To be perfectly honest with all of you I know only enough about these Christmas wonders to be dangerous, though the ‘Wonder’ part is that in spite of my less than knowledgeable care this colourful native of Mexico looks good, too good actually to throw away after Christmas and I end up keeping it until summer when I guiltily sneek it into the compost. It makes me feel a bit guilty. When I retire one day I’d love to move to Hana Hawaii and have a Poinsettia hedge.
There is now a huge selection of colours and styles and they really do take a minimum of care.
Make sure you have them in a bag or have them covered when you bring them home…they really don’t like our Canadian winters! A little story my Mom told me about when she used to be in Real Estate; one year she and her partner bought about 100 lovely huge, wrapped Poinsettias as thank-you’s to clients and fellow realtors. They loaded them into their van that evening to be ready for the dynamic duo to deliver first thing in the morning…some of you may know where I’m going here…it froze that night, alas and both ladies were treated to the sight of 100 leafless Poinsettia skeletons. Yes, there were tears.
When you get them home safely, and warmly, bring them in to the house and keep them in a bright spot but not direct sun and let them dry out slightly in-between waterings. A yellowing poinsettia often indicated over-watering.
Keep them away from hot and cold drafts. They will look good often well into February.
Getting Poinsettias to Re-bloom
If you do want to try and keep your plant and see if you can get it to bloom the next year, give it a bit of a dormancy. In March , allow it to dry out a bit more in between waterings and place in a cooler area like a garage or sunroom. Keep a careful eye on the branches, if there is withering, water a bit more. Once the leaves have fallen cut back the stems hard to about 4 inches each. Start waking up your plant early May.
You can repot it at this time into a sturdier decorative pot using a well draining, light, all- purpose potting soil and bring it back to a warmer brighter area though out of direct sunlight. Gradually increase the watering.
Once your Poinsettia has flushed out begin fertilizing each week to two weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20. You can put your Poinsettia outside for a summer vacation in a bright area but again, not in direct sun and bring back inside by mid September (earlier if it is cold). You can pinch back growth twice to encourage a bushy looking plant – once in June and again in August.
Right before Halloween, make sure your Poinsettia is in a dark area (no lights, reflected car lights nothing at all) from supper until morning (5pm until 8 am) to induce flowering. Poinsettias will produce flower buds after a period of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Make sure they are in a warm area – about between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius. By mid- December, you can bring your plant out into the main living area as…hopefully…it will have coloured bracts by that point.
Sounds like a challenge to me… if it doesn’t work out you’ll have a nice bushy green house plant that will put out oxygen and you know where to come to buy some really cool looking new ones! Here is a gallery of some really good looking ones this year.
Drop by Art's Nursery during the holiday season to get the best selection of the new poinsettia varieties. Wholesale volume prices are available for large, corporate orders. Call 604.882.1201 for more information