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Tuesday, December 2, 2014 Home DecorHouseplants

Holiday Plants That Last a Long Time

Garden centers, home centers, and grocery stores are loading up on poinsettias for the holiday season. If you'd like to give your poinsettias fun planting partners (or try something new for a change), here's a collection of other dazzling holiday plants that last longer:

1. Norfolk Island Pine: Common in grocery stores and home centers at this time of year, Norfolk Island pines are often found pre-decorated. Make it even more festive by adding a small string of lights and tiny ornaments and garlands. Remove the decorations after the holidays, and you'll be rewarded with an easy-care houseplant that looks great all year long. Learn more about Norfolk Island pine. 

2. Gardenia: If you crave the fragrance of the tropics during the cold, dark winter season, try gardenia. Its scented flowers will take your breath away. Happily, even when not in bloom, gardenia shows off attractive, dark green leaves. While they're not the easiest plants to grow, gardenias should thrive in your home if you offer bright light, high humidity, and consistent moisture. 

3. Cyclamen: Cyclamen provide a pop of color during the holidays. Beautifying your home with its butterfly-shaped blooms in shades of red, white, and pink, cyclamen also have lovely heart-shaped leaves mottled with silver. There is a trick to growing this one: After it finishes it blooming, cut back on the watering and let it go to sleep. Completely ignore it for a couple of months, then begin watering again. Your cyclamen will make new leaves, start to bloom, and put on another show! 

4. Amaryllis: Amaryllis are like gardening magic: in just a matter of weeks, the big brown bulb transforms itself into a stunning display of bold red, pink, white, or green blooms. After the blooms finish, keep the bulbs in a bright place until spring. After all danger of frost has passed, move them outdoors to a sunny spot and let them soak up the rays. When frost threatens, stop watering and bring them indoors. Begin watering again around November and they'll shoot up another stalk of brilliant blooms. 

5. Christmas Cactus: Old-fashioned, but just as loved as they were in your grandmother's day, Christmas cactus are easy-to-grow jungle plants that like a medium-bright spot, ample humidity, and consistent moisture. They're exceptionally long-lived --- many families pass their Christmas cactus down through generations. You'll find varieties that flower in shades of pink, red, yellow, orange, and white. 

6. Orchids: Few plants are as exotic as orchids. While some orchids are fussy and challenging to grow as houseplants, bold, beautiful moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) are a cinch, requiring about the same care as a pothos. The flowers last for months in rich shades of pink, purple, yellow, orange, and white. Learn how to make your orchids last longer! 

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