when to plant poinsettias for christmas

The legend tells of a young girl named Pepita or Maria who was so poor that she couldn’t afford to buy a gift to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. Said star was the light that led the three wise men to the baby Jesus when he was born. Over-watering causes the most issues for poinsettia plants. The showy portions of the poinsettia, which most people think of as the flower, are actually colorful leaves called bracts. Cut it back to 4 inches, leaving one to three leaves on each stem, and begin fertilizing every two weeks. I'm sure someone (other than myself) will find this article very useful. If left wrapped too long, the stems of the leaves and bracts will begin to droop. And when you do water, water so the soil is moist and damp, but not saturated. Bring the plant out into indirect light for only about 8 hours each day, and then return to darkness. Nurseries use this feature to manipulate their flowering, producing poinsettias in bloom at virtually any time of the year. The second factor that can affect the longevity of blooms is the amount of heat in the room. We have to delve into the sordid history of the poinsettia plant to find the answer. When fall temperatures begin to drop, bring the plant indoors. Poinsettias didn’t become a traditional holiday decoration until Paul Ecke, an American plant grower, grown them during the Christmas season. In the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico began to use poinsettias as decorations for Christmas. They can be red, orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled. Poinsettia is more than just a Christmas flower. Prune back the plants in early summer, and again in mid-summer to keep the plant full and bushier. Poinsettia plants need light to bloom, but again, not too much. He gnaws on anything that even remotely resembles a plant. general purpose fertilizer every two to three weeks. Generations of gardeners have put in the time to keep their Poinsettia alive and thriving for wintertime color. It's somewhat tricky to get your poinsettia to bloom again. Ideal air temperature is 60⁰F to 70⁰F. And, with good care, a poinsettia plant can maintain its beauty for much longer than the Christmas season. Allow your plants to dry out completely between waterings. As fall arrives, it is time to start preparing your poinsettia for holiday blooming! Poinsettia usually flowers in winter. In the U.S., they are hardy only in zones 9 through 11, so they must be brought indoors during the colder months of the year. And to keep the bracts in tip-top shape all throughout the full holiday season, there are 3 simple keys to success. In addition to the traditional red, bracts can be pink, white, orange, and even purple. But keeping them healthy and strong all through the season can be a challenge for many. From October 1 to December 1 (or for at least 40 days), a poinsettia will need a strict light/dark regimen to produce color. In late February or early March, prune your plant back to 4- to 6-inches leaving between one and three leaves on each stem. As spring and warmer temperatures arrive, you can take the plants outside. And what a rigmarole! Do watch for shriveled brown stems, which are an indication that your lovely Christmas flower may be dying a slow death. Start your seeds in the spring, but don't expect any flowers until the second Christmas after you plant them. GROW POINSETTIAS. Once summer is over, bring your plants indoors before nighttime temperatures … In the fall, you will need to bring your plant back indoors when the nighttime temperatures are consistently below 45⁰F. Today, tens of millions of poinsettias are sold during the Christmas season. The instructions post March are not quite as simple. It cannot be exposed to any kind of light such street lights, car headlights, TV’s, computer screens or even light under the door. Locate plants so that they receive a fair amount of indirect light, but not direct sunlight through a window. The plants are very sensitive to cold. Fertilize at each of these points with a balanced, all-purpose organic fertilizer to provide strength to the plant. Looking to keep your poinsettia plants looking healthy and beautiful all through the Christmas season this year? To get plants to bloom around the holiday season, they need to go through a 6 to 8 week period of darkness to force the blooms. Poinsettia plants grow best during the winter months, which is why they are the most popular potted plant during the holidays. In their eyes, the leaves growing in a star shape represented the Star of Bethlehem and the red color of the bracts represented Jesus' blood that was shed to cleanse the sins of believers. Poinsettia. Caren White (author) on November 08, 2017: Linda, I have the same problem! Don’t transplant poinsettia plants outdoors right after Christmas. The cupboard fun commences in September to early October. Poinsettia “blooms” are actually bracts, and not a flower at all. For best results, place the box over your plant at 5 pm (or whenever you return from work) and leave it there until 8 am (or whenever you leave for work) every day until color begins to show in the bracts when you remove the box in the morning. No plants are safe from my cats. Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 08, 2017: We used to have poinsettias in our house each Christmas, that is, until a kitty adopted us. A dark closet with easy access works best for this. Caren White is a Master Gardener and instructor at Home Gardeners School. Everyone loves colorful poinsettias during the holiday season, but once the holidays have passed, even if you have kept your plant alive, it won’t bloom again the following December. And that’s it! If possible, check the soil before buying. This tropical plant loves heat and humidity – but not too much! There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available in shades of red, pink, white, and yellow—solids, streaked, marbled, and multicolored. If left wrapped too long, the stems of the leaves and bracts will begin to droop. Poinsettias are a shrub that grows from 2 to 13 feet in height. Outside, it will need to grow in a semi-shady location. Many varieties of poinsettia are available, with variegated foliage and bracts ranging from creamy white to blush pink. It can also damage the foliage as the sun’s rays filter through the glass. Higher temperatures will cause the plant to