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Give extra care to newly purchased holiday houseplants

Robert Thomas, Information Specialist, Extension and Agriculture Information, University of Missouri


When bringing home newly purchased houseplants to brighten the holidays, be sure to follow a few simple steps to keep your plants healthy.


“First, be sure your newly purchased indoor plants are well-protected during the trip from the store to your home,” said David Trinklein, University of Missouri horticulturalist. “Exposure to icy temperatures for just a few moments may cause injury to sensitive plants.”


Water houseplants with tepid water. Cold tap water may shock plants, he said.


On cold nights, move houseplants back away from icy windows to prevent chilling injury.


The most popular holiday plant is the poinsettia, which likes sun for at least half a day. Keep your poinsettias away from drafts, registers and radiators. Keep night temperatures in the 50s or low 60s and day temperatures at 70 degrees. The soil should be dry only for a short time between thorough waterings. Be sure to punch holes in decorative foil wraps to prevent soggy soil conditions and empty the saucer placed beneath the pot to prevent it from standing in water.


If you bring home a living Christmas tree to be planted outdoors later, be sure to dig the planting hole before the ground freezes. Mulch and cover the backfill soil and the planting hole to keep them dry and unfrozen.


Keep your living Christmas tree well-watered, and do not keep the tree indoors for more than a week. If outdoor temperatures are extremely cold, it is wise to move the tree to a cool, protected area, such as unheated garage, for several days before planting it in its permanent outdoor location. Then, plant the tree promptly, he said.


Source: David Trinklein, 573-882-9631




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