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When it comes to decorating your home or grabbing a quick gift, flowering indoor plants provide long-lasting color and convenience with a wide selection to suit any style. We have compiled a comprehensive indoor holiday plant encyclopedia, from Amaryllis to Zygocactus, to give you everything you need to make your seasonal indoor plant care a success!

  1. Amaryllis
  2. Anthurium
  3. Cyclamen
  4. Norfolk Island Pine
  5. Paperwhites
  6. Poinsettias
  7. Zygocactus (Christmas Cactus)

Keep in mind that most flowering plants have a fairly short bloom time and may be difficult to get to rebloom. There is nothing wrong with treating them as temporary décor—embrace the beauty that they bring in the moment and then let them pass!

Amaryllis – Hippeastrum sp.

Amaryllis are tropical bulbs that bloom indoors in the wintertime with dramatically large, trumpet-shaped flowers on tall, sturdy stems. Bloom colors range from red and pink to white or bi-colored depending on the variety.


  • Soak dry roots in lukewarm water 1–2 hours before planting (optional; may hasten growth).
  • Select a pot similar in size to bulb; tight fit preferred—1 inch of soil between bulb and edge of pot.
  • Amaryllis bulbs like to sit with ⅓ of the bulb above soil line—place a few inches of potting soil in bottom of pot to achieve proper height, place bulb and gently pack soil between roots.


  • Bright, indirect light to medium light
  • Rotate regularly so plant grows straight (not bending towards light).
  • Rapidly growing plants may need to be staked to remain straight—take care not to damage the bulb with the stake.


  • Water once after first potting up bulb, then sparingly until sprout is 2–3 inches out of the bulb.
  • After emergence, water regularly and you will soon see spectacular blooms.

Fertilizer: No fertilizer is necessary when Amaryllis are producing a flower. After blooming is complete, apply water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks. Continue fertilizing after plant has been moved outdoors.


  • Must be kept indoors during winter months; during the summer, Amaryllis can be kept outdoors.
  • Warm environments will speed up growth and progression of the plants. Once the bud opens, Amaryllis can be moved to a cooler spot in the home to make flowering display last longer.
  • Protect from frost.

Flowering: Bulbs produce 2–3 stalks and 4–6 per stalk, depending on bulb size and variety. It can take 6–12 weeks from planting to produce a flower.


  • When blooms fade, cut off tubular flower stem near top of bulb, leaving foliage to continue growing. Water as usual and begin fertilizing.
  • Once danger of frost has past, move Amaryllis bulb outdoors to enjoy summer sun.
  • In early autumn (late September or early October), bring Amaryllis inside and allow to completely dry out (can take several weeks).
  • Cut off dry leaves and let “rest” for 6 weeks. Repot in new soil and start process all over again!

Pests & Diseases: Watch leafy plants for mealy bug or scale.

Toxicity: All parts of the plant are toxic and should be kept out of reach from children and pets.

Anthurium – Anthurium sp.

Anthuriums are easy-care, tropical, green plants with a spade-shaped leaf and heart-shaped flowers. Flower colors from red to coral, purple, and white are available year-round, but add an unexpected and light-hearted tropical flare to a Holiday interiorscape.


  • Often sold potted in coco coir or peat moss.
  • Place nursery pot into a more attractive cache pot.
  • Repotting only needed after multiple years of ownership.

Light: Bright, indirect light—exposure to sunlight may scorch leaves. Low light will produce fewer flowers and duller colors.


  • Water thoroughly until water drains through the bottom of the nursery pot.
  • Do not water again until top few inches are dry or leaves are drooping.
  • Overwatering will lead to root rot.

Fertilizer: No fertilizer is needed in the winter months. In Spring and Summer fertilize once a month using a diluted liquid fertilizer.

Temperature: Adaptable to a range of temperatures; preferred temperature range is 70–90°F.

Flowering: Colorful “flowers” are actually modified leaves called spathes. True flowers are small and occur on the stalk that emerges from the colorful spathes. Spent flowers can be removed from the plant. Phosphorus fertilizers will encourage reblooming.

Pests & Diseases: Monitor plants for aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale.

Toxicity: All parts of the plant are toxic and should be kept out of reach from children and pets.

