Five Things to Know When Buying Holiday Plants | Gardening tips and how-to guides

Five Things to Know When Buying Holiday Plants |  Gardening tips and how-to guides

When you think of Christmas plants, what probably comes to mind are trees and wreaths. However, the season is full of beautiful flowering plants and foliage, from dramatic amaryllis to small table trees, and even succulents. Live and growing plants provide beauty and vitality to your decor that is unparalleled by other types of decor. Celebrate by giving them as gifts, or treat yourself and bring one or two home.

With the help of the experts at Jackson & Perkins, here are five things to know when ordering live holiday plants:

Decide which one

There is such a variety of holiday plants that choosing is the hardest part of ordering. Consider the amount of space the plant will take up, its growth habits, and its light needs. Many plants will live long after December, so understand any care requirements. Jackson & Perkins offers growing guides for their holiday plants.

When giving a gift, consider the recipient's gardening experience. Choose easy-care plants for beginners. Kalanchoe and white paper do not thrive, so it will not be a long-term commitment for gardeners who are challenged. Foliage plants such as philodendron, snake plant or succulents are low maintenance. Businesses often decorate them with seasonal decorations to make them look festive. Rosemary, gardenias, and miniature roses are better choices for more experienced gardeners.

Shop around

Florists like Proflowers and Teleflora sell live plants as well as cut flowers, as do Jackson & Perkins and Monrovia nurseries, to name a few. Online plants can be expensive, with increased taxes and delivery fees. Companies have promotions and flash sales, and there's usually an offer to save money if you sign up to receive their emails.

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Order now

For the widest selection and to avoid unexpected shipping delays, order as soon as possible, preferably a few weeks in advance. You can often specify the date you want the plant delivered. Keep in mind that some plants, such as amaryllis, have specific flowering cycles. Scheduling delivery to coincide with a holiday or event ensures that the plant arrives at its peak.

Other things to keep in mind: Some U.S. states and territories do not allow certain plants — such as ivy — to be shipped into their state due to the potential for invasion or disease. This is not an issue for most holiday gift manufacturers, and information will be available on the company's website.

Delivery time

Holiday plants are packed to prevent damage during transportation, but not due to hail. They are often sent via 1 day shipping to avoid exposing them to the weather. Most are native to warm or tropical climates and cannot tolerate freezing or even cold temperatures. Plants native to cold regions, such as evergreens, were likely raised in climate-controlled greenhouses. Spending enough time outdoors could harm or kill them.

This can make it difficult to surprise someone with a living gift in the winter, because someone has to be there to receive it. When possible, request a ride when you know someone will be home. Unless it is a warm, enclosed area, never allow the plant to be left on the doorstep.

Get it sorted

Once the plant arrives, immediately open the box and take it out of the packaging. Reputable companies will carefully pack the plant to ensure that no part of it is crushed. The foliage should look clean and healthy, not wilted. The soil mixture should be moist and packed so that it does not spill. Flowering plants should have lots of buds, with only a few open flowers. Evergreen plants should not have brown or fallen needles.

If the manufacturer arrives in less than original condition, the company should be willing to replace it or refund your money.

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Introduce the plant gradually to its new environment, avoiding sudden changes in temperature or light when possible. Check soil moisture and water accordingly. Avoid over or under water. Place the plant in a location that meets its light and temperature needs. Do not let any part touch the cold window glass.

Check for insect pests. If you order from a reputable nursery, there's no need to worry, but it's always a good idea to check new plants for bugs. If there is any doubt, isolate it from other plants and treat the infestation.

Once the holiday is over, don't throw away your plants. Many of them, such as the Norfolk Island pine, make great houseplants. With proper care, flowering plants such as amaryllis or Christmas cactus will bloom every year. Trees, lemon cypress and rosemary can be moved outdoors once warm weather arrives. Plants that have been spray painted or covered in glitter may not last long, because the paint and glitter inhibit photosynthesis.

    (Tags for translation)Botany

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