I love poinsettias, Euphorbia pulcherrima, but I hate having one in my house. Unless the plant actually dies I can’t just throw it away. In a few weeks, when the poinsettia starts losing its lower leaves, and as the days get longer, its colourful bracts, the plant looks increasingly bedraggled and boring. I continue watering it and think maybe I can help it get back into shape, regain its colourful bracts, for the next festive season. I've never managed to help it attain it former glory, it just looks pathetic.
In my next life I’m going to live in a place where its hot enough for poinsettias to grow outside. I’ve written about growing and caring for Euphorbia pulcherrima here.
Other Christmas plants like Christmas cacti, Shlumbergera, are easier to grow since they thrive on neglect, my type of plant. I used to have three plants but lost one of them, when I knocked over its pot, during a whirlwind house cleaning session, I decided to do because my sister was visiting. I wrote about growing Schlumbergera over here. Since I wrote that article I’ve found out from here and Sean Hogans book, Flora that the christmas cactus is actually called Sclumbegera x bucklryi. It’s a cross between S. russelliana and S. truncata.
At this time of year the stores are full of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, their flowers, in saturated colours of yellow, pink, red and purple, are so luscious I happily bought one home a couple years ago. It lasted till March when the last flower died and a swarm of opportunistic aphids took it over. I tried washing the aphids off by hand, blasting them with water from the spray on the kitchen tap, eventually I put the plant outside on the deck, deliberately letting a spring frost kill it. I written about how to care for Kalanchoe blossfeldiana here
Amaryllis are another favourite although I bring mine out of the cold room after the glitter and lights of Christmas have faded. The amaryllis serves as a predecessor for forced hardy spring bulbs, followed by hot house daffodils and tulips that brighten my house until May, when the snow melts and the spring bulbs in garden start to grow. I’ve written more about growing and caring for Amaryllis over here.