Cyclamen – Cyclamen persicum

Cyclamen are part of a broad genus of plants that can be grown indoors or out, with some species performing exceptionally well in indoor environments. Beautifully patterned, heart-shaped leaves have vortex-like flowers that rise up above the foliage and bloom in white, red, and shades of pink.


  • Place nursery pot into a more attractive cache pot.
  • After blooming, dormancy begins and Cyclamen can be planted outdoors as a groundcover in the landscape—depending on hardiness, they may or may not last into the following year.
  • Corm can also be dried and stored during the summer months and repotted in fall for repeated seasonal displays.

Light: Bright, direct or indirect light will best support foliage and flowers. Low light will produce fewer flowers and duller colors.

Watering: Water by setting the pot in a tray or bowl of water, allowing the water to be pulled up from the base; overhead watering can cause yellowing of leaves and rotting of the corm.

Fertilizer: Low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous fertilizers at dilute concentrations should be used to encourage blooms and discourage green foliar growth.

Temperature: Adaptable to a range of temperatures; preferred indoor temperature is 55–70°F

Flowering: Remove spent flowers and flower stalks to encourage new blooms.

Pests & Diseases: Fungal and bacterial diseases occur as a result of overwatering and poor air circulation.

Toxicity: All parts of the plant are toxic and should be kept out of reach from children and pets.

Norfolk Island Pine – Araucaria heterophylla

A soft-textured conifer that prefers to be grown indoors, the Norfolk Island Pine can act as miniature living Christmas tree and can be decorated with LED lights or ribbons for the Holidays.


  • Place nursery pot into a more attractive cache pot.
  • Repotting is only needed after multiple years of ownership.
  • Repot in Spring or Summer months.

Light: Bright, direct or indirect light; can easily tolerate South-facing and West-facing exposures.


  • Water thoroughly until water drains through the bottom of the nursery pot.
  • Water if the top of the soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Mist regularly to increase humidity.

Fertilizer: No fertilizer is needed in the winter months. In Spring and Summer fertilize once a month using a well-balanced houseplant fertilizer.

Temperature: Not cold hardy—must be kept above 35°F; ideal temperature range is 55–70°F.

Flowering: Grown as a foliage plant, Norfolk Pines only produce cones when planted in the ground in tropical landscapes.

Pests & Diseases: Browning of the lower branches can occur if improperly watered. Wilting over the whole plant may be a sign of root rot and overwatering.

Toxicity: Needles may irritate skin; can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested by children or pets.

Paperwhites – Narcissus papyraceus

Paperwhites are a type of narcissus that can be grown indoors without a chilling period. Each bulb will produce several flower stalks and bloom with a cluster of small, white, star-shaped flowers that are highly fragrant and usually last a few weeks.


  • Multiple bulbs can be closely planted in a single container.
  • Paperwhite bulbs can be planted in containers with drainage or without drainage.
  • Fill pot halfway with soil, rocks, or pebbles.
  • Set bulbs gently in soil and pack more media around bulbs, leaving tips visible. If using rocks, leave ⅓ of bulb uncovered.

Light: Once they begin to form buds, place in a high light environment like a windowsill. Low light environments will produce longer, weaker shoots.


  • For pots with drainage—water bulbs thoroughly, allowing time for soil to absorb enough water to be thoroughly soaked.
  • Containers without drainage: add water until it reaches bottom of bulbs, but never cover bulbs as they will rot.
  • Keep water level at root level in rock plantings or keep soil evenly moist.


  • Fertilizer isn’t necessary for paperwhites, but a small amount of alcohol in water can help prevent blooms from flopping over.
  • Use 4–6% alcohol by volume in a water solution each time you water—hard alcohol or isopropyl alcohol will work, but the concentration of alcohol in the starting solution must be considered when mixing with water.


  • Store unplanted bulbs before planting in cool, dry place that doesn’t freeze.
  • After planting, leave in a cool environment at 45–55°F such as a garage or garden shed for 1–2 weeks so they form roots before top growth.
  • Bring plants indoors and keep between 65–75°F to speed up the blooming process.