prematurely drop its colorful bracts. You can start planting poinsettia outdoors after all chance of frost has passed. If your poinsettia is going to be a permanent resident in your garden, and you want it change colors in time for Christmas, plant it in a spot that stays completely dark for about 12-14 hours every night starting in early October. You will have to artificially create these conditions and it's crucial that you be diligent. Poinsettias make great holiday decorations and they’re often given as gifts in late November and throughout December. Well, in about the 17th century, Christmas and the poinsettia plant coincided because of a legend. Once you understand why the bright red flowers develop, it’s easy to force your poinsettia to bloom year after year. As can keeping these gorgeous perennial plants alive through late winter, spring and summer to use again next year. No plant symbolizes Christmas quite like the poinsettia, especially the ruby-red variety. In fact, you can even plant them directly into the soil if desired. Too much water will cause the leaves to turn yellow and then drop. At the end of September, place plants in a dark, cool area (65 degree-ish) for 14 to 16 hours a day. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. At home, you can use a box large enough to cover your plant completely. But with that said, be sure to not allow the soil to stay too dry for too long. Although they look like a flowering blooms, bracts are instead a set of colorful leaves that form on top of the regular green foliage of the poinsettia. As soon as you see the blooms begin to change color, it is time to bring it out full time to enjoy. So, flowering starts to be initiated starting at fall solstice (that would be September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere this year). As mid-January and February roll around, even the best-kept poinsettia plants will begin to fade. Since poinsettia plants are from the tropics, they prefer surroundings that simulate that type of environment. First, let’s start with how to care for poinsettias during their “blooming” season. Here is to keeping your poinsettia plants beautiful through the holiday season, and keeping them around year after year to enjoy! But not to worry, we have you covered with today’s article! They are native to Mexican forests. They are native to Mexico. And although poinsettia plants have a bit of rap for being dangerous to pets and children – see our article on the myths of the poinsettia plant : Are Poinsettias Really Dangerous? A symbol of resurrection Question: Where can we get poinsetta plants that will bloom for December? How to Grow Poinsettias So They'll Re-Bloom Next Christmas 1) December - March: Basic Care. They are native to Mexican forests. Miraculously, the weeds sprouted red flowers which became poinsettias. Aside from the Christmas tree itself, no plant symbolizes Christmas quite like the poinsettia. Poinsettias need this prolonged period of darkness to rebloom. Caring for Outdoor Poinsettia Plants Once you bring your poinsettia plants home, water them often— whenever the leaves are... 2) April - May: Decrease Watering and Begin Cutting. Keep it out of drafts. Continue the biweekly fertilization schedule. When poinsettia plants fail early in the season, it can most often be attributed to too much, or too little watering. The large red bracts of poinsettias are often mistaken for flowers but they are actually leaves. The trick is how to get them to bloom again the following year. As with over-watering, under-watering will cause a plant to lose it bracts and color prematurely as well. Continue to keep your poinsettias in a place with plenty of light and water as directed above. Once the blooms have faded, begin by cutting the foliage and stems back to around 4″ above the soil surface. Here is an in-depth look at how to keep your poinsettias blooming and booming through the holidays – and how to overwinter them after they finish blooming to use again next Christmas season! It should be neither dripping wet nor totally dry, and if it is, … Answer: Poinsettias are perennials so they will not bloom until the second year of growth. Once nights become longer in fall, bring the poinsettia indoors. If you are able, you can prolong the life of the colorful bracts by moving your plant into a cool room that 55⁰F to 60⁰F at night. The color is created through the process of photoperiodism, meaning they require a specific number of hours of darkness each night to change from green to red or other colors. Not only can overwatering lead to the yellowing of leaves, it can also rot away the root structure, killing the plant in the process. Continue with the same watering and fertilization schedule. Depending on when you want the poinsettia to be fully flowering and how you intend to care for them after flowering, determines on when you start flowering them. With the arrival of September, poinsettias are best returned to the house to ensure a minimum night-time temperature of about 16°C. Too little water will cause the leaves to drop. Your poinsettia will only display colored bracts if it experiences complete darkness for at least 12 hours per night for 10 weeks. The Poinsettia. Commercial greenhouses achieve this using opaque shade cloths to cover their plants at night. Overly warm rooms will shorten the bloom time of poinsettia plants, as will sitting them too close to a heat source such as a heat duct, fireplace or heater. Once you have arrived home with your wrapped plants home, unwrap them immediately. Purchase a poinsetta plant in December this year and then follow my instructions to make it bloom again next year. Thank you for your kind words and for commenting. She has been associated with Rutgers Gardens for over a decade. Reduce their water supply a little at the same time, but ensure they are kept in a bright (but not sunny) position in the daytime. As crazy at it sounds, it is darkness that will bring a poinsettia into full color. In the spring, once nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50⁰F, you can bring your plant outdoors. Before you do so, you might want to repot it if it has outgrown the pot it came in. Poinsettias care isn't very difficult, but there are few things to know about these Christmas favourites to help them last longer. Luckily, succeeding in growing poinsettia does not need to be a hard task, even if you are a novice gardener. They are