Flowering Indoor Houseplant Plant Pictures

Poinsettia Care After Flowers Fade

Late Winter/ Early Spring

Poinsettias have long-lasting blooms so their colorful bracts (flowers) remain showy for several months. During this time, side shoots develop below the bracts. To have a well-shaped plant the following year, cut off any old blooms that are still on the plant in February or March. Cut branches back so that they are about 4″- 5″ tall. Leave a few leaves on each of the old stems; new growth comes from buds located in the leaf axils along these stems.  Keep your poinsettia in a sunny area where the temperature is between 60° – 70°F (15.6° – 21.1°C) and fertilize monthly until December. Use a balanced plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.

Late Spring/ Summer

Between June and July prune all the stems so they are about  4″ tall,  leaving 1-3 leaves on each stem. Pruning helps the plant become full and bushy and encourages more flowers at Christmas. Around August, pinch off the growing tips on the stems one more time.

Fall/ Early Winter

In order for the poinsettia bracts to turn color again, the plant must be kept in complete darkness for 12-15 hours from the end of September until color shows in the bracts in early to mid-December. The temperature should remain between 60°- 70° F  (15.6°- 21.1°C). Night temperatures above 70°F (21.1°C) may delay or prevent the plant from turning color. Hopefully you’ll have a beautiful plant in time for Christmas.


 

How to Care for Your Poinsettia

We’ve all seen the poinsettias arrive at grocery stores, garden centers, and big box stores looking absolutely beautiful and then, a few days later, looking like they needed to be thrown out. This isn’t because they’ve been neglected, it’s because they’ve been over-watered and are not getting enough light. Poinsettias are part of the Euphorbia family and their leaves should become soft and flexible before you water. The plant should fell light when you lift it. When poinsettias are over watered,  green leaves fall off and you’re left with ugly bare stems that have a few red bracts at the top. If your poinsettias already look like this go outside, cut a few small branches off of a fir or pine tree, and fill in the bottom of the plant. It’s an easy way to do a quick makeover.

Follow these simple care instructions, and you’ll have lovely poinsettias throughout the holiday season and into the New Year.

Light: Poinsettias need bright indirect light but no direct sun. The light from a north-facing window is not adequate. If you place your poinsettia close to a window, be sure none of the leaves are touching the glass. Poinsettias are easily damaged by the cold. 

Water: Allow at least the top 50% of the soil to dry out and the plant to  droop slightly before watering. (I like to water from the bottom so the plant  absorbs only the amount of water it needs.) Being careful with your water  prevents root rot, green leaves falling off, and bare stems. Severe under-watering, when the plant drastically droops, causes both green and colored leaves to fall off.  Avoid getting water on the leaves and “flowers.” Water droplets cause unsightly white marks on the foliage.

fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.  : It is not necessary to feed a poinsettia when it is in “bloom.” Fertilize monthly in the spring and summer once the plant has finished flowering and you have pruned it back.

Temperature: Poinsettias last longer and look better when the temperature is between 65°-70°F (18.3°-21.1°C) during the day and about 60°F (16.6°C) at night. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold damage the leaves and cause leaf drop. Keep Poinsettias away from drafty doors and windows, fireplaces, heaters, and the tops of appliances that give off heat.

Pests: whitefliesLearn how to identify and treat the plant pest called Whitefly at https://www.houseplant411.com/glossary/whitefly-plant-pests, Fungus GnatsThis small dark skinny pest flies and jumps around plants and people driving us all crazy. Fungus gnats develop in moist potting soil, feeding on root hairs and emerging as adults every 30 days. The best way to get rid of fungus gnats is to allow the soil to thoroughly dry out. This eliminates the eggs and gnats in the pot. Use yellow sticky cards to trap the gnats  that are flying around., Mealy BugsLearn how to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky, white, cottony residue on houseplants., spider mitesLearn how to identify and treat Spider Mites on plants. This sucking plant pest causes yellow blotchy leaves with a red haze and a gritty feel to them.. You can see a picture and learn how to treat these Plant PestLearn how to identify and treat the plant pest called Whitefly at https://www.houseplant411.com/glossary/whitefly-plant-pestss in the Glossary of the website.

