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Beginner Flowers: Poinsettias??????????

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Ladyborg
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

October 30, 2007
2:24 PM

Post #4139211

I'm probably not posting in the best forum, but here goes. I have been looking for a post here in which someone told me I should put my poinsettias from last Christmas in the closet in Oct. and take them out early December. This is supposed to make them be red at Christmas time.

Can anyone verify this? ;o) I have put mine in the closet and DH found them last night, was horrified. LOL!

Lu
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

October 30, 2007
2:30 PM

Post #4139236

I don't think you're supposed to just leave them in the closet--the thing with poinsettias is they're sensitive to day length, and in order to bloom they need to have 12 hours a day (I think) of total darkness starting in October so that they'll bloom for Christmas. But during the other hours, I think they do need some light. If you just put them in total darkness for a couple months I don't think the plant is going to be very happy. I could be wrong though! I always buy my poinsettias new every year because even if you get them to bloom again, they usually don't look as nice the 2nd time around. I also think you needed to get them started earlier in October--we're almost in November now so you might wind up being a little late for Christmas.

I'm sure this subject has been discussed here before by people who have actual experience doing this--if you search the forums for poinsettia I bet you'll find some other threads.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

October 30, 2007
6:55 PM

Post #4140123

Ecrane is quite right about the hours of darkness/light these plants need, you also have to remember, the ones we buy at Christmas time have been treated with hormones etc to get everything just right, she is also right about doing it this late, you have left it too late for this year, so if you buy one at Christmas this year, you need to keep it in tip top condition with the proper care for the following year, by the way, Poinsettia's dont have flowers as such, what you are calling flowers are really the leaves that colour at the tips of the stems, these coloured tips are called Bracts. there are some new types on the market now and come in colours of Red, Pink, Green, and White/Cream, so good luck whenever you have a go at trying to get your plant to colour up. WeeNel.
goofybulb
El Paso, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 5, 2007
2:05 AM

Post #4158365

Hi, Ladyborg!
I also have a Poinsettia from last Christmas, and she made it pretty nice so far (to me, poinsettia is a she!). Mid-October, I started to look on the internet about how I should treat her to make it red for Christmas again.
I found the following info from this site: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/poinsettia/reflowering.html

Basic facts to follow (starting with Christmas time):
- December-January - enjoy!
- February-March - cut old flowering.
- late spring - repot in bigger pot. After danger of frost passed take her outside, first in shaded location to adjust, than in part sun/shade (sun and afternoon shade). rotate pot for even plant development.
- summer - if you want a bushy plant pinch! pinch! pinch! about every month (they say 3-4 weeks). fertilize twice a month with 20-20-20
- fall: pointsettia is a long-night lady! No light from any source, or complete darkness, should be provided for flowering. any little light during the night can ruin your experiment!
- September-October - start to cover her completely from dusk till dawn (5pm to 8am). Keep up with this for 2 - 2.5 months. temps should be around 55/70 (night/day). Too much heat at night can also stop the flowering. During daytime, keep her in a sunny spot. Do not overwater, but don't let her dry up either. If you bring her inside, fertilize less. Keep away from frost/ extreme cold drafts.
- December 15 - if your experiment worked, enjoy!

However, after reading, I think I missed some of the steps (repotted late june, didn't fertilize as often as they suggested, and I was weak when it came to pinching and pruning - she was just so beautiful). Now, she is pretty and green, and we entered November, so if I start now (today was the first "cold" day here: 80F daytime, about 73 last night), it will get red (if everything works fine) after new year.
My plan: put a carton box and a black plastic cover over it for the night time.
Many things can go wrong, and keep her just a green nice bush, but I'm willing to take that risk. I like her even if it will just turn greener afer all the work! If it works, I'll show pics of before and after.
goofybulb
El Paso, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 5, 2007
2:09 AM

Post #4158380

Oops! I almost forgot:
One more thing: good luck and post pics!
Alexandra
Anaid
San Antonio, TX

December 22, 2007
4:36 AM

Post #4318683

I have a pointsetta outdoors all year long that my mom got 2 years go from church. It's grown alot taller and for the 2 years that we have had it during the winter the top leaves do get red. I dont deprive it of light or anything special. I know this isnt much help but had to put in my experience.
planolinda
Plano, TX

