Thursday, December 31, 2009

Poinsettia Care & Getting a Poinsettia to Re-Bloom

With good care, a poinsettia should be beautiful for 2-3 months. Poinsettias are tropical plants that should be kept above 50 degrees. They should be kept in a warm vehicle till you get home, not in a trunk and definitely not in the back of a truck. In your home, put the poinsettia in a well lighted area away from drafts and heat vents. Water the poinsettia when the pot becomes lightweight or when the soil becomes dry to the touch, about once a week. Water the plant thoroughly in a sink, letting it drain, before putting it back where it was. If the poinsettia is wrapped in foil, tilt the plant, being careful to hold the rootball, and pour the excess water in the sink.
How to make a poinsettia re-bloom next year
With proper care and devotion you can also get poinsettias to bloom. Some prefer not to mess with having to keep a check on house plants, but if you enjoy having a few pet plants around, you can keep you poinsettia going and get it to color up next year.
For a good healthy start, I would take the poinsettia out of the foil or cut some holes in the bottom of the foil to allow the water to drain out when it is watered. If it is in a basket, I would remove it from the basket to water it. When you water your poinsettia, try not to get much water on the leaves, try to get the water straight to the roots and soil. I like to water mine in the sink, so I can pour plenty of water to it and it can drain out the bottom. Only water the poinsettia when it needs it (when it feels light, or the soil is dry to the touch), poinsettias don’t like to stay wet all the time.
Around the first of March, start fertilizing the poinsettia with a good balanced fertilizer. A water soluble fertilizer like Peter’s, or Miracle-Grow works well.
At the end of March – the first of April cut the poinsettia back to about 6”-8”. Continue to water and fertilize regularly.
About the first of May or after the chance for frost has left, take your poinsettia outside to a shady location protected from hard wind. And don’t forget to water and fertilize regularly. They can be easy to forget if they are not in a place you see daily.
In 3-5 weeks it should be getting tough. They stay fuller and more compact if they start getting some full sun for half a day. It is best to work them into the sun over a week or two, starting out in morning sun only. You can also repot the plant at this time, or plant it in the ground, if you have a well drained bed with plenty of organic matter mixed in. When choosing a pot, pick one whit holes for the water to drain out and it can be 4”-6” larger in diameter. Be sure to use a high quality potting soil. We prefer Fafard brand. Continue to water as needed and fertilize regularly.
A second pruning may be needed in August if it is getting too big. It is important that you don’t cut it back after Labor Day. This is also the time that you need to dig up your poinsettia if it is planted in the ground and transplant it to a suitable container with holes. The poinsettia needs September to shoot out the new stem ends that will form the bracts in October and November. Continue to water and fertilize.
You should bring your poinsettia inside to a bright sunny room, away from drafts and heat vents before there is any chance of frost. I recommend October 1.
The poinsettia also needs 12-14 hours of total uninterrupted darkness every night, starting Oct. 1. Poinsettias need long nights that start in the fall to trigger the blooms to set and the leaves to color up. Something as simple as a light coming on for a second will make the poinsettia think it has had 2 short nights, instead of 1 long night, and delay blooming. Putting the poinsettia in a closet or putting a box over the plant from 5:00 pm till 7:00 am works well. Do this for 8 weeks, and continue to water as needed (it probably won’t need to be watered as often as earlier). Fertilize regularly till Thanksgiving. You won’t need to fertilize from Thanksgiving till March.
Don’t forget to put the poinsettia back in a bright room close to a window during the day. They need 6-8 hours of sun during the day to get good color and prevent it from dropping leaves.With proper care you should have your poinsettia in bloom for the Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good poinsettia Season