Toxicity: Poinsettias, despite all rumors, are only very mildly poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants [Paperback]is an excellent reference to keep around if you have young children and pets.. If quite a bit of the plant is ingested, some vomiting, drooling, or sometimes diarrhea may be occur. If the milky sap of a poinsettia gets onto the skin, redness, swelling, and itchiness can develop especially if someone is allergic to latex.

Check out our article on how to get a poinsettia to turn red again next year at: https://www.houseplant411.com/askjudy/how-to-turn-poinsettia-leaves-red-again

 

 

Is Mistletoe Poisonous?

The old tradition of kissing under the mistletoe has been around for a very long time, and the temptation for a small child or pet to munch one of the pretty red berries is always there. So is mistletoe really poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants [Paperback]is an excellent reference to keep around if you have young children and pets. or is it just an old wives tale? The truth is that it really depends on the variety of mistletoe that you have and what part is eaten. Since the side effects of eating mistletoe, such as nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and diarrhea, can be very serious; and since we are really never sure what type of mistletoe we have, always keep mistletoe away from children and pets. The poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants [Paperback]is an excellent reference to keep around if you have young children and pets. ingredient, Phoratoxin, is found in all parts of the plant, but especially in the leaves. If any part of mistletoe is ingested immediately call:

American Association of Poison Control Centers

                                    1-800-222-1222

 

mistletoe2

How to Get Poinsettias & Christmas Cactus to Bloom

Two of everyone’s favorite plants for the Holiday Season are the Poinsettia (Euphorbiaceae pulcherrima) and the Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera briggesii or Zygo Cactus)). However, these plants don’t necessarily bloom naturally during the month of December. They are both photoperiodic plants and have to be tricked into flowering at the right time. Poinsettias and Christmas Cactus, as well as other flowering plants such as Kalanchoes, use a photoreceptor protein to sense when seasonal changes are occurring and nights are getting longer.

Starting in October, we need to keep these plants in total darkness for up to 14 hours a day and then place them in bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. the rest of the time. This way, we can force them to bloom exactly when we want. Read more about how to care for these plants in the Popular HousePlant section of the website.

Flowering HousePlants That Bloom All Year

Cut flowers are beautiful, but wouldn’t it be nice to have an easy care flowering house plant that will bloom year after year? Here are a few of my favorites with links to learn all about caring for them.

Lipstick Plant:      https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/lipstick-plant

lipstick-plant

 

Goldfish Plant:  https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/goldfish-plant

 

goldfish-plant

 

African Violet:    https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/african-violet-plant

African-violet-plant

Largest Flower in the World

I had to share this with everyone today. A friend emailed me these remarkable pictures of an Amorphophallus titanum (Araceae), also known as the”cadaverous flower.”
 
It is largest flower in the world was photographed blooming in Blanco, Veracruz , Mexico. It is over 6 feet tall (2 meters) and weighs over 165 pounds (75 kilos).
  It blooms three days every 40 years. 

You’d only see it once or twice in a lifetime!

Calla Lilies Make Great Indoor and Outdoor Plants

As Easter approaches, the stores are going to be filled with Easter Lilies. They are quite beautiful but the blooms don’t last very long. My favorite “houseplant lily” is the Calla (Zantedeschia aethiopica).  Alternate Names for this plant are Trumpet Lily, Lily of the Nile,  Arum Lily, and my favorite, Varkoor Lily (an Afrikaans name meaning Pig’s Ear).

The Calla Lily is a beautiful plant whether grown outdoors in your garden or indoors in a decorative pot by a sunny window. This elegant plant, native to the marshes of South Africa, is not really a lily at all but a member of the Araceae family. The extraordinary funnel or trumpet shaped waxy flowers of a Calla Lily grow on tall thick stems and have a yellow spadix emerging from the center of the spath. Faint white or yellow spots may dot the long tapered green leaves. Today, thanks to the many new hybrids developed by breeders throughout the world, Calla Lilies can be found not only in white, but also pink, orange, fuchsia, red, yellow, and cream. The long lasting flowers are especially popular in wedding bouquets where they are used as a symbol of purity and beauty.

There is a picture of a Calla Lily and complete care instructions for this plant in the Popular HousePlant Section of the website.