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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

Weekly Express-News Article
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Holiday Plants”


Poinsettias and Living Christmas Trees are two holiday plants that will last a long time if you treat them well.


Poinsettias are semi-tropical plants that are used to decorate homes and businesses during the holidays. The colored bracts make the show. The most popular color is red, but pink, yellow, salmon, and bicolors also are available.


Place your poinsettia in the house out of drafts and away from the heat registers. The plant must also be protected from freezing temperatures, even on the trip home. For longest life the poinsettia should be near a bright window, but not in a position where it is blasted by full sun as the sun moves in the sky. Even if the poinsettia is placed in low light situations the plant will last over three months if it receives adequate water. The best way to water a poinsettia is to add water to wet the whole root ball when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Water should emerge from the seep hole. If you water this way it will mean that you need a dish under the plant, you will need to take it outside, or it can be placed in the sink.


There is another technique that works quite well to provide adequate water for poinsettias and is less demanding. Put ice cubes in the container everyday. Depending on the size of the container use at least 6 and up to 12. The ice melts to keep the soil moist. The process is slow enough and the total moisture is limited enough that water does not usually emerge from the container to stain your furniture. To supplement the ice cube technique, every week or 10 days, put the plant in the sink and give it a thorough watering.


The poinsettia will stay attractive for three – four months with these minimal care guidelines. If you plant it in a sheltered location and protect it from extreme cold the poinsettia can survive for many years in South Texas and will even provide colorful bracts during the holiday season. The new offerings of poinsettias do not require the dark treatment like they did a few years back in order to bloom. For more detailed information on the planting of your holiday poinsettia in the landscape, visit The website also has a detailed account of the ice cube strategy including how to determine exactly how many ice cubes are required to meet the exact needs of your poinsettia for moisture.


All Christmas trees are living, but what we usually mean by a living tree is one that includes a root system in a container. The tree serves as a holiday tree and can be decorated and then is planted in the landscape to live and grow for years to come. To make that plan a reality requires some thought and care.


      Select a tree that is capable of living in a South Texas landscape. Deodar cedar, Arizona cypress, Aleppo pine, Italian stone pine, Japanese black pine and rosemary are among the living trees that have a good chance of surviving as a landscape tree. Afghan pine (Eldarica), spruce, Virginia pine, and firs do not have much chance of surviving.

      Select the size of tree you can physically handle and plan your moves of the tree. A tree with roots is very heavy and difficult to move.

      Minimize the amount of time that the tree is inside the house. All living Christmas trees require full sun to prosper. One week inside is suitable, two weeks is the outer limit for best survival chances.

      Place the tree in the house where it is not in front of heat registers. Water it well before it goes in the house to the point where water emerges from the container. Water once per week while the plant is in the house. Depending on the size of the tree a pint to one quart will wet the soil and probably not leak from the container.

      Dig the hole for the living Christmas tree in full sun with at least 20 feet from the nearest tree, 30 feet is better. The rosemary trees are, of course, an exception. They need full sun, but can be in the shrub border. Dig the hole as deep as the container and two – three times as wide.

      Water it well and mulch over the root system with leaves or other organic material. Water for the first year every time the soil under the mulch dries to one inch.