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Keyword Search Results for:
Poinsettia

17 Found

Question: 55-5201
My Poinsettia is two and a half feet high. Should I cut it back? Charlotte, Uncasville, CT

Mort's Answer:
There is no need to cut the plant back unless it is weak or spindly. I have seem them grow as tall as 6 feet in a glass hallway. You can cut a third, if it needs strength in the stems. My Morning Glories grow like crazy every year but do not bloom until September. I use liquid fertilizer but it does not help. Any suggestions? Sally, N.Stonington, CT Vines do not require the high nitrogen available from liquid fertilizers. You would be better served by putting down a handful of 5-10-10 granular fertilizer every spring. This will give strength to the stems that hold the flower and bring earlier blooms.

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Question: 56-5201
My poinsettia has been in the garden all summer. It has already started to turn red at the top. Should I cut it back? I just brought it back into the house. Rod, Newport, RI

Mort's Answer:
Since the fall equinox on September 22, we have been getting twelve hours of darkness each night. This is exactly what the doctor has ordered for changing the color of the upper leaves on the poinsettia. If you cut the plant back, you will lose the benefit of having your poinsettia red for Thanksgiving. Indoors, the plant's nighttime darkness can not be interrupted. Since your poinsettia has already started to change, this will only slow the process. In your case, it is not a factor. My only caution is that the temperature be kept above 65. Remember it is a cactus. It needs strong south facing light through the coarse of the day to do well. If the plant was not brought indoors early enough, it may go into dormancy. This often occurs, when poinsettia are purchased without a wrap in the cold winter. If your plant does this within the next few days, then you can cut it back. You will know, when the leaves start to curl and eventually defoliate. I doubt this will happen because the temperature change has been gradual outdoors.

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Question: 336-5201
When should I bring my Poinsettia indoors? Yoland, Mystic, CT

Mort's Answer:
Poinsettia is a tropical plant that flourishes in heat and sunlight. I would take the plant indoors ASAP. Put the plant in a sunny location, where the darkness will not be interrupted at night. This time of year we get at least 12 hours of darkness until December 22. This will induce the red bracts to come to color. If the darkness is spoiled by a night light, a TV, a street light or a lamp, then the Euphorbia pulcherrima will not become the beauty that the name implies. Pot the poinsettia in a mix of potting soil and a third sand. Fertilize lightly with 5-10-10. Water thoroughly and let it go dry intermittently.

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Question: 359-0105
My five foot Poinsettia is still green. When will it turn red? Bill, Westbrook, CT

Mort's Answer:
You need to embarrass your Poinsettia by keeping it in complete darkness at night for six to eight weeks. A night light, street light, television or any other light source will break the cycle. We get 12 to 14 hours of darkness naturally in the winter. It is the interruptions that alter the bracts from turning red or yellow or white. There are also some beautiful marble colored Poinsettia that are being bred for Easter.

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Question: 465-311
My poinsettia started dropping its leaves just after Christmas. It is all shriveled now. I have been watering every four days. What can I do to save it? Ruth, Gladview, MI

Mort's Answer:
Stores that lowered their heat to save money accidently put poinsettia into dormancy before Christmas. These affects do not show up for a couple of weeks and are exacerbated by continued applications of water to revive them. Because the plant has shut down, the water is not used by the plant. Water that has remained in the pot has started to rot the roots. Remove the plant with the roots intact from the pot. Shave off any brown or black roots. Keep shaving until you see white roots. If there are no white roots, throw out the plant. A salvageable plant can be repotted in a clay pot with new potting soil that has an added third of coarse sand. Remove a half of the foliage from the top. If the stems are hollow, keep cutting. Place the new plant in a sunny location and water once. Do not water again until you see sprouts appear. The water only when completely dry.

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Question: 620-3911
My poinsettia has survived in my kitchen since last year. Will it make it to Christmas and how do I get it to bloom? Ray, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
The flower is actually a little yellow berry that appears at the top of the plant. If you want red or the other colored bracts under the flower, you need 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness each 24 hours. This means no refrigerator, television or night lights. I would suggest that you move it to another room or the basement, if it stays above 65 degrees. Since we are getting 12 hours minimum of darkness from September 20th, this could be very easy. A pinch of epsom salts in the soil will help with strong color.

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Question: 1203-4714
I have a poinsettia on my porch but I am not getting the red color the past two years. What causes that? Bill, Tulsa, OK

Mort's Answer:
Poinsettia has the same photosensitivity as maples, oaks, aspen and other hardwoods at this time of year. It needs twelve hours of uninterrupted darkness every night. This occurs naturally after the autumnal equinox on September 21st. If you have a street light, night light, or television on during those 12 hours, you will mess up the cycle and it may not change color in time for Christmas. They also love tropical temperatures day and night.

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Question: 335-5201
My poinsettia has been in the garden all summer. It has already started to turn red at the top. Should I cut it back? I just brought it back into the house. Rod, Newport, RI

Mort's Answer:
Since the fall equinox on September 22, we have been getting twelve hours of darkness each night. This is exactly what the doctor has ordered for changing the color of the upper leaves on the poinsettia. If you cut the plant back, you will lose the benefit of having your poinsettia red for Thanksgiving. Indoors, the plant╝s nighttime darkness can not be interrupted. Since your poinsettia has already started to change, this will only slow the process. In your case, it is not a factor. My only caution is that the temperature be kept above 65. Remember it is a cactus. It needs strong south facing light through the coarse of the day to do well. If the plant was not brought indoors early enough, it may go into dormancy. This often occurs, when poinsettia are purchased without a wrap in the cold winter. If your plant does this within the next few days, then you can cut it back. You will know, when the leaves start to curl and eventually defoliate. I doubt this will happen because the temperature change has been gradual outdoors.

