POINSETTIAS . . THE CARE, AFFECTION AND DISPOSAL OF THE QUINTESSENTIAL CHRISTMAS PLANT

img_3039

I have had a love affair with poinsettias all my life.  When I was very young small pots of flaming red poinsettias would appear in florist’s windows in the weeks before Christmas.  Their flamboyant red  bracts brightened the bitter cold December days.   That  these gorgeous and to me very rare,  creations bloomed in the winter months in far away Mexico convinced me that it was an exotic,  wondrous place.  I vowed to go there  when I grew up.

When my daughter was ten years old we  drove  from Regina, Saskatchewan to Mexico City.   We arrived early Christmas eve staying in a charming pension on Hamburgo Street in the center of the city.  There was a flower market close by and that night I carried back to our pension an armful of poinsettias with stalks almost five feet long.  They were our Christmas tree.

There are those who find poinsettias too ubiquitous,  but for me they are proud and fiery plants that herald the bright start of the sparkling Christmas season.    From mid-October to the Christmas season these darlings spend 14 hours a day in complete darkness to be ready to bring joy to your holiday decorating.

Poinsettias thrive on heat and affection.   Never buy poinsettias from open-air stalls.  These tender plants will not last if they stand in the cold for any length of time.  Wrap the plant in a further protective layer when taking it home. They love the warmth of a centrally heated home but dislike direct heat and drafts.  Water to keep the soil moist, not soaking and mist the bracts and leaves regularly.

It is possible to keep a poinsettia going for another year if you prune it back to 10 cm in April.  Replant in fresh compost in a slightly larger pot.  Water sparingly, just to prevent drying out, and fertilize every two weeks.  In an ideal plant world you would keep it in a greenhouse through summer.

Many horticultural gurus regard poinsettias as pot plants that should be discarded after Christmas.  They suggest that plants should be composted once their bracts begin to fall or lose colour.  That is what I do with my poinsettia plants.     I treat them with love and affection.  Enjoy their flaming beauty.  Then bid them a grateful good-bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “POINSETTIAS . . THE CARE, AFFECTION AND DISPOSAL OF THE QUINTESSENTIAL CHRISTMAS PLANT

    • They give you a lot of bang for your buck, Janet. Last year my plant lasted so long I must admit I was getting a little tired of it. All good wishes for a happy holiday for you and your family. Cheers Virginia

  1. It is not Christmas without poinsettias! I keep them as long as possible after Christmas but do the same and compost them. It is mild here but I have never had luck with putting them in the ground or even in a pot. Son gave me a small one last Christmas with an orchid and I enjoyed it through January. What an adventure to drive from Canada to Mexico City! Yours is every so elegant with the yellow wall in the background.

    • The sunshine yellows are the perfect counterpart to the many cloudy rainy days we experience here on the West Coast. The trip to mexico took 6 weeks. After Mexico city we drove to the West coast and experience that area so many years before it became a series of fashionable resorts. We saw Mexico in a different way. Merry Christmas , dear Jo Nell and a happy time for you and your family. XX Virginia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s