Keep Your Poinsettia After Christmas

poinsettiasIt is possible to keep your poinsettia alive into the Spring season when it can flower again for Christmas holidays the next year.

Of course, flower is the wrong word when dealing with poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima, from the spurge plant family). They don’t have flower petals. Those red leaves are called bracts. The red leaves are just more leaves on the planet but they turn red as they grow from the top. The actual ‘flower’ is that knobby looking part in the centre of the plant. This is why poinsettias are propagated through grafting in commercial nurseries.

I’ve never tried growing one from seed either. I just do my best to keep my live plants going from year to year. I did have one which I kept for several years. It finally caught a white fungus during one of my moves from place to place. It couldn’t be saved that year.

The plant needs 12 hours of daylight followed by 12 hours of darkness in order to bloom – get the leaves to turn red. With some fussing, you can induce your poinsettia to bloom red again after the holiday season when the leaves usually begin to drop off and leave you with a pretty bare and barren looking plant.

How to Get Your Poinsettia to Grow Again

Prune the plant. Take off the red leaves, if there are any left. After the last of the frost is gone from outside, take it out for some fresh air. Don’t rush to get it out there. The poinsettia is not hardy for being out in the northern climate. They are native to Central America and Mexico.

You can leave the poinsettia outside all Summer. It will grow and look much healthier than it has since Christmas. Bring the poinsettia indoors in the Autumn. It really does not want to catch a chill outside. Bring it in before the first frost. Place the poinsettia in a room which you can give it darkness (complete and uninterrupted) after sunset. The plant needs those long, dark periods for at least two months if you want to get the red leaves developing in time for Christmas. Any light during this stage will set it back.

If you only have dim light, not full dark, try putting a cardboard box over the poinsettia for those 12 hours of full dark it needs. Another idea, put a tomato cage in the plant pot and cover it with a cloth/ fabric tablecloth to block out the light. Don’t use plastic, or anything else which will cut off the air as well as the light. Don’t forget to uncover the plant at dawn so it can also get the full 12 hours of light it needs. We tend to have longer nights than days in the Autumn so it will need all the daylight you can give it too, the balance of light and darkness.

Keep the poinsettia on the dry side when it comes to watering. Set the pot on a few pebbles, marbles, beads, something which will make sure it is getting good drainage rather than holding excess water inside the pot. I also pot them with a few rocks at the bottom of the pot if I give them a new container, other than the one they came in from the store. The poinsettia likes moist soil but it does not like to be sitting in water or have water poured over it. The best thing is to let it be just a bit dry and then give it a soak in a bucket (or some other container) of water. Then take it out to drain out any extra water before you put it back where you have it growing.

Poinsettia Growing Links

Where the Wild Things Are: A Pagan Celebration

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, September, 22, 2003.

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox. I should be doing something, celebrating the changing seasons. But I’m not. I’ll be at work from 9:00am till 8:30 at night. By the time I’m done I will be too tired to drive myself home. But, I have to do that so I’ll manage somehow. Times like that I’m so glad it’s the car that does all the work!

Anyway, real life does interfere with how Wiccan or Pagan we would like to be. That’s ok, it’s reality. If I was to skip work and the big meeting after work, that would be living in some unreal imaginary world of my own creation. I have to work to make money to pay for my car, my rent and the clothes I wear while I do all those other things. Now and then I even treat myself to a new book, a fancy coffee or a day of window shopping.

It’s ok to live in the real world. It’s ok to miss a Pagan celebration. It would be nicer to not miss it. But, really as long as I’m alive and still on this planet I’m not missing a thing. As I drive I’ll be looking at the darkened forest I drive through on the way home. I’ll be watching for deer and foxes who sometimes show up along the roadside in the evenings. I’ll be listening to the sounds of the night as I drive with the windows down to let in all that cool night air and the scent of crisp Autumn leaves.

You may not light candles, perform rituals or chant pretty rhymes but that doesn’t mean you’re not celebrating along with the rest of the world. It’s what you have in your heart, mind and soul that matters, even if you only express it to yourself. You don’t have to prove how Pagan you are to anyone but you.

Blog Talkers: Flowers

Blog Talkers: Flowers. Do you like flowers? When is the last time you received flowers? When is the last time you sent someone flowers? Do you think purchasing flowers is a waste of money? Do you garden? What is your favorite flower?

I do like flowers. I think the last time I was sent flowers my Mom sent them for my birthday over a year ago. I don’t send flowers but usually bring them to my Mom. Last time was last Autumn when I bought her a passion flower vine. I think buying flowers is lovely. Organic too. I don’t garden a lot. My Mom has the garden here. I used to have a space when we lived in the Stouffville area. I had a tulip bed at the back of the house. I like a lot of different flowers. Mainly those which come up early in the Spring like tulips, Christmas rose, and violas and sweet williams later in the season.

Blog Talkers: Winter

Blog Talkers
Winter. What do you like the most about winter? What do you like the least? How does your schedule change during the winter months?

I think I like the snow most about winter. I like how it makes all the mess and muck of Autumn go away to be replaced by a fresh, sparkling white blanket. I like how snow will fall and coat every last branch and twig on every tree. It’s very pretty when you aren’t freezing outside waiting for the bus. It gets less pretty when the bus is running late due to snow storms, blizzards and such. That is what I like the least, being cold and stuck waiting outside for a bus.

I wish my schedule could change over the winter. I still have to go to work, buy groceries and all those other regular things. This winter I am car-less so getting out for anything fun isn’t happening as often. But, that should change in the Spring when I will get the driver’s license sorted out and take the road test (again). Jsut hate paying money for the silly thing and feeling that the government is rubbing their hands in glee just waiting for a sucker like me.

Still kind of aggravates me that I had a full license and shouldn’t have to be doing all of this over again. It’s not like I lost my license for drinking and driving or reckless driving of any other kind. So unfair… 🙁 Plus, I miss driving, even without the whole snow and cold thing.