There’s so much to love about the holiday season — the cooking and baking, the time spent with family and friends, and the festive plants. Poinsettias or a blooming Christmas cactus are compact yet boast of holiday spirit. The more plants, the merrier!

With just a little care, holiday houseplants can continue to thrive throughout the year. Knowing how to care for them helps to keep them beautiful. Repot later if needed.

So whether you’re getting or giving holiday houseplants, use these tips to help keep them blooming.

How to Care for Holiday Favorites

Poinsettia: No other plant quite marks the beginning of the holiday season like the poinsettia. With more than 100 varieties available today in colors of red, white, pink, and more, this plant can be found just about everywhere during the holidays.

First things first, don’t let poinsettias get cold on the ride home from the store. Keep trips and exposure to cold as short as possible. Once home, these cheery plants thrive on six hours of indirect light a day away from cold drafts and need proper watering. When the plant needs water, remove the decorative foil and let soak in a few inches of water for an hour or so. Let excess drain and rewrap.

Tip: Take the poinsettia out of its foil and place it in a decorative container.

Norfolk Island pine: A mini Christmas tree, this festive plant looks lovely when adorned with mini lights and homemade ornaments or just plain on its own.

Give pines about six to eight hours of light per day. Any less and lower branches are likely to drop. Water when dry to the touch. Fertilize Norfolk Island pines bi-monthly with our new liquid houseplant fertilizer to keep them happy and healthy.

Tip: Pines can last for years and be decorated for other seasons as well!

Christmas cactus: Though this cactus is known for blooming around Christmas, it’ll stay strong throughout the year and periodically rebloom. Its ruffled flowers range in color from reds to pinks to oranges and creams.

Give this plant bright indirect light and place it outdoors in a semi-shady spot during the summer months. Allow the plant to become slightly dry between waterings. Keeps this holiday plant reblooming for years to come by giving it a rest during the fall and placing it in the dark for about six to eight weeks, encouraging new blooms.

Tip: No matter how diligent you are about care, bloom time may vary based on variety. Whether or not it blooms in time for the holidays, you’ll still have winter blooms to enjoy.

Cyclamen: Cyclamen’s bright flowers in pink, white, or red are great for adding a pop of color where you need it. With the right conditions, they can bloom for more than eight weeks.

Cyclamen likes light, but not super-bright light. Keep the temperature consistent and deadhead spent flowers and leaves. Pour water into a saucer and let the plant absorb it for 15 to 20 minutes.

Tip: During the summer, cyclamen’s foliage turns yellow and dies back. This is their dormant period when they’re storing energy for the next flowering season.

Are you having a “brain freeze” because of winter? I can definitely blame some of my “brain freezes” on the winter weather but I can also claim brain mush this time of year. I have the month of January off and my brain seems to freeze or go into a mental mush. But…I’m back at Van Wilgen’s and have begun the brain defrosting process. I am getting my mental mojo back! I hope this tip helps you to bring all of your gardening knowledge closer to the mental forefront. I know you tucked this knowledge away with your gardening tools deep into the garden shed of your brain. Let’s open the garden shed door and let some of that gardening know-how fly to the front. We all know our bodies are ready for spring. Let’s give your brain something happy to think about by focusing on Van Wilgen’s and the bounty of gardening.

BRAIN DEFROSTING TIP #1: It has been a warm winter so pay attention to your lawn. If you see tunneling or shallow “scars” in your lawn or garden, you have a Mole and/or Vole problem. The most likely culprit is Voles. They really enjoy the soft winter ground. Act fast and apply a Vole repellent such as I Must Garden’s Mole & Vole Repellent. This product applied immediately after snowmelt can save you from a big brain pain later.

BRAIN DEFROSTING TIP #2: Are you staring out the window and daydreaming about a tropical vacation while the deer eat your entire Arborvitae hedge right under your daydreaming nose? Wake up! If temporary fencing is just not your thing, at least put down some granular repellent such as Deer Scram by Epic. You can apply it right over the snow. If our temperatures are in the 40’s, get out there and spray with a deer repellent such as Liquid Fence. This way, you can spend more time staring and dreaming without a deer feast going on right outside your window.

BRAIN DEFROSTING TIP #3: The earlier, the better. Sometimes our brains can actually be ahead of our bodies. If your brain has already put on its’ gardening hat but your body is still in sluggish winter mode, it is time for your brain to give your body a kick in the pants.

* It is better to test your soil earlier in the spring. If you head over to the CT Agricultural Station they can assist with testing your soil. Knowing your soil’s baseline will get you off to the right start. If we know your pH level is low, we can put down Limestone right away. You know how much I love Limestone and how I believe the right pH is the key to the best lawn on the block and the most productive veggie garden! I can even test your pH level right here in the store…for free!!

*Apply Bonide’s Organic Horticultural Oil or Bayer’s Systemic Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed early in the season. The earlier you apply, the more you are following the program of Integrated Pest Management. Act preventatively and you will use less product in the long run. The Horticultural Oil is great for smothering overwintering insects and eggs before they become a problem in spring. The Systemic treatment is the best for some of the most damaging pests such as; Boxwood Leafminer, Dogwood Borers, Birch Borers, and Scales.bayer tr shrub concentrate

*Early control of some of our most problem lawn weeds can happen as soon as the temperatures reach the 40’s. Bonide makes an awesome weed control product called Weed Beater Ultra. The liquid form works wonderfully in the cooler weather with pesky weeds like Creeping Charlie, Chickweed, and Hairy Bittercress.

How are you now? Do you feel warmer? Has your brain defrosted a little bit? Are you now staring out the window and daydreaming about your lawn and garden instead of escaping to a remote island? If so, mission accomplished. Let’s pull the gardening hat out of the closet, dust off the brim, and get our mental gardening mojo back.

We look forward to seeing you all. Come in and say “Hi” so we can also put your bodies in gardening motion. I’ve missed you all and can’t wait to garden with you!

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!

Each year we gather a few of our favorite things together in an effort to help you find your loved ones the perfect gift!

1. STONE DUCKS range $34.99-$74.99

1. GARDEN FLAG $12.99
2. GARDEN BUDHHA $164.99
3. LIGHT UP ORB $29.99
4. WIND CHIMES range– $21.99-$400.00
3. TERRARIUM KIT $29.99 (includes 3 plants)
4. BONSAI TREE $44.99