~ By Betty G. ~
Some good tips for keeping your poinsettia
looking good through the holiday season and beyond. Some of these tips
are actually for the seasoned gardener who's looking for a challenge.
From the family Euphorbia, Euphorbia pulcherrima to be exact, poinsettias
love indirect sunlight, so remember to give the plant from 4 to 6 hours of
light per day. In my apartment that means placing it in a north facing
window with my blinds partially opened.
Room temperatures should not be too cold. Poinsettias, in a way are like
people. They like to be comfortable not hot or cold, so temps between 65
to 70 degrees will do nicely.
One of the worst things most people do in caring for their plant(s) is to
water too much. Never soak your poinsettia instead water
only when the soil feels dry.
Remember not to crowd your new purchase into a bag that is too small.
This may cause damage to your plant.
Keep your plant away from windy areas and do not place it anywhere
near a heat source.
After the blooming period, it is wise to use a basic fertilizer monthly, but
never fertilize while it is blossoming.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
If you would like to try your hand at saving
the plant until the following season, this is what you do:
1. After all the leaves drop, usually in later winter or possibly early spring,
cut stems back to about two buds.
2. Give it water very sparingly.
3. In warm climates, you can then place it outdoors on a patio or in a
sheltered spot in the garden.
4. In colder climes, store your poinsettia indoors, but in a cool area such
as a cellar, or attic.
5. If you really want to experiment, you may even try propagating new
plants by taking cuttings in late summer. However, this is a very tricky thing
6. To get last year's potted poinsettia to bloom at Christmas, at the
beginning of October, move your plant into a darkened area such as a closet
where it can get at least 12 to 14 hours of complete darkness each night.
7. Next morning take it from the closet and place it in a well
lighted area for about 10 hours. Repeat this for the next 10 weeks and lo and
behold, with luck, you will have a blooming poinsettia once again.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Of course, with all that work, most people
decide to toss the plant after the blossoms fade and buy new the following
year. I can actually say I think it best. I did have some luck with this
method, however only with the standard red poinsettia.
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