We have had a good season this year with poinsettias. We grew over 9,000 and we have about 400 left. We are very pleased. It is nice to see the greenhouse nearly empty at Christmas. We always try to have some all the way till Christmas too.
Our Open House went very well too. A survey of 72 varieties of poinsettias was taken at our Open House on Sunday Dec. 6, 2009. We grew over 9,000 poinsettias. Approximately 250 people attended from 12:30 – 4:30. Three plants of each variety were labeled for judging. Judging continued until Dec. 12th by those who wanted to participate. The form for judging contained 5 lists – novelty, red, white, marble, and pink. The top five favorites in each category were voted for. This year we also had a fill in section for people to write in their 3 favorite over all. We were featured in full color ¾ page on the cover of the Living section of the Winston-Salem Journal . It was on the calendar of events for King Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Commercial Flower Growers Assoc., North Carolina Agritourism Networking Assoc.,,, Carolina Gardener Magazine, Forsyth Family Magazine, Winston-Salem Journal garden page, and Winston-Salem Journal Relish.
Fox 8 News WGHP did a live story on the morning show in five segments and ran pictures on their website -,0,7608666.story .
WXII 12 from Winston Salem did several live segments at the greenhouse - .
WFMY TV 2 – Digtriad .com news from Greensboro also did several live segments at our greenhouse -, and and It was in the Stokes County, Forsyth County and Guilford County Extension Newsletters. The Winston Salem Journal had a ¾ page story on it with full color pictures. We sent out over 1700 picture postcards to our customers. We list it on our Website - and on our facebook page - .
We will try to get the results of our open house on our website by next week.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Poinsettia talk at the library tonight

Jim is giving a talk tonight (Mon., Nov. 30) at the King Public Library. He will talk about the poinsettia production from cutting to finshed poinsettia. He will also talk about the different varieties and how to care for a poinsettia at home. It is free and open to the public. You can call the library for more info at 983-3868.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Camellia Sasanquas

Don’t forget about Camellias when you are landscaping. The Camellia Sasanquas bloom in the fall, starting about mid October and blooming till mid December. They also have beautiful dark green foliage year around. They can grow in filtered sun or in full sun. Most varieties of the Camellia Sasanquas also need plenty of room to grow. Most of them will get about 6’-8’ tall and 4’-5’ wide. The make nice screens, or can be planted individually at corners of buildings, chimneys, and at the end of a porch to block the sun and wind. My favorite is the yuletide; it has a petty red flower with a large yellow center. Now is also the best time to plant them. They will start to root out before it gets hot and dry next summer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Healthy Roots

Healthy roots are important to a healthy poinsettia. Without a good fertilizer and watering program, the poinsettias can have poor root structure. Poinsettias are a sensitive plant to root problems from over watering or from high and low pH.
We monitor the poinsettias multiple times a day to see how dry they are. We let them dry nearly to the point of wilting before we water them. Keeping the poinsettias wet all the time produces poor roots. We water them three cycles (about 8 minutes a cycle, thirty minutes apart for a 6½“ poinsettia) every time we water them. Some weeks we might water them 3 times and some weeks we might water them only 1 time. The amount of cloudy vs. sunny weather we have plays a huge role in how much water the need.
We try to keep a check on the pH of the plants once a month also. We use 20-10-20 liquid fertilizer on regular watering and occasionally use a mix of calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate to bring the pH down when it starts to climb. Poinsettia need to have soil between 5.8 to 6.5 pH. High pH can cause iron deficiency. Too much calcium with low pH can cause problems too.
We even pull our plants out of the pots to see how the roots are doing. I wouldn’t do this in a store though. You will make a mess with the soil on the floor, and can break or bruise the poinsettia if you are not careful. Healthy roots come to the outside of the pot, and should be white in color.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's begining to look alot like Christmas

The poinsettias are coloring up now. Most of them will be getting bright by Thanksgiving. I love to watch them as the change. Different varieties change at different times. Some of them are still pretty green right now while others are already showing alot of color. We have been growing them for about 12 weeks now. If you come by, stop in the greenhouse and take a look at the poinsettias.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oh Deer!

I went out today to look around for more deer damage. Fortunately we didn't have any. We had some deer get into our pansies Sunday night. We found the damage Monday morning and sprayed Liquid Fence Monday evening. We usually have some damange every year. The deer are plentiful around here and pansies are one of there favorite foods. Liquid Fence has been our crop saver. It is a nontoxic spray that makes the plants smell bad to the deer (and rabbits) when they stick their nose down to eat. After they come back and find there favorite food has changed smells, they usually don't come back the rest of the season. After using liquid fence on our pansies for a couple of years, we started selling it. We had customers who were tired of planting pansies just for the deer to eat. All the customers who have tried the liquid fence have been happy. So don't let the deer drive you away from planting some fall and winter flowers. Liquid Fence also works on trees and shrubs!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It Fall Planting Time!

Here at Mitchell's Nursery, we have beautiful Pansies, Violas and Ornamental Cabbages & Kale for fall plantings. Now is also the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Planting now, gives the roots time to grow out and establish before it gets hot and dry next summer.

Stop by and we will be glad to help you chose new accents for your landscaping.