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Can You Water Poinsettias With Ice Cubes | How To Feed And Water Poinsettias Quick Answer

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If you can water the poinsettia well once per week, placing 6-8 ice cubes in the container every day will do a good job of keeping the soil adequately moist.One helpful trick is to learn how to water poinsettias with ice cubes! With this technique, the ice cube waters the plant slowly and evenly as it melts. At the suggested rate of one ice cube per inch of pot diameter, a typical 6” pot would call for six ice cubes.Yes, ice cubes as a form of regular watering provide a measured way to water your houseplants, and it does work. But you have to adapt it to the needs of your plants.

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Nick Federoff America’s Master Gardener teaches us how to properly feed and water our Poinsettia plants once we have them.\r
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Watering Your Poinsettia With Ice Cubes – Laidback Gardener

Place 4 to 8 ice cubes on the soil of the poinsettia, depending in the size of the pot, hopefully without freezing your fingers. Keep the ice …

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Source: laidbackgardener.blog

Date Published: 10/21/2021

View: 2697

How to Care for Your Poinsettias – Gill Landscape Nursery

Another way to water is placing ice cubes on the soil daily to maintain even moisture through the season. The amount of ice cubes depends on the …

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Source: gillnursery.com

Date Published: 7/27/2022

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Poinsettia Pointers | Inside the Designers Studio

To avo this, water DAILY by adding ice cubes to poinsettias. Ice cubes should be evenly distributed DAILY around the surface of the pot in …

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Source: www.bronsondesign.com

Date Published: 10/1/2022

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How To Water Poinsettias – Mary Rose’s Cafe

Simply take a few ice cubes and place them directly on the soil in your potted poinsettia. The ice cubes will melt slowly, allowing the roots to …

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Source: maryrosescafe.blogspot.com

Date Published: 2/11/2022

View: 2726

Just Say No to Ice Cubes for Watering – Carol J. Michel

Not all plants, but plants that need less water like violets and orchs. Keeps from over watering them. Poinsettia are a plant that needs more …

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Date Published: 3/17/2021

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Plant Answers > POINSETTIA AND CHRISTMAS TREE CARE

Water your poinsettia frequently but don’t drown it. · Put 4 ice cubes (64 ml of water) per day per quart-size or 6 1/2-inch pot which is the most common size …

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Source: www.plantanswers.com

Date Published: 8/3/2022

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Keeping Your Poinsettia Alive | Petitti Garden Centers

One helpful trick is to learn how to water poinsettias with ice cubes! With this technique, the ice cube waters the plant slowly and evenly …

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Success with Poinsettias – Weidners Gardens

Ugly! If you let it sit in water, the roots will rot and your plant will not last long. If your poinsettia is in a foil pot cover remove …

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Should you water your plants with ice cubes? | Metro News

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How to Feed and Water Poinsettias
How to Feed and Water Poinsettias

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How many ice cubes do you put on a poinsettia?

One helpful trick is to learn how to water poinsettias with ice cubes! With this technique, the ice cube waters the plant slowly and evenly as it melts. At the suggested rate of one ice cube per inch of pot diameter, a typical 6” pot would call for six ice cubes.

Is it okay to water plants with ice cubes?

Yes, ice cubes as a form of regular watering provide a measured way to water your houseplants, and it does work. But you have to adapt it to the needs of your plants.

How should I water my poinsettia?

In your home, put the poinsettia in a well lighted area away from drafts and heat vents. Water the poinsettia when the pot becomes lightweight or when the soil becomes dry to the touch, about once a week. Water the plant thoroughly in a sink, letting it drain, before putting it back where it was.

What plants like to be watered with ice cubes?

In particular, using ice cubes to water orchids has become a popular trick. While in theory you could use ice cubes in hanging baskets and ice cubes to water succulents as well as other plants that like slow, gentle waterings, the technique finds the most use with orchids.

Do poinsettias like ice cubes?

Watering is the key to success. NEVER allow the soil-less medium in which the plant is being grown to dry out thoroughly causing the plant to wilt. To avoid this, water DAILY by adding ice cubes to poinsettias. Ice cubes should be evenly distributed DAILY around the surface of the pot in which the plant is growing.

