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Monday, December 15, 2008

The 411 to Help Avoid the 911 (psst....Gollum....this is for you too)



Who here has a Poinsettia in their house right now? Can I see a show of hands? I thought so....did you get one from the Greenhouse Diaries lady? lol If you have not seen this blog...run! there are photos of my dream greenhouse there...and LOTS of poinsettias!

I have some tips for all you plant lovers....

First, let's do away with two myths.
First: Poinsettias are NOT poisonous. Although you wouldn't want to eat one, you can feel safe in their presence. Feel better now? Please do not go out and eat one on purpose though...you could have a tummy ache!
Second: What we enjoy on poinsettias are not the flowers, but the brightly colored bracts. The bracts are actually modified leaves. The true flowers are those wimpy little knobs in the center of the bracts. So when we talk about "bract color" just think "flowers." Did you know that? I did..lol

I also learned something while making this post...Poinsettia is the correct spelling....not POINTsettia! (yes I am naturally a blonde!)
So...now that we have that out of the way...lets talk about how to keep that pretty leaved Non -poisonous plant alive for the holidays! woo hoo! plant talk....lets get busy!

LISTEN UP GOLLUM!!!!! LOL
-Make sure you give your Poinsettia plenty of light to keep it strong and healthy and growing.
An east facing window is a good idea.
-They like a normal room temp. Too warm and your plant will age very fast (too warm would be over 80F) Too cold - such as a cold draft from a window or open and closing door will do damage as well- don't forget to use that plastic sleeve when you transport them from the car to the house if temperatures are below 50F!
-Watering is essential to any plant, but you should only water when the soil feels dry to the touch, BEFORE the plant is wilting (that was for Gollum). Do NOT allow the plant to sit in water for more than 30 minutes if you water from below...or if the water runs out of the pot...this will cause root rot to set in and your lovely holiday plant will be dead before you can say Merry Christmas! (again Gollum...are you here?). When Watering....watch the decorative foil wraps or plastic pot covers that come with many poinsettias -- these wraps often trap excess water( and some will leak and ruin your furniture or floor). (that was for me) lol

I had a question in my comment box about Christmas Cactus...so here is the best I can do to help....I admit...I am not an expert on this plant..if you want a succulent expert go to this blog. It is called A Succulent Life I am willing to bet...that ALL of your questions will be answered by our sweet Julie if I can't help you here!

Okay..enough of that...lets get to business!
-These Cacti bloom in white, pink, red, purple, violet, and yellow. Their flowers will last up to a month! This plant will bloom year after year, as if on a schedule, just in time for Christmas - which is how they got their name! Their cousins bloom each year at Thanksgiving or Easter time. These succulent plants can life for many years- decades even-, and become hand me downs between families and friends.
BUT HOW DO WE CARE FOR THEM?

-Provide bright, indirect light, and high humidity (putting it on top of a forced air vent is not a good idea-I know...I have done my fair share of "decorating" in spite of the plant).
-Allow the soil to dry between watering- but don't wait for the plant to collapse!
(I water and feed weekly in the summer "Fertilizer Friday misses no plant here")
-Cut back on food in fall. Move plants to a cool (60-65 degrees F) room where plants get at least 12 hours of darkness every night until buds form. OR- if you are like me...wing it...and it will bloom when it is good and ready! I always seem to have blooms at different times of year...I don't have time to move plants around...especially if it looks really good in that certain spot!
So there you have it...my holiday plant knowledge (with a little help from a book or two....lol)
No 911 necessary!

Oh yea...I never have a poinsettia anymore....I am a pro at murdering them almost immediately! That is just so insulting to me to have a healthy plant die within hours of my touch...that I gave up! My dad has a huge one that he does nothing in particular to...and it is about 5 years old! go figure!

27 comments:

momstheword said...

You plant killer you. Gee, I have never done that....yeah, right. I used to kill those suckers too! I remember someone gave me one right before Christmas and I couldn't keep the darn thing alive.

I'm glad I met you too, my friend. I know you're busy and you don't owe me anything so don't worry about posting it girl!

artis1111 said...

I think they are so beautiful. I ususally get one from a customer. I love this time of the year.I get candy , cookies and presants, plus about 5 lbs. The last I could do without. Heee Kathy

~♥~ Monica S said...

I have two poinsettias right now.. with glitter on :-)
HTey are a "must-have" during christmas!
I like the red ones for christmas, but the creme ones goes best with my colors( inside the house)

Monica

Chris said...

Thank you for the info about those plants, I happen to have one of each. My catus, I just bought and it is beautiful. I must admit almost all of my flowers are silk. And that's because, one, I don't drown them until they collapse and two , we're away all summer,and I can't take them with me. :(

Hugs,
Chris

Darla said...

Great post and I finally read gardening advice that I already knew! I was beginning to think the more I learn the less I know. You saved my "wilting" confidence, just like a good shot of fertilizer. Thanks.

Jessica said...

