Plant Information Fact Sheet No. 5

Cultural Requirements of Indoor Holiday Gift Plants
Common NameScientific NameLight Preference
Watering
Temperature
Feeding
Transplanting/PropagationMaintenanceSpecial Points
AmaryllisHippeastrumBright light, no direct sunlight, except eastern exposure in winter. When top of soil 1/2" is dry to the touch.65º during day; 50º at night for best growth conditions.Slow release pellet balanced fertilizer after repotting.After foliage yellows completely, store potted bulb in a cool dry place,( 55-65). When signs of life appear repot in a mix of a rich, sterilized houseplant potting soil, peat moss and sand with plenty of chards for draingage.Remove faded flowers, cut do not but off green flower stalk or other foliage.Do not let flowers touch cold window glass in winter.
Christmas Cactus Schlumbergera x  
buckleyi
Very bright light conditions with at least two hours of winter sun. Water thoroughly when top half of soil feels completely dry. After 15 minutes remove all excess water from the holding saucer. To encourage cactus to set buds in autumn, keep night temperature consistently between 45º and 55ºF. Prevent bud drop, avoid drafts and large temperature fluctuations, keep humidity high and water correctly. Weekly feeding of dilute soluble fertilizer high in potassium during growing season, between March and September, will benefit Christmas cactus. When flower buds have formed discontinue fertilizing. Christmas cactus grows best in clay pots in a soil mix of one part shredded peat moss, one part sterilized houseplant potting soil, and one part sand. Propagate by taking 3-4" stem cuttings in spring or summer. Dip hardened-off cuttings in Removal of spent flowers and stem tips after flowering promotes branching and more flowers. Christmas cactus can be coaxed into bloom if night temperatures are kept cool ( 50-55ºF) If night temperature is 55 to 70ºF, 13 hours of uninterrupted darkness must be given for buds to form. Cover plants with black cloth during the night
Elatior or Rieger BegoniaBegonia x hiemalisBright, filtered light, with maximum light in winter.When soil feels dry, water thoroughly. Discard excess water after 15 minutes.70º during day; 50º at night.Monthly , water soluble fertilizer of 15-30-15.After all blooms have faded, let dry for 10 days. Prune to 3 inches in height. Repot into a pot 1-1 1/2"larger in diam. Use a light mix of 1part sterilized houseplant soil, 1 part peat moss and 1 part perliteAvoid drafts, hot or cold. Pinch above leaf node to promote bushier growth.Does not like to be root bound.
English IvyHedera helixBright light with one to two hours of sunlight in winter, none in summer.Keep evenly moist, not allowing to dry out to the point of wilting.65º during day; 50º at night for best growth conditions.Feed March through September, with dilute, standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks.When roots show growth from bottom of container, transplant to next larger size pot.Use soil based potting mix. Propagate from stem cuttings, taken just below leaf node, or by layering.Regular cleaning, pinching & checking for disease/insects. Trim weak or spindly growth in early spring. Prune long stems as necessary.To dislodge and discourage spider mites, place plant under running water once a month.
Florist's CyclamenCyclamen persicumBright light all day with one to two hours of full sun.Water from below, tubers easily become waterlogged. If watering from above, keep water out of the center of the plant.65º during day; 50º at night for best growth conditions.Fertilize every two weeks with a water soluble, high phosporous, liquid food after the dormant period (March to May) is over.Grows easily from seed under fluorescent lights for 14-16 hours per day. Start seeds in winter for flowering in a year.When dormancy begins, separate the yellow leaves from the tuber. Hold off on watering and re-pot tubers into a mix of equal parts sterilized houseplant potting soil and perlite. Plant with the tuber 1/2" above the soil. Resume normal wateriCyclmen grows best under very cool, bright condition with a relative humidity above 50%.Coax Cyclamen into dormancy by holding back on watering after flowering period.
GardeniaGardenia augusta, syn. G. jasminoidesBright light with at least four hours of sunlight per day.Keep evenly moist, not allowing to dry out to the point of wilting. Water with distilled water once a month to leach out fertilizer salts.65º-70ºduring day; below 55ºat night for best growth conditions. Higher temperatures will result in leaf and bud drop. Provide extra humidity.Feed during the growing season (March through September) with a dilute fertilizer with iron for acid-loving plants.Transplant when pot bound into a soil mixture of two parts peat moss, one part sterilized houseplant potting soil and one part sand or perlite. To propagate, take 3-4" stem cuttings is early spring just below the leaf node. Dip stem cuttinTo encourage continuous bloom, keep the night temperature below 65 and feed with dilute fertilizer with iron every two weeks during the growing season. Prune/shape the plants in early spring to encourage branching and compact growth.Monitor and treat insect and mite pests as quickly as possible. Avoid leaf and flower bud drop by giving proper light, temperature, and humidity requirements.
