Once purchased, what is the best way to care for your plant? Following these tips will help match your plant to its botany name of “very beautiful” as opposed to the Aztec name of “flower that withers.” First, remember that despite its Christmas popularity, it is a tropical plant. If you purchase your plant on a cold day protect it by wrapping it in paper for the trip from the green house to your home. As a tropical, it is going to like as much direct light as possible. But be careful to not let any leaves touch cold window panes. A temperature range of 65-75 is preferred. Watering appropriately is important for this plant like any other indoor plant. Examine the soil daily and only water when the soil feels dry. Water deeply until the excess flows thru the bottom drainage holes. As most plants come with festive foil wrappers, be cognizant of the tendency of these to trap water leading to an unhealthy moisture level. As a rule of thumb, if you don’t water enough, the plant will wilt and the mid to lower level leaves will drop. If you are watering too much, the lower leaves will yellow and then drop. Correcting these errors will save the plant but will not improve the appearance until its next season. Fertilizing is not recommended unless you are planning to attempt to keep this plant until next season. Be forewarned, the difficulty of trying to keep a plant from season to season is directly proportional to why so many new plants are sold each year.
blog entry by Rhonda Bilyeu, CMG