Odds are you have a poinsettia in your home for the holidays. In the United States, poinsettias are grown in greenhouses and programmed to bloom in time for Christmas. Try to emulate the bright light and balmy 70 degrees the greenhouse has to offer in your home so your poinsettia will survive the holidays. Keep the soil moist but don’t let the roots sit in water and make sure the pot it came in has drainage holes. After the holidays, grow it as if it were a houseplant. With luck, you may be able to see colored bracts (the “flowers”) again next year. Keep the plant in bright light and 70 degree temperature. In the spring, cut the stems back about half the length and either keep indoors or put outdoors in the warm summer months. Apply a houseplant fertilizer and make sure the plant does not dry out. In June, transfer into a slightly bigger pot and in September bring the plant back indoors. To induce flowering, give the plant bright light each day and fourteen hours of uninterrupted dark each night beginning in early October (as in cover with a box or put in a closet). Keep the soil moist but stop fertilizing. The color should form on the bracts in six to eight weeks.
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Peggy’s lectures and workshops
Sunday, 3/24, 1 to 2 pm, Lecture on 10 culinary herbs at Merrifield Garden Center, 6895 Wellington Road, Gainesville, VA. Free.
Saturday, 3/30, 9:30 to 11:00 am, Workshop on multiplying plants through cuttings & divisions, Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. Fee and register via Parktakes, code 586.37E6 or call GSG (703) 642-5173.
Saturday, 4/6, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm, Workshop on 13 culinary herbs, Sherwood Regional Library, 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane, Alexandria, VA. Free.
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