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’Tis The Season For Holiday Plants

Flowering plants are one of the easiest and prettiest ways of dressing up your home for the holiday season. These should be available at florists, stores and greenhouses and will add a cheerful and festive air to any room.

As its name implies, this easy-to-care-for succulent bursts into bloom just as Christmas nears. Growing to a height of 24 inches tall, plants produce an abundance of dark-pink or tangerine trumpet-shaped flowers on fleshy stems that can spread to three feet. Place plants in bright light where they will receive at least two hours of direct sunlight. Water plants thoroughly only when the top half of the soil is dry, making sure all water drains from the pot. Keep potted plants away from drafty windows, exterior doors and heat sources.

A must for the holiday season, this frost-tender tuber brings an abundance of spring hues for holiday decorating. Cheery red or pink flowers rise on eight-inch stems from mounds of heart-shaped leathery leaves. Plants require bright light, at least two hours of full sun, doing best in rooms where daytime temperatures remain around 14 C (60 F). Set the plants on pebbles in a tray filled with water; do not let the plants sit in water. Water plants thoroughly when soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering and wetting the plant crowns to prevent crown and root rot.

At this time of year, our eyes turn to the bright red of the poinsettia. An inexpensive and easy-to-care-for plant, potted poinsettias pack a lot of colour for the buck. Their bright-red bracts surround tiny yellow flowers that grow profusely on upright plants with lush green foliage. Plants sport bracts between seven and 10 inches long and produce blooms until March.

Choose plants with strong stems, and fully coloured bracts with dense foliage that grows from the soil surface up. Ideally, plants should be at least twice as large as the pot. Plants do best where they will receive at least six hours of indirect sunlight and in rooms where daytime temperatures range from 17 to 22 C (65 to 70 F) and 14 C (60 F) at night. Water when top soil layer feels dry to the touch. Place plants away from drafty windows, exterior doors and heat sources. – Patricia Futros writes from Lorette, Manitoba

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