The holidays are here and to put our office in the festive spirit, we purchased a few holiday plants.
Poinsettias and a Norfolk Island Pine (I named him Hermie).
They sure are beautiful to look at and we would like to keep them that way!
Dressed for the season, this lively little pine looks native to the North Pole but it was actually grown from a seed in Hawaii.
How to care for your decorative pine:
Place in a brightly lit area. Near a window would be perfect, but not a drafty window, this little guy wouldn’t do well if the temperature gets below 45 degrees.
Keep the soil moist, but not soaked.
Fertilize once a month with an NPK 20-20-20 fertilizer. The first number is the amount of nitrogen (N), the second number is the amount of phosphate (P2O5) and the third number is the amount of potash (K2O). These three numbers represent the primary nutrients (nitrogen(N) – phosphorus(P) – potassium(K)).
The poinsettia, believe it or not, is also not indigenous to the North Pole, Poinsettias originated from Central America and Mexico!
Montezuma, the last of the Aztec kings, would have poinsettias brought into what now is Mexico City by caravans because poinsettias could not be grown in the high altitude.
In the early 1900’s the Ecke family of southern California grew poinsettias outdoors for use as landscape plants and as a cut flower. Eventually the family grew poinsettias in greenhouses and today is recognized as the leading producer of poinsettias in the United States.
(also, they are not poisonous! I did some research)
How to care for your poinsettia:
First of all, I was told to cover the plant from the store to my vehicle because the cold air would kill the leaves.
You want to keep your plant in an area that is void of cold drafts or extreme heat. So, not near a fireplace or heating vent and definitely not so close to a window that the leaves or bloom will touch the cold, glass pane.
Let the soil dry out between watering, then give your poinsettia a nice big drink of water, about 16 ounces. You should remove the decorative foil when watering to allow for drainage so your plant’s roots aren’t sitting in a puddle!
Do not fertilize the poinsettia when it is in bloom.
If you want to keep your poinsettia after the holiday season, you can fertilize it once a month.
To get your plant to re-bloom, it must remain in total darkness between 8pm and 5 am and be stored in a cool area, around 55-60 degrees.
Season‘s Greetings from Mike, Duston, Sharon and Deb!
Tamara Lesley says
Good Morning Mike,
I grow the largest Elephant Ears every summer but when I winter them in a brown paper bag in the closet they die. When I took them out this Spring the bulbs were as hard as a rock. How do you winter your Elephant Ears in the winter without killing them? They are so beautiful that I hate losing them and having to go back to buy new bulbs every Spring. Thank you so much for answering my question.
This is a question that I can’t answer but maybe somebody else that comes along will.
Linda Mc says
Would love to know how often to water my beautiful Christmas Cactus that I just received from my son. Love that I am a member! Linda Mc
Before watering, touch the soil – if it is dry to the touch, it is time to water. If the soil still feels damp – do not water. However, watering from the roots up by using a plant tray as mentioned above helps the plant to only take up water as needed. Misting the leaves on a weekly basis will also help to ensure maximum growth, but if you have hard water can result on white water spots. During fall (end of October) and winter, your Christmas Cactus should be watered less frequently than in the spring and summer. This will promote bud and bloom production.
I’m here! Sounds like Charlene is the expert! I have never had success keeping my poinsettias past the holidays. But I have found that they do like their quiet dark time and not in a room that is too warm. I think, from what I have read, that a drafty room is ok but the petals or leaves should not touch a cold window pane.
Thanks for the info!
Mike – useful info; however – how long do you keep the poinsettia plant in darkness from 8pm – 5am – from the time you get it, months, weeks, days?
Sharon is our resident Poinsettia plant expert so I’ll let her answer your question as soon as she’s up to it. We had some serious flu sweep through the office and she and Duston were both really sick on the same day.
Yes Charlene! Total darkness means total darkness. Some people move their plants into closets at night, which will only work if there is absolutely no light pollution in the closet. Other people cover their poinsettias with black bags or boxes to shut out the light. During the day, move your plant back to its regular location. After the holiday season is over, the plant will begin to gradually lose its leaves in anticipation of a resting period. Move the plant to a cooler, somewhat shadier location. Don’t worry about the leaves falling—they’re supposed to. Cut the water back, and only water when the soil is dry to the touch. Do not fertilize.
While on Vacation in Southern Mexico.. I spotted a ‘Poinsettia’ on a table, pointed at it and said “Canada” ! A little Mexican Woman took me by the hand, walked me down a path.. pointed to a ‘TREE’ (Yes, Pointsettia) and said “Meh-hico” ! They are ‘Trees down South’ ! Again, Great Info as always Mike !
Interesting I learned some thing…..thank you
Evelyne Bulegih says
Thank you very much for sharing your experience. This is very useful information, once again thank you.
Joanie Mosley says
thanks so much for the info!
John Ledbury says
Useful and interesting information, thanks.
I have four poinsettias that are five years old. I have them at work on a table in the lunch/break room. They sit next to a drafty window and they seem to do just fine there. I guess they adapted to their environment. They bloom all year long! The building is dark after 5 pm and there are no street lights. People are amazed to know that they don’t just bloom for Christmas. I tease the guys that I work with that they have Christmas all year long.
That’s interesting. Admittedly I don’t know a lot about poinsettias, I’m the outdoor, hardy plants guy. Sharon put this wonderful post together for us.
Josephine hurov says
Thank you for sharing