Do poinsettias like ice?

If you can water the poinsettia well once per week, placing 6-8 ice cubes in the container every day will do a good job of keeping the soil adequately moist.

Do ice cubes hurt plants?

Zach Morgan, a horticulturist and plant expert at Allan’s Gardeners, strongly disagrees, and warns that sticking ice cubes anywhere your plant could kill them. Oh. ‘Plants hate huge temperature swings, especially on their roots,’ he explains. ‘The cold from ice cube could kill your plants if it comes in direct contact.

How often should I water my plants with ice cubes?

According to Reader’s Digest, all it takes is placing two large ice cubes at the base of your plant once a week to keep them happy and hydrated. This way the plant gets to suck up all that H2O slowly, but surely. Moreover, this will also help stave off any messy watering overflow that may occur.

What is the ice cube trick?

Her five “hacks” include holding ice in your hands and focusing on the temperature and texture, moving ice along the arm, noticing the sensation, holding the ice in your mouth, being sure to push it to the roof of your mouth, rubbing ice on your face, which can reduce the temperature of your skin and lower one’s heart …

Why are my poinsettia leaves curling and falling off?

Leaves curling, drooping and falling usually means they have suffered low temperatures or sudden draughts. Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are native to Mexico and in the wild grow into tall shrubs and to turn them into compact houseplants, growers treat them with dwarfing hormones.

What does an overwatered poinsettia look like?

Both over- and under-watering cause problems for poinsettias. Over-watering will cause the lower leaves to turn yellow and drop. Over-watered plants may also develop root rots and die. Dry plants wilt and also drop leaves prematurely.

Why are the leaves falling off my poinsettia?

Poinsettias will classically drop their leaves if they are exposed to sudden changes in temperature, drafts or overly cool or dry rooms. They also will lose leaves and wilt in response to an extreme need for water.

Is it good to give plants ice?

Put two large ice cubes, or a few small ones, at the base of your plant once a week. Not only will this keep the overflow of messy water to a minimum, but it will also give the dirt and roots enough time to absorb the water. This will help to give your plants the exact level of hydration they need, keeping them alive.

What happens if you water a plant with coffee?

If you’re “watering” it with coffee and the leaves of the plant start yellowing at the edges or turning brown, it may mean that the liquid coffee is adding too much acid to the soil. A solution to this could be watering down your coffee before you pour it onto your plant.

Can you put ice cubes in flowers?

It’s kind of like taking a warm bath, your muscles relax. Once open, use cool water (or simply add some ice cubes to the vase) in order to keep the blooms lasting longer. Though water still absorbs into the stem, colder water slows any decay, bacteria, or mold from breaking down the organic matter.

See also  Cruz Del Apostolado. Letanías Y Oración A La Cruz Del Apostolado | Oraciones Del Apostolado De La Cruz Trust The Answer

How many ice cubes does it take to water a succulent?

Use Ice Cubes to water.

To help not to over water and let the water disperse itself as needed, use two ice cubes for small plants, and as much as a cup for large plants. I usually make a pitcher of ice cubes and take it around the house adding a couple to each planter. Viola! Easy and mess free.

Can I water my aloe vera with ice cubes?

These are ideal for aloe vera plants since they don’t like to sit in water. If you’re worried about overwatering your plant, you can constantly water with ice cubes. Place two or three ice cubes on the soil around the plant once a week and allow them to melt.

Can I water a cactus with ice cubes?

When most mixes are that dry they do not take up water readily. We have found a good way to water a dry mix is with ice cubes. They release water very slowly as they melt and the ‘soil’ has time enough to absorb the water.

Do succulents require a lot of sun or water?

In general, succulents need at least 4-6 hours of sunlight a day to keep them happy. They love being in bright and sunny locations. Succulents that do not receive enough sunlight will exhibit problems such as elongation or etiolation, where the plants stretch to seek more light.

Tips to Care for your Poinsettia after Christmas

Dressing your house with the bright red cheer of poinsettias is one of the holiday season’s greatest traditions. But did you know that a poinsettia’s bloom time can extend from Thanksgiving to Easter?

