Plant Masquerade


Recognize this plant? I did a double take when I saw it in the office window at my dentists. It was so green and lush and lovely it could have been masquerading as just another lovely foliage plant.

But look more closely. The first tip-off is the unusual bracing or staking in the form of a plastic rim holding up the stems. Very few purchased plants come with those–in fact, the only other one I can reliably think of is reiger begonias.

This plant has also retained a very healthy crown of foliage, something unusual for a specimen like this kept in heated spaces.

Give up? It’s a poinsettia that has lost its colorful bracts from last holiday season. But I’m not entirely sure it won’t have more bracts before December is out. In the years when I buy and keep poisettias this long, they do change color quite naturally for me by December if I do a few key things.

Here is how I treat them–and don’t worry about all the stuff that you’ve read about putting them in complete darkness for 16 hours a day or any such nonsense. Nature is keeping it dark enough this time of year.

Poinsettias will re-bloom naturally if they are kept in an out of the way place in a cooler room. Try to avoid turning on the lights in that room at night. You need not be slavish about avoiding all light in the room, but don’t keep them in rooms where the lights are turned on regularly. I usually keep mine in an unused guest bedroom.

In the beginning of December, the poinsettia bracts will naturally turn red. Although the plants will not be quite as lush as the ones in the garden centers, (as is obvious by my photo, above) there’s a pleasure in knowing how to make a poinsettia re-bloom!

2 thoughts on “Plant Masquerade

  1. roberta4949 November 4, 2013 / 11:29 am

    I thought that looked like a poinsetta, my sister had them, and that is exactly what they looked like when not in color. neat.

  2. gardendaze November 4, 2013 / 11:53 am

    Most folks–me included–don’t have the patience to keep poinsettias this long. I have done it, mostly when I had a really nice specimen or something really special like a topiary form. I kept a couple of those for several years in fact. But I was so impressed at the nice foliage on this one.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.


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