Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Use 2-Step Process to Prune Poinsettia

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Use 2-Step Process to Prune Poinsettia

Article excerpt

Byline: BECKY WERN

My poinsettia is about 5 feet tall and gawky. Can I prune it back now?

Yes, in spite of the weather trickery we had mid week, it is safe to trim poinsettias now. With a tall plant, you can take off 1/3 of the plant now. The plant will respond by growing new branches from each place you have pinched off, usually two new branches for each one you removed.

In late June, you can again pinch off 1/3 of the plant. This should leave you with about a 2 1/2-foot plant. The plant will respond with a growth flush again.

No more pruning should be done after that, so the colorful bracts can grow and be ready to flower for Christmas.

Next year, you can do another two-step pruning