How to Keep Poinsettias Thriving all Year

We always thought they were plants reserved for December.  The Christmas ornament that decorated our tables.  We started with a fake one from the dollar store.  It was pretty shabby but it didn’t die.  Once we started getting a real one every year, a gorgeous free one from the large nursery that we had dance performances at during the holidays, we threw the dollar store one out.  There were just whispers of glitter on the live poinsettias and their tropical leaves stretched out as if they were on vacation in the gentle heat of our house in winter.

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Their only enemy was Ichabod.  Ichabod is a quiet, incredibly lovable black and white cat who would be the stoner friend you know should he have been made human.  He is easy going and always has the munchies.  One of his favorite delicacies is Poinsettia leaves.  Delicious.  Nearly gave me and Doug a heart attack when he was a kitten.  For animals, the better safe than sorry method of educating people goes way overboard.  Look at a list of things that kill animals during the holidays and realize your pets should probably be dead by now.  Well, turns out poinsettias aren’t that poisonous after all.  Their poor frayed edges proof.

But how do you keep them alive?  Every year after a month or so they become tired of the winter dry heat and lose their leaves.  A mini tree of the dead on the dining room table resembling the grey skies of February.  I would throw it out.

One year I decided to lop the top off and see if the stem would produce a new flower.  Nope.

Last year Bret’s parents gave us a small poinsettia for Christmas.  It was red and fit perfectly on the kitchen window sill.  It never did begin to die.  It lost leaves and grew new ones continuously.  I would clean it up, water it with all the other plants, and its leaves never died.  They turned all green and stayed that way for the entire year until, like magic, they began to turn red just in time to put up the Christmas tree once again.  It was a Christmas miracle indeed.

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This year I ordered three small ones from a fund raiser from an adorable child that I could not tell no to.  I figured I could find room for three small ones in the windows somewhere.  They turned out to be gigantic!  They adorned our living space with fresh beauty.

There is no room in the window.  They stayed on the piano.  They began to wilt and they began to die.  I had a choice, shove them in the space in the living room window where they will receive ample light that they so desire and hope they can make it until the other pots go outside to sunbathe in May.  Because in that spot in the window they will be an Ichabod buffet.  Leaving them on the piano wasn’t doing them any favors.  In the window they went and they are happy as can be.

Simply water your poinsettia every five days or so, clean up the debris on the surface of the soil from time to time, and give it a cat-free south facing window and you won’t have to buy any more poinsettias.

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