Christmas Plants Potting Time

This Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus was too late for Thanksgiving, but too early for Christmas. And at the rate the blooms are fading, it won't be much for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day either. That's okay because I have a white flowering Christmas cactus in another room that is just starting to bud out. I think it will bloom right on time for Christmas.

In the meantime, I potted up some amaryllis bulbs this morning, so perhaps they'll bloom for Christmas.

I have a sun room with a permanent "potting area" set up, which makes it easy for me to one minute decide to mess with an indoor plant, and then a minute or two later, I'm messing with it.

This is officially called a "potting tidy" and I highly recommend it for anyone who does much with indoor plants. By the way, you know you are an indoor gardening geek when you have a potting tidy or talk about potting tidies in general company.

I read a post this morning from the indoor plant guy, Mr. Brown Thumb of Chi-cago and he was right on with how I pot up amaryllis, so check out his post for some good instructions.

I have three special heavy-duty holiday pots for my amaryllis.They are sitting here in my plant sink all potted up for Christmas. I also highly recommend that if you have a sun room, you should have a plant sink in it. I had mine put in about seven years ago as a reward for myself after I completed a "wildly successful multi-year project" at work.

Once planted up, I placed the amaryllis bulbs by a window, along with some paperwhites I am growing on a bed of gravel.
One of my pet peeves is when amaryllis or other indoor plants are photographed sitting in a room with no visible soures of good light around them. I've seen pictures even in gardening magazines that cause me to shake my head and just hope that no one looking at them decides to try to grow indoor plants like that. Plants are not decorations, they are living things that have light, water, and food requirements, just like us. We get all cranky after days without sunlight, think how the plants must feel when they are deprived of light for days on end?

Once these amaryllis start to bloom, I may move them to my great room or kitchen to enjoy them for a few days, but then they go back into the sunroom to get their light fix.

My other holiday plants are my poinsettias which I've had for years. They are alway so nice and red and perfect, even after nearly ten years, or however long I've had them, that I have no thought of replacing them with any new ones.

What plants do you grow special for the holidays?


  1. Hi Carol: I guess I need a potting tidy but then I will need a new room to put it in! Amaryllis are always great for the holidays and I do like poinsettias but I treat them as a disposable plant. Also, I don't love the bright red in my house but the softer white and Monet cultivar! As to your comment over at Ledge, I am going to have to try the 'creme de menthe' phlox. They sound good enough to eat!

  2. Good info, and timely. Thanks for posting.

  3. I don't have an area for plants but I need one of those "potting tidy" things. And since I'm cheap I'll probably make one myself. ;0) Thanks for the inspiration and the link to my entry.

  4. I have a sort of potting tidy in my basement ... an old table, a large tote full of dirt and a few pots and necessary tools. I need to get my amarlysis and pot it up.
    Today for GTS we are having a winter storm move through our area.

  5. thanks for sharing...I need to try that plating tips too.

    Mine is up at 2CentsWorth. Hope you can visit me too. TC

  6. I like your red, green and white containers, very festive. I was just at Michaels last night looking for containers for the Amaryllis bulbs. I saw a few I liked but didn't buy anything. I've never had an Amaryllis before but I plan to this year. I'll check out Mr. Brown Thumbs instructions.

  7. Ooooh, an indoor potting area - I am envious. I used to have a sunroom, but that was in a different life.

    I've tried amaryllis before - my Grandma gave us all bulbs for Christmas one year - the blooms are wonderful.

    Let's see, today you've been potting and I've been blowing snow. I wonder who's having more fun!? (Wish I had a spot to work indoors.)

    I'm sure your white cactus will be lovely at Christmas time.


  8. The potting tidy is a great idea ... much better than a pail in the basement.

    You look so organised with your coloured pots for your Amaryllis bulbs. They will look gorgeous by the holiday season.

  9. Carol, I love your potting tidy, and your plant sink! So practical, and I'm sure that really helps with the process of keeping your indoor garden going. Love the amaryllis pots, too!

  10. Pam @ Digging says:

    I have a potted amaryllis sending up a shoot right now. They are so pretty for the holiday table.

  11. I've never tried poinsettias, but I'm impressed that you've had yours for such a long time.

  12. Pam/digging... check out the post about my poinsettia before you decide how impressed you really are. It is, ummm, artificial. But you knew that, right? Since poinsettias have such relatively simple leaves and bracts, it is easy to make a silk one that looks pretty darn good. My secret is to keep the dust off of it the 11 months of the year when it is stored in a closet.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  13. I have been tempted by the potting tidies :) but have not bought one yet, I am currently using a big rubber mat that is meant to be used by a door to put wet boots etc on.

    Your skill at keeping poinsettias from year to year is admirable!

  14. I have several amaryllis that bloom in the summer months, so I am not allowed to buy anymore...but they look sooo tempting.

  15. Oh Carol, a potting tidy and a sun room. Sounds like heaven to me. I do all my potting outside or at the kitchen sink. Big mess to clean up inside so I usually wait until I can be outside to pot up plants. Nice to see your operation. If I had room inside someplace I would have a garden room and have it all tidy. :)

  16. Layanee... every gardener needs a room where they can leave their potting tidy out!

    No rain... You're welcome and come back any time!

