Answering Questions Poinsettia Pointers

“My poinsettia from last year pulled through but the leaves are still green. What did I do wrong?” – Nancy

Hi Nancy,  without seeing your poinsettia my guess is it didn’t get enough darkness for 4-6 weeks earlier this fall.

To get a poinsettia to re-bloom, keep it watered through winter and spring. They may drop leaves. I let mine spend summer in a nice shady spot but you can keep yours inside if you would rather not take it outside. I didn’t prune mine so the plant is tall instead of bushy. In their native habitat in Mexico, the plants can grow into the size of small trees.

Then around September, deprive it of light for 4-6 weeks. It’s not as hard as it may seem, I keep mine in a side room with windows but don’t turn on the lights at night. Make sure they are watered; it was easy to overlook the plant in a dark room.

By mid-November, the leaves should start showing color.

Try again next year, they are well worth the effort. I am enjoying watching mine slowly turning color.

“I have some common and swamp milkweed seed I collected in my freezer. When should I plant it?” — Cory

Hi Cory, common milkweed and swamp milkweed seeds need to be kept cold for 3-6 weeks to increase germination success. You can plant them in moist 70F soil.

It’s a little early to plant the seeds. I would wait until February to get seedlings started inside and use a grow light and warming pad underneath trays to keep them warm.

If you don’t want to do that, wait until after all danger of frost and get the seeds planted in a nursery bed where you can cover the seeds to maintain the higher temperature they need to germinate.

They may take a year to develop their roots so be patient.

“Mums are usually the last flowers to bloom in my garden but this year I have some purple daisies still in bloom. Do you know what they are?” – Cynthia

Hi Cynthia, if you can send me a photo I can confirm what they are but if I have to guess, they are probably New England Asters. Even after a couple of snow falls and a hard frost where I live my New England Asters were still blooming. I picked a small bouquet and brought it inside to enjoy with some of my geraniums blooming inside.

Usually the last flowers to bloom in my garden are blue to light lavender forget-me-nots. Sometimes mums keep them company.

Don’t forget to keep your mums watered over fall and winter if you planted them this fall.

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