We have looked at the trials and tribulations of the Poinsettia recently and all that is needed to keep one happy and most importantly alive! This blog looks at the easier options for Christmas house plants. One of my favourites is the Cyclamen which we will get on too shortly, as first off we will go to the easy-peasy, look after it with your eyes closed, Christmas Cactus!
Keep the soil around the Christmas Cactus moderately moist. The soil may be on the dry side. Rather than watering little and often, occasionally, water generously. Preferably use rain water. Make sure that the pot has adequate drainage so that the bottom of the pot does not become water logged.
Preferably water the plant generously in the saucer under the pot. If the water is still in the saucer after half an hour, throw it away, as the soil should not be too moist. Do not pour water in the heart of the plant, because the tuber may start to rot. For a rich bloom we recommend adding plant nutrition to the water regularly. Cut away wilted flowers and leaves.
For about three months keep the plant relatively dry and cool (12-15 ° C), in a bright spot. Every spring during March-April re-pot into fresh compost. From late May the plant can be taken outdoors into a shady spot. From now until the beginning of August add plant food regularly when watering.The flower buds are formed during the rest period, which starts from the beginning of August. Water gradually once the buds are visible and keep in a warmer spot.
Cyclamen (my favourite) are a great houseplant that tolerates our indoor climates. A light spot protected from direct sunlight is preferred. Remove any stem where the flowers have faded and the leaves have turned yellow. This will prevent rotting stems on the plant.
Place the plant in a cool (not cold) room with filtered sunlight and water sparingly. The plant should be allowed to go dry to the touch between watering and be watered only as and when needed, (over-watering is the leading cause of plant death in the winter months inside, the plant is not actively growing and is not taking up the normal food it would during the growing season, and if watered to much the plant will end up sitting in water and problems like moss, mold, rot and leaf yellow may accrue). When the temperatures at night get above 10 C, the plant can then be moved outside and stay out until the temperature drops. During the summer months pinch the tops of each main branch and continue this until about July.
If you only take one tip away from this, let it be that the key to a healthy house plant is to not over water.