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Question: 337-5201
Our poinsettia died right after Christmas. Can we save it? Steven, Deep River, CT

Mort's Answer:
Your poinsettia probably went into dormancy. Poinsettia that have experienced cold temperatures at night in stores or were exposed in cold automobiles before entering the house were starting dormancy. The affects become apparent after a few days. Leave the plant alone. Do not over water or fertilize the plant. If the leaves appear very moist to the touch, move the poinsettia closer to the sun and cut the plant in half. Water very lightly once a week to keep it alive. Because the plant is in dormancy from the cold shock, it will not take up the water into the leaves. When and if new leaves appear in a month or more, Repot the poinsettia into a two inch larger clay with a mix of a third sand and two-thirds potting soil. You can plant the poinsettia in the garden in late May or June in your area.

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Question: 647-4611
My Poinsettia is still outdoors. When should I bring it in? Janice, Taylorville, IL

Mort's Answer:
Repot your plant in clay and bring it indoors as soon as possible. In southern California and Mexico they are almost like trees outdoors because they are perennial. In zone 5 in your area they will freeze and die. Place the plant in a sunny location but in the night it must have uninterrupted darkness for at least 12 hours, Those upper bracts are photosensitive and need the duration for eight weeks to produce the colored leaves.

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Question: 659-4911
We just purchased a Poinsettia. What is the proper care? Richard, Lincoln, MA

Mort's Answer:
Poinsettia need warm temperatures and plenty of light. A light liquid fertilizer with the watering should help keep the color. It is important that the darkness be maintained at night without interruption to maintain the color of the bracts. I would transplant in January to a clay pot with a third sand and quality potting soil as the supplement to a two inch larger pot. If your plant was purchased from a store that lowers the heat below 55, the plant may have been dormant. The effects of dormancy do not show up for two weeks or more. Giving it water will only exacerbate the problem by rotting the roots. Let the plant rest, if dormant, until it starts to produce new shoots. Resume giving the plant water at that time.

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Question: 875-5312
My poinsettia has curly leaves that are starting to drop. Did I water too much? It was delivered by a florist. Stella, Ledyard, CT

Mort's Answer:
Poinsettia love the heat. A good sign of too much water is the browning on the edge of the leaves. Most folks do put too much water on their house plants at this time of year. Keep it in a sunny location. You should put the plant in a clay pot with a third sand and good potting soil to help drainage. The pot can be two inches larger. A cold snap either in the store or in the florist's truck could have precipitated a dormancy and caused the leaf drop. Keeping the plant in the sun and over 70 degrees will correct the dormancy.

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Question: 876-5312
Your advice about the light helped me get the leaves on my poinsettia to turn this year. Katie, Marquette, MI

Mort's Answer:
It is not to late for folks to have color in February, if they keep the plant in uninterrupted darkness at night for 12 hours. This occurs naturally leading up to December 21st. It is trickier now that the days are getting longer but it can happen if the poinsettia is showing some color now.

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Question: 1056-4913
I have had very little success with my Poinsettias every year. They tun yellow and die. Am I watering too much? Jean, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
If the plants have been purchased at a location that lowers the heat at night, Poinsettia can be in dormancy when you bring it home. Yellowing occurs in two weeks after catching cold. This also happens when the plants are left in the automobile, while shopping. Dormancy can occur below 50 degrees. All the water in the world will not change the rest period, which does not allow for taking up the water. It will sit there and rot the roots. If you can keep the plants warm after purchase by covering them with plastic, you can have a healthy plant for a long time. I would also suggest that you transplant your poinsettia into a clay pot with a third sand and good potting soil. Give your plants water only after the soil is dry.

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Question: 1218-215
Our church poinsettia have been in place since before Christmas. They were looking wilted and some had black leaves. I wanted to water them but you said not to. Why? Kathy, West Warwick, RI

Mort's Answer:
I am sure someone else gave them more than enough water. When the church lowers the temperature at night the poinsettia are put into dormancy. Water will only rot the roots in this situation. They need temps of over 70 degrees to come back. This happens a lot at this time of year.

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Question: 1219-214
My poinsettia has the bottom green leaves dropping off. I purchased them at a florist shop before Christmas. What can I do? Stella, Ledyard, CT

Mort's Answer:
It is highly likely that the points got a blast of cold air, while you were shopping or the florist lowered the temps in the store at night. You need to repot the plant in good sterile soil. Add a third sand in the new mix. Tip the plastic pot upside down and the root should come out in one piece. Scrape off any brown or black roots. Your new pot should be clay and two inches larger. Give the plant water only when the soil is completely dry. Put them in a sunny warm location that is completely dark at night. Wait until the plant starts sprouting new leaves for the second watering.

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Question: 1335-5115
I had thought my poinsettia died last winter but it spouted in the garage last spring. I took it into the house earlier this fall. It is a lush green plant about two feet tall. It is in the same plastic pot. Why did it not turn red? Francis, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Poinsettia need complete darkness from late October to Christmas to bring the red bracts at the top. There should not be interruption by street or night lights, TVs or other inadvertent light for a minimum of 12 hours each night. It also needs the sunlight for at least eight hours per diem. Replant this in a new clay pot that is two inches larger with a third sand and sterile potting soil. Your plant went into dormancy because of a drop in temperature below 60. People often throw them out. You got lucky because your plant spoke to you about this chilling experience.

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