Houseplants and Holiday Plants

Growing plants indoors may offer some challenges, but these links may help you to be successful:

Caring for Houseplants - this University of Missouri Extension page has information on watering, lighting, temperature, etc. to keep your plants alive and healthy

Common Houseplant Insects & Related Pests - this Clemson University Extension page has many different sections on prevention, non-chemical control, chemical control and common pests for indoor plants

Houseplant Problems - this Purdue University Cooperative Extension shows many common issues with indoor plants and how to manage them.  See also this page on Preventing, Diagnosing, and Correcting Common Houseplant Problems.

Fertilizing Houseplants - this University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension PDF has information on fertilizing houseplants.

Winter Care:  

Most houseplants grow well with daytime temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees F and night temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees. Keep houseplants away from cold drafts, radiators, and hot air vents. Humidifiers are an excellent way to increase the relative humidity in a single room or throughout the entire home. Another method is to place the houseplants on trays (saucers) filled with pebbles or gravel and water. The bottoms of the pots should be above the water level. In general, houseplants require less frequent watering during the winter months than in spring and summer. Actively growing plants need more water than those at rest during the winter months. Fertilization is generally not necessary during the winter months because most plants are growing very little or resting.

Poinsettia and Holiday Plant Care:

So, you were gifted with a Poinsettia for the holidays! Now what do you do to keep it alive and happy? Here are some simple tips to keep it alive and mostly happy for your pleasure.

Place it near a sunny window facing south, east or west. Poinsettias are tropical and love light.

It needs heat to keep it alive as long as possible. Maintain 65 – 75 degrees during the day, but it will be fine with 60 degrees at night. Drafts and cold windows can hurt the leaves and cause premature leaf drop. Then you will have a “Charlie Brown Plant”.

Water the plant when the soil surface feels dry and let the water drain out of the bottom, it shouldn’t sit in water though. It will wilt without enough moisture and could be hard to revive. Kitchens usually have more humidity in the air which is good for your plant.

NO! The plant is not poisonous. Because it has a white sticky sap that could cause skin irritation, wash your hands after touching it. It was not meant to be eaten and can cause stomach irritation and discomfort if your cat chooses to eat it.

It comes in many natural colors like red, pink, white and mottled shades. The latest trend is to paint the bracts blue and purple with glitter. It will return to its natural color as it grows.

Audio Resources:

CCE's podcast, Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley, has produced a series of audio interviews with various experts on selecting and caring for houseplants.  Below are some exerpts from some episodes that you might find helpful.

Last updated May 4, 2023