December 15, 2010 at 7:58 p.m.

Suggestions for living holiday gifts

Suggestions for living holiday gifts
Suggestions for living holiday gifts

Chisago County Master Gardeners have been writing about holiday suggestions for years. The most popular holiday gift remains the poinsettia, whether it be Christmas or Easter. Earlier I wrote that many keep these plants year after year, rather than throwing them out after they bloom. While it is tricky to make them bloom again it is fun to see their leaves turn from green to red again, after being brought in from outside.

Donna Tatting, one of our Master Gardeners, wrote an article suggesting Cyclamen as a possible holiday gift. Cyclamen is a Mediterranean plant that grows from tubers that are round and rather flat. In nature it goes dormant during the summer months. It comes into growth as cooler, damper weather starts. If you are choosing a Cyclamen, be sure to select one with only a few flowers open. The flower stems should stand straight up, and there should be lots of buds tucked underneath the foliage that will bloom later.

Christmas cactus is an excellent gift and my favorite indoor plant. It is called a cactus because it looks like a cactus. It usually blooms around Christmas time. It is native to South America and has been a holiday plant since the 1800's.

The Norfolk pine has become a popular Christmas gift for many reasons. It is a durable plant that can be a part of your home for many years. Norfolk pines originate from the tiny Norfolk Island located, on the external territory of Australia. In its native habitat, this pine can grow up to 200 feet tall with a trunk as large as 10 feet across. As a houseplant it will grow from three to six inches a year.

Cut flowers are also popular for the Christmas holiday. Roses continue to be the most popular flower with red the most popular color, followed by yellow and orange.

The next most popular cut flower is the carnation. One of the reasons carnations are so popular is because of their durability with little care. It is not unusual for them to last two to three weeks, or longer.

The next favorite cut flowers include mums, pompoms, and daisies. Again, their durability and low maintenance make them popular. All cut flowers purchased in flower shops are in a non-wilting solution that helps extend their beauty. One grower stated they never use softened water in their plants due to the sodium used in some water softeners.


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