Poinsettia abound this time of year and can be found just about everywhere, from doorsteps to street corners, tabletops to windowsills, painting our holidays in rich hues of red and green. I don’t know about you, but I usually have at least half-dozen of the beauties scattered throughout my home warming the ambiance with the spirit of Christmas. Much like the Christmas tree twinkling in the midst of my living room, the holiday music streaming through my car as I work through my daily routine, Poinsettia warm my heart and bring a smile to my face. The kids are happy, the family is visiting–It’s a glorious time of year!
Then January rolls around and the lights come down, the kids get cranky, and tree hits the compost pile with a thud. **sigh** At least I’m completing the cycle of life by returning the tree to nature. Sort of. But what do I do with the Poinsettia? I peer at the line of lovelies and marvel at their beauty yet again. Meeting the same fate as the tree seems like a waste, considering they are alive and well and thriving in their potted containers.
Can I save them? But of course–I must! I am a gardener, after all, and they are too glorious to simply toss into the compost pile. Though if I did, mind you, I could still walk away with my head held high. It’s called “creating soil” and very honorable in and of itself. However, Poinsettia are a valuable commodity come Christmas time and I see no reason why I shouldn’t have a landscape littered with the ladies. (We’re talking Poinsettia, here.)
I can do this!
And so can you. If you live in a warm climate, it’s fairly easy. If you’re one of my Arctic Amigos who lives where it snows, then forget it. Consider these gals only if you have access to a greenhouse.
How do I do it?
Generally speaking, Poinsettia prefer indirect sunlight, protected from cool drafts. As a native of Mexico, this plant doesn’t like the cold, so whenever the temperature dips below 50-55 degrees, you must be vigilant and cover it else it shrivel up and die. Stimulating them with a little “root tonic” couldn’t hurt. The shock from their lovely potted plant status to in ground can be quite daunting. Hopefully, you have some worms on the welcoming committee as you place them in ground whereby all will be well in the world, peace on earth and… You get my drift. This one pictured below lives near the corner of my home.
All-purpose fertilizer should suffice throughout the year. Prune during the warmer summer months and keep moist, out of direct sunlight and fertilize regularly. I like to think of them as ferns. Only, Poinsettia can benefit from added phosphorous in your fertilizer mix. They can also grow twelve feet high, so maintain the shears and cut as needed. This bad boy belongs to one of my neighbors. It’s huge! Leggy, but huge.
And that’s it. Now, you too can look forward to transplanting your holiday Poinsettia as opposed to tossing them. Merry Christmas!