Poinsettias

Now that the holidays are over, what do I do with my poinsettias(Euphorbia pulcherrima)? You like the latin?  Pretty fancy. They were pretty during the holidays but now look horrible. You have two (2) options – toss or plant?

You can do both – toss and plant. Toss the big ones you bought from the box stores; they are done. Keep the smaller more managable ones to plant them in your landscape beds.

Some may live and some may not make it; but it is worth trying.   I would recommend planting them in a large drift.  Plant them all together. If they make it, that will look stunning.

 

How do we maintain the Poinsettias?  This is where it gets tricky and a pain in the in the neck:

  • Cut off the fading bracts, leaving 4–6 inches of the stem on each branch and as many green leaves as possible.
  • Gently firm the soil around the plant and water well. Keep the plant mulched and well-watered until established.
  • Fertilize monthly, from March to October. Use a fertilizer where the N and the K are balanced and a low P number. Somthing like: 8-2-12. Follow the application directions on the product bag.
  •  Prune in early spring when the floral display is finished and the danger of frost has passed. Cut back to within 12 to 18 inches of the ground or to living tissue if the plant was damaged by cold.
  •  Poinsettias may become “leggy” and unattractive if not pruned regularly during the growing season. Cut back once a month, if needed, leaving four leaves on each shoot. Discontinue pruning after September 10. Flower buds will begin to develop in October.
  • Delay or disruption of flowering will occur if fall temperatures are too warm or too cold or if the required dark period is interrupted.

So thats the scope on growing Poinsettias. After all that – I’d throw them out and buy them from Costco or Walmart.   Fun fact to know:  In 1828, cuetlaxochitl (original name) was taken from its native home (Mexico) and brought to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. After successfully cultivating the unique plant in his South Carolina greenhouse, Poinsett began sharing the plant with friends and colleagues who marveled at the plant’s colorful transformation during the holiday season. A nursery owner in Pennsylvania named Robert Buist was the first to sell the plant to the public under its botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima. However, less than a decade after being introduced to the United States, cuetlaxochitl came to be known by its most enduring name: poinsettia, after the man who first appropriated the plant from Mexico. 

Lastly. the beautiful red flowers are not flowers at all.  They are the leaves or brackets.

That’s my poinsettia story – and I’m sticking to it. 

I don’t know how to link a document; but if you do a search on Poinsettia add “Edis” to the string and you will get a document writen By Dr. Sydney Brown. That is where I copied the information; that’s right I copied it and did not properly footnote.  I’ guess I’ll never be president of Harvard.

Dr.Brown is a genius and a super nice person; I had her as a  professor at the UF/Plnat City campus. She’s great. 

As they say “That’s all folks”

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