I’ve 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. The concept these gorgeous creations bloomed in the winter months in far away Mexico while we struggled with minus 40 degrees in Northern Saskatchewan, was unbelievable. I vowed when I grew up I was going to Mexico and I was going to be there at Christmas time.
When my daughter was ten years old we drove from Regina, Saskatchewan to Mexico City. We arrived early Christmas eve. We stayed 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 and just a little prosaic. For me they are proud and fiery plants that herald the bright start of the sparkling Christmas season. From mid-October to November 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 as the colour fades I bid them a grateful good-bye.
5 thoughts on “POINSETTIAS . . THE CARE, AFFECTION AND DISPOSAL OF THE QUINTESSENTIAL CHRISTMAS PLANT”
Perfect time for this advice, as I have a poinsettia in our living room for the Christmas season (and however long after that it lasts.)
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
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
They are so traditional and pretty!!