Poinsettia Time!

Today is the 7th and that means it’s time to check in on the progress of your 2011 Christmas Poinsettia Plants.  That’s right, YOUR poinsettia plants, not ours.  Remember, mine are now long gone- maybe to serve as compost for some 2012 plants.  Hopefully your plants are faring much better and are ready for a triumphant return this December.  Here are the plans for your plants for October:

The poinsettia is a short-day plant budding according to the amount of daylight.  They are going to need about 10 weeks of long hours of darkness to bloom full and strong for Christmas.  Long hours of darkness means at least 12 hours of darkness a day.  You will need to create an artificially dark environment for your plants.  It is recommended to keep the plants in total darkness from 5 PM until morning each day.  It is best to put the plants in some type of closed box or chest.  Putting them in a closet or closed off room is risky if there is any chance light might enter through cracks.  Just the smallest light will throw the bloom schedule off.  During the non dark hours each day the plants should continue to be placed in bright daylight and watered regularly.  Keep this treatment up for the whole month of October and into November.  Next month will be time to plan for the glorious return of bright brilliant blooms.

Poinsettia Check!

Today is the seventh and that means it’s time to check on the progress of my 2011 poinsettia plants.  If you recall from August I was down from my 5 originals to just 1 that was struggling through.  The sad news is that they have all died.  I might have been more attentive in the leaner early spring months and nursed them a little more. The good news is it is only about 7 weeks until I can buy 2012 plants!  I promised to post the tips and plans for the whole year.  So even though mine have been added to the compost bin I will still let you know what comes next.  September is easy- continuing watering and fertilizing.  Just be sure to keep them above 65 degrees (no problem lately around here!).  October will bring some challenge- complete darkness for the plants.  Check back on October 7th for all the details on operation black-out.

Uh oh! Back to Lowe’s in December

It’s the 7th and that means it’s time to check in on the progress of my 2011 poinsettias.  It’s August and the guidelines for care tell me that my stems should have new growth and lots of leaves. I need to cut back the new growth to 3-4 leaves.  Once trimmed it is time to bring the pots back inside and place them in a sunny window.  The growth will continue with good watering and fertilizing through September.  Here’s the trouble, my plants are not growing anything new and there are no leaves to cut back.  I’m not sure where I went wrong.  Maybe it was too dry?  Maybe it was too much water before moving outside?  Both concerned me.  I’m going to give it until the end of September before pulling the plug.  I hope your plants are doing much better and looking flush and green.  Here’s the good news, come Black Friday I’ll have my choice of 99 cent plants from both Lowe’s and Home Depot I predict.  Then the plan will be to immediately repot those babies so I can see them through to 2013!

 

Flower Check!

Well, it’s the 7th of the month again and you know what that means.  Time to check in on those 2011 Poinsettias.  The road to saving those flowers from last year to add to Christmas 2012 has been an interesting test of will.  I am back to the thinking that it is certainly just easier to by new ones on Black Friday at Lowe’s for 99 cents.  Those 2011 plants are remaining outside in the warm summer air (that’s a HUGE understatement lately) and be kept moist (a challenge when it’s 140 degrees out).  Early July is the next step to cut back the plants.  The guide instructs to cut all stems back an inch or two.  This will encourage the stout growth that will create a bushier plant come December.  Honestly my plants now look like a collections of stems with very few leaves.  My guide tells me this is to be expected and that I should see some bountiful growth from now to mid-August, when we move them back indoors and eventually back to many hours of total darkness. Hope springs eternal that this will be the best looking Poinsettia plants I’ve ever owned by December.  We shall all see!

 

Poinsettia Check

Last month I shared a little about keeping and caring for your Christmas poinsettia all year round.  It seems really simple and cost smart.  Why buy new plants every year if you can keep the same and let them grow and grow?  On the 7th of each month we get an update on the care plan with a check-in on my plants.  First let’s review our care instructions.  For January and February we need to keep the plant growing as we do in December.  The challenge is to do just that- keep them growing!  It takes the basics:

Light needs to be direct.  They need lots of sun!

Heat is needed.  They like it no cooler than 65.  You have to avoid cold drafts.  This includes being near a cold window- bad news!

Water often.  They should be kept wet, but be cautious not to over water.  The damage can take a year for recovery.  If you have low humidity you will need to water daily.

I found out first hand the damage from that cold window.  I had my plants in front of a door to my back porch.  The side touching the windows took a little hit.  Bad damage!   My plants are looking a little rough but they are making it.  NEed to pluck off the dead leaves and keep the water flowing.  We keep this up until the end of March, then it will be time to start cutting back the water and shutting down the growth.  Send some pics of  your plants for show and tell in our March post on the 7th.