How long your poinsettia lasts depends on the maturity of the plant, when you buy it, and how well you care for it. To keep your poinsettia looking its best even after the holiday season, follow these simple tips.

LOOK for plants that have thick stems and full leaves. Fully colored flowers are ideal – those with too much green will never achieve full color.

INSULATE your poinsettia on the ride home. Exposure to extreme temperatures, even for a few minutes, can cause leaves and bracts to drop prematurely. Never purchase your poinsettias and leave them in the car while you do other shopping.

PLACE your poinsettia in a bright, naturally sunny location. Six hours of sunlight a day is ideal. Again, poinsettias do not like fluctuations in temperature so make sure to avoid placing your plant next to radiators or stoves. Also, if you choose to place your poinsettia on a windowsill make sure that the leaves and bracts do not touch the cold window. Ideally temperatures should be in the mid-70’s during the day and mid-60s at night.

WATER when the soil surface dries to the touch. Poinsettias should never dry out to the point of wilt. If you can, place a catch pan under the container. The water should ideally wet the whole root ball and begin to trickle out the pot into the catch pan. This may mean water every day or every other day. The second best option is to use the ice cube trick. If you can water the poinsettia well once per week, placing 6-8 ice cubes in the container every day will do a good job of keeping the soil adequately moist.

Keeping Your Poinsettia Alive

Water your poinsettia plant only when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch. Thoroughly moisten the soil to the point that water is draining from the bottom of the growing pot. Discard any excess water that builds up in the saucer or decorative foil pot cover. If left to sit in excess water, poinsettias will develop root rot and die.

One helpful trick is to learn how to water poinsettias with ice cubes! With this technique, the ice cube waters the plant slowly and evenly as it melts. At the suggested rate of one ice cube per inch of pot diameter, a typical 6” pot would call for six ice cubes. Overwatering is the enemy of most houseplants during winter, so practicing good houseplant watering habits can make all the difference!

Should You Water Your Plants with Ice Cubes?

“Can you water plants with Ice Cubes?”

In most cases, if you want to, you absolutely can water your houseplants with ice cubes. But, you probably don’t need to. It can be a hassle setting it all up and could damage certain indoor plants in the long term.

That’s the simple answer.

The rest of this article looks at the issues surrounding this interesting watering technique hack. Read on so you can decide if using ice cubes is right for you (and your plant!).

What’s the thinking behind it?

The main reason people use ice cubes to water their plants is that it helps them get the right amount of water to their houseplants in a controlled and measured way.

We get it. You’ve just got a brand new plant and you want to care for it properly. If you spend even half an hour reading about Plant Care 101, you’ll know that overwatering can be a big problem.

Further reading –

Are you overwatering your plants? – The Signs to look out for

So the ice cube trick is a simple solution that provides a safe way to prevent overwatering, by stopping excess water from gathering around the roots. This helps keep root rot away and your plants healthy and happy.

Does using ice cubes actually work?

In principle, it does work. The ice melts, turning into water which then gently soaks into the growing medium and delivers moisture directly to the plant’s roots at a steady pace so they get enough water.

Understandably, you may be worried about the use of ice cubes and the effects of cold water, especially on sensitive plants.

Ohio State University experimented with using ice cubes to water orchids and concluded that the practice had “no detrimental effects” on the health of the plants.

There are even companies selling a range of houseplants with the tag line “Just add Ice.” Instructing you to add a certain number of ice cubes to the top of the soil every week.

In reality though, using a fixed way to water your plants will give varied results. Nicole from Sunnysideup ran her own five month experiment using the “Just add Ice” instructions and you can see how she got on below.

The conclusions Nicole finds mirror our own experiences. Yes, ice cubes as a form of regular watering provide a measured way to water your houseplants, and it does work. But you have to adapt it to the needs of your plants.

Plants in your home will never perform long term if you attempt to use fixed and ridged ways of looking after them.

Every home is different and every plant will have different needs. For example, an Orchid in a large container growing in a warm room is going to need much more water than a smaller plant in winter.

