Christmas Holiday Trees and Plants, Tradition or Family Adventure!

Thanksgiving and our celebration of the annual harvest are now complete and our attention turns to the month long celebration leading up to Christmas.  Most are now thinking of Christmas trees, poinsettias, evergreen wreaths, Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis and other Christmas traditions.

There are several choices if you want a live Christmas tree for your celebrations.  You can go with a live cut tree, a container grown or field dug living tree to plant outside later or a houseplant style tree like a Norfolk Island pine.  There are a number of Oklahoma Christmas tree farms where you can select a cedar, pine or fir tree that has already been cut or you can start or maintain a family tradition and select and cut your own fresh Christmas tree.   Most of the cut Christmas trees that our found at Oklahoma retailers come from Washington, Oregon or Michigan and are usually different varieties of firs, spruce, pine or cedar.  Cut trees are available in all sizes, densities and shapes depending on the variety, the weather in their lifetime and the level of care and pruning they received during cultivation.  You should make a fresh cut on cut trees and set in a Christmas tree stand that holds adequate fresh water to help keep the tree hydrated.  Check the water regularly while in your home, adding more as needed to help prevent needle drop and drying. You can add a polymer gel product to the water to help extend the life of your cut Christmas tree.  Some folks like to bring a living container grown or dug evergreen into the house as their Christmas tree and then plant it out in the yard afterwards as a living memory of your Christmas Celebrations and an addition to their landscape.  Since our homes are warm and drying  it is best to limit the time you have a true living Christmas tree in the home to ten to fourteen days so that it is not too dry or “soft” when moved outside and planted in the yard after Christmas.   Some folks, especially those in apartments, the hospital, nursing home or other small spaces like to decorate and celebrate the Christmas holiday with a Norfolk Island pine tree that makes a good houseplant year round and decorates nicely for the holidays.

Many folks celebrate the Christmas holidays with blooming Amaryllis bulbs, English Ivy on living wreaths or trellis, pots of Holly, Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus in bloom, but the icon plant for the Christmas season is the Poinsettia.  Discovered in Mexico in the early years of our country, U.S. Ambassador Joel Poinsett sent plants home to the United States.  Short days cause the Poinsettia to flower which put them flowering near the Christmas season, and they exploded in popularity and have become our Christmas flower.  Active breeding efforts around the world keep bringing us new varieties, colors and sizes of Poinsettias.  The actual flowers are small and not very impactful but the upper leaves or bracts that surround those plain Poinsettia flowers come in all tones of red, white, pink and mottled or streaked combinations of those colors and make a powerful and beautiful statement.   The newer varieties of poinsettias will often have showy bracts from late November up into March or April as long as they are watered correctly and well cared for.  Water the poinsettias when dry, being careful not to overwater or to leave them standing in a pot cover or saucer that is standing in water.  They do best with good light near a window but will hold up for months in good artificial or indirect sunlight.  Poinsettias are available at many fine retailers but it is especially fun to buy them at a nursery or greenhouse grower that has grown them, where you can select plants right out of the growing greenhouse and make it a family adventure.

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