December 22, 2007
7:27 PM

Post #4320039

anaid-i am so glad you did put in your experience---i see the poinsetta plants on sale and no way would i go thru all the long proceedure to get it to bloom again--but i wondered if it was worth just getting them to plant outdoors later in spring--of course you are further south so i will have to look up and see if they will be hardy in my zone -8- one question--are they a pretty bush when they grow?
Anaid
San Antonio, TX

December 23, 2007
1:23 AM

Post #4320592

I've seen alot of pointsettas growing in people's yards and they grow rather leggy but somewhat bushy; Im sure if you did pinch them they'd be bushier. But every winter they turn red on their own. I will plant mine eventually but I havent decided where yet. What I'd like to do is keep one of the white or beige colored pointsettas and grow that inbetween the red. That would be awesome!
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

December 23, 2007
2:27 AM

Post #4320745

Poinsettias will turn red on their own -- just that it will be too late to sell for Christmas, hence the reason for the artificially-shortened-day method used by nursery growers. I assume the newer colors will rebloom as well.

My mom always planted out her Christmas poinsettias in Los Angeles. At one time she had about six of them growing. I believe they bloomed January to February. I have also seen poinsettias blooming in January in Hawaii on two occasions. On Hawaii I saw several long hedges of them in full bloom and on Maui there was a huge bed of poinsettias with blooms at least 12" across in a public garden (Japanese Garden?) up near the Io Needle.

Karen



planolinda
Plano, TX

December 23, 2007
2:34 PM

Post #4321618

great--and to think everyone throws them away after christmas! i will give them a try but being the thrifty person i am i think i will just wait till after christmas when they are just about giving them away! at least i hope they are!
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

December 23, 2007
3:22 PM

Post #4321744

Linda,

Since you're in zone 9, you should be able to plant them outside. According to PF, they are hardy in that zone. I think the advice about pinching them back to keep them bushy is good.

On Christmas Eve they'll practically be giving them away!

I am in zone 7b, so I'll have to keep mine inside this winter and can put it outside in the spring in an area where I can protect it.

Karen
planolinda
Plano, TX

December 23, 2007
3:25 PM

Post #4321753

karen--do you enjoy them for the summer and then treat them like annuals (in your zone) and start over next christmas?
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

December 23, 2007
3:43 PM

Post #4321809

Linda,

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so zone 7b is relatively new to me. I've only lived here a couple of years. The one I have now is my first, but I'm going to try to winter it over outside next year.

I have a bed with fairly tender plants in it that I have put up a frost-cloth tent to see what I can winter over in there. I'll put the poinsettia in that bed in the spring. I'm having difficulty leaving my zone 9 plants behind, so I'm experimenting. Some are proving to be more cold hardy than I had thought. So far, knock on wood, I haven't lost anything, but several are kind of grumpy right now. We shall see how it goes.

Karen

Anaid
San Antonio, TX

December 24, 2007
12:02 AM

Post #4322954

Call me crazy but my look on plants that I really really want to survive and keep coming back is to put them among other plants that are doing well and just let them acclimate. I've had several plants that dont look well and I sqweeze them in among other plants, keep watering and lo and behold they start to perk up and eventually do very well. I dont know if its' the surrounding humidity, the company of healthy plants or what it is but it works for me. I hadnt counted on this pointsetta surviving but it has with this method of care. I wish u luck with yours...
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

December 24, 2007
1:27 AM

Post #4323155

Anaid,

I would think a poinsettia would be hardy in your zone. I'm not so sure about 7b where I am. But, it might actually be hardier than reported. I've found this to be true with some others that I am growing now.

However, many plants I have are not hardy in this zone. I have to make some arrangement for winter which does not include digging them up and bringing them inside. That's the reason for the frost cloth experimentation. I hope to have it all ironed out this winter. The rest of the year is no problem.

Low predicted for tonight is 26 degrees. It wil be colder than that here, though. I am about 10 miles out of town and up on a hill. The temps get about 5-10 degrees colder than in town. Of course, in the summer that temp differential is really welcome.

