Thursday, November 6, 2014


Poinsettias make great holiday plants, but many people love to watch them grow all year long.  Poinsettias are part of the Euphorbiaceae or Spurge family. Botanically, the plant is known as Euphorbia pulcherrima. 

Poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 500 leaves to have any harmful effect. Plus poinsettia leaves have an awful taste. You might want to keep your pets from snacking on poinsettia leaves. Pets tending to eat the plant can end up with a few stomach issues, which won’t be fun to clean up.  

In the United States and perhaps elsewhere, there is a common misconception that the poinsettia is highly toxic. This misconception was spread by a 1919 urban legend of a two-year-old child dying after consuming a poinsettia leaf.[18]

In Mexico the poinsettia is a perennial shrub that will grow 10-15 feet tall.  

In your home, it will reach a nice height of about 4’, providing the stems don’t snap off first.  Since they favor being outdoors during the summer, simply transferring it from inside to outside during the summer, could cause it harm.  They should be pruned to keep them well branching.  If you don’t want the white sap to drip, place a small piece of tissue on the newly pruned stem.  Remove it when it’s dry (you may need to wet the tissue to remove it from the sap).

Poinsettias are fast growers, so it’s imperative to feed it often. 

Timing out the Blooms:

NO, you don’t have to put it “in a closet for 6 months” ….

Once the days start becoming shorter, they will naturally have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark.   It’s important not to give them any artificial light during the night hours.  Even street lamps can throw them off schedule. 

Keep poinsettias moist.  Don’t let them sit in stagnant water.  Remove any fallen leaves from the soil to prevent fungus.  Provide a bright window, lots of space around it and keep an eye on it for watering and you will have a wonderful plant companion for many years.  *

 In Spain the Poinsettia has a different holiday attribution. It is known there as "Flor de Pascua", meaning "Easter flower".


Poinsettias received their name in the United States in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who introduced the plant into the country in 1828. Poinsett was a botanist, physician and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico. He sent cuttings of the plant he had discovered in Southern Mexico to his home in Charleston, South Carolina. The word Poinsettia is traditionally capitalized because it is named after a person.


* Of course, THIS author thinks you should just toss them away after Christmas.  And just get a new one next November.
Dan's November 2014 Newsletter - Fun and interesting facts about your favorite Holiday Plants

True Orange Poinsettia for Fall

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi)

These little gems thrive on neglect.  They don’t need you to worry about when they will bloom, they do it automatically.  Keep it in a bright sunny window and let it dry completely before watering.  Feed it once a month to keep it happy and healthy.  They can be propagated easy enough by sticking a leaf sect in the soil.  Prune them if they start getting too long and leggy to promote branching and more blossoms.  They come in a vast array of colors, and are available in the late fall at our store. 

Cyclamen Flower Facts

Cyclamen can be grown both outdoors and indoors in pots. Cyclamen are a genus of plants containing 20 species. They are native in the Mediterranean and Africa. Cyclamen grow mainly in dry forest or scrub areas. They are part of the primrose family, although they are tuberous and bear no obvious resemblance to primroses. Cyclamen come in many colors.

Care: Cyclamen are very easy to care for.  Place them in a cool but semi-sunny window, and allow the soil to become dry between watering.  Avoid keeping the roots soggy- thus rotting the tuber. 

In the summer, Cyclamen will normally go dormant.  In late May, the leaves will start to droop and turn yellow.  Store your cyclamen in a “resting place” – cool, out of the sun  while it refreshes it’s bulb.  When the days start to get short and the sun starts to fade, small leaves will appear.  Move it to a bright location, and give it some plant food to encourage new blooms.
They come in many colors and can be found at Dan Schantz Greenhouse and Cut Flower Outlet during the cool months. 
Painted Poinsettias???
Yep.  First they are white.  Then we have a special dye, mixed with alcohol. 

It took us a few years to get the right colors and dye to alcohol ratio, but now, poinsettias are available in any color scheme!  Need a bunch of a specific color?  It doesn’t hurt to ask us.  We may be able to spray some for you at our farm (Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouse in Zionsville)
Aren’t these fun?  Try mixing Party Sprinkle poinsettias with solid painted poinsettias. 


Creating attractive, no leak planters indoors

It's great to have indoor plants, but sometimes watering can become a chore.  To give the plant enough water to drench the soil many times results in excess water leaking all over the carpet.  This illustration shows planting a large floor plant- simply reduce the sizes for a smaller desk plant.
Try this method that interior plantscapers use:


Choose a LARGE pot with no drain holes. 
Add about 6" of Styrofoam Peanuts / chips (the kind for packing boxes)  but NOT the ones that look like white cheese doodles!  They melt.

Put your plant- with it's pot still on,  in the center of the new larger pot.  You can keep adding Styrofoam peanuts and fill the rest of the pot up, or use strips of light foam.  As long as it bends, you can put it in between the potted plant and the new larger pot.
Cover the top of the plant/pot/foam with
1: Spanish moss
2: mulch
3: sheet moss

The end result will be a larger looking potted plant, an elegant and professional presentation and a cleaner neater way to water your plants without mess.  The water will be able to drain freely, and using foam will help keep it bacteria free and let some air get in.  Check it once in a while by going under the mulch and past the foam- to see if the water is staying stagnant under there. 
You'll also be able to move the plant easier, and replace it with little effort if you need to.