, Salem, MA


October 15, 2010

Getting last year's poinsettias ready for this year's holiday bloom

Q: I kept last year's Christmas poinsettias alive and well this summer. They are big and very beautiful, but very, very green! Incidentally, they were not a true red poinsettia; they were more of a pink color. What do I do now? I think they have to get some nights and days of darkness.

A: Congratulations! You are now a poinsettia grower. You've taken excellent care of your plants, and now, with a little more work, they will reward you with blooms. But don't expect them to be as large and glorious as plants you bought last year. They will be smaller but just as beautiful, more like the wild poinsettias from Mexico.

Poinsettias are light-sensitive plants that time their blooming to the hours of daylight and darkness. If you interrupt the pattern, the plants may still bloom, but on their own time — maybe for Valentine's Day or Easter! You must now be in charge of timing their light accurately, and you must start the dark-light process now for blooms in mid-December.

Plants should be inside now and thriving on a warm, sunny windowsill. Treat them as any other houseplant — keep them watered, watch for bugs, especially mealy bugs, and fertilize with your leftover tomato fertilizer to promote buds. Now comes the hard part: Poinsettias need to be put in total darkness for 12 hours out of every 24 hours on a regular schedule for the next eight weeks. No cheating or peeking!

Depending on the number and size of the plants — and your stamina — you can put them in a closet or a dark room, or you can cover them with an inverted sturdy box or a lightweight sheet. Each day, you must return the plant to the sunny windowsill and water and feed as usual.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Jenson1 Salsa spirit Dance party will benefit Jazz & Soul Festival Salsa spirit

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • rhinaespaillat Survival through art Rhina Espaillat met many survivors of the Holocaust when she was growing up in New York and was often impressed by their strength of mind. "I was always surprised to meet people who came through the Holocaust not only physically whole, but mentally w

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140422_SN_HAND_READERSEYE The reader's eye Name: Sarah Rydgren Hometown: Salem Description: Taken during a ride through the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire last week. I love the mountains, and this stretch of highway is one of my favorite roads to travel. I am a self-taught photographer a

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • shellfish North Shore Entertainment Calendar

    Good causes LIBRARY FUNDRAISER AND STORY PROGRAM. Thursday, April 24, 1 to 4 p.m., Swizzles Frozen Yogurt, 421 Paradise Road, Vinnin Square, Swampscott. Swampscott Public Library fundraiser features a free story and music program for children of all

    April 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • benefitrace Good cause Racing for a reason On Sunday, Salem State University hosts its 18th annual North Shore Fitness 5K Road Race and Fun Walk, starting at 9 a.m. at the O'Keefe Sports Complex, 225 Canal St., Salem. Advance registration is $18 for Gassett Fitness members

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Parents appalled by man’s indifference to son Dear Abby: My 23-year-old son, "Wayne," who is single, has a 3-year-old son. We didn't learn about the child until he was more than a year old, when Wayne was asked to take a paternity test. Luckily, we have been able to form a good relationship wit

    April 24, 2014

  • Thursday's Best Bets Best Bets for Thursday, April 24

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Married couple’s sex life is all about the numbers Dear Abby: I have been married to a wonderful man for 30 years. Our marriage may not be perfect, but it's quite good. My dilemma is this: My husband keeps track of every time we have sex and has a personal goal of 100 times a year. In 2013, he infor

    April 23, 2014

  • Wednesday's Best Bets Best Bets for Wednesday, April 23

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Don't meddle in office affair unless it interferes with work

    Dear Abby: I manage a group of 15 employees. A few months ago, I hired the wife of an old friend. Until now she has been a great employee, but recently, she and a male co-worker have been taking lunches and breaks together in a way that leads me to b

    April 22, 2014

NDN Video
Comments Tracker