Winter Plant Care
by Julaine Kennedy
Poinsettias can bloom for at least 6 months if they were healthy when you received them and continue to be well-cared for. Keep it in lots of indirect light and the soil moderately damp. Avoid cold drafts and extreme high heat temperatures. As leaves and branching decline cut the stems back to just above to where new green growth has started. Move the plant to a sunny window. Do not repot. Begin to water and fertilize regularly. Do not let it dry out or subject it to temperatures below 45 degrees.
If you really want to keep it another year, then here’s the scoop on pampering your Poinsettia into holiday bloom. Beginning in late September, provide your poinsettia with 12 hours of complete darkness each night and 12 hours of good light during the day. (Hint: place a box over the plant at night, remove it during the day) Even a small amount of light for a short time can disrupt the formation of the new flowers. This is a lot of work. When flowers begin to form please let Joan Reynolds know. She will send the news out over the internet message chain and we will all come to celebrate with you. Most people prefer to purchase a new poinsettia each holiday season.
Paperwhites, tulips and daffodils are short-lived bulbs when forced into bloom. Common practice is to discard them after they have bloomed.
Amaryllis bulbs are amazing and will reward the owner with reblooming every year. The first stalk has probably bloomed already. Don’t throw it out. More blooms may develop depending on the size and health of the bulb. When a flower is finished, cut the flower stalk back, leaving the leaves to take up energy from the sun. Continue to water and fertilize. You may be rewarded with as many as 3 or more blooms. In late summer/early fall cease watering and place the pot/bulb in a cool dark place allowing it to be in a dormant state until around the first of January. Restart the process by repotting, setting it in a warm, sunny area and keeping the soil evenly moist. When well cared for amaryllis will stool and create additional bulblets. When the bulblet matures it can be separated from the mother plant and it will grows on it’s own.
Easter Lilies prefer cool daytime temperatures (60-65 degrees) and night temperature about 10 degrees cooler. Keep it out of drafts or where it will exposed to dry air or heat, ex: Fireplace or heat ducts. They like sunlight but at our elevation they will quickly wilt and fade if they are in a hot south to west window where trees or overhang do not provide some shade. To prevent leaning toward the light simply turn your plant a couple times a week. Keep evenly moist and be sure that the foiled pot has drainage holes. Remove standing water from the tray each time you water. Remove faded flowers promptly to prevent the plant from seeding. This will allow the plant to conserve energy for next year’s flowering. Most of the holiday greenhouse grown plants are good for one season. Julaine has had luck with an Easter Lily blooming the second year. Transplant it to a protected area soon after blooming ceases. Feed it bone meal and mulch the plant for the winter.