Several people have asked how to care for Holiday Flowers like Poinsettias, Cyclamen, Holiday cactus, and Kalanchoe. In part one, we will talk about Poinsettias and Cyclamen. Next week I will continue the discussion concerning Holiday Cactus and Kalanchoe.
A couple of days after Christmas, as I was taking my daily walk, I noticed numerous Poinsettia plants dumped in the trash along with empty gift boxes and torn wrapping paper. During the holiday season, Poinsettias are in every store and nursery in vivid colors of red, pink, yellow, and even red with white spots! They are cheap to purchase and are a delight to have as part of our holiday decorations.
Many people ask how to care for their Poinsettias and what is the process to get them to bloom again next year. Personally, I feel it is best just to toss them and buy a new one next season. It is a challenge to get them to bloom again. While in bloom, keep them in a bright, cool spot with plenty of moisture.
After the flower bracts have fallen off, let the soil dry, but not bone dry, and place in a cool dark area until April. Re-pot the plant in the spring, cut it back at least 6 inches, fertilize and place in a sunny place in the garden. Until the middle of August, pinch back the tips, so the plant will branch out.
In the fall, bring the Poinsettia into the house and place it in a sunny window during the day. But it is vital the plant be placed in total darkness for at least 12 hours a day from early September to November. People often place them in a closet and cover the plant with a box. Warm days and cool nights are ideal. With some luck, your Poinsettia will bloom again!
For me personally, it is much easier to slap down $5 or $10 dollars and buy a new one every December!
Cyclamen is grown from a large tuber with beautifully marbled leaves and colorful flowers resembling butterflies in flight. Most Cyclamen sold during the holidays are houseplants. This is another plant I personally feel it is better to buy another one next year. Getting it to re-bloom can be tricky. (There are smaller varieties that are grown in gardens and hardy to zone 5.) Cyclamen are sensitive to temperature, and under and over watering, and how they are fertilized.
After it blooms, the leave will turn yellow and fall off. The plant isn’t dying, but it is beginning its dormant period. Remove any remaining leaves, stop watering it and place the plant in a cool dark place for two months. After its two-month nap, water it well and place in a sunny window, and it should grow new leaves and bloom again. If grown under the right conditions, the tuber will get larger every year and produce more flowers.
In the next article, ‘Ask the Gardener’ we will be talking about Holiday cactus and Kalanchoe.
Please listen to my podcasts, ‘In the Garden with Rick,’ at DimpleTimes.com In future podcasts we will be discussing Holiday plants in greater detail.
Image by 165106