Morning friend~ One time I had a poinsettia live until September but then we had a flood and no power for a few days it was like 100 degrees....grrrr. Anyway, I hope you have a good day and know that I'm thinking about you!

Hugs~ J

Happy To Be said...

Toots great information girl...on the POINSETTIA now I had one year ago and I planted it out side and it got huge and I mean huge..it looked like a big fire ball every year when it bloomed..great post and I had my hand raised..have a great day...hugs and smiles Gloria

squawmama said...

Good Morning Tootsie.... Loved the post today... I always but a ton of poinsettias for the holidays but since being in Tassie I buy them for my daughter now... BUT because I was just thinking how pretty one would be outside my door I may go get one today... I love them and the Christmas cactus... Oh it just started sprinkling here... If I were up there with you it would be snowing I bet...Have a funtastic day...

(((HUGS)))
Donna

onlymehere said...

Our neighbor owns a greenhouse/nursery and gives us a beautiful poinsettia every year. We never know what kind we'll get. I always feel bad that it dies so fast in my house so your suggestions for care are going to be very appreciated by me!!

Rachael said...

I usually buy "real" poinsettias, but this year I was a bad girl. I cheated and bought fake ones so that I didn't have to fuss with them. I do plan to buy a couple of real white ones because I love them after Christmas. Thanks for the tips on how to care for them!!

Lynette said...

I have no luck with either of these - I think they are beautiful but I buy the fake poinsettias and just keep them every year!!
Enjoy the season!!

Chrissy said...

Hey I am a plant killer too!!Brace yourself before you come over.....I have a new crown that may drive you to the brink of insanity!!!SORRY!!

profenretraite said...

Thanks for the info, Tootsie! I had stopped buying them several years ago when I took in my Isabella. She's my kitty who eats anything...including my blankets! Maybe I'll reconsider getting one now!...Debbie

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

Glenda, I loved your post. I think the one thing people do with poinsettias and Christmas catus is over watering. They are both easy easy plants once you figure out their needs and lighting.
Hugs, Terrie

Kristen said...

Thanks for the 411. I have a piece of a Christmas cactus that is older than me...it was my great grandmothers. It bloomed very well one year and has never bloomed since. My mom has the mother plant and it blooms great all the time...I even do everything she does. I moved a few years ago and wonder if it doesn't like my new house?

Chrissy said...

Tootsie...do you have a Pier One store near you?? My girlfriend says that they have white crowns!! Let me know...and by the way I am checking my bedroom every hour to make sure mine is still there young lady!!

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

I have given up on them. I kill em ever time !

Tootsie said...

thanks marty!!!!

Gollum said...

My husband won't let me bring a poinsetta (poinsettia?) into the house because I would kill it. (He's still upset because I let a pumpkin burst on the front porch--as if I busted it on purpose! Ha! lol)

He also says poinsettias would make the dogs sick. So I am showing him your article and DEMANDING that he bring me a poinsettia. :-).

He is also hoarding fudge. I can't kill fudge, so what's his excuse THIS TIME? :-)

I know a lady who has kept her poinsettias alive for decades. She put them in a dark closet. I tried it, and you can just imagine the results!

(Big Hugs)
Gollum

Lady Katherine said...

What a great post! My cactus is loaded in pink blooms. I usually kill them. But happy to be in my kitchen window. lol

salmagundi said...

I can't keep a poinsettia alive until Christmas. I've given up! I don't even think your words of wisdom would help. Take care, Sally

laurie said...

What a learning experience this was! Thank you so much for these tips! I've never had much luck with poinsettias, and I've never had a Christmas cactus, but if I have either of them, I'll know what to do now. Thanks. laurie

glimpse of my world said...

I have a POINSETTIA! REd.. Praying to keep it alive until the big bash on the 24th!! Thanks for the tips!

Thanks for a great blog. everytime I come to your blog you make me smile!

Merry Merry!

Mary Ellen (megardengal) said...

A friend brought a beautiful white poin- oh darn I can't remember the correct spelling!!- so I am glad for your tips - maybe it will survive- then again- I have had not much success with this plant either!!

My Christmas Cactus is blooming though! A gorgeous pink!

blessings
mary

Justine said...

Your dad has a potted poinsettia that's lasted 5 years? That's crazy! One year my brother took his out of the pot and planted it on the south side of his house. It got HUGE!!!!!!!!!!
Oy, still haven't recovered from my weekend with Jill. Whew!

Justine :o )

nikkicrumpet said...

I am so glad to find out that you actually kill a plant now and then...makes me feel so much better about myself! I have never been able to keep a poinsettia alive...ever!

Anonymous said...

Tootsie - We received a poinsettia on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27). Now that the Christmas tree is up, the poinsettia sits in a north-facing window by the heat vent. It doesn't like that spot. Friends told me to put a small cup of water on the soil to create a slightly moist atmosphere. I filled a corsage tube with water and japped it into the soil. I think I'd better move my plant before I lose it. Thanks for the info! Fieldstone/Pam