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In Barb's Garden

...Poinsettia
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster

email: sisterbarb2002@yahoo.ca

Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.


December 27, 2009

Many of us will have Poinsettia plants in our home for Christmas. This tender perennial plant comes from Mexico, it can be kept as a house plant and be brought back into bloom for next year.

When selecting a Poinsettia, look for leaves that are dense, dark green and extend to the base of the plant. The flower bracts, should be fully coloured, and the plant should have firm upright stems.

Transporting the Poinsettia safely home is critical. Cover the plant to protect it from chilling winds and temperatures below 50 degrees F. Remove coverings including sleeves and foil from under the bottom of the pot as soon as you get it home.

The Poinsettia will require at least six hours of sunlight each day. Avoid drafts and excessive heat, a temperature between 65-70 degrees F. would be ideal. Water only when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch, using room temperature water. Water only enough that a little water runs out the bottom of the pot. Drain off excess water.

When the coloured leaves fade, cut back the stems, leaving three or four leaves per stem.

Early next spring cut the plant back again to about eight inches tall. Begin to fertilize with half strength 20-20-20, every two weeks from March until September. Early in June transplant to a two to four inch larger pot. Use leaf mold, and rich potting soil. Water thoroughly after transplanting. Cut back new growth tips to two or three leaves per stem. After a period of hardening off, the Poinsettia may be set outdoors as long as the temperature remains above 50 degrees F.. In late September give the Poinsettia plant total darkness for 14 hours every night for 8 to 10 weeks. Keep the night temperature between 60-70 degrees F. Day temperatures should be between 70-75 degrees F.. and the plant should have six to eight hours of bright sunlight every day. Continue to provide total night time darkness for the plant until the bracts are fully coloured.

It has been a pleasure sharing plant information with my friends this year. I hope to continue learning about plants and sharing gardening experiences with you. I hope you all enjoy a happy holiday season, and may your new year be joyful and prosperous. Be sure to pick up your Community in Blooms & Santa Claus Project Calender at Peace FM. It is very well done. I am so impressed with the immense amount of good accomplished by volunteers in our community. May they be blessed with joy and love much more than they have given.

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