Using ice cubes to water plants does work, but using a set amount each and every week won’t.

When is it a GOOD idea to water with ice cubes?

Okay. So you’re sold on the idea or maybe you’re intrigued and want to know when using ice cubes instead of reaching for the watering can is a good idea. Let’s look at some good times to use ice and why it can be helpful.

How to Water Plants With Ice Cubes

Using ice cubes to water plants may sound crazy, but for certain species that like a nice, slow moistening of the soil, using the small blocks of frozen ice may be just the trick. In particular, using ice cubes to water orchids has become a popular trick. While in theory you could use ice cubes in hanging baskets and ice cubes to water succulents as well as other plants that like slow, gentle waterings, the technique finds the most use with orchids.

According to the American Society for Horticultural Science, moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.), which grow in USDA growing zones 10 to 12, have become a popular houseplant in the United States like many of their peers in the Orchidaceae family. However, they are often watered too much by the people who grow them. Using ice cubes to water orchids has become a popular method to combat this issue, as the process is quite simple. The ice melts relatively slowly, applying a steady amount of moisture over a longer period of time.

Most orchids are warm-weather plants, so it’s perhaps no surprise that people express concern over using ice cubes to water orchids for fear that the cold may cause low-temperature damage to the plants, which originate in the world’s tropical zones. However, research has shown that there is nothing to fear, and using this method did not noticeably affect the life span of the plants, according to the American Society for Horticultural Science. It has the added benefit of gently watering the soil, ensuring nutrients do not get washed away.

Watering Your Poinsettia With Ice Cubes

By Larry Hodgson

The Internet is full of ridiculous horticultural information: really lame things that you are recommended to do and that are supposed to help your plants grow better. Of all these, I think one of the most ridiculous—and it’s repeated on more than 14,000 Websites!—is that you should water your Christmas poinsettia with ice cubes.

The absurdity of it just boggles the mind. Why would you take a tropical plant like the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), one that never ever sees frost in the wild, and put ice cubes around its base? And, at least while it’s in bloom and uses more water than usual, it prefers that its soil kept evenly moist, whereas ice cubes release very little water at a time—only spots here and there—, keeping the plant drought-stressed at all times.

Plus, it’s a lot of extra work. Compared to normal watering, where you water once, then walk away, coming back to repeat a week or so later, you now have to do the following:

Prepare the ice cubes (freezing water just so you can unfreeze it later: not terribly logical, is it?).

Successfully remove the cubes from their tray (something, personally, I’ve always failed miserably at doing).

Place 4 to 8 ice cubes on the soil of the poinsettia, depending in the size of the pot, hopefully without freezing your fingers.

Keep the ice cubes from touching the plant’s stem so the cold won’t kill it.

Repeat the above daily (yes, you read correctly! If you don’t apply the ice cubes every day, the plant will quickly wilt, because the ice cubes don’t release enough water to adequately humidify the soil).

The result is a drought-stressed poinsettia that struggles to survive, but may still look quite presentable … if you magically find just the right number of ice cubes for your plant under its specific growing conditions.

The Easy Peasy Way to Water a Poinsettia

Water thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch for great success with poinsettias. Photo: depositphotos & pnghut.com

Instead, why not just water your poinsettia by applying the oh-so-simple golden rule of watering? When the soil is dry to the touch, take a watering can, fill it full of tepid to room temperature water (not cold water, poinsettias hate that) and pour it slowly over the soil at the base of the plant. When water starts to drip out of the bottom of the pot into the saucer below, stop watering. That will ensure that the entire root ball is thoroughly moist, always the ideal situation when you water a plant. Then wait until the soil is dry to the touch before watering again.

That can be somewhere between 5 and 14 days later under most indoor conditions, but don’t trust a given number of days. Always touch the potting mix: it has to be dry—not bone dry, but just feel dry to your finger—before you water again. Or use a moisture meter: when it shows dry, it’s time to water. Or lift the pot: when it feels light, it’s time to water.

What Not to Do

Do not wait until your poinsettia wilts before you water. It’s the classic beginner’s error. Yes, the plant will perk up when you water it thoroughly, but it will also lose leaves and bracts (the colorful part of the plant’s flower). And each time you let it wilt, your poinsettia will lose more leaves and bracts until it is soon any unsightly mess.

