New ways with poinsettias

Toss that foil wrap and display them with colorful bromeliads, caladiums, or ivy

They're lovely on their own, but poinsettias can be even better when you combine them with other indoor plants. So toss the foil wrap that adorns their pots and pair them with colorful bromeliads, caladiums, or ivy to dress an entry or tabletop. New poinsettia varieties are available at nurseries and florists; the ones pictured are from Molbak's in Woodinville, Washington. But unnamed varieties in shades of red, salmon pink, or yellow would work just as well. Simple containers are best ― plants are the stars here.

Caring for poinsettias

Light. Display plants where they'll get plenty of bright, indirect light. Protect from sudden temperature changes and keep away from wood stoves, active fireplaces, and heater vents.

Water whenever the top half-inch of soil dries out.

Fertilize. Apply half-strength liquid fertilizer every two weeks.

After the holidays

Poinsettia leaves drop in late winter or early spring. Although the plants are tender perennials, getting them to rebloom takes a strict regimen ― 14 hours of complete darkness every night and up to 10 hours of daylight every day for 10 weeks (starting in early October). Rather than tackling this or tossing them out, keep them around for their green foliage. Cut back plants to two buds, reduce watering, and store in a cool place indoors until danger of frost has passed ― in summer the plants look refreshing in patio pots.



 

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