Several SeaWeeders enjoyed touring the greenhouses at Weidners' Gardens in Encinitas last month, shortly in advance of receiving the plants for our 9th annual Poinsettia sale. Thanks to all who purchased Poinsettias -- our net proceeds topped $1,900 this year.
We learned that Weidners' alone propagates some 40,000 Poinsetta plants each season -- each plant starting as a small cutting imported from Central or South America. The starts are set into very light, peaty soil (also imported, from Europe) in July and really get growing starting in mid September, when our daylight hours begin to shorten. Did you know that it's the shorter daylight that turns Poinsettia plant leaves bright red and encourages flowering? Too much light, even from indoor sources, hinders coloration and flowering.
The nursery shared these tips for keeping your blooms gorgeous through the holiday season -- and beyond:
Watering is the most important thing. You want your poinsettia soil to stay moist, but not too wet. Not too dry! If you let your plant wilt all the way down, all those leaves will drop off. If you let it set in water, the roots will rot and your plant will not last long. If your poinsettia is in a foil pot cover, remove it when watering.
Crushed or cubed ice is an easy way to water. One cup of cubed ice makes about ¾ cup of water and melts slowly.
How often? Water about twice a week for a six-inch pot; more often for smaller sizes.
Poinsettias are best in a brightly lit spot, but decorating for the Holiday season also is important, so place your poinsettias where they will show off the best. Don't put them near a heater vent or in a cold draft.
Outside? Yes, but rain, extreme heat or really cold weather may damage the quality of your blooms.
Once your poinsettia is fully in bloom it doesn’t need to be fertilized. After the Holidays, you can begin to feed lightly.
To re-bloom your plant for next Christmas, follow these steps.
Around.St Patrick' Day cut off the blooms. Leave at least six to eight inches of growth. Put your poinsettia in a warm spot and just let it sit for a few weeks. Not dry, but not very wet either. Soon you should see new growth beginning. After that you can begin to fertilize with a liquid feed like Weidners' Good Stuff every two weeks.
Cut plants back again in mid summer to keep it short.
In order for your plant to bloom in late November or early December, it needs to have at least 13 hours of black dark each day for at least 8 to 10 weeks.
For more tips and details, visit weidnersgardens.com.