Poinsettias - during and after the holidays (and more)
fail to get their full money's worth from their holiday poinsettias.
The simple rules for getting them to last:
1. Buy good plants
with the yellow globular structures (each is a group of flowers)
at the centre of each set of colored leaves showing good color
2. Carry your plants home without letting them get chilled, and
without bruising or breaking the leaves
3. Keep them in a cool, well-lit place. When they need to be in
the living room, in poor light, use them there, but understand that
this cuts their lifespan
4. Keep them
watered as you would any pot plant. These are living plants with
the same needs as any other
5. After the holidays, if you want to keep the plants, move them
to a light, frost-free place until it is warm enough to move them
outside to a sunny spot.
Many sites treat this timely topic. Try The Poinsettia Pages
for as much as you have ever wanted to know about poinsettias presented
by the University of Illinois
it as good as it looks?
Marc van Sittert,
a South African nurseryman, has a very thought- provoking article
in the November 2000 issue of Floraculture International.
whether nurserymen and retail stores have put enough attention into
giving their interior plant product a reasonable life expectancy
when the customer gets it home.
He sets the scene " A client buys a terrific looking
specimen for her mother's birthday, pays a hefty price because she
understands that quality is not cheap, and goes off. The plant looks
wonderful, Mom feels wonderful, and the customer feels that she
got value for money. But a month down the line, the plant is starting
to look downright lousy. Mom is feeding and watering it by the book
and silently hoping that no one will notice the decline, but the
failure is obvious and a source of disappointment for everyone."
Why does this
happen? Van Sittert suggests that the grower's evaluation of quality
is based on producing a fantastic looking plant. The conditions
that grow this great plant in the nursery, however, may be so different
from what the plant will experience in even a home chock-a-block
with green thumbs and fingers, that the plants are doomed to a downhill
slide. He cites several South African nurseries who have modified
their cultural practices, including a movement away from completely
soilless mixes. They try to produce plants that will bridge more
easily the switch from the environment of technically excellent
management in the nursery to that of a reasonably well-informed
International is published by Ball Publishing, Batavia, IL Their
is being expanded, and will soon archive articles from back
issues of the magazine.
commentary. This problem of the contrast between growing conditions
in the greenhouse and those in the client's site have been faced
over the years by the producers of interior plants in the United
States and Europe. The growing medium may still be at the base of
some problems, as pointed out by van Sittert, but other factors
such as reducing fertiliser load, and acclimatisation to light conditions
have been addressed very successfully.]
Cyclamen as bedding plants
writing in the August 2000 of GMPRO, brings to our
attention the increasing use of cyclamen as a bedding plant in the
west and south of the United States.
Crop time for
a 4-inch pot from a plug is about three months starting in June
to September for bedding use in the fall, and the plants need about
the same treatment as other cool-season crops such as primulas,
stock and ranunculus.
fertilization is at EC 1-1.2 with 125-200 ppm nitrogen in constant
feed, leaching with clear water each third application. Use a i:2
to 1:5 ration of N:K, with nitrogen in the nitrate form rather thn
ammonium to avoid soft growth.
A number of
mini series are available: Latinia from Morel, Laser from Goldsmith
and Libretto and Rondo from Novartis. Canto, also from Novartis,
Garden Dance from PanAmerican, Intermezzo from De Ruiter and Metis
are slightly larger in growth form and flower.
is one of a series of horticultural magazines from Branch-Smith
Publishing. They have an extensive website at www.greenbeam.com.
Hans A. Gerritsen is president of Hortus Group with a website at