How To Care For Your Holiday Poinsettias

holiday poinsettias

Over 34 million Poinsettias are sold each year making it the highest-selling flowering plant in the United States accounting for upwards of $144 million in revenue. For the curious out there, Easter Lilies are in a distant second place with $22 million dollars in sales. And, let’s face it the holidays just aren’t the same without these beauties strategically placed in our homes and communities.

Many holiday-makers are confused, however, about the best way to care for their Holiday Poinsettias. Spring-Green, experts in lawn care since 1977, can demystify the best way to keep your poinsettias looking great through the holiday season.

Poinsettia Tips and Tricks To Make The Season Bright

Types of Poinsettias – Poinsettias are not popular because of flowers as much as their leaves. The Poinsettias leaves are most commonly red, which is the most popular color. It can also be found in 100’s of shades white and pink including salmon, apricot, yellow, cream and pure white. New Poinsettia color varieties are introduced yearly, and some are even enhanced by dyes.

Choosing the Right Poinsettia – Pay attention to where the Poinsettias are located in the store or nursery you are shopping at. If they are near the door and your area has been cold lately, they might have already been damaged by the cold temps.

Next, check out the soil – it should be neither soaked nor dry. Also, check out the state of the leaves, choosing one whose leaves are not showing signs of wilting. Finally, be sure to keep your Poinsettia protected from the elements during its transport home.

Indoors Vs. Outdoor Poinsettias – Whether your holiday plants can be kept outside depends on where you live and how your winter is going. Poinsettias can handle temps in the range of 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If they are exposed to extreme drops in temperature, they will first wilt and in most cases die. For best results, keep your poinsettia in a warm room and mist it daily.

Watering Your Poinsettias – It’s hands-down, the most commonly asked Poinsettia question: how often do you water a poinsettia? And the answer is not complicated – if the soil is dry to touch or some of the leaves are beginning to droop, your holiday plant needs water. An important, and often-overlooked Poinsettia care tip is – you should never let your Poinsettia sit in standing water. Be sure to drain the bottom after watering.

Longevity of Poinsettias – A common question Poinsettia fans ask is: will my Poinsettia re-bloom next year? The answer yes. The chances are good that your holiday plants will re-bloom next year, but with a caveat, you have to do the work to keep them healthy. Keep these tips in mind and you may have Poinsettias for many years to come! Your Poinsettia will need limited daylight – no more than ten hours daily.

Keep them in a dark space after 5 p.m. until early hours of the morning for 8-10 weeks starting in early October. Be sure to protect your holiday plants from exposure to wind or cold especially protect them from temps lower than 50-degrees Fahrenheit. When cared for properly, poinsettias usually will outlast your desire to keep them!

The History Behind Poinsettias

The poinsettia plant is native to Central America where it was used by the Aztecs for decorative and medicinal purposes. (Contrary to popular belief it is not poisonous.) The Aztecs also considered the red color a symbol of purity and incorporated Poinsettias into religious ceremonies. In Mexico and Guatemala, the poinsettia is referred to as the “Flower of the Holy Night.” Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an American botanist, introduced the plant in 1828.

As the holidays near, the finishing touches on your home décor might require a few poinsettias. (And, they make a wonderful host or hostess gift if you are visiting friends and family this holiday.) The myth that Poinsettia care is complicated is really a false one. You can add these festive beauties to your holiday décor and, if you keep them protected and well-watered, you’re likely to tap into their beauty for years to follow.

Spring-Green, your neighborhood lawn care professional, is here to help you throughout the holidays and all year-round, whatever your lawn care needs may be. Ask us about our satisfaction guarantee and become a Spring-Green customer today.

Now This Is Something You Don’t See Every Day!

air plants

Chad Wilkens, who works for Spring-Green in our Baton Rouge, Louisiana location sent in a picture of a plant growing on a tree. Wilkens originally thought it may be a type of lichen, the plant-like structures that grow on a number of trees or even rocks and are pale green in color.  However this plant was a bit different and growing along with the lichens on the tree. I have actually seen these plants for sale in gift shops at botanical gardens and arboretums over the years.

