I made a post… uh… a few years ago? about holiday florals, but it’s worth revisiting since I just nabbed a new son for myself.
It’s really no wonder why the Schlumbergera needed a little rebranding. The common names for these cacti refer to their blooming season – the Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus are what you’ll see most of. (The Easter cactus is actually in the genus Hatiora.) These little beauties hail from the coastal mountains of Brazil, naturally occurring in high altitudes on rocky terrain (or sometimes in trees.)
If you want to bring one into your home, place it in a window with bright indirect light – direct sunlight will burn the segments. Avoid cold drafts. If you’re running hot air inside, place a little dish of water nearby to make its environment a little humid. They need to be fertilized during their growing season and watered only as the soil starts to dry out.
The Cuitlaxochitl (or La Flor de la Nochebuena) was “discovered” by a white dickhead who introduced the plant to the United States in the 1820s… when it had, in fact, been cultivated by the Aztecs.
Contrary to popular belief, these plants can absolutely survive all year long in your home. They need a minimum of six hours of indirect sunlight and ambient temperatures around 65F. They need to be fertilized during their blooming season. Water when the soil is dry 2-3 inches down, but absolutely avoid overwatering – and remove it from that foil, which will prevent it from draining properly. When the blooms drop off, trim it back to a few buds. It will look very dead, but will start to grow out in the early summer!
This tropical flowering lily-like plant can bloom indoors in November and December. Water when the soil is dry to an inch deep. They’re susceptible to root rot, so avoid keeping them too wet. When the flowers start to die, cut them off at the base to help the bulb conserve energy for next year. Whenever the flowers are fully done, cut the whole stalk off. In the late summer, place it in a cool, dark place to rest up, then take it out in October and get planting.
If you purchase one that’s coated in wax, it will only bloom once. That said, they are easier to grow, so they make a great gift for people who aren’t so great at gardening. Plus, they just look super bougie.
The adorable little Narcissus papyraceus blooms are super cute, but bad news: because the bulbs have been “forced” to grow for Christmas, they won’t bloom again. Enjoy them while you have them, then let them go when they’re done.
Norfolk Island Pine
Um okay this isn’t actually a pine tree. They’re slow-growing little babies that make perfect living Christmas trees. They don’t do well outdoors in most of North America or Europe, so enjoy them as houseplants. They’re cute and soft and huggable. Yes, I’m okay.
These are a great gift, often sold shaped into Christmas trees this time of year. They have a wonderful scent and can easily be transplanted outdoors in the spring. This is a great gift for your culinary-minded friendos.
Perhaps no other plant is sold with worse care instructions than the orchid. Orchids are incredibly fussy creatures and no, placing an ice cube in the dirt every other week is not the move. They need humidity and bright, indirect light. They need special fertilizer and controlled temperatures and never mind that each variety of orchid has different care needs. You can find orchids all year, but I recommend against giving this needy baby as a gift.