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

Prompt for December 4 | Project Reverb

20/20: Hindsight is the one thing we never benefit from in the present.  Is there one moment you wish you could do over?

via Prompt for December 4 | Project Reverb.

No. I don’t want do overs of anything unless it’s a single great moment. Even then, things are always better in the moment than the second time around. You can’t have the same reaction twice, especially when you already know how things are going to end.

Do you read the end of a book while you are still reading it? Life is like that. At times we would like to know how it ends, do we accomplish everything, or anything? How do family and friends do with their own lives? So many questions to ask and yet having the answers leaves us without all those questions.

I think we need those surprises, questions and all those moments of suspense and even fear. If we had a book of our lives to read from how dull that would be. To already know how your every moment will be…. Wouldn’t that be sad to just be waiting around for things to happen instead of wondering what will happen next?

Maple Leaves in the Rain

I found this on a wallpaper site, in Russian. I’m assuming they were free to use – at least for personal use. I’m linking back to the site because there were a lot of great images there. This is one which I love. How can you not like maple leaves in the rain, especially with colours slightly more vibrant than they would be on the typical rainy day here in Ontario.  I’m adding it in a smaller size. Hopefully you can click on it and get the full size image. Full size was even better.

mapleleaves

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.

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Altared Naturally

Originally written for The Crying Clown Zine (c. 1998)

Just picture yourself, in mid ritual, suddenly your Book of Shadows falls to the floor with an unpleasant sounding thud. Silly you, you forgot your altar!

The Wiccan/ Pagan altar is not just for eating your breakfast on anymore. Also, those looking forward to virgin sacrifices are in for a disappointment. But, look on the bright side, now you don’t have to save yourself for that big moment on the stone slab, just go out and have fun!

So, what should you know about constructing your very own altar? Start with all natural ingredients and assemble them inside a circle. Those are the basics. Your altar can be outdoors for all the little bugs and squirrels to see or it can be inside and easily pushed under your bed for those with parents who like to make room inspections still. An altar can even be made on your desk at work. Just use some creativity and no one will suspect you have brought Pagan influences to concrete jungle.

The altar itself can have a circular base or square, depending on how natural you want to go with it. Outdoors, a fire can substitute for an altar. Make sure you are prepared to safely extinguish it before you leave. Face your altar in a direction of power, generally that’s north, the direction associated with Earth. Some Wiccan use east and west, the direction the sun rises and sets. Lastly, everything on your altar is positioned in a pattern. The arrangement is very individual and can be kept track of in your Book of Shadows. (The Book of Shadows is a book or some other form of note keeping Wiccan use for their exploration and discoveries along their path of learning.)

Just raring to go and get Medieval, I mean creative? To dedicate your altar to the Goddess and God, something you can choose to do. Set up put the tools dedicated to the Goddess (pentacle, cup, bell, crystal, cauldron and others) on the left side of the altar. The tools dedicated to the God (athame, censer, white handled knife, etc) are placed on the right side. In the middle of the altar, you please yourself; at least that is how I see it.

If you don’t follow the ‘standard’ altar plan with God and Goddess on either ends you can fill those areas of your altar with things to represent the elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. The idea is to stick to natural ingredients but you can do a lot with those. A natural altar contains assorted leaves, stones, drawings/ pictures, candles, seashells, feathers, flowers/ herbs, a glass of water, your pet guppy, tissues (handy if you have a cold) and a pirate’s treasure map (assuming you can find one). Keep in mind the elements. The feather and leaves can represent Air. The candle and maybe some burnt offerings from breakfast can represent Fire. Water is easy with seashells or a glass of water. Earth can be represented by the stones or leaves (think compost, just don’t put it on your altar unless you are ready for the smell).

The altar is the physical centre of a ritual. Its a place of power and magick. To think it is mostly a flat surface to work at is a mistake. Some of your energy and magick will remain in your altar after each ritual. You will be bringing a lot from yourself to the ritual and your altar. Because of this, your altar must have special meaning to you. Use your own sense of style, things that are important, have meaning to you, and design your altar to suit yourself and your needs.