Every year the music department at my daughter's high school does a fundraiser. Music students (like my daughter) peddle poinsettias.
They sell these color plants in all kinds of hues, and then the students get to keep 50 percent of the sale. That money can be applied to future music trips.
Of course, I end up being one of her best customers, as evidenced by the picture shown here of the 10 poinsettia potted plants I bought this year.
Even though I buy new Christmas plants each time this fundraiser comes around, I've heard of so many people who can keep a poinsettia alive from year to year. I guess I never really learned how to care for a poinsettia, in that mine are usually dead by New Year's.
I did some reading up on the care and feeding of poinsettias. Turns out they're considered to be a tropical plant, and need special care.
According to the Virginia Green Industry Council, which put together a tip sheet on how to care for a poinsettia, these potted plants requires daily care to remain beautiful as one of the color plants of Christmas.
In order to keep your poinsettia alive into 2013, consider these 5 tips on poinsettia care.
- Place the poinsettia in indirect sunlight at least six hour per day. A sunny window facing south, east, or west is better than one facing north. The bow window in the room that doubles my home office is the perfect home for these potted plants—it faces southwest.
- Maintain a manageable room temperature. Room temperatures between 68 and 70 degrees during the daylight hours are best for these potted plants. If possible, once the sun goes down, move them somewhere it doesn't get colder than 50 degrees overnight. Clearly, my windowsill doesn't get that cold, because I haven't touched the plants at night—they stay put, and so far, so good.
- Keep plants away from chilly windowpanes. This could damage their leaves permanently. After reading this tip, I got up from my desk and moved back all the plants on the windowsill so they were that much farther away from the windowpanes.
- Water regularly. Frankly, this was a tip I'd forgotten most year. How pathetic is that? You always have to water indoor plants. You're supposed to water poinsettias when the soil feels dry to the touch and to check it daily.
- Fertilize after the blooming season is over. Experts recommend a balanced all-purpose fertilizer. I wonder if Miracle Gro would be good enough?
It is possible to keep these plants alive beyond the holiday season, as long as you continue to follow these poinsettia care tips. (I'm thinking the regular watering part is key.) What I didn't know is that in May, you can transform poinsettias from an indoor plant to an outdoor one, and that you can plant them in your garden. They key is to put them in a shady location.
If my plants are still alive come May, I'm definitely going to give that a try.