JasmineJasminum-J. nitidum; J. sambac; J. officinale grandiflora; J. polyanthumBright light, with some direct sunlight in east or west exposure.Keep moist at all times, wilts easily.J. nitidum & J. sambac prefer night temp. above 60º. J. officinale gradiflora blooms best at 55º or lower.Standard liquid fertilizer once every two weeks during spring/summer.Soilbased potting mix. Move young plants of J. mesnyi & J. polyanthum into pots one or two sizes larger in summer. J. officinale in eary spring.Grows rapidly, prune often as needed.When plants reach 8-10" pot size, topdress with fresh potting soil annually.
KalanchoeKalanchoe blossfeldianaGive abundant sunlight with at least four hours of direct sunlight every day.Water thoroughly when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch. 65º-70ºduring day; 50º-60ºat night for best growth conditions.After flowering, feed with a water soluble liquid fertilizer for flowering houseplants twice monthly during the growing season (March through September)Repot in the early spring, after flowering, into a rich, well-drained, porous soil mix of one part sterilized houseplant potting soil, a handful of small crushed stones, one part coarse builder's sand and one part organic matter. Take 3-4" Prune and shape Kalanchoe after flowering. To re-bloom for Christmas, begin on September 1 and cover the plant with a black cloth from 6 pm to 7 am every night until October 1. The buds will form under these conditions and flowering will beIf re-blooming is not required at holiday time, the Kalanchoe will normally bloom in the spring.
Miniature RoseRosa spp.Rosa spp.Bright sunny window.Continuous light watering. Do no let dry out, but do not soak, which will cause root rot.65º-70ºduring day; 50º-60ºat night.Provide extra humidity for best growth conditions.Make pencil sized holes and drop in specially formulated granular, not powdered, fertilizer. Move to the next size pot only, when roots fill container.In moderate climates, container plants can remain outdoors all year. In areas of heavy freezng, place in sheltered area.If plant drys out leave standing in water for several hours to recover.
Norfolk Island PineAraucaria heterophyllaBright light, preferably east or west with two hours of direct sun for best color.When soil feels dry, water thoroughly. Discard excess water after 15 minutes.Grows best between 60º and 72º F during the day and 50º to 65º F at night.Feed once every two weeks with dilute, standard, liquid fertilizer only during the growing season (March-September) .Transplant to next larger size deep pot in a mix of equal parts sterilized houseplant potting soil, peat moss and sand/or perlite, with a tablespoon of bone meal. Propagate from tip cutting from very top of old plants to develop symmetricalTurn slightly every week for symmetrical growth. Supply extra humidity to avoid the common problem of brown needles.Needs as much natural light as possible in the winter months for good symmetrical development.
Ornamental Pepper and Jerusalem CherryCapsicum frutescens; and Solanum pseudocapsicumMinimum of 4 hours direct sun every day, preferably eastern exposure.Water thoroughly when the top layer of soil feels dry. Do not allow plants to wilt.These South American natives prefers 70º F in the day and between 60-65º F at night.During the growing season, feed once a month with a water soluble tomato-type liquid fertilizer. Indoors both plants should be treated as annuals. Discard once fruiting period is over as plants decline in vigor. From January to early March, they are easily grown from seed Seedlings best grown outdoors over summer, in eastern sun. Keep pinching back stem tips every few weeks during the growing season to encourage branching and flower production.Remember to discard when plants go into decline, as they act as annuals indoors.
PoinsettiaEuphorbia pulcherrimaA minimum of four hours of direct sunlight a day.Water when top layer is dry to touch. Water until water drains from the bottom. Discard excess water after 15 minutes.65º-70ºduring day; 55º-60ºat night for best growth conditions.Feed plants started from cuttings, with a water soluble, all-purpose liquid fertilizer twice a month during the growing season (March through September).Move to the next size pot only, when roots fill container. Use one part sterilized houseplant potting soil with one part coarse builder's sand or perlite.Keep Poinsettia in a sunny location to coax bloom. Bring outside for the summer and pinch back the growing tips to promote bushiness. Bring back in before first frost and give 14 hours of darkness per night until bracts show color Darkness must be uninterrupted. Keep night temperatures low and remember to give plant light each day.
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalisDirect sun for four-five hours.Cool room with good air circulation. Increase humidity with pebble tray, filled with water half way up pebbles.Warm spring and summer. Cool indoors during winter. During growing season, fertilize with 5-10-5, don't overdo. Fertilize every 14th watering.Repot after the growing season, especially if leaves are yellowing at base, an indication of a root bound plant. Repot to next size only. Prefers lean alkaline soil. Mulch with 2" of sand. For Topiary and other specimens, pinch tips regularly, to promote bushiness. Rotate once a week for even growth.A foliar feed of seaweed and fish emulsion will invigorate your specimen.
New York Botanical Garden Plant Information Service
Phone: (718) 817-8681
Telephone Hours 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.
E-mail: pltinfo@nybg.org
Fax: (718) 817-8956

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