How to Turn a Poinsettia Red

Now that the holidays are upon us, you’re probably itching to learn how to turn a poinsettia red. Nothing screams “happy holidays” more than seeing pink, white, cream, apricot, variegated, and red poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) on the shelves. However, if you want to stick to the classic-themed Christmas décor, you’d go for the red ones.

 

How to Turn a Poinsettia Red

What You May Not Know About Poinsettias

If you think that poinsettias are mere houseplants or annuals, think again. These deciduous shrubs can grow up to 12 feet tall and can thrive well outdoors in areas that are identified as USDA plant hardiness zones 9 to 11. The only downside to this type of plant is the fact that they lose their blooms after about 4 to 6 weeks.

In case you’re not aware, the colors that you see in poinsettias are not in the flowers. The plant’s flowers are those tiny yellow structures that are seen in the middle, but the ones that turn red are the modified leaves that are also called bracts. The colors of the bracts change as they respond to the plant forming flowers.

When the leaf bracts turn red, they attract insect pollinators to the plant’s diminutive yellow flowers that are found in the middle. These pollinators include flies, moths, beetles, ants, honey bees, bumblebees, solitary bees, wasps, and butterflies. Shortly after the flowers are gone, the red-colored bracts and the green leaves eventually fall off as well.

 

5 Tips on How to Keep Your Poinsettias Alive and Healthy from Year to Year

Perhaps you want to keep your poinsettias alive and healthy year after year so that you can get them ready for next year’s holiday season. Here’s how you can make this happen:

 

Tip #1: Keep it in bright light

Make sure that the plant gets enough bright light, not direct sunlight, on a daily basis. Do this for at least 8 hours per day.

 

Tip #2: Keep them in areas where the temperature doesn’t go lower than 50˚F

Next, you need to place the plant in a warm room or a mini greenhouse where the temperature remains constant between 60˚F to 70˚F and never gets below 50˚F.

 

Tip #3: The soil should be dried out between waterings

In between waterings, be sure to let the soil dry out. However, avoid waiting so long if you don’t want the leaves to start wilting.

 

Tip #4: Feed it with water-soluble plant food at the right time

Your poinsettias need to be fed with water-soluble plant food once a month. However, avoid doing this during the months where the plants are in full bloom.

 

Tip #5: Don’t forget to prune them

As mentioned earlier, the plant’s flowers and leaves will eventually fall off after a few months. After this happens, it’s extremely important to prune your plant.

When you’re pruning, all you have to do is to cut the plant’s stems to about 6 inches while you maintain your plant care routine. Wait until new leaves emerge next winter.

 

4 Tips on How to Turn a Poinsettia Red

Gardening enthusiasts must learn how to force their precious poinsettias to rebloom and their leaf bracts to return to their red color year after year. If you’re interested in getting yours to turn red again while keeping it healthy for a long time, check out these must-have tips:

 

Tip #1: Place it in total darkness for 14 hours every day

Forcing your poinsettia’s leaf bracts to turn red starts with you placing the plant in total darkness for about 14 hours on a daily basis starting eight weeks before you intend to use them as a part of your Christmas decorations.

It’s important to note that placing a small night light in the same room as your poinsettias when they’re supposed to be placed in total darkness will cause disruption in the process of turning the bracts red again. The same thing happens if you have a window open and your poinsettias are exposed to the street light that’s shining through it.

For this reason, it’s best to place the plants in a closet each evening. Just make sure that no one opens the closet at any point during the night.

 

Tip #2: Increase the level of humidity

If there’s one thing you need to know about poinsettias, it’s the fact that they require extra humidity during the stage when you’re trying to turn them red again. In order to increase the level of humidity that they’re exposed to, you may place a bowl of water inside the dark closet where you place your plants every night.

 

Tip #3: Expose it to bright light during the day

After placing your poinsettias in complete darkness each evening, make sure that you expose them to bright light during the day. If you have a mushroom log, you may keep your poinsettias in the same spot.

 

Tip #4: Maintain the same routine until its red color is achieved

It’s extremely important to remain consistent with your nighttime darkness routine for more than 4 weeks or until the plant reaches the rich red color that you’ve always wanted to achieve.

 

Grow Your Plants in a Hobby Greenhouse!

If you want to take your gardening experience to the next level, consider growing your plant babies in a hobby greenhouse. Aside from giving them an optimal environment to thrive in, a hobby greenhouse also provides a layer of protection against harsh weather conditions and destructive pests and animals. What’s more, a hobby greenhouse also enables you to extend your plants’ growing seasons.

Now that you know how to turn a poinsettia red for this year’s Christmas decorations, you may keep them alive and healthy in your very own hobby greenhouse! Set one up today!

 

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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