The Freaky-Deaky Poinsettia

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I love Poinsettias. I have loved them for more years than I can count.  I get one or two every year and have been known to keep them growing a very long time. Like, three years or more. In plant years, that is a very long time.  I always put them out on the veranda when the nighttime temperatures are finally no cooler than 59 degrees.  Why 59 degrees and not 57 or 60?  I read somewhere that’s the temperature for tropical plants. I have stuck by that temperature and it has not failed me. Then, when it starts to get cool in the Fall, I bring them in when the nighttime temps fall to 59 degrees.

The thing so intriguing about the Poinsettia is that the leaves turn red.  Some think the red leaves are the flower, but it’s not. The flower is a very tiny yellow thing that you actually have to look for. Those red leaves are freaky-deaky on their own merit!

One year, I requested information from the University of Missouri Extension on how to force a Poinsettia to turn red in time for Christmas.  Hey, I’d like that!  I had a lamp, a closet, a timer, and a very healthy, green Poinsettia.  It was all I needed for the predetermined light/dark cycle to force (I really don’t like the sound of that) it into red submission. Result……a dead plant, after many weeks of the imposed light/dark cycle. Bummer.

I gave up on that endeavor and just kept my lovely green Poinsettias out on the veranda every year.  They are lush and green and look nice mixed in with all the other plants. As with all plants, sometimes they live and sometimes they are compost worthy.  My bathroom became a safe haven for all of the tropical plants every winter. A jungle of sorts.

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This year, I did something different.  I brought the tropical plants in and lined them up in my living room in front of an east facing bank of windows.  I loved how that group of plants made me feel each morning when I walked through the living room.

 

Then, just a few weeks before Thanksgiving, I noticed something odd.  The big plant was starting to turn red. Really red. It started in the stems and spread to the leaves! Here it is, December 11, and the second plant has started to turn red!  I have done nothing but water them.  None of that forcing business for me!  I just let Nature do its thing.I’ve been posting pictures on Instagram and on Facebook. (Yes, I’m that person who loves to photograph fun bugs, birds, sunsets, flowers……….and food).

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To this day, I am still amazed by my red Poinsettias.  I even wrote to a horticulturist to find out why this was happening. He said it was just a Nature thing. There you go!  There is probably a lesson or something to learn from all this.  I’m not sure what it is, other than Nature is unpredictable and sometimes the gravy comes out with no lumps. Happy almost Winter!

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