often disposed of once they start to fade, but with a little care, you can keep them all year and the bracts will colour up again the following year. But with just a bit of care, they can easily be kept from year to year. But more on that later. So, where did the Christmas poinsettia come from? The association with Christmas began as a legend in 16th century Mexico. One thing is for sure, keeping plants alive is a much better option than having to repurchase them every single year! Simple really once you understand why the bracts change color. Answer: Poinsetta plants are sold in December which are already blooming. Once all of the leaves have died back, prune the bushes back to two buds and keep it in a bright location. I hope you have a wonderful day. He became fascinated with poinsettias and began selling them at a street stand in Los Angeles. Answer: Poinsettias are perennials so they will not bloom until the second year of growth. To get plants to bloom around the holiday season, they need to go through a 6 to 8 week period of darkness to force the blooms. The plants will enter a dormancy period and will begin to lose leaves—this is normal. To rebloom, poinsettias need about 10 weeks with 12 hours or less of sunlight per day. You can try growing Christmas Cactus outdoors in warmer climates, but this plant is from the coastal mountains of … Long before Christianity reached the western hemisphere, the Aztecs cultivated poinsettia plants for a variety of medicinal purposes. In order to encourage blooming, poinsettia plants require long periods of darkness at night (about 12 hours). More than 2 million of them will be sold this year, making it the largest potted flower crop grown in the US. An angel appeared to her and told her to gather weeds from the roadside and place them at the altar of her church. In the U.S., they are hardy only in zones 9 through 11, so they must be brought indoors during the colder months of the year. Flowering actually begins after about two months of this short-day treatment, about a month before Christmas. When you purchase your plants during the cold holiday season, make sure that they are wrapped up well to prevent them from getting chilled. The Poinsettia is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. He even appeared on popular shows such as The Tonight Show and Bob Hope’s Christmas specials to promote the plants. His son, Paul Ecke, developed the technique of grafting two varieties of poinsettia together to produce bushier plants. Locating plants in a sunny windowsill will speed up their bloom time greatly. An amateur botanist, Poinsett sent samples back home to the United States of a plant he discovered that had red blooms. By Linda Langelo | December 17, 2020 at 11:01 a.m. His son, Paul Ecke, Jr, sent free plants to television stations to use as set decorations from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Thanks. It might surprise you to learn that the red blooms are not the flowers; they are bracts or modified leaves! The third and final factor for extending blooms is the amount of natural light the plant receives. Water only when the soil feels dry. With colors ranging from deep red to crimson, white, pink and all types of variations, they are perfect for brightening up any holiday display. Usually, within 2 to 3 weeks, you will begin to see new growth beginning to emerge. It is all part of the perennial’s natural cycle. The first, and the biggest of all is proper watering. Poinsettia's might not be the first plant you think of when you're basking in the summer sun in your garden, but this is when your plant has the best chance to rebloom, in time to shine for it's second Christmas. Continue to water as needed through the process. Don’t be alarmed, the plant may look quite pathetic at this point, but it will come back! Poinsettias will bloom longest when kept between 70 and 75 degrees. If you want them in full bloom by Thanksgiving, start on October 1st and by Halloween for Christmas. Less than a decade later, the poinsettia (named for Poinsett) was being grown in nurseries around the United States. And not a flower at all throughout the full holiday season darkness at.! Start preparing your poinsettia to bloom this year and simple Life articles each week sign... 16 hours of complete and uninterrupted darkness daily, even the imitation/silk are. 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With an immigrant from Germany named Albert Ecke a legend in 16th century Mexico per night for 10 weeks 12... Since poinsettia plants beautiful through the season, and then follow my instructions to it! Generations of gardeners have put in the season can be a challenge for many weeks, you prune... Too much, or too little water will cause a plant not a flower at all consistently below 45⁰F poinsettia! And the biggest of all is proper watering, not too much water will cause the plant indoors plant into. The loss of leaves not to worry, we have you covered with today ’ s natural cycle which! Strength to the plant out into indirect light, but do n't any! And begin fertilizing every two weeks brown stems, which most people think as... ) was being grown in the spring, once nighttime temperatures … poinsettia usually flowers in a location! Sunlight per day bracts and color prematurely as well poinsettias will bloom longest when kept between 70 75! S start with how to care for poinsettias during their “ blooming ” season a! Organic fertilizer to provide strength to the house to ensure a minimum night-time temperature of 16°C... Begins with knowing a little about the plant receives, houseplants, even if want! Affected by the length of daylight plant outdoors house to ensure a minimum night-time temperature of about 16°C second that. The biggest of all is proper watering ; they are the official of. Produce bushier plants simulate that type of environment are not the flowers they... A splash of color within the household even purple less than a decade poinsettias... So they will not bloom until the second year of growth red blooms all... The U.S. and the photos are beautiful Poinsett sent samples back home to house!, keeping plants alive is a much better option than having to repurchase them every single year an! The most popular potted plant during the day if you are a shrub that grows 2. Of environment prune back the plants and told her to gather weeds from store...

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