Pot cover. Photo: Antonio Gravante, depositphotos

Helpful Hint: The plastic or foil pot cover the poinsettia often comes in can actually kill it, as it’s usually impermeable and therefore prevents any excess water from draining from the pot. Either remove it or punch a hole in the bottom, then set the pot in a plant saucer. That way any surplus water can safely drain away.

Basic Conditions

True enough, you do have to supply reasonable basic growing conditions to your poinsettia over the holidays. Like normal room temperatures (it hates the cold), keeping it away from the drying air of heating vents, making sure it has good light during the day, etc. And it won’t need fertilizer … at least, not until spring.

With reasonable care and by following the golden rule of watering, your poinsettia should remain in top form not only through Christmas season, but well into the New Year.

Just don’t give it ice cubes!

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How to Care for Your Poinsettias

Care Of Your Poinsettias

Place the plant in an area where it will receive as much indirect light as possible and do not place it in a draft. Should your poinsettia be wrapped in foil, punch a hole in the bottom to provide good drainage and place pot in a saucer. An easy way to water poinsettias is to set it in the sink, soak it, and at the same time, remove yellowed foliage off the bottom of the plant. Check your poinsettia every other day to every third day, depending on light. Another way to water is placing ice cubes on the soil daily to maintain even moisture through the season. The amount of ice cubes depends on the pot size. For small 4 inch- 2-3 cubes daily. For 6 inch use 3-5 cubes and for larger pots use a few more. Double check the moisture occasionally with your finger or moisture meter. Most enjoy the poinsettia for the holidays and then move on to other spring blooming plants in January and February. If, on the other hand, you want to grow it for your garden, in March , cut your plant back short and either repot or plant it in the ground in a sunny protected area. With a few simple steps, your poinsettia will give you blooms year after year.

Bonus Tidbit! Gill’s Connection To Today’s Poinsettia

Native to Mexico, the poinsettia can be traced as far back as the 14th century. The name poinsettia is credited to Joel Roberts Poinsett, a United States ambassador to Mexico in the 1820’s who brought the plant back to the US. In the 1950’s, Dr. Robert Stewart, a geneticist for the Agricultural Research Service Florist and Nursery Crops Laboratory in Beltsville, MD., started researching poinsettias to improve their quality. New colors like pink, white, and spotted variations are attributed to Dr. Stewart’s work, James Gill’s uncle!

Inside the Designers Studio

The red flowering poinsettia is by far the most popular flowering potted plant for the Christmas season. White, pink, and variegated white and pink are also available. If properly cared for, you can avoid the drudgery of cleaning up their dropped leaves.

To prolong the beauty and health of poinsettias, proper care is essential. Although poinsettias do not become acclimated to interior settings as well as most foliage plants, it is easy to be successful. First, select a location that receives some sunlight — interior hallways are a poor location. It is also very important to avoid exposing the plant to sudden temperature changes — this would be a problem if the poinsettia was placed near a ventilation system or in a drafty spot near a doorway. Temperatures found in most homes are acceptable. Ideally, provide 70 to 75 degree F. days and 62 to 65 degree F. nights.

Watering is the key to success. NEVER allow the soil-less medium in which the plant is being grown to dry out thoroughly causing the plant to wilt. To avoid this, water DAILY by adding ice cubes to poinsettias. Ice cubes should be evenly distributed DAILY around the surface of the pot in which the plant is growing. The ice cubes melt slowly providing uniform wetting of the planting medium. Since ice cubes are added DAILY, the medium never dries and the plant never experiences a fatal wilt and loss of leaves. Watering with ice cubes also avoids water or mist on the colored bracts and or foliage. Also, adding the small amount of water contained in the ice cube avoids soaking the root system. Letting the poinsettia stand in water for more than 30 minutes to an hour can cause root damage resulting in defoliation and/or plant death.

Put 4 ice cubes (64 ml of water) per day per quart-size or 6 1/2-inch pot which is the most common size sold;

Put 8 ice cubes (128 ml of water) per day per 8-inch pot;

Put 12 ice cubes (192 ml of water) per day per larger, 10-inch pot.

