Posts tagged care

Perfect Poinsettias

The following is by Linn County Master Gardener Claire Smith:

 

My friend Ken used to say the only good poinsettia is a red poinsettia.    Did you know that:

o   Almost 75% of Americans still prefer red poinsettias over other colors.

o   Poinsettias were introduced into the U.S by Joel Poinsett, our first ambassador to Mexico, in 1825.

o   December 12th is National Poinsettia Day.

o   Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.

o   More than 60 million poinsettias, worth more than $200 million, are sold each holiday season.

o   Poinsettias are the most popular flowering potted plant, even though most are sold in a six-week period before Christmas.

o   The showy colored parts of the poinsettia are called bracts and are technically leaves.

o   Poinsettias are not poisonous.

How do you pick the perfect poinsettia? 

o   Healthy plants have a full complement of dark green leaves that are free of brown edges.

o   The bracts should be fully colored and not damaged. 

o   Check the true flowers in the center of the bracts.  They should be greenish-yellow and sometimes have pollen.

o   Wrap the plant carefully to carry it home to prevent injury from cold temperatures outdoors.

o   Place the plant in a bright, well-lit location, away from drafts.  Ideal temperatures are 60-70F daytime, 55-60F at night.  

o   Water thoroughly when the surface soil dries out, but pour excess water out of the saucer.  

o   Wait to fertilize until early spring.

So, enjoy the poinsettias in your favorite holiday color scheme as they are now also available in pink, white, peach, plum, yellow, cranberry, marbled, spotted and can even be dyed blue!

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment »

Keeping a pot in the house

   Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith, offered the following on keeping mum pots in the house and other fall advice for Iowans:

               

Feel free to ask questions:  Master Gardeners love to visit.  If a M.G. doesn’t have an answer, he/she will be eager to do the research for an answer as well as satisfy our own ongoing curiosity of all plants living—and sometimes dead.  Following are some common fall inquiries:

·         Most trees can be trimmed between December and February.   Hold off on fruit trees until late February.  Clean instruments between trees to prevent disease transfer.  Cut outside of the “collar”.  Maximum trimming should be 1/3 of the tree.

·         Grape Hyacinth may send up shoots now:  it should be o.k.

·         Saving Dahlias and Callas:  do not store in plastic bags as moisture will create mold.  Layer the bulbs, but don’t allow them to touch by putting vermiculate between them.  Cure the bulbs in a warm area for a few days then store at 45’ in the basement.   Do not allow the bulbs to freeze.

·         Oleander can be trimmed.  Cut ¼ off to main branch.

·         Clematis:  some of rabbit’s favorite food!  Try fencing with chicken wire.   No need to mulch.

·         Burning Bush:  can be trimmed any time, but recommend after leaf loss.  Vibrant color this year possibly due to excess spring moisture.

·         Spirea can be trimmed now.

·         Geraniums can be left potted in a sunny window for the winter.  Or, shake off the root dirt and hang upside down in a paper bag in the basement or unheated attic. Dip roots in water monthly.  In February, cut away dried area leaving nubbins.  Dip in Root Tone after potting to initiate growth.

·         Mums:  generally not winter hardy.  Root system won’t withstand Iowa’s freezing winter.   Can keep in pot in the house if cut back.  Plant in the spring on the south/sunny side of the house.

·         House Plants:  will probably have little new growth as they use spend energy adjusting to being moved inside.  

·         Routinely monitor animal management strategy.  In years of high animal population and limited food (think last winter!), they will eat almost anything.

·         Pest –free debris from fall clean up can be composted.

·         Do not fertilize now.  Improve the soil with the addition of shredded leaves, well-rotted manure, or other organic matter.

·         Drain garden hose and put away. 

·         Direct sunlight and freezing temperatures can diminish efficacy of liquid pesticides and fertilizers.

 

Comments (2) »