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Make Christmas plants last for longer

Yours
 Hyacinths will fill your home with scent

Hyacinths will fill your home with scent

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! 

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1. Poinsettia

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. 

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2. Jasmine 

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. 

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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

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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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