Karen

WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

December 24, 2007
2:32 AM

Post #4323311

When I was in Jamaica, I saw these plants in the wild and was shocked at the size they grow to, they were fully matured shrubs, leggy, open and a wonderful sight, could hardly believe they were the same plants we buy each Christmas, good luck to you all, I will stick to getting new ones each year as I also could not be troubled by all the rigerous bother, too many other gardening chores to be getting on with. I know in Holland where all the UK pot pants come from are specially treated with growth hormones so they stay smaller a bushier for longer indoors, you can also tell this by the tender stems the plants have, they have never seen fresh air. best wishes to you all. Weenel.
goofybulb
El Paso, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 26, 2007
12:53 AM

Post #4326877

Merry Christmas, everyone!
Update for the poinsettia: that mine did not turn red on her own (I didn't actually manage to put her in the "program"). However, she looks very pretty and bushy-green, has only some reddish lines, and no flower. For anyone interested to keep them, even when potted, they seem to last quite nicely. I've had one for 3 years (died last year because of accidental overwattering - me and my DH) and the one I have now looks wonderful (it's from last year's Christmas). If I had a garden of my own, I would plant it in the garden, to keep her happy. None of them ever turned red or flowered, though, just happy green! The one I have now is about 25-30 cm high, and 30 cm in diameter, after some soft pruning quite late this year (october).
It's a shame that most people in my area just throw thwm away after Christmas! Last year on 26th, my neighbour threw away about 7 of them... I barely knew her then, and I was shy to ask for them... It's a pitty that they are seen as "season's plants".
Best wishes, my friends!
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

December 27, 2007
2:50 PM

Post #4331069

goofybulb,

She may yet turn red. The ones I've seen that were not specially treated for Christmas bloom but just as a growing plant had the red leaves in January in Hawaii, and I believe my mom's bloomed from January to February in So. CA.

Too bad you couldn't have snagged the ones your neighbors were throwing out. I saw beautiful hedges of them on the Big Island and on Maui.

Karen
planolinda
Plano, TX

December 27, 2007
6:18 PM

Post #4331789

well i bought 5 for a dollar each--white, pink, red and a goldish yellow--all big and healthy--they add so much color to my atrium and i will look forward to having a pointsetta area in the yard come spring--i see they like sun and i know they are grown in mexico so i think they might be able to take the hot texas summers! hope you all find good buys too! one came in such a pretty pot that i would have paid more for the pot! it is big and has a smaller pot within--the smaller pot (smaller but not small!) has the poinsetta--then there is about a two inch space all around it filled in with dirt and some kind of airy plant in that little area--it is a neat idea--hope you can get an idea of what i am saying
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

December 28, 2007
3:41 AM

Post #4333651

Hi Planolinda, it is always a good idea to have plants in larger pots like you have and the actually growing pot within, the soil that is placed between the 2 pots acts like a moisture control for the plant soil, so that it don't get too wet when watering, I sometime use that method for doing cutting from geraniums and fuschias as they donut like too wet soil while they try root, it also keeps a better temp around the inner pot, good luck with your Poinsettias when they go into your yard, you can show them off as they mature, be great to see them, by the way, these plants don't have flowers, they are called bracts, the coloured bits are actually just leaves that change colour at this time of year if given the right conditions. Good luck and very best wishes, WeeNel.
planolinda
Plano, TX

December 28, 2007
2:48 PM

Post #4334529

well i didn't know that it was better for the plants to have the pot within a pot--thought it was just for looks! it does seem it will be a little tricky to water the space between but still doable
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

December 29, 2007
7:05 PM

Post #4338318

Planolinda, you still water the plant the same way you always did, the soil between just soaks some of the excess that would normally sit in the saucer, so you dont have to water so much, the plant has a moist atmosphere around it and the roots will be able to stay more constant temp and draw the extra moisture when needed, so dont go worrying about watering the soil between the pots, some water always dribbles over the edge of pots when I water anyway, so enjoy, best wishes. WeeNel.
planolinda
Plano, TX

December 29, 2007
9:32 PM

Post #4338658

oh--thanks--that sounds easy enough!!

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