Remember that this watering technique provides supplemental watering only. If the plant wilts or the potting mix in which it is growing feels dry, rehydrate the mix by soaking (floating) the pot in water (kitchen sink, clean toilet, bucket) until the roots are completely saturated – then begin the daily ice cube watering schedule again. Poinsettias are closely related to many desert plants. Their first response to dry conditions is to drop their leaves in order to cut down water loss. Plants should be checked weekly for moisture content of the potting medium, i.e., if moist, then continue the ice cube regiment; if not, water (soak) the roots.

Want more info? Here’s an article that takes all the trowel and error out of growing and caring for poinsettias: https://gardenerspath.com/plants/houseplants/grow-poinsettia/

Mary Rose’s Cafe: How To Water Poinsettias

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Just Say No to Ice Cubes for Watering

Where did the practice of using ice cubes to water plants come from? Who’s doing this, putting a few ice cubes in a pot of poinsettias and calling that watering? I’m not even going to do an online search for this because if I find that someone is recommending this, it might send me over the edge.

Today at work I walked into a front office area, I saw a wilted poinsettia plant, crying out for help.

Co-worker: “Carol, what’s wrong with this plant?” (They know I’m a gardener and I wouldn’t turn my back on a plant in need.)

Me: “It needs water.” (I would have known that even without a degree in horticulture.)

Co-worker: “No it doesn’t. Feel the soil, it’s damp.” (They would question me?)

I felt the top of the soil and it was indeed slightly damp. Then I pulled the plant, rootball and all, out of the pot, quite dramatically and confidentally. As I suspected, the bottom three-fourths was as dry as dust.

Co-worker: “I don’t understand, ‘so-and-so’ puts ice cubes on it every day.”

Ice cubes? To water indoor plants? Think about it, how much water is in a cube of ice? Not very much. This plant was simply not getting enough water.

I proceeded to pick off all the dead leaves and bracts and told my co-worker to go water the poinsettia in a sink until the water came out the bottom of the pot.

That’s how plants should be watered. Thoroughly.

Ice cubes… sheesh…

(The poinsettia above is from Garfield Park Conservatory. It isn’t really sitting in water. It’s on a pedestal that’s in the water. I know they water these plants properly!)

PLANTanswers: Plant Answers > POINSETTIA AND CHRISTMAS TREE CARE

POINSETTIA AND CHRISTMAS TREE CARE With Christmas approaching at an alarming rate, two plants immediately come to mind that require proper selection and care, poinsettias and Christmas trees. CHRISTMAS TREE CARE:

The fragrance and beauty of a decorated tree are part of most family Christmas traditions. To keep your Christmas tree from drying out and becoming an eye-sore and potential fire hazard, you must carefully select and care for it. When selecting a tree from a commercial lot, choose one as fresh as possible. Early selection may be beneficial if all trees were cut at the same time. Check for needle shedding and brittleness, an indication that the tree has dried out. Pull the needles. If they come off the stem easily, the tree is too dry. Bounce the butt of the tree on the ground. If many needles fall, reject the tree. Check the shape and size of the tree’s base before purchase. Select a tree that will fit your stand. The stand should be designed to hold water. The base of the tree should be free of lateral branches for at least the first 8 inches to properly fit the stand. After selecting a tree, keep it as fresh as possible. As soon as you get it home, cut about an inch off the base and put the tree in a bucket of clean, warm water. If the tree is not to be decorated immediately, store it outdoors in the shade until ready to use. Check the water level periodically. Keep the butt end of the tree in a container of water the entire time it is in the house. Refill the container daily as the tree requires a lot of water. Sprinkling water on the branches and needles before you decorate the tree will help retain freshness. You may also want to spray the tree with some of the anti-transpirants such as Wilt Proof or Cloud Cover which reduce water loss from needles. The tree will take up a larger quantity of water at first, as much as a gallon a day, but will slack off later. Tests show that a 6-foot Christmas tree will take up between 1 and 2.5 pints per day during the 3-week season. Once the tree is put in a container of water, never allow the container to dry out. Experience shows that needle loss from trees with an interrupted water supply is far greater than needle loss from trees with a continuous supply of water. An interrupted water supply could be worse than no water. Several home recipes and manufactured products have been used by homeowners in an attempt to prolong the freshness of a cut Christmas tree. In testing these additives, none of them provided any clear-cut benefit over the use of water alone. When you move the tree indoors, set it away from fireplaces or other heating units. Also, do not place the tree where a heating vent will blow dry air on the foliage. Open flames, such as lighted candles, should never be used on or near the tree. In addition, never leave your home with the Christmas tree lights still on. The longer the tree is indoors, the more combustible it will become. Check electric light cords for fraying and worn spots that could easily lead to fires. Also do not overload the electric circuits and avoid placing electric toys directly under the tree. Be sure to avoid the use of combustible decorations. Following these care and precaution measures should insure an attractive tree that stays fresh indoors for more than a week and a holiday season free from Christmas tree mishaps. POINSETTIA CARE:

