the plant.
Blooming: Christmas Cactus bloom best when we help them out! Place the plant in a completely dark closet for at least 14 hours overnight. Bright light during the day is fine as long as it is receiving 14 hours of complete darkness per day. This process can take up to 6 weeks, and the plant will respond best if the temp is about 45-50 degrees. Exposing them to lower temperatures of about 45 degrees will encourage the plant to bloom faster! Keep plants cool during blooming, and don’t let them dry out too much or the blooms will drop!
Click HERE to shop our Christmas Cactus options online.
Norfolk Island Pine Care Guide
Norfolk Island Pines are very popular around the holidays because of their resemblance to Christmas Trees. They are not a true pine, but their leaves are “needle like” and coniferous, just like our native pine trees. In nature, Norfolk Island Pines can live to be over 150 years old and can grow over 100 feet tall! They may not grow that tall in a pot in your home, but use this guide to get the most out of you Norfolk Island Pine!
Potting soil: We recommend a well draining potting medium: 2 parts potting soil base such as Happy Frog to 1 part Perlite is going to be best to prevent root rot and to mimic the plant’s natural growing habitat.
Light Requirements: Norfolk Island Pines prefer bright indirect-light. They can do okay with direct morning sun, but may need added humidity and watering if lower branches begin to brown. Keep this plant away from drafty air vents.
Humidity: These pines are native to an island and need lots of humidity. Mist once or twice a week, use a tray with water and pebbles under the pot, or use a humidifier to keep humidity up. This plant would thrive in a bright bathroom where the humidity from the shower would keep it super happy! It would also do great in a greenhouse setting.
Watering: Water when the top 1 inch of soil is dry in the pot. This plant does not like to dry out and will start dropping needles if it becomes too dry. Thoroughly water the plant each time, making sure the soil is able to absorb the water and get it to the roots. We recommend watering until you have water draining out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
Fertilizer: Using a balanced organic fertilizer works well, we suggest THIS product as well as liquid seaweed to help with root health! Apply according to the directions on the back of the labels.
Repotting: Norfolks have a slow growing root system which means that they are prone to root rot if uppotted too quickly. Only repot them when you find the roots coming out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Too much soil around the roots will lead to fungal and bacterial issues for the plant.
These plants do well in spring on a covered patio. They can stay on the covered patio during summer as long as it is being adequately watered. Direct Sunlight and warmer temperatures will cause the water in the soil to evaporate at a quicker rate. Keeping it watered well is key to the health and survival of this plant!
Cyclamen Care Guide
Cyclamen are are a classic cold weather staple for bringing color into both your winter landscape, and indoors as a holiday houseplant. Cyclamen are grown for their beautiful flowers that represent shooting stars. Native to the Middle East and Crete, they were once used to ward off witch hexes and cast love spells!
Cyclamen bloom from fall to spring in a wide variety of colors: crimson, rose, magenta, salmon, white, purples, and pinks. The flowers are large, uniform, and 3-4 inches long atop slender stems. The foliage resembles large hearts in shades of deep greens with white marbling. Regular deadheading (pulling off spent blooms) will help keep the plant blooming for a longer period of time.
For best results, water from the bottom in a saucer when the top 2” of soil is dry. This allows water to be wicked up through the plant’s roots while also providing additional humidity to the plant. They do not like water on the leaves or sitting in water for too long. If growing indoors, they’ll appreciate the thermostat being set lower than 70 degrees for best flower production and placed in a bright, sunny window. Fertilize every 3-4 weeks with a water soluble indoor plant food.
Cyclamen can be grown outdoors in the garden or in pots and like shady, moist spots. They love rich, porous soil with lots of organic matter. They will tolerate partial sun as well, but direct sun is generally too much heat for them. They’re perfect for planting under larger shrubs and trees and pair well with hostas, ferns, primulas, and other bulbs. Cyclamen are hardy to 20 degrees.
Once temperatures start rising too high in spring, they will stop blooming and the leaves will turn yellow and wither, but if you want to save them for next fall, lift the tubers and keep them in a cool, dry and dark space until ready to plant outside again!
Click HERE to shop Cyclamen on our online store.