Archive for December, 2008

Caring for Your Poinsettia

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Our Poinsettias turned out wonderful this year.

The color and size were outstanding.

We grew about 250 poinsettias of various colors: marble-pink, burgundy, white, and of course, red.

We started giving them out about mid-December and sent the last ones out on the 23rd.

To keep your poinsettia going for as long as possible, you need to follow just a few simple guidelines.

To begin with, keep in mind that most poinsettias die from over-watering. Your home probably has different growing conditions than the greenhouse from which it came, so your plant will be less actively growing and therefore need less water.

Let the surface of the soil dry out some before watering. Then water the plant thoroughly until water flows out of the bottom of the pot.  Any water remaining in the foil wrapper has to be emptied out otherwise the roots will become water-logged and eventually die off.  With fewer roots the plant will not be able to sustain itself and will prematurely die. That is the main reason why many people cannot keep their Poinsettia alive more that a couple of weeks.

If possible, chose a spot that has bright light but not direct sunlight.

Keep your Poinsettia away from cold drafts or from heat vents that may blow hot air  directly on the plant.

Don’t worry about fertilizer for your plant, it won’t really need much until spring. A half-strength dose of water soluble fertilizer once in a while should be adequate.

Also, keep in mind that poinsettias weren’t meant to last too much longer than the Christmas season.  They were bred for color and  not for hardiness as a house plant.

By following these tips you should be able to enjoy your poinsettia as a reminder of wonderful Christmas memories for many weeks to come.

Bob

Thoughts About Spring

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Some seed catalogs have arrived already.

Enjoy the pictures of flowers and vegetables for now, but, when you start to order seeds and plants, read the descriptions thoroughly. Look for plants that like your climate conditions,  paying close attention to the hardiness zone for each plant. Also note requirements for light, size and spacing.

If you are a beginning gardener, you’ll enjoy  your garden more if you don’t  try to push the limits. For example, if the plant description says it is hardy to zone 7, don’t think maybe it will grow on the south side of the house where it is “protected”.  You will be just asking for headaches and disappointments.  Get to know plants that will do well here in southeastern Michigan (zone 5/6).  If the description says it’s easy to grow, then it would be a good backbone plant for your garden.

Think about getting your garden soil tested. That way you’ll know for sure whether it is acid or alkaline. A complete test will also show what plant nutrients are lacking in your soil.  Some tests include the soil texture as well, that is, whether it is sand, clay or loam.

You also need to know if your site drains fast or slow. Some plants won’t tolerate “wet feet”.

How much sun or shade does your garden get?  Early morning sun until about noon, even though it’s for 6-8 hours, is more like “partial shade. While 6-8 hours of sun in the afternoon is more like “full sun”.

Look for plants that grow the way you want them to. Do you need a tall upright foliage plant in a certain spot? Then don’t talk yourself into ordering a medium-high, bushy round plant just because it has a flower color that you fell in love with.

As one gardening friend once told me, “now’s the fun time of gardening… no bugs, no heat, no drought, no aching back.  Just beautiful dreams of what you want your garden to look like”.

Happy dreaming.

bye now,

Judy