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Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Keeping Your Pointsettias Alive

To me, pointsettias are the perennial holiday flower. They bring bright red and green into an otherwise dreary landscape, and even one potted pointsettia brightens an entire room. We give them as gifts to some of our clients and referral partners. This year, we were lucky enough to have a son majoring in plant science. He worked in the greenhouse at his college and raised plenty of beautiful pointsettias from seedlings. He also gave us some tips on what to do with the plants after the blooms fade.

Now that the holidays are over, you’re probably thinking of putting away the decorations and the pointsettias might go in the garbage. A few inches of storage space and a few minutes of thought can keep your plants dormant for part of the year and they’ll bloom bright and beautiful again next year. Here’s what to do:

Once the bloom fades, prune back the plant to 6″ tall. Reduce watering to once every 2-3 weeks – it should get completely dry between waterings.Image

Then, in the summer, repot the plant into a slightly larger pot. Choose one that you’ll enjoy looking at next December. Once you see new growth, start fertilizing it every two weeks but pinch back all the new growth. This encourages the formation of new branches. It can go outside as long as the temperature is above 55 degrees F.

In early October, put your pointsettia in complete darkness for at least 14 hours a day. This encourages it to bloom. You can cover it with a bag or move it to a closet but only let it get about 6 hours of sunlight. Continue to water and fertilize it.

By the end of November or early in December, you should see flower buds. Once you do, you can bring your plant out of the dark and let it become part of your decorations. Continue to water and feed it until the bloom fades.

 

Real or Artificial Tree?

Americans have mixed opinions about real and artificial Christmas trees, and everyone has an opinion.

Here’s a comparison of both kinds of trees – with the pros of each – to help you decide:

Real Christmas trees

  • smell better
  • family fun time cutting down the tree
  • helps support Christmas tree farms
  • more easily recycled than artificial trees
  • do not contain plastics that may contribute to indoor air pollution

Artificial trees

  • less expensive
  • easier to set up and take down
  • more durable
  • less messy

Which is better for the environment?

The manufacturing and shipping of artificial trees causes a much larger carbon footprint than the cutting down of a real tree, especially when one considers that 98% of the real trees used in the United States were grown on tree farms and not cut from the wild. If an artificial tree will be kept and used in place of a real tree for 12-20 years (depending on size), then the carbon footprint may become even. When it comes to indoor air quality, artificial trees may contain plastics that can contribute to indoor air pollution and may trigger respiratory symtpoms in sensitive people. Real trees that aren’t properly watered or that are kept in a heated environment for too long may dry out and become a fire hazard.

So what’s your pleasure – real or artificial?

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