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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Poinsettia - It's Just Not Christmas Without Them !


Have you done any Christmas shopping yet? You may be one of our organised readers that have even finished and wrapped all of their presents ... but not me, at least not yet. Perhaps you've made a start on Christmas Food Preparations?

One thing that is always part of Christmas in our house is The Poinsettia, at least one ... if not more are purchased, and they do look so warm, cheerful and welcoming dotted around on tables, shelves etc. Of course there are many varieties available but for me my favourite is the wonderful RED ones, they are brilliant. We also have some cheery Father Christmas 'wooden' ornaments / decorations and they sit well together on the hall table !  If you'd like to find out more about these wonderful plants please read on ...

"Poinsettias are cheery plants that are widely grown indoors over Christmas for their brightly coloured bracts. They are often disposed of once they start to fade, but with a little care, you can keep them all year and the bracts will colour up again the following year.

Quick facts:
Common name: Poinsettia
Botanical name: Euphorbia pulcherrima
Group: Houseplant
Flowering time: December to January
Planting time: Spring (for re-potting)
Height & spread: Up to 60cm (2ft) height; 30cm (1ft) spread
Aspect: Bright but filtered light, indoors
Hardiness: Tender
Difficulty: Easy

Cultivation notes:
Poinsettias need bright, but filtered light, away from strong sun and draughts. They need a minimum temperature of 13-15°C (55-59°F).

Be careful when transporting poinsettias from the shop to your home in the winter, as the cold outdoor temperatures can damage the foliage. Always ask if the shop can wrap the plant in paper right around the top of the foliage, or put it in a plastic bag so that it is completely protected.

Sometimes a poinsettia will start wilting once you get it home, and continue to deteriorate, no matter what you do. This could be due to the plant having been stored in cold conditions in the shop before you bought it. Unfortunately there is little you can do about this. Buying plants from reputable suppliers is recommended.

Water poinsettias sparingly as over-watering can damage plants. As a rule of thumb, only water when the surface of the compost has begun to dry out. The flowering life of plants is extended by humidity, so mist plants regularly.

Feed monthly with a low nitrogen, high potassium fertiliser.

If potting up poinsettias, use three parts 'John Innes No 3' to one part grit.


Getting plants to colour up again next year:
Poinsettias are often disappointing in their second year, but this is the best way to try and get a good display from them in their second year.
1. Prune back the plants hard in April, to about 10cm (4in).
2. Re-pot them, growing them in a light, cool place over summer. A temperature of 15-18°C (60-65°F) is ideal.
3. Flowering and bract colouring is initiated by short winter day-length, occurring naturally in December and January. So from November onwards, plants should be put in a dark room after twelve hours of daylight and protected from artificial light sources.
4. Plants need a constant temperature of around 18°C (55°F) to colour up well, so make sure they do not get too cold.

Propagation:
Poinsettias can be propagated by softwood cuttings in May, making sure you wear gloves, as the milky sap can be an irritant.

Cultivar Selection:
New colour forms of poinsettia are often being introduced. 
Here are but a few:
Euphorbia pulcherrima ‘Silver Star’ - dusky pink bracts and variegated leaves
E. pulcherrima ‘Lemon Snow’ - pale yellow bracts
E. pulcherrima ‘Cortez Burgundy’ - deep plum bracts

Problems:
Poinsettias can suffer from grey mould when over-watered, and may also be attacked by common pests of indoor plants such as scale insect and mealybug.

All information about this plant is from The Royal Horticultural Society Here
The RHS is a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. Their work is driven by a simple love of plants and the belief that gardeners make the world a better place..."

Now I couldn't sign off without a little bit of Christmas cheer, how about this?

Pomegranate rosemary spritzer
Pomegranate rosemary spritzer

This deep pink Prosecco cocktail with savoury herbal notes is a really simple way to add sparkle to your Christmas preparations and gatherings ...

Ingredients:
Serves Four
200ml pomegranate juice
sprig of Rosemary
Prosecco

To garnish:
4 rosemary sprigs (optional)

Method:
1. Put the pomegranate juice in a small saucepan with a sprig of Rosemary. Bring to the boil and reduce for a few mins until syrupy. Leave to cool, then chill until ready to use.
2. Fill four Champagne flutes with 1 part pomegranate syrup and top up with 3 parts Prosecco. Garnish each glass with a rosemary sprig, if you like.

Per Serving it is 11 carbs
Details from here

Enjoy the coming Christmas season

All the best Jan

7 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the Poinsettias are pretty and the Christmas cheer sounds delicious. Have a happy day!

Jo said...

I've had the odd poinsettia over the years but I can't say I'm over keen on them, though nothing says Christmas like a poinsettia, does it? I often give them as gifts.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Poinsettias add a special touch to the holiday season. I can't imagine Christmas without them. I haven't had one for a few years but I've been tempted lately to bring one home. We'll see if I can resist!

Anonymous said...

I always like to give Poinsettia's as Christmas gifts. They are a part of Christmas in the family.

Jenny S

Lowcarb team member said...

We received our first Christmas Card today ... it looks lovely on the side.
Driving around many houses already have their decorations up ... they do look very welcoming.

Many thanks to Eileen, Jo, Martha and Jenny for your kind comments here, they are always appreciated.

As it's mid-week as I type this, may I wish you a Happy Thursday, Friday and into the weekend.

All the best Jan

Red Rose Alley said...

It's nice to hear that you love the poinsettia, Jan. They are a lovely thing to add to our homes at Christmas time. You're right, there's nothing quite like them. I think they're beautiful.

~Sheri

Lowcarb team member said...

Sheri - yes I do love Poinsettia's, to me they are just part of my Christmas tradition, and I love choosing them from either the local garden centre or store.

I do hope December has started well for you, and many thanks for all your comments.

All the best Jan