An Amazing Little Christmas Plant

Have you ever wondered how certain plants just seem to “know” when Christmas is right around the corner?  Take my Christmas Cactus, for example.  This little girl is now sprouting blossoms daily.  The buds started to appear in late November and sure enough, when December arrived, so did the flowers.  I guess that is why it is commonly called a “Christmas Cactus.”  But it still is pretty amazing that it blooms right around this particular holiday.  To me, that is another convincing bit of evidence for a belief in “intelligent design.”

Even more amazing to me is this poinsettia plant.  I’ve written about it before.  It is actually two plants that my mother bought for me over a period of two years.  This was about 8 years ago or so.  The first plant bloomed for almost 8 months before reverting to green foliage.  The second plant wasn’t quite as determined in its blooming habits but still was a lovely green plant after Christmas.  Somehow they have survived and thrived.  I’ve cut them back more times than I can count when they’ve gotten leggy.  Several times, I’ve thought they were goners but they always came back strong.

I finally came up with a regimen that this poinsettia seems to like.  I keep it up in our guestroom, which is fairly cool in the winter.  Come late Spring, I take it outside and put it on the front stoop.  It really “spreads its wings” out there.  I can tell that it likes the warm weather.  By early Fall, I bring it into our sunroom in the back which is glass-enclosed and on the shady side of the house.  It gets the afternoon sun for a brief time and I put it near one of the windows.  There it remains until around late October/early November when it gets a little too chilly to stay out there.  Then it is back to the guest room for the winter.

Now I remember some years ago, I attended a talk by a horticulturalist about how to get a poinsettia to bloom each year.  It was VERY involved.  You had to do things like put the plant in total darkness inside a cool closet somewhere for a certain amount of time to force it to get ready to bloom.  I’ve never done any of that and yet this amazing little plant blooms every year.  It truly is the “gift that keeps on giving.”  I always make a point of telling my mom that her plant is still going strong…..kind of like my mom.

One thing that really has made a difference in my success with houseplants has been the self-watering pots.  I bought these at Wal-Mart, I think.  You just fill the bottom reservoir and there is a cloth strip that sucks up the moisture into the soil as it is needed.  I fill up the reservoir once a week and that has certainly helped me to stop over-watering.

I hope your holiday season is filling up with laughter, joy, peace, and good will.

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