Dandelions’ Poinsettia Project

A year ago – December 2011 – Roseann, one of our designers, put a broken poinsettia stem into a bud-vase of water thinking it would give her a few days of pleasure before it died. Over a year later, surprising us all, this stem has survived…the leaves have faded in color, but it’s still alive! 

So this year Roseann has a new poinsettia stem in a bud vase, next to the old one, and we’ll see how long this one lasts!!

How are the poinsettias you bought this holiday doing? Hopefully, great!! Here’s how you can care for them and get them to re-bloom next season:

1. Keep caring for them as you have been during the holiday (Keeping them away from the cold, in warm rooms, and making sure they get enough water and lots of light.) If the leaves have already shriveled or fallen off, start watering your plant less.

New poinsettia bract2. In March (around the 17th – St. Patrick’s Day), when the bracts (colored leaves) fade, cut the stems back to 8 inches above the soil line.

3. Water your plant less than you’ve been watering it, allowing it to dry out more.

4. Lightly fertilize your plant with a balanced all-purpose plant food every 3-4 weeks.

5. When it warms up outside, place the plant outdoors – first in indirect sunlight, and then direct sunlight. Avoid temperatures under 50 degrees throughout the summer. When the new growth appears, water your plant more frequently.

6. In early July, around the 4th, cut back the new growth on the stems, and re-pot  the plant, if it needs it.

7. In early September, when fall temperatures begin to drop, move your poinsettia plant back inside, but make sure it gets 6 or more hours of direct light.

8. October 1st to December 1st, keep your plant in complete darkness for 14 hours, giving it 10 hours of natural light daily. This will set the buds and cause the bracts to color. Any exposure to light during the dark hours will delay blooming.

9. In  early December, stop fertilizing your poinsettia and start caring for it they way you did during the holiday.

Old and new poinsettiaGood luck on your poinsettia project. Let us know how your plant does. We’ll definitely keep you posted on Roseann’s poinsettia cuttings.

How to Care for Your Poinsettia

Poinsettia -  Eugene, OregonThe vibrant red that poinsettias display (they also come in other shades including orange, cream, pink, even purple) have made them a popular plant around the Christmas season. But how do you care for this lovely plant? Here are some tips to help you get your poinsettia to last.

Temperature:

Poinsettias are tropical plants, so they don’t like the cold. During the day, be sure to keep it in a room that’s between 65 to 75 degrees, and at night, if possible, keep it in a room that’s a little cooler (55 to 60 degrees.) Poinsettias also don’t do well with sudden changes in temperature, so keep it away from the door so it doesn’t feel the draft, and if you keep it by the window, don’t allow the leaves to touch the glass. Sudden temperature changes will cause the poinsettia to drop it’s leaves. Poinsettias also like humidity, so if your plant’s leaves start looking a little crinkly around the edges, you can mist it.

Light:

Poinsettias love light, so make sure it gets as much as possible throughout the day.  dec 007

Watering:

Wait until the surface soil is dry to the touch and then water your poinsettia, allowing enough water so that it runs out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the container. Poinsettias prefer moist soil rather than sitting in water, so it is important that you allow the excess water to drain out after watering. Once a poinsettia starts to droop it will soon begin to drop it’s leaves, so it is important to check the soil frequently.

There is no need to fertilize your poinsettia plant during the Christmas season.

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous to people or animals, but they are a delicate plant and their stems break easily, so be sure to keep them where a curious pet or child cannot reach them.

If you keep an eye on your poinsettia, it should last just fine throughout the season. In a few weeks I’ll let you know how to care for your poinsettia after the Christmas season.

Colorful Winter Houseplants

Bring the garden inside this winter with a selection of bright, beautiful winter-flowering houseplants.

Cylcamen are a delicate plant perfect for any cool windowsill. As it grows it is best to place the plant on a saucer and water from underneath rather than directly on the plant. Remove any spent blooms and it will continue to flower throughout the winter. The blooms of this plant are guaranteed to fill your house with their strong perfume.

Azaleas usually produce in bright pink and purple flowers but also come in white and a deep pinkish-red. Keep deadheading it and it should flower for about 6 weeks. A good plant for a cool room. Water sparingly with lime-free water (rainwater is best) and occasionally feed with cold, black tea. Avoid placing next to radiators as this will dry out the foliage and may kill the plant.

Add a touch of the exotic to your house with the winter-flowering cymbidium orchid. Originating from Asia, the long stems carry impressive, tropical-looking flowers. Although it’s a houseplant, it does need a spell outside in the summer in order to stimulate it to flower in the winter months. It requires a bright but slightly cooler area in the house.

Kalanchoes are a blooming plant in the succulent family and are known for their robustness and their ease to grow. They enjoy rich, free draining soil with minimal water and are ideal for a bright sunny window.