Colorful poinsettia plants make a perfect gift for the holidays, but keeping them alive, blooming and healthy requires more, or Moore, than just sunshine and rain.
Maxine Griggs, 88, of Sedalia, received a poinsettia three years ago from Christmas dinner guest Danny Burgeaner, and she has worked with it each year to keep it alive. Her plant is approximately two-feet tall and sports 12 to 13 blooms. Getting a poinsettia to bloom is no easy feat since they are particular about the amount of light and dark they need to flower.
“I never thought I’d see it like that,” she said. “Last year it was little … from there I have kept it growing.”
Last year she re-potted the plant, placing it in a large pot so the roots could stretch. During the winter she leaves the plant in a south facing window and during the summer she places the plant outside.
“I watered it and I don’t think I even fed it anything,” she said. “Then this fall, in November, David (Moore) came and got it, and took it over there and then brought it back the 23rd of December. He took it over there and put it in the dark. I’d tried others that I got and they died.”
Since receiving this particular poinsettia Griggs has sent it with David Moore, owner of Moore’s Greenhouse, each November.
In an interview with the Democrat in November on poinsettia care, Moore said,”It has a sensitivity to the light. (It needs) the same amount of daylight as you have darkness. If you leave them in the house they’ll just stay green.”
To help his poinsettias reach prime blooming each day Moore removes the shade cloth covering the greenhouse to allow optimum sun exposure. He then replaces it each night to dim even the neighboring lights in the area.
Moore’s expertise at light versus dark helped Griggs’s poinsettia to blossom with plate size to saucer size blooms this year.
Griggs said her advice about poinsettia care is to love it and water it.
“But since it’s been in the house, I just talk to it and it gets bigger and bigger,” she added smiling. “I just hope I can keep it. It will stay in bloom now until probably April. And then it will begin to drop its blooms and go down. In June I’ll trim it down and set it outside, and it comes back up and starts growing. Then in November I start thinking what am I going to do with this thing, and then I call David and he comes and gets it and puts it in Moore’s Greenhouse.”
Griggs said tried placing past poinsettias in a dark closet to create a dark environment but it didn’t work and they all died.
Moore said the best tip for keeping a poinsettia healthy is to not over water.
“They need to be watered but every home is different,” he said in November.
He suggested watering the poinsettia when it is dry to the touch, and to remove the decorative foil covering so it can drain well.
“Ideally you take them out of the sleeve, and put them in the sink and water them good … then pick them up and put them back in the sleeve.”
Additional poinsettia care tips from Moore’s Greenhouse are: Place the poinsettia in a room with bright light. Griggs places her’s in a southern window. Protect it from drafts of hot or cold air. If the poinsettia is wrapped in foil, poke holes for drainage and place a drip saucer under it. Discard excess water from the drip saucer. When watering, use lukewarm water and fertilize it with a general purpose fertilizer every fourth watering, if possible.
“I just water it, talk to it and tell it I love it, and it grows just like a kid!” Griggs added.