Poinsettias require proper selection and care. The red flowering poinsettia is by far the most popular flowering potted plant for the Christmas season. White, pink, and variegated white and pink are also available. Many new, long lasting varieties of poinsettias are now available. If properly cared for, they may last a month or more after Christmas.

DON’T EAT THE FLOWERS! Every year at this time when poinsettias are being sold and displayed some folks go crazy. They want to know if poinsettias are poisonous if eaten. Who cares! We’re not selling poke salad or collards here; we’re talking poinsettias – – plants that are to be looked at, not eaten. The poinsettia has been declared non-poisonous. This doesn’t mean that the leaves won’t give you a stomach ache if you don’t use the proper salad dressing and compliment the meal with the best wine selection. Rather than eating the beautiful poinsettia why not plant some seed of collards or mustard greens for future use?

Check your poinsettia daily and follow these tips: Water your poinsettia frequently but don’t drown it. Make sure soil remains moist, but do not allow water to remain beneath the pot in the saucer or wrapping. Too much water will cause the roots to rot, and the plant will deteriorate. One easy way to water the potting mix in which the plants are growing without flooding the living room is to use ice cubes when applying moisture, i.e.,:

Put 4 ice cubes (64 ml of water) per day per quart-size or 6 1/2-inch pot which is the most common size sold;

Put eight ice cubes (128 ml of water) per day per 8-inch pot;

Put twelve ice cubes (192 ml of water) per day per larger, 10-inch pot.

Ice cube size varies; the recommendations given are for ice cubes for which 20 melted cubes will produce 320 ml of water as measured by a standard measuring cup used for cooking.

Remember that this watering technique provides supplemental watering only. If the plant wilts or the potting mix in which it is growing feels dry, rehydrate the mix by soaking (floating) the pot in water (kitchen sink, clean toilet, bucket) until the roots are completely saturated – then begin the daily ice cube watering schedule again. Poinsettias are closely related to many desert plants. Their first response to dry conditions is to drop their leaves in order to cut down water loss. Plants should be checked weekly for moisture content of the potting medium, i.e., if moist, then continue the ice cube regiment; if not, water (soak) the roots.

Keep the plant out of drafts. Excessively hot, dry air from heating ducts will reduce the life of the plant. Also avoid cold drafts. Poinsettias are semitropical, and cannot tolerate cold temperatures or rapid temperature changes. Temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees are ideal. Place the plant in good light, but not direct sun. And finally, after blooming, discard or begin preparing the plant to bloom again next year. Poinsettias are perhaps the most difficult flowering potted plants to rebloom indoors. Fortunately in South Texas, poinsettias can be planted directly out-of-doors in the spring after the danger of frost is past. If placed in a protected area where early fall frost won’t harm it, they will make beautiful plants for the next holiday season. Fertilize as with any annual flowering plant during the growing season. Make sure that the outdoor poinsettia receives only natural sunlight. Any additional light from yard and street lights may inhibit coloring. Keep pinching out the tips of the new growth once a month so the plant will bush out. Do no pinching after August 15th. The plant should flower right on time if these procedures are followed.

