Is that what it takes to keep these darn things alive? I used to think so, but in honor of National Poinsettia Day–today–I’ve been doing a bit of research. Apparently, it’s not as hard as I thought. In fact, it is positively possible to keep this little baby alive clear until next Christmas. No lie.
What? You’re a non-believer? Well from what I’ve read–it’s not a bit hard. You just have to know what you’re doing.
In the November/December 2003 issue of Country Woman Magazine a reader writes:
Q. “I have the most beautiful poinsettia. Is there a way I can keep it alive and thriving for next Christmas?”
A. “You certainly can! And you’re not alone in wanting to do so. We and many others like to keep the plants blooming as long as possible, too.
To be honest, it really isn’t all that difficult to take care of a poinsettia. Place the plant near a bright window but out of direct sunlight and make sure the temperature indoors isn’t too high. The flowers prefer cool conditions.
Most importantly, never let your poinsettia dry out. Water it daily–but don’t let the soil get too soggy or leaves will turn yellow and fall off.
Around the beginning of January, add some all purpose houseplant fertilizer. if you notice that it’s starting to look a bit leggy by the middle of February, cut it back to about 5 inches high.
When spring arrives, remove leaves and branches as they start to fade of dry out. You can add more soil if the level looks low in the pot and continue to keep it in a bright location.
In early summer, trim off 2-3 inches to promote a fuller look and repot the poinsettia in a larger container. Once the weather is consistently warm, move it outside where it will get lots of sun, then water and fertilize regularly.
Starting on or near the first day of fall, you’ll want to bring the plant inside and put it in a closet or in the basement at night to ensure it gets 13 hours of uninterrupted darkness. During the day, it should receive about 11 hours of light.
By the end of November, you can stop the short day/long night routine, place the poinsettia in a sunny spot…and watch it turn colorful once again!”
I’m up for the challenge–I’ll let you know how it goes.
Happy Birthday my sweet April!