Christmas cactus.

With Christmas and the new year right around the corner, it’s time to ponder what to give your gardening friends. The classic holiday plant gift is poinsettia. However, this article will focus on two other great holiday plants, such as Christmas/holiday cactus and Rosemary.

Many grow holiday cacti (Thanksgiving/Christmas) inside their home. They provide colorful blooms of red, white, pink, purple and more during the holiday season. During fall and winter, days shorten and flower buds form. During the day, this plant should be in an area with bright, indirect light. If you allow artificial light after dark near your holiday cactus starting in October, it may not produce holiday blooms. Repotting every year works well, and be sure to use a well-drained potting medium. Bud growth is encouraged by pruning this plant throughout the year. Pruning in early fall encourages branch growth for holiday flowering.


Rosemary is a fragrant herb that is easy to grow and works well in your landscape and kitchen. You can use it fresh or dried in dishes containing meats, breads and vegetables. It adds great flavor as a skewer for the barbeque. Not only is it attractive in the landscape, but it is also drought-tolerant and produces small pink, lavender or blue flowers in the winter and spring, depending on the cultivar. Rosemary thrives on well-drained soil and at least six hours of sun. Don’t water it too often.


The gardeners in your life may want nonplant gardening-related gifts. Consider giving items such as knee pads, a garden cart, a saw or pruner, gloves, seeds, bulbs, pots, mulch, potting soil, perlite, compost, plant hangers, a composting bin, composting worms, a microirrigation kit, a garden sculpture, garbage cans (I only have eight and could use more) or dozens of other items gardeners want or need.

The University of Florida IFAS Extension Bookstore,, has an amazing selection of gardening, health and nutrition, home maintenance, health and nutrition, natural resources, wildlife and so much more. Logo items include clothing, umbrellas, key chains, hats, children’s books, toys and more. What a place!

Offer your labor for a specific number of hours or tasks to perform for your friends who may not want or are not able to do them. Tasks could include weeding, planting, pruning, watering, propagating, fertilizing, mulching, relocating plants and more. Get outside and garden so you can check things off your list, enjoy the outdoors and frolic with nature.

For information about upcoming horticultural programs and to find your county’s calendar of events, go to For the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, visit our website at, and check out our calendar of events at If you don’t live in Hillsborough County, check out your county’s website for upcoming events. Wishing all of you safe and wonderful holidays.

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