MORE ABOUT POINSETTIAS AND THEIR CARE AND SELECTION:

QUESTION: Why are poinsettias being sold so early this year? They were never sold before Thanksgiving in the past.

ANSWER: It seems that poinsettias are being sold earlier and earlier in the year. Plants are ALREADY available in local nurseries. This Christmas plant is becoming a Thanksgiving plant and almost a Halloween plant!! How can we make the plants purchased early in the holiday season endure? Proper selection and follow-up care are important considerations when choosing poinsettias for the holiday season. Poinsettias are the featured plant in retail garden centers, florist shops, and grocery stores from mid-November through December, and are now available in a tremendous variety of bract colors ranging from red to white, marble, pink, and combinations of these colors. Red poinsettias represent around 90 percent of the market, but other colors are increasing in popularity.

Among the points to consider when purchasing poinsettia for the holidays include the size and number of the colored leaves. These are referred to as bracts. Bracts should be large and extend over the lower green leaves. The number and size of bracts usually dictate plant price. A premium quality poinsettia usually has at least six bracts and should have more. Also inspect the lower green leaves on poinsettias prior to purchase. These should have good appearance and extend over the rim of the pot. Drooping leaves may be an indication of problems. Check for insects, primarily white flies, underneath the lower leaves. The most important observation that can be made before purchasing a poinsettia is inspection of the green flower parts (cyathia) in the center of the bracts. These flower parts are an indicator of display life. Plants having large cyathia that are showing yellow pollen and sap will have the least amount of display life left, while plants with smaller cyathia, little to no pollen and no sap will have the longest display life. A poinsettia should easily last for 4?6 weeks in the home interior if proper care is provided.

To prolong the beauty and health of poinsettias once they are in the home, proper care is essential. Although poinsettias do not become acclimated to interior settings as well as most foliage plants, it is easy to be successful. First, select a location that receives some sunlight — interior hallways are a poor location. It is also very important to avoid exposing the plant to sudden temperature changes — this would be a problem if the poinsettia was placed near a ventilation system or in a drafty spot near a doorway. Temperatures found in most homes are acceptable. Ideally, provide 70 to 75 degree F. days and 62 to 65 degree F. nights.

Watering is the key to success. NEVER allow the soilless medium in which the plant is being grown to dry out thoroughly causing the plant to wilt. To avoid this, water DAILY by adding ice cubes DAILY to poinsettias as previously described. Ice cubes should be evenly distributed DAILY around the surface of the pot in which the plant is growing. The ice cubes melt slowly providing uniform wetting of the planting medium. Since ice cubes are added DAILY, the medium never dries and the plant never experiences a fatal wilt and loss of leaves. Watering with ice cubes also avoids water or mist on the colored bracts and or foliage. Also, adding the small amount of water contained in the ice cube avoids soaking the root system. Letting the poinsettia stand in water for more than 30 minutes to an hour can cause root damage resulting in defoliation and/or plant death.

For those who cannot part with their poinsettias after the holidays, plants can be planted outdoors in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. Cut the plant back halfway and select a sunny, well-drained location isolated from north winds and frost pockets. Poinsettias placed on the south side of the house usually will do well. Poinsettias can be kept bushy and compact when growing in the landscape or a container by pinching the top inch from new shoots when these shoots reach 5 to 6 inches long. These branches will then produce several laterals at each place where the pinching is done. In order for poinsettias to bloom and develop foliage color, do not pinch after late August/early September.

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Keeping Your Poinsettia Alive

Water your poinsettia plant only when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch. Thoroughly moisten the soil to the point that water is draining from the bottom of the growing pot. Discard any excess water that builds up in the saucer or decorative foil pot cover. If left to sit in excess water, poinsettias will develop root rot and die.

One helpful trick is to learn how to water poinsettias with ice cubes! With this technique, the ice cube waters the plant slowly and evenly as it melts. At the suggested rate of one ice cube per inch of pot diameter, a typical 6” pot would call for six ice cubes. Overwatering is the enemy of most houseplants during winter, so practicing good houseplant watering habits can make all the difference!

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