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The holiday season is here and the quest for the ideal gift becomes more than just a tradition—it turns into a delightful challenge. In our mission to help you conquer this task with flair, we turned to Joe Zazzera, the owner of Plant Solutions in a recent episode of the Home Design Chat podcast. In this episode Joe gives tips about gifting plants during the holidays. He not only suggested an array of unique plant gift ideas (which you can uncover by tuning into the episode) but also shared some fascinating insights about caring for the typical holiday plants that you might receive as a gift. With his deep knowledge of plant maintenance, Joe provided these helpful tips about how to keep your Christmas favorites looking their best long after the season end.
One of the highlights was the discussion about poinsettias, the iconic red plants that symbolize the Christmas season. According to Joe, these vibrant plants can actually thrive better outdoors during the winter months in Arizona, as they prefer cooler temperatures but definitely not freezing ones. However, come July, these plants will need to be brought indoors to avoid the intense heat.
Interestingly, Joe mentioned that poinsettias are a type of euphorbia, a family of plants that includes certain types of succulents. This means they have the ability to retain moisture within their bracts, which explains why they can withstand drier conditions. If you’ve ever noticed a white sap when breaking off a poinsettia leaf, that’s the succulent property of the plant at work.
However, after the holiday season, it’s common for poinsettias’ leaves to drop off. But don’t be quick to throw them away – they’ll grow out green leaves and continue to live on, albeit without their festive colors.
When asked about the different colors of poinsettias, Joe explained that there are indeed different varieties, bred specifically for their color. The white ones, while appealing, tend to be a bit more fragile than their red counterparts, with leaves that drop off a bit sooner.
In addition to poinsettias, Joe also gave a nod to the mini Norfolk pines, often used as Christmas trees. These plants are quite hardy and can be kept indoors year-round with the right lighting conditions. Many people even keep them as houseplants after the festive season. However, despite their hardiness, they don’t fare well in extreme cold or snowstorms, making them an indoor plant in most cases.
One of the key takeaways from our chat was the common mistake of overwatering plants. According to Joe, the number one killer of indoor plants is overcare—loving them to death, so to speak. It’s hard for many people to conceive of letting a plant go 10 days without water. But as Joe pointed out, root systems need to go looking for water to develop properly. If a plant is always sitting in water, it doesn’t have to do anything.
So, if you’re thinking about indoor plant gifts this holiday season, remember Joe’s advice. Choose the right plant for your friend’s circumstances and abilities and remind them not to overwater. With the right care, your gift can continue to bring joy well beyond the festive season.