  • Plant paperwhites every 10–14 days for continued profusion of blooms throughout winter season.
  • Strongly scented flowers should form 4–6 weeks after potting and bloom for 10–14 days indoors.
  • If plants must be staked, consider cutting branches from garden (red twig dogwood, curly willow, Japanese maple).

Aftercare: Although they are a type of Narcissus (daffodil), they are not considered hardy outdoors in our climate and should be composted after they finish blooming.

Pests & Diseases: Bulb exposure to ethylene can prohibit flowering. Green and flowering plants do not typically experience pests or diseases.

Toxicity: All members of the Narcissus family are considered toxic and should be kept away from children and pets.

Poinsettias – Euphorbia pulcherrima

Poinsettias are a classic way to transform a space into a festive wonderland or say “Happy Holidays” with a living gift. The most popular flowering indoor plant sold in the U.S., poinsettias are tropical plants native to Mexico and are available in red, white, burgundy, pink, and even multicolored varieties.


  • Foil or plastic around pot can be removed.
  • Place nursery pot in an attractive cache pot or basket to customize the look of the plant.
  • Do not repot out of existing nursery pot.

Light: Bright, indirect light (no direct sun); avoid letting leaves touch cold window glass.


  • Best kept evenly moist, but not wet; do not allow plant to sit in water—if plant feels heavy, wait several days until it feels lighter before watering.
  • Allow top 50% of the soil to dry before watering.
  • Remove plastic/foil wrap or cache pot before watering.
  • Avoid getting the leaves wet, which can cause spotting.

Fertilizer: Not necessary when poinsettia is flowering.


  • Very sensitive to cold—do not put outside; ideal indoor temperature is 65–70°F during the day and around 60°F at night.
  • Keep away from drafty doors or windows and heat sources like fireplaces or heating vents.

Flowering: The most colorful part of a poinsettia are the leaves, which develop dramatic color or patterns as the plant blooms. The flowers are tiny yellow buds in the center that slowly open over time. For longest display time, select plants with mostly closed flower buds.

Pests & Diseases: Avoid overwatering to prevent disease. Monitor for pests such as whiteflies, fungus gnats, mealy bugs and spider mites.

Toxicity: Mildly poisonous; may cause vomiting or drooling in pets/children if ingested. Milky, white sap is very bitter and can cause redness, itching, or irritation on skin.

“Kalsettias” are seasonal arrangements of flowering kalanchoes and poinsettias. Kalanchoes are very toxic to pets; avoid if you have a pet that may be tempted to sample them!

Zygocactus/Christmas Cactus – Schlumbergera truncata

Christmas Cactus plants are easy to care for and can live for 100 years! They produce interesting, tubular flowers in white, pink, red, yellow, salmon, and fuchsia. Not actually true cacti, these plants are epiphytes. Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, and Easter Cactus each bloom around their namesake holiday.


  • Rich, acidic, well-draining soil
  • Keep slightly root-bound for best flowering.
  • Only repot in spring, never during bloom.

Light: Bright, indirect light (no direct sun); plant will survive in low light, but lack of light may cause flower buds to drop off or prevent them from blooming.


  • Allow top 50% of the soil to dry before watering.
  • Buds will fall off if too dry, and root rot is caused by overwatering.
  • Reduce watering after blooms fade.

Fertilizer: Provide ½ strength, liquid, all-purpose food in spring and summer, about twice monthly; stop feeding after September. Plants love leftover tea as well.


  • To set flower buds, plants need cool daytime temperatures of 60–65°F and even cooler temperatures of 45–55°F at night.
  • Once buds have developed, Christmas Cactus prefer warmer temperatures of 65–75°F during the day and about 10°F cooler at night—cool temps between 65–70°F help flowers last longer.


  • Blooms on Christmas Cactus develop when days are short and temperatures are low. Starting in early fall (8–10 weeks before the holidays), place plant in total darkness for 12 hours, ideally at night—leave the plant in a room that isn’t used in the evening so lights don’t interrupt the cycle.
  • After blooming, allow plant to rest a few weeks, then cut off a few segments from each stem—pruning a Christmas Cactus shortly after it has finished flowering helps the plant become bushy and full; the segments you cut off can be used to propagate new plants.

Pests & Diseases: Watch for mealy bugs and scale. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.

Toxicity: Christmas cactus are not poisonous.

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