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Give Poinsettias a Chance

poinsettia turning

There are always plenty of leftover poinsettias at my church after Christmas. The unclaimed soon start to drop their leaves,  perhaps longing for a more suitable climate. They are destined for the trash if someone doesn’t take pity on them. Maybe some of the claimed ones end up in the trash, too, though I can hope for better.

When I see a living, potted plant in the trash, I feel sad. Does anyone else feel this way? It’s because of this sadness that  I no longer contribute to the annual poinsettia purchase. I used to buy one to be listed in the bulletin in honor or memory of a loved one, but have decided there are other ways to honor and remember.

I’ve taken a few leftover poinsettias to shut ins and try to take the worst plants home before they end up in the trash. Some are too far gone and end up as compost. But if they can make it through the winter as house plants, they thrive outside in warmer months.

The poinsettia above is one I rescued in the winter of 2017. It was not a happy camper in my little house which runneth over with spider plants, philodendron, peace lilies, and the seven foot tall avocado tree I drag inside every winter. So, in the spring, I decided to give this poinsettia a chance in the natural world. It took root and thrived in a semi-sheltered spot. In November, it started to turn red (without the prescribed 12 hours of darkness.) Now, I’ve got an old shower curtain draped around it. If it makes it through the winter, I will be pleasantly surprised since we have three inches of snow on the ground today and temps in the teens later this week- a rarity in these parts.  But hydrangeas and lilies die off and come back in the spring, and I had a poinsettia come back several years ago after a mild winter with no cover, so maybe….. Either way, it had a good spring, summer, and fall.

Below is a potted poinsettia, which loved being outside for most of the year. You can barely see the speck of red on a bottom leaf.

For more information about poinsettias, visit: