Rolling Hills Garden Center
The Village Gallery Florist & Gift Shoppe
Voted Best Garden Center and Florist in Person County
"May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love."
- Ada V. Hendricks
December the last month of the year. The month of Christmas, winter's coming, and poinsettias. December is the time we reflect back on the kind of year we had and hope for the new year ahead. The darkest month of the year is filled with festivals of lights echoing the old yule bonfires of years ago and reds of poinsettias and Christmas cactus which now seem to come in a host of colors as well.
The shortest day of the year occurs in December, but that also signals the return of the light to the world as the sun rises higher in the sky and stays longer each day. Sharp winds can invade our part of the world feeling like it is coming from great ice caverns in the North. Much of the weather's attention is focused on snow. Or the threat of, the longing for, or the removal of.
Here are some observations about December weather according to the Old Farmer's Almanac:
- When Christmas Eve is clear, our Lord will give us an abundance of wine and corn.
- White Christmas, green Easter. Green Christmas, white Easter.
- If December is rainy, mild and unsettled, the winter will not be harsh.
- If December is cold and the earth is covered with snow, next year’s rye will be in abundance.
- If there’s thunder during Christmas week, the winter will be anything but meek.
- The nearer the New Moon to Christmas Day, the harder the winter.
- If Christmas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.
- So many hours of Sun on Christmas Day, so many frosts in the month of May.
- If it rains on Christmas, there will be four weeks with no sun.
- A windy Christmas is a sign of a good year to come.
- If there is much wind on Christmas Day, trees will bear much fruit.
- If the wind grows stormy before sunset on Christmas, expect sickness in the coming spring and autumn.
- If it snows on Christmas night, there will be a good crop of hops next year.
- A bright Christmas foretells that hens will lay well.
- A dark Christmas foretells that cows will give much milk.
- If St. Lucy’s Day be bright, Christmas day will be dark with snow;
but if the snow falls on St. Lucy, Christmas will be clear and sunny.
THE WINTER SOLSTICE occurs this year on December 21st. This is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. Celebrations related to the winter solstice are among the oldest in the history of man. Some elements of the ancient celebrations remain a part of modern Christmas celebrations. Among these are the yule log, wassailing, and mistletoe. This is a day long celebrated for the light returning to the world. It is no surprise that Christmas, the celebration of the birth of the light of the world, falls so soon after this event.
NOTHING SAYS CHRISTMAS AS MUCH AS THE POINSETTIA
These plants native to Central America have long been a staple of Christmas decorations to the Northern neighbors of its origin. Aztecs used them for both decorative and medical purposes, but caution for the poinsettia is a mildly poisonous plant and best kept out of the reach of pets and children. Many people mistake the colorful red, pink, or white leaves of the plant for blooms, but in reality the blooms are tiny green and yellow bracts found in a center of leaves.
How to Care for Your Poinsettia
Poinsettia plants grow best during the winter months, which is why they are the most popular potted plant during the holidays. And, with good care, a poinsettia plant can maintain its beauty for much longer than the Christmas season. Since poinsettia plants are from the tropics, they prefer surroundings that simulate that type of environment. Here are some tips on how to keep your poinsettia beautiful year round.Lighting
Because poinsettias are from the Central America, they are used to a fair amount of sun. We recommend placing yours by a well-lit window, so that it can receive the proper amount of sunlight. East-facing windows are best so that they can catch the morning’s glow and bask in the afternoon’s shade. Make sure that no part of your plant touches the window pane, as this may harm the poinsettia.
How often do you water a poinsettia? You should water your poinsettia whenever you feel the soil is dry or you see that some of the leaves are wilting. The key is to let the water drain out the bottom, and make sure that your poinsettia is not sitting in water. If the area you are keeping your poinsettia in tends to be dry, you may find yourself watering it daily.
To maintain your poinsettia bloom, keep temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to protect them from dramatic temperature drops as this will cause their leaves to prematurely wilt. For best results, keep your poinsettia in a warm room and mist it daily. This will simulate the tropical climate that it originated from.
How to Rebloom Poinsettias After Christmas
Re-blooming a plant is never easy and re-blooming a poinsettia plant is no exception. While this can be done, it requires greenhouse-like conditions with hands-on care. Do not worry if you are unable to get your poinsettia to rebloom your first time. It is a tedious process that requires lots of care and patience. Here are some tips on how to re-bloom your poinsettia, broken down month by month:
- January – March: Continue to water your poinsettia whenever you find that the surface is dry.
- April: Begin gradually decreasing the amount of water that you give your poinsettia. You should allow the soil to get dry between waterings. However, you want to avoid allowing the stem to shrivel up as this is a sign that it is dying. After a week or two has passed, move your poinsettia to an area with no sunlight for about 12-15 hours every night and keep the plant at 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- May: In mid-May, re-pot your your plant with new soil, making sure to cut back the stems to about four inches. Then, place your plant in a nicely lit window and water it well. Your plant should be kept at a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and should be fertilized every two weeks.
- June: Now, keeping your poinsettia in its pot, move it outside into a partially shaded location. Continue the same watering and fertilizing process as before.
- July: Begin pinching back each stem about one inch. This is done with your hands and forces the plant to grow new stems and prevents it from growing too tall and lanky.
- August: Continue pinching new stems and leaving three to four leaves on each branch. By mid-August, bring your poinsettia plant back inside. Place it in a window with direct sunlight and continue the same watering and fertilizing routine.
- September: Make sure your plant’s temperature stays above 65 degrees Fahrenheit and continue watering and fertilizing your plant regularly.
- October: Now comes the really hard part. Starting October 1st, keep your plant in total darkness from 5p.m. to 8a.m. We recommend putting your poinsettia in a closet to avoid any light seeping in. Any sort of exposure to light can delay the blooming process. During the day, place your poinsettia in a sunny window and continue the regular watering and fertilizing process.
- November: Continue the above process until the last week of November. Once you reach the last week, you should begin to see flower buds. During this time, you can stop putting your plant in complete darkness and just keep it in the well-lit window.
- December: About mid-December, you can stop fertilizing your plant. If everything went as planned, your poinsettia should be back in bloom and you can begin caring for it like you did when you first got it.
The above information and more can be found on the FTD By Design website at FTD.com.