It is called an Air Plant, Tillandsia or Tillys. They are called Air Plants as they do not root in soil. Their roots are used to anchor them in place, but they do not absorb water. When growing them outdoors, many people will glue them onto a rock or other decorative place or even arrange them so that the roots are wedged into the bark of a tree. They can be grown as house plants or, if you live in a warmer climate year round, they can be grown outdoors.

air plants

Care for these plants are pretty simple. Wet the plant thoroughly two or three times a week if grown indoors and be sure that they dry out completely within a couple of hours. Too much water will lead to the plant’s demise. Air Plants can survive outdoors as long as they are protected from frost. Watering may not be an issue outdoors, especially in a humid environment like Baton Rouge. Even there, these plants can dry out and may need supplemental watering.

You can tell if they need water by observing the exaggeration of the natural concave curve of each leaf. Be sure that that any excess water is shaken out by turning the plant upside down. The one thing that Air Plants cannot tolerate is to be in standing water.

There are numerous websites that provide instructions on caring for these plants. These seem like fairly easy plants to grow, so I may try to locate some in my area. I am always interested in unusual plants and an Air Plant does fit that definition.

Do you have any bizarre plants growing in your area? Contact your local Spring-Green or comment below as we would love to hear about your interesting finds.

Top 5 Winter Indoor Plants: Caring for Orchids and Other Plants

Do you miss having blooming plants around your house during the cold, winter months? Here are some winter indoor plants that will brighten up your home and are great Christmas gifts for family or friends who may have a green thumb.

Amaryllis

The Amaryllis produces huge, colorful flowers that will last a long time. They are sold as a bulb and often come in decorative pots. It does take some effort to get them to start, but if you follow the directions that come with the plant, you should see some spectacular results. There are numerous flower colors available and they are relatively inexpensive.

It takes about 10 to 12 weeks for the flower to bloom if the bulb is completely dormant, so don’t expect flowers at Christmas. With the proper after care, you can keep an amaryllis bulb for many years. If you want this particular winter indoor plant to flower at Christmas, you need to start the bulb in late September.

Paperwhites

This is another plant that grows from a bulb and produces fragrant, white flowers. Most of the time, the bulbs are placed in a shallow planter filled with pebbles or glass beads. As long as you keep the planter watered, they will bloom. Once they have finished blooming, remove the water from the pot and place it in a cool, dry location. Once it begins to warm up, the indoor bulbs can be planted outdoors.

I learned a new trick to keep both the amaryllis and paperwhite winter indoor plants from becoming too leggy. Once the bulbs have sprouted leaves that are about one to two inches long, replace the water with a mixture of water and hard liquor. Mix seven parts of water with one part of a 40-proof liquor, like gin, vodka or bourbon, and pour that into the pot. The alcohol reduces the amount of water the plants take up, which results in shorter, sturdier plants. The flowering is not affected. Be careful not to use too much alcohol, as it can be toxic to the plant. Do not use beer or wine either, as they contain too much sugar.

Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus is so named due to the general time they bloom, which is in winter. Ironically, my own Christmas cactus has bloomed in spring, summer and fall. Most Christmas cacti are usually in bloom (or just about to bloom) when purchased during this time of year. Getting them to bloom at Christmas time next year requires specific instructions.

Christmas cacti are tropical in origin, so don’t treat them like a desert cactus. They do require weekly watering and like it more humid. Don’t over-water, though. In general, if you stick your finger in the soil and it is dry, water.

Orchids

Orchids were once the plant only a seasoned orchid grower could have, but these lovely, flowering plants are now taking over the indoor plant world, and orchid care is a popular topic. There are numerous colors and varieties to choose from, and they can be fairly hardy as long as they receive filtered sun and weekly watering. For easy orchid care, I follow the “ice cube a week” rule, and some of my plants are going on five years. I place an ice cube in each pot every week, which seems to provide just enough water to meet their moisture needs.

Poinsettias

This plant has become known as the Christmas plant. This plant, which is native to Mexico and Central America, grew in popularity due to savvy marketing of the Ecke family of southern California during the last 100 years. Here is a link to an article in the LA Times from 2008.

It is now considered a throw-away plant, much like a Christmas tree. Some people try to keep them alive after winter, but the after-care is time consuming, especially if you want it to bloom again the following year. I tried it and failed miserably. The plant is still alive and growing, but it looks a little like Charlie Brown’s fabled Christmas tree.

If you come across any other indoor winter plants that you care for, or have given as a gift, please share in the comments section. And don’t forget to read our lawn care guide for a comprehensive discussion of caring for indoor plants through the winter! Happy Holidays!