MASTER GARDENER — Celebrate holidays with plants; try poinsettias   – Port Arthur News

MASTER GARDENER — Celebrate the holidays with plants.try the poinsettia

Published Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at 12:02 AM

Christmas is just around the corner, and for those who haven’t noticed this week, winter is no longer “tippy towing” to Southeast Texas. She showers us with cold, cold kisses, just in time for many of you (fellow gardeners) to want more winter-like temperatures.

I hope you are all happy. I hope your wishes come true (whispering a derogatory yet inaudible comment about the cold).

If you haven’t already done so, protect temperature-sensitive plants (move them to an enclosed area or cover them if possible; don’t use plastic) and people (wear layers). Keep warm and stay hydrated) to protect and prepare for cold weather. while exposed to the elements), pets (provide or keep them in warm, dry enclosures with adequate food and water) and pipes (make sure certain external pipes are well insulated). please).

Overnight temperatures will plunge below 20 degrees Fahrenheit a few days before Christmas, according to local meteorologists.

On Christmas Eve, daytime highs are expected to exceed -1°C. Goodbye mosquitoes – at least for a few days.

And in case you missed my personal comment on low temperatures in a past post (I don’t like cold weather), this gardener is heading further south for Christmas this year. It’s pretty warm in South Texas. It got warmer than 20 degrees. thank you.

No other houseplant is as beautiful as the poinsettia. But do you know the history of flowers, which for many people symbolize Christmas?

Christmas Eve Flower, or ‘Flor de Noche Buena’, is how the poinsettia is known in Mexico and Central America, its native habitat, and is a woody tropical shrub that grows to 10 feet. The Aztec Indians used the bracts (colorful modified leaves) surrounding the center of the small yellow flower as a dye, and the plant’s milky latex sap as a medicine to reduce heat.

In the 17th century, the poinsettia became associated with Christmas as Franciscan monks incorporated it into their Christmas celebrations.

The star-shaped pattern on the leaves symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents Jesus’ blood sacrifice.

The popularity of plants in the United States is credited to the first U.S. envoy, botanist and physician Joel Poinsett. Intrigued by the plant’s winter “flowers,” he brought it to his home in South Carolina for his cultivation in the 1830s.

Poinsettias are easy to care for all year round, so there’s no reason to throw them away after the Christmas holidays.

During the Christmas holidays, place the poinsettias indoors in a bright, dimly lit area, water the plants when the potting mix starts to feel dry to the touch, and keep them away from hot or cold drafts.

Fertilization should begin when the color begins to fade and should always be protected from temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

From Christmas to early fall, place your poinsettia in a sunny location (indoors) with very little moisture in the soil. When the leaves begin to fall off in spring, trim the plant to about 8 inches tall while continuing to water and fertilize.

When new growth appears, repot and move outside in the morning sun and fertilize weekly. Then bring the plants back indoors.

From early October to mid-December, you should limit the amount of light your plants receive. This will force flowering. To do this, put the plant in a dark place or cover it from 4pm to 7am every day.

It is necessary to keep the plant out of light during the dark hours of each day. Give the plant only 6-8 hours of sunlight each day.

When the bracts begin to change color, the long night (dark period) is discontinued and no fertilizer is applied. Enjoy having a majestic poinsettia as a spectacular focal point in your home!

Please wait until next time. Get out there and grow a greener, more sustainable world, one plant at a time! Merry Christmas!

John Green is a Certified Texas Master Gardener. If you have any gardening questions or would like more information, please contact the Orange County Master Gardeners Helpline at 409-882-7010 or visit, the Orange County Texas Master Gardeners Association on Facebook. or send an email to .

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