Big box stores are not the first source of information we here at Washington Gardener Magazine think of when researching plant matters, but when we wanted to learn all about poinsettia care, we knew that Pete Drake, a Certified Nursery Consultant with the Annapolis Home Depot, was our go-to expert on the subject because of the thousands upon thousands they grow and sell. Here is what Pete told us:
1. How do you choose the freshest poinsettia? The first thing is to take the plant out of the sleeve, then look at the very center of the red bracts or leaves. You are looking for a cluster of very small green “buds” with a small amount of yellow, this is really the flower. This is a direct indication of the age of the plant. The tighter the buds with small amounts of yellow can mean a longer shelf life at home.
2. How do you make your poinsettia last through the holiday season? Place them in an area that gets bright but direct sun unless the window is facing east. This area must also be free of drafts or direct heat sources. When it becomes time to water, remove the plants “pants” (the foil or decorative pot cover). Place the plant in the sink and give it a good amount of water. For a 6” plant two cups of water should work or 5-7 seconds with a sink faucet sprayer. After the plant has stopped leaking water, place the plant back into its foil pot cover or decorative pot.
3. What are the newest trends in poinsettias? One of the most common things florists and garden centers are doing is the application of paints to the bracts to come up with different color combinations. Another trend is the many growers who are hybridizing poinsettias to get different-shaped leaves. Others are making new poinsettias with different shades of the same color on the same bract.
Garden Bloggers You Can Grow That! Day was started by C. L. Fornari of Whole Life Gardening because she believes “Gardening is one of the most life-affirming things we can do.…We need to thoroughly saturate people with the belief that plants and gardening are worth doing because of the benefits gained.” Garden bloggers who agree post about something worth growing on the fourth day of every month. Read this month’s You Can Grow That! posts.