This post is written by a guest blogger, Hailey MacMillan. Hailey is a practicum student who comes to us from MacEwan’s Library and Information Technology program. She is currently working with us as a part of the Library Publishing and Digital Production Services team. Hailey’s favorite reading nook is her living room loveseat, which sits by a south-facing window. Hailey likes to read thrillers and suspense novels, but will occasionally throw in a romance, especially around the holiday season.
Hailey has always loved plants, she worked as a florist’s assistant for three years. She grows her own flower beds and vegetable gardens during the summer; and in the winter, she keeps a healthy array of houseplants throughout her home. Hailey believes everyone can appreciate the beauty of plants and she hopes that this small post will inspire readers to cozy up in their book nooks with some festive flowers of their own.
Amaryllis, also called the belladonna lily, are large self-pollinating flowers and can be grown in a variety of colors and shades. Amaryllis flowers are usually sold in inexpensive box kits during the holiday season. Amaryllis kits can usually be found at number of stores and retail between $10-24.
A single amaryllis stem can produce up to five or six flowers. Once planted, amaryllis can take between 4-6 weeks to grow from its bulb state to a flowering stem, so if you were to plant an amaryllis bulb on New Years’ Eve, then you could potentially have beautiful palm sized lilies to gaze upon by Valentines Day.
Did you recently purchase a Christmas cactus plant that bloomed beautiful bright pink flowers, and now your plant is at the beginning of another bloom cycle and the flowers are white!?! Why did this happen?
The temperamental Christmas cactus plant can easily be affected by environmental fluctuations such as temperature changes, light exposure, soil PH inconsistencies and watering schedules. The flowers may bloom bright fuchsia in one cycle and return as white flowers with light pink stamens during the next.
Other possible reasons the flower changes colour could be because the cactus was a hybrid and after the first bloom cycle, the flowers reverted back to their dominate colour, which is usually white. Either way, the Christmas cactus is an ever-changing flower that will keep you fixated on it’s blooms throughout the year.
For fresh-water aquarium owners… When you clean your tank, save some of the aquarium water and water your plants with it, the nutrients and minerals in the water act as powerful natural flower food, and will keep your plants healthy and blooming all year long.
Much like the year 2020, holly leaves bite. They are sharp, and they can hurt (a holly thorn under the nail… OUCH!). But holly also forces us to take it slow so we can avoid frustration and appreciate what’s right in front of us. The holly plant is thought to bring good luck and fortune into the home.
Holly plants are grown in pure green and variegated varieties, they have small bright red berries which can last for a number of weeks. This holiday season, consider purchasing some holly for your home; just remember to wear gardening gloves to avoid their thorns.
This popular “kissing plant” is actually a parasitic spore that attaches to trees and grows exponentially once latched onto the host. Despite its parasitic nature, the mistletoe bundle is a sentimental holiday tradition that many people enjoy. During the holidays, one may see a mistletoe bundle hung by a couch or doorway, but the best way to keep a mistletoe plant in tip top shape is to place it in a cold unheated area. A garage door or a front door is an optimal location to hang mistletoe, as it will receive a constant blast of cold fresh air. Fresh mistletoe will last 2-3 weeks after it’s been cut.
The poinsettia is a tropical wonder! Poinsettias originate in Central America and they are known to bloom during the winter. These brightly colored plants are an American holiday favorite whether they come in red, white, pink, or other novelty colors. The poinsettia plant represents success and good cheer. Add a splash of color and bring one home this winter season!
The year 2020 is coming to an end and I think we can all be happy about that. Before 2020 ends though, I challenge everyone to bring at least one of these plants into their home to remind themselves of the simple beauty that exists among the chaos.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!
Want to learn more about these festive plants or increase your botanical knowledge? Our Biological Sciences and Plant Biosystems subject guides are a great places to start. Our intrepid library staff are also available to take your questions via chat or email reference.