Garden Success Tips of the Week
Poinsettia Care: One of the Holiday’s most popular indoor plants, the Poinsettia provides a wonderful array of colors not only throughout the Holiday season, but well into the winter season. Here’s how to get the most from your poinsettia:
During the Holiday Season
-Your poinsettia will be properly wrapped, covered and protected for you to transport it home from our garden stores. Do remember that extended exposure to low temperatures can damage the bracts and leaves.
-Once home, carefully unwrap your poinsettia, place in a well-lit area, with temperatures around 60 to 70 degrees. Warmer temperatures will shorten its life. Keep the plant away from warm or cold drafts, away from open doors and away from cold windows.
-Poinsettias require evenly moist soils, but not soggy wet conditions. Water thoroughly when the soil surface feels dry, let the soil dry a bit, and then water again. Note: Always remove the decorative pot covers when watering; do not allow water to sit inside the cover, or in saucers below the pot.
-It is not necessary to fertilize the plant while in ‘bloom’, but do feed monthly if you keep the plant after the Holiday season. Miracle Gro works great!
After the Holiday Season
-Maintain the above mentioned care information, feeding the poinsettia monthly. The goal is to grow it as a houseplant, keeping it as healthy as possible. It may lose a few leaves here and there, but that is to be expected.
-When the bracts lose their aesthetic appeal (or late spring, whichever comes first), cut the poinsettia back to about 6-8 inches or so above the soil. Repot into the next sized container, and when frost is past, move the plant outside to enjoy the summer in a bright (not full sun) location. Water, and feed as needed. You may want to pinch your plant once or twice throughout the summer to keep it compact and full. Do this lastly around the first of September. Move indoors before the threat of cold weather or frosts, providing the same location indoors as during the holidays.
-Poinsettias are short day plants, which mean they ‘flower’ about 8 to 10 weeks after the daylight shortens to 10 to 12 hours. To have your poinsettia in color for the Holidays, keep it in complete darkness (‘complete’ meaning no lights on whatsoever) for about 14 hours (5:00pm to 8:00am) from October 1st until Thanksgiving. Remember, your poinsettia will still need bright light during the day, monthly feedings until December, and watered as needed.
*Research conducted at The Ohio State University and other institutions has proved that the old theory “poinsettias are deathly poisonous to humans” is false. And although recent studies have” suggested” the same for most home pets, if you are uncomfortable / unsure and do not want to take a chance, place your poinsettias out of your pet’s reach.
Keeping Holiday Greens Fresh – If you’re like us, you still enjoy decorating with live fresh greens. Great feel and you can’t beat those wonderful smells. But there’s nothing worse than having your fresh greens and wreaths fall apart before the Holiday season is over, so here’s a few tips to help keep them fresher, longer.
1.) Make sure they’re as fresh as possible when you buy them. Bend the needles for flexibility, and give them a light shake. A few needles will fall, but it shouldn’t in excess.
2.) Feel free to soak your greens in a tub of water overnight to help rehydrate them.
3.) Take them out of the water, let them dry. Then, give them a good spraying of an anti transpirant such as WiltStop. This is an all natural product, made from pine resin, that coats the needles and seals in the moisture, which will help keep those greens and wreaths fresher, longer. And once it dries, it gives your greens a very attractive shiny appearance. Don’t forget that WiltStop can also be used on your Christmas tree, as well as helping to protect evergreens outdoors from winter damages.
4.) Be smart when using your greens, and try to keep them away from sources of heat, burning candles, or even sunny windows if you can. And check them on a regular basis. If they get too dry, just get rid of them; we don’t want any fire hazards around the house
Keeping that live ‘cut’ Christmas tree fresher: If you’re going to put the tree up when you get home, have the folks at the store put a fresh flat cut on the bottom, removing about 1 inch. Then sleeve the tree for transporting home. If you’re not going to put it up right away, do not put a fresh cut the bottom. Caring for your cut tree: [A Christmas tree is a living thing; treat it as you would a cut flower to keep it fresh]. 1.) If you buy your tree several days before setting it up, store it outdoors in a cool and shady place, protected from wind and sun. You may want to make a fresh flat cut on the butt of the tree (remove about 1 inch), and store upright in a container of water. 2.) Spray your tree with WiltStop. This seals moisture in the needles, keeping your tree fresher, longer. Do this before bringing the tree into the house. (Use WiltStop on all your fresh Holiday greens.) 3.) When you bring the tree inside for decorating, make another fresh flat cut at the base before placing it in the stand. If you’re going right from our tree lot to the indoors (within 6-8 hours), our garden pros will make the fresh flat cut for you. 4.) Place a ‘tree disposal bag’ around the base of your tree before putting the tree in the stand. This bag will help make clean up easier after the holidays are over. 5.) Your new tree is thirsty! After placing your tree in the stand, add warm water (with tree preservative if you’d like) to the stand immediately, and be prepared to add this water solution daily, or as needed. Do not let the stand go dry. Once dry, the bottom of the tree will seal back over and no longer take up water. 6.) Place your cut tree away from fireplaces, radiators, heat ducts, and any other source of heat. Even in front of picture windows exposed to the sun will heat up. 7.) Remember to check your Christmas lights for safety, and turn them off when the tree is unattended. And continue to check your tree for freshness. Use good judgment when deciding if a tree is too dry and needs to be taken down. After the Christmas holiday: 1.) Place your tree outdoors to make a shelter for birds and other wildlife. 2.) Participate in a park or city program that shreds trees for use as mulch. 3.) Cut the boughs off and use them to winter mulch perennials. 4.) Think of other ways to use your tree, rather than sending it to the landfill. Do not burn your tree in the fireplace.
Tags: poinsettia care