Christmas plants shouldn’t be consigned to the compost heap – our expert Karen Murphy explains how to keep them thriving for years to come
Hyacinths, along with poinsettias and other forced bulbs, provide us with a lovely bit of indoor colour over the festive period. But did you know that, dealt with correctly, your indoor Christmas plants can thrive for a number of years?
When your hyacinths have finished flowering, be sure to cut down the untidy flower spikes as you would any flowering bulb, so the plant doesn’t put its energy into them any longer and produce seeds. But leaving the foliage on will make sure the sun’s rays feed the plant for future years. Put the plant outside in a sunny spot and water and feed it to help its bulbs develop well.
Once the foliage has died back, there are three things you can do. Either lift the bulbs and store them in a dry, dark shed until the autumn, leave them in the pot to lie dormant, or lift them out and replant them in the garden for an annual display in March and April along with your other spring bulbs.
They’re not as tender as you might think and will cope with most outdoor conditions, but need to be kept in very well-drained soil or they’ll be at risk of rotting.
Keep festive plants happy!
Prune back in spring, repot and leave in a light place at 15°C. In November, give it 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness for it to colour up again.
Prune in late winter. Keep above 10°C in winter. You can move it to a sunny patio with shade from midday in the summer. Feed every two weeks in the growing season.
3. Christmas cactus
Reduce watering and temperature to 12°C from now until spring. Feed and water from spring to summer and put outside. Bring inside in September. Cyclamen
4. Cyclamen persicum
After flowering, stop watering and let leaves die. Put in a cool spot for summer. Keep dry and repot if needed. In early autumn, start watering again.
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Karen writes for Garden News magazine which is packed full of tips, inspiration, plant and product news and great money-saving offers! On sale every Tuesday or subscribe and try your first 4 issues for just £1 – Call 080858 438884 and quote YFIG, or visit www.greatmagazines.co.uk/YFIG. T&Cs apply.