Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Colourful Poinsettias

~November 23, 2011

If there is one thing that gets me into the Christmas spirit, it is the arrival of poinsettias at Garden centres. Right now they are full of ‘painted’ Poinsettias in all colours of the rainbow. Along with the traditional varieties, these holiday favourites make wonderful gifts for your family and friends.

Taking Care of your Poinsettia
With proper care your poinsettia will last through the holiday season and well into the New Year.
Place in a room where there is sufficient light and warmth, not where the sun will shine directly on the plant.
Avoid hot or cold drafts or excess heat from appliances, baseboard heaters or heat ducts.
Place the plant high enough to be away from traffic and unmonitored children and animals.
Set the plant in or on a waterproof container to protect your furnishings.
Water the plant thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch. Remember to discard excess water for them saucer.
To prolong the bright colour of the bracts, temperatures should not exceed 72F during the day or 60F at night.

How to Re-flower a Poinsettia
It is not easy to maintain a healthy Poinsettia and have it flower again next year for the holidays. However, if you follow these directions carefully it is possible.
· December: Plant is in full bloom. Water as needed.
· February: Colour will fade. Keep Poinsettia near a sunny window and fertilize when new growth appears. Cut back to about 8”.
· June 1: Repot if necessary and fertilize. Continue to water when dry to the touch. Move outside it temperatures do not fall below 50F. Place in shade.
· Late August: Move plant inside. Cut stems back leaving 3 to 4 leaves per shoot. Place plant in a sunny window. Water and fertilize as needed.
· September 20 – December 1: Keep in light only from 8am to 5pm. Plant must be kept in complete darkness from 5pm to 8am.

While many Poinsettias will join the compost bin soon after the holiday season it is possible to keep these plants through the entire year.