Planting Poinsettias for Christmas
Although Poinsettias are a great way to show the festive red colors of the Christmas holiday season, they are actually warm weather tropical plants that grow year round in their native southern North America and in South America. This does not mean you cannot grow your own poinsettias for the Christmas holiday, even if you live in a colder climate zone. With the proper tools and techniques, instead of running to the store to purchase a poinsettia for Christmas, you can plant your own poinsettias for the Christmas holiday.
Planting Your Poinsettias
Keep in mind that for those who just want poinsettias as part of their outdoor landscape, the best time to plant them is after the last dangers of frost are gone. For most northern climate zones, this may mean waiting until April or May to plant your poinsettias outdoors, but in the southern and southwestern United States, you can plant your poinsettias as early as March. If you live in a warmer climate zone, poinsettias can simply be cut back in mid-September to allow for new growth that will begin in October and bring about beautiful red colored leaves by December.
For those living in warmer climate zones, you will have to initiate poinsettia plant growth by growing as potted plants in a greenhouse throughout the fall and winter months. Although you can start your plant in the ground in late August and through September and October, poinsettias need an average temperature of 60-70 degrees in order to grow properly. This means not growing them in a house that is too warm or too cold, but in a greenhouse or even a basement where the temperature will stay even.
The most important thing to know about growing poinsettias is their relationship with light. What make the flowering leaves turn colors are actually long, dark periods of time. That is why they grow best in the fall and winter months in warmer climate zones. This is the dormant period that lets the plant know it is time to begin to initiate flowering buds. Dark periods at night are essential and even slight disruptions in light during the night hours can mean no red leaves for your Christmas poinsettia.
Keep Poinsettias Away from Light
The best way to accomplish this task if you will be growing Christmas poinsettias inside or in a greenhouse is to keep them away from grow lights for other plants, or turn the grow lights off at night. This also means placing your greenhouse away from neighborsâ€™ backyard lights, your backyard night lights or even from street lights. Any night light can disrupt the flowering buds. If you are concerned about light in the area of growing and planting your Christmas poinsettias , simply cover them for approximately 10-12 hours overnight.
If you will have poinsettias planted outdoors or in a greenhouse, they also need to be protected from potential frosts in the late fall and early winter before they begin to bud. Fortunately, poinsettias are not as sensitive to either frost or to light once they have begun to flower, but before this they need to be vigorously protected in order to ensure you will enjoy their beautiful red color for Christmas.
Poinsettias as Houseplants
If properly cared for, Christmas poinsettias can often last a good period of time as houseplants as well. While being planted and grown poinsettias need lots of water, shade and warm temperatures. The same goes for having them in the home after they have flowered during the holiday season. Most of the time, poinsettias will offer a second flowering period before dying off, so take advantage of this again in the spring by cutting them back either in the yard or in a pot.
Tags: Perennial Flowers
Filed under: Perennial Flowers
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