Thursday, November 26, 2015

Growing And Reblooming Poinsettias

     Nothing may say Christmas more, like the Poinsettia! A sub tropical Euphorbia known for its bright Red bracts, although they have been bred in White and many colour combinations inbetween. I stumbled on a way to make them bloom for Christmas a few years ago, and perhaps not guaranteed, it's worth a try.
     You'll probably buy a Poinsettia or twelve near Christmas time, look around for quality and price, it can really vary. If I'm going to buy one I try to get the biggest and healthiest and most economical possible. Keep watering on a regular basis and remember our houses get very dry in the winter, they should last several weeks thru Christmas. Eventually the large greenhouse grown green leaves will wither and drop off and eventually the whole plant may drop all of it's leaves, don't worry it's doing what Euphorbias evolved to do in arid climates. Keep watering on a once a week basis and new leaves will develop soon. By the time June rolls around you should have a leafy-green poinsettia to put outside in a hot and sheltered location. Fertilize regularly thru the summer months making sure to not let dry out too much. Now here is where it gets tricky, I did this in Calgary, so it should be possible almost anywhere. I grew my Poinsettias under a sunny yet protected roof in a, conveniently, dark area of the backyard as late as possible into September. From time to time we get lucky enough to avoid a frosty night until late in September, don't let these guys freeze, but the increasing dark nights is what triggers the blooming. By about late September its time for these guys to come inside, if you live in a warmer area I'll bet they would love until whenever your warm nights end.  Place the Poinsettia(s) in the sunniest window you have and hopefully by December the tiny red or white bracts will start appearing along with the actual alien looking flower parts.
     I have tried many of the methods over the years, like putting a Poinsettia in a box at regular times for 12 hours of darkness, it doesn't work, you will forget and the flowers will not form later! Apparently just a crack of light will ruin the cycle, so it is a challenge. I had one Poinsettia for about 10 years, after a while they become like small bonsai trees, the leaves become smaller than the greenhouse grown ones you buy and the trunks become bare and beautifully twisted. The old Poinsettia was more reliable on flowering so I'm guessing the older the better. Maybe you have seen Poinsettias in your travels? I've seen them in Los Angeles growing to the height of a two story building and with the red bracts in the winter, we may love that idea but I know the Californians wish they had snow for Christmas!

     So give it a try! I haven't done this in a while as the new neighbours like to leave their outside lights on all the time, remember too much light will ruin the flowering so if you have a reliably dark area away from streetlights and porch lights and warm enough thru the night it's worth a shot!

No comments:

Post a Comment