    Mr Brown Thumb... If you can make a potting tidy yourself, go for it!

    Crafty Gardener... I wish I had a basement and 'tis the season to pot up the amaryllis.

    Gwapasila... Thanks for the visit and I will try to look at your blog sometimes soon.

    Robin's Nesting Place... Never grew an amaryllis? I can't hardly do Christmas without one. (I bought my three containers at Target several years ago.)

    2greenthumbsup... I'll take working indoors with houseplants over snowblowing anytime. We had a lot of rain and wind today.

    Katesmudges... Thanks, I'm happy I got those containers for the amaryllis because the plastic pots that usually come with are too small for the amaryllis most of the time. See Mr. Brown Thumb's post.

    Genie... the potting tidy and the sink are both quite nice!

    Pam/digging... I'd love to see pictures of your amaryllis... didn't you post about one last year?

    Iowa Gardening Woman... the boot tray sounds like a good idea, too. See my reply to Pam/digging, the poinsettia are fake. Didn't mean to fool anyone!

    Vonlafin... Not allowed to buy any more amaryllis? That's just not right!

    Lisa at Greenbow... It is nice to have the sunroom but I wish it were much, much bigger than it is!

    Thanks all for the comments and kind words.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  17. Since their flowers might be open by Christmas, but have the 'claws' seen on Thanksgiving cactus, I'll just say I have 4 Holiday Cactus plants on a windowsill.

    A sunroom and a potting tidy and a plant sink - how excellent, Carol!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    [the verification word seems to be trying to say something... it's

  18. A potting tidy? How wonderful! I'd need another room on the house, I'll just have a potting messy--the kitchen table, when needed!
    Currently in Christmas plant mode, I have one largish (3 feet) Norfolk Island pine, four cyclamen of various colours, four Christmas cactus, and two amaryllis putting up flower stalks. Forgot to get some paperwhites but there are still some at the nursery, so I'll get a few and get them going for the January blahs; I also have four still-resting amaryllis bulbs in the basement, because I was late bringing them indoors so they need another week or two of resting before they get potted and brought up to a window. In the next week or so, I'll pick up three or four poinsettias, deep red, creme, maybe a pink or variegated one--but no painted ones. They make me cringe. Like black Christmas decorations or upsidedown Christmas trees. (Can you see a rant coming?)

  19. I agree with everyone else...a potting tidy would be wonderful! And I can't imagine having a sink to go with it. I'm also an outside or kitchen sink potter and it really would be nice to be able to fix a pot up right when you need/want to instead of when the kitchen is cleared out.

  20. Carol GREAT post on planting Amaryllis..reminds me to pick some up today! Thanks! I have so many cacti on a table in front of a window for the winter months...I think magazines ~stage~ the flowers when they photograph them. jingle jingle NG

  21. OK Carol....I was going to be VERY impressed that you had the same poinsetta plants for ten years--then I read your reminder! Too weird to think of you with an artificial plant! I saw blue poinsettas at a store the other day. Pretty cool! Too bad they are poisonous to animals....

  22. I have a potting tidy too! It's actually one of those disposable foil roasting pans, but it works just fine.

    And I finally got my GBBC post up. Late as usual.

  23. Great idea to have a potting tidy. I usually use my laundry room sink, but that's not completely dedicated to plants, so I'm constantly tidying up. (Ho.)

    I usually force some paperwhites for Christmas decoration. But the smell gets to me after a while and I end up with a pounding headache, so I am going without this year. I am planning to snatch up some pink poinsettias first chance I get.

    --Robin (Bumblebee)

  24. Annie in Austin... Love the comment. What is that word verification trying to tell us? ctzflowr... I'll have to think about what message is behind that.

    Jodi... I'll watch for a rant. "They" do some strange things to plants for the holidays to make them more "festive" I suppose.

    Leslie... I do love my plant sink!

    Sister with the Homestead... No blue poinsettias! No, no no... too weird. And I did feel bad that it wasn't more obvious that my poinsettias are fakes.

    OldRoses... Brilliant use of a foil roasting pan. That's a great idea!

    Robin(Bumblebee)... Oddly enough, I've been thinking about going to this out of the way greenhouse next week to get a REAL pink poinsettias for myself.

    Thanks all for the comments and ideas!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  25. I have a potting tidy too, it's in my greenhouse at the mo. I use my utility room for potting up plants indoors and I have a sink with tap there as well. Very handy! ;-)

    Now that is a poinsettia that I could have in my living room too. The real ones would be to dangerous (poisonous) for my cats.

  26. You are being quite patient with my OpenID experiments. I think I'm almost done.

  27. I always called it a potting bench -- never heard the term Potting Tidy before. I do have one, though it is in my basement. No sink, but a big jug of water is always on hand. I do have to take the pots up to the kitchen to wash.

    Big mistake -- I allowed my husband to move his computer into the plant room a few years ago and now he thinks it is his office. But more square feet are given to plants than to computer, thankfully.


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