Most people consider poinsettias to be seasonal plants - beautiful and decorative during the holidays but something to dispose of after the new year rolls around.
But with a little dedication and advice from gardening experts, poinsettias can be hearty plants year-round.
Ooltewah resident Donna Ingle Morse has a healthy poinsettia that was given to her mother-in-law last year. In the spring, Morse planted the poinsettia in her flower garden.
"It grew to more than twice its size and was full and green all summer," she said. "Before it got too cold, I dug it up and transplanted it into a large container and placed it in a sunny location inside. It lost almost all of its lower leaves, but all new growth is red. I plan to put it back outside as soon as it is warm enough."
According to www.ecke.com, poinsettias can rebloom if proper care is taken during the year. The website offers the following tips.
1 By late March or early April, cut the poinsettia back to about 8 inches in height. Continue a regular watering program and use a balanced all-purpose fertilizer. You should see new growth by the end of May.
2 After all chance of frost has passed and night temperatures average 55 F. or above, place plant outdoors. Fertilize every two to three weeks. Around June 1, transplant into a larger pot. Use a soil mix with a considerable amount of organic matter. In milder climates, transplant into a well-prepared garden bed rich in organic material with good drainage.
3 Starting Oct. 1, the plant must be kept in complete darkness for 14 continuous hours each night. Either move it into a dark room or cover with a large box. During October, November and early December, the plant requires six to eight hours of bright sunlight daily, with night temperatures of 60 F. to 70 F.
4 Continue normal watering and fertilizer program.
5 Following this regimen for eight to 10 weeks should result in a colorful display of blooms for the holiday season.
Contact Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karennazorhill.