Amaryllis and Poinsettia

What’s The Best Kind Of Dog To Get
For The Holidays?… A Pointsetter!

Every year I attempt to keep my Poinsettia  alive after the Christmas season and generally I get it to about July before I manage to kill it.  This year I nearly made it to the stage of putting it in the dark to encourage it to produce its red flowers and now I’ve managed to kill it.  The Poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America and can grow to a stunning 3 meters tall.  The Aztecs considered it a symbol of purity and it was brought back to the US of A in 1825 by a diplomat from Mexico.  It at one time lost all its leaves after developing its flowers but now the varieties we know keep their leaves and can come in an amazing array of colours.  65 million Poinsettias are sold every year in the US alone.  Obviously I am not the only one who can’t keep them alive for the following year. Poinsettia need a minimum of 6 hrs of indirect sun a day and to encourage new flowering they must be put in the dark for 14 hours a day.  During this time they must be watered and fertilized.  Watch that you don’t over water them as many fungal problems can develop if they have wet feet.  This process must be continued for 8 weeks to succeed so if your hoping for blooms at Christmas, well, do the math.  If you are going to buy another Poinsettia for the season and wish to try and get it to survive until the following season be sure to trim it back in April leaving 2 to 3 sleeves per stem to prevent it from growing leggy.  The white latex type sap is slightly poisonous to cats, dogs and humans causing cramps, nausea and vomiting, however a great amount of the plant would have to be consumed to cause any significant problem.

Another plant that is often grown for the upcoming Christmas season is the Amaryllis,  but any plant with an incredible bloom like this plant would be a welcome sight anytime during our long winter.  Originally from Africa they are easy to grow and come in a huge variety of colours and scents.  The bulb should be planted in a pot that will allow for 5 or 6 inches of root development.  Your bulb when purchased should have good root development already and should be handled delicately so as not to injure this growth.  Select a pot that will support 16 inch of stem and 4 to 6 large blooms without tipping.  Soak the bulb in warm water for about 2 hours then plant it with about half the bulb exposed.  Place in a sunny location as the greater the sunlight the larger the bloom.  Water with warm water and fertilize weekly.  Two stems should develop and both will develop flowers over a period of time.  The Amaryllis will bloom once a year and once finished should be cut down to 2 inches of height then lifted from the dirt cleaned, air dried and place in a paper bag to be stored in a cool place.  The following year it can be replanted again and have another beautiful display 6 to 8 weeks later.

Happy Gardening

Samantha Nason
BS Ranch & Greenhouses
250 547 6567 •

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