On television the other day you were putting together a centerpiece using greenery, apples and cut poinsettias. I missed your tip about how to prepare the cut poinsettias so that they would last in the arrangement. Would you share with me what you said?
Poinsettias are not only beautiful seasonal houseplants; they are outstanding as cut flowers as well. I always buy a few extra plants that I will use in arrangements.
To create the centerpiece I featured during my half hour show, P. Allen Smith’s Garden, I simply placed a small evergreen wreath on a large serving plate and then placed 4 or 5 small jars almost full of water in the center.
As a potted plant the poinsettia was too tall to use in a table centerpiece. So, I just cut the stems about 4 to 6 inches long. As soon as the stems were cut, I burned the ends. This seals the milky sap of the plant in the stem and will keep the flower from wilting.
Then I accented the arrangement with a few Granny Smith apples, extra greenery and votives. It took me about 15 minutes to out it all together but it will last for quite a long time.
I received a poinsettia for the holidays. How do I care for it?
These days poinsettias are one of the most popular holiday houseplants and it is easy to see why. The traditional red and green varieties can’t be beat when it comes to Christmas decorating, but now there is an exciting array of new exciting colors that offer more ways to deck your halls. I like to use the creamy white varieties in an arrangement with green apples, boughs of evergreens and votive candles.
Poinsettias are relatively carefree if you follow a few simple guidelines to help keep them happy.
Buy only poinsettia with tightly clustered, small, central flowers and crisp, bright foliage.
Protect purchased plants from temperatures lower than 50 degrees as you transport them home.
Water thoroughly when the surface soil is dry to the touch. Pour off any excess so the plants never sit in water.
Fertilize the plants within several days of purchase. I like to use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer because it is easy to use.
To prolong poinsettia color, keep the plants in rooms where the temperature is around 60 degrees at night and 72 degrees during the daytime.
Place the plants away from drafts and sources of heat such as vents and fireplaces or direct sunlight.
Poinsettias prefer high humidity. To increase humidity around the plant, place it in a shallow dish of gravel and add water.
I have a poinsettia from last Christmas and I want it to bloom this coming Christmas. What should I do?
Here is a quick guide to caring for your poinsettias after the holidays. I’ve been following these suggestions since I ran our family nursery and they have always been successful for me.
After the holidays continue to care for your poinsettias as you would any other houseplant. Fertilize every three to four months.
When the bracts, or colored leaves fade, cut the stems back to eight inches from the base.
Place plants outside in the spring when temperatures get above 50 degrees, first in indirect light and later in direct light.
If your plant becomes too leggy, cut it back. You may need to do this twice during the summer.
On Labor Day move the plant indoors and place it in an area where it can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight a day.
Starting in early October confine plant to 14 hours of total darkness and 10 hours of light per day. Do this until mid-December. This should force the green bracts to color again.