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I have a four foot tall poinsettia “tree” that is left over from last Christmas. I
have just moved it back inside. Tell me what to do to make it turn red for the holidays.
This is a common question, and while some people have had success in getting their
poinsettia to turn colors, unless you have a greenhouse or a sunroom, the results
are usually not as good as buying a new plant each year, but you can give it a try.
The poinsettia needs full sun during the day, and total darkness at night—not a room
light hitting it. After a couple of months of this short bright days and long dark
nights, the leaves at the tip of the branches should begin to turn. The true flower
of a poinsettia is small, non-descript yellow blossoms in the center of a group of
colorful modified leaves called bracts. I think it is an awful lot of work, when you
can buy such nice high quality plants every year. My suggestion is to grow it as a
houseplant in a spare bedroom and if you get good color, enjoy it.
I always repot my plants in the fall to bring around 4 in my house. I repot because
my brother brought 11 baby copperheads in the house one fall. Anyway, I always get
gnats, several hundreds of them come out of my plants so therefore I have to move
them to the garage and cannot enjoy my plants in winter. Do you know what I can do
to avoid the gnats? I always buy good soil.
Wow! And I thought the snake story was an urban legend! If you have gnats every year,
I would say you are overwatering. Fungus gnats multiply more rapidly in moist soils.
Especially during the cooler, winter months, houseplants would benefit from being
on the dry side—usually no more than once every two weeks for most plants. Timing
of course will vary by plant, plant and container size and how hot you keep your house.
Top-dressing the soil with sand, using a mild insecticidal soap drench when you move
them inside can also help.
I have a very old (20 years) croton plant that has deep sentimental meaning to me.
This summer I put it outside and it was very happy and turned beautiful colors. However,
since I brought it inside, it has been dropping leaves. At first, I thought it was
just adjusting to the climate change, but today I noticed fine web-like stuff in the
crotches of the branches. as leaves continue to drop. I sprayed it with Neem oil and
washed off the webs with Murphy's oil soap. I also moved it into my greenhouse so
it can get more light and humidity. What else should I do to save it? Is there danger
of whatever is on it infecting my other plants in my greenhouse?
There is definitely a chance that the insects will move from one plant to another,
particularly in a closed environment of a greenhouse. It sounds like spider mites
to me. The Neem oil and the Murphy's Oil soap should definitely help, but keep it
isolated from your other plants and monitor it. Keep the soil on the dry side, but
try spraying the foliage with water periodically, as spider mites thrive when dry.
Don't expect miraculous new growth until the day length increases, but I would suspect
it will rebound. The more light they get, the more colorful their foliage. Good luck!
We live in Fayetteville. We have a Hibiscus that we have been keeping in the garage
for the winter and during days when the temperature does not get below 45 digress
we have been putting the plant outside. It has been doing real well until we had the
snow and freezing weather about 2 weeks ago. I had left the garage door open while
I was scooping snow after that evening I notice the leaves started to curl up and
die. Just this last weekend I pulled all the leaves off the limbs and cut about 25%
off all the limbs. Have I killed this hibiscus? Can I do something else to help this
plant? Will it come back?
First of all, don’t move your plants in and out during the winter. Leave them in the
garage until you move them out permanently. The goal is to keep them alive, but not
thriving and growing. If they were exposed to below freezing temperatures for any
extended time it could be bad. If they are close to the house and not the open door,
it could be just a burn. Cut them back by half when you move them back outside. Repot
them into a new container and water and wait and see what happens. Don’t move them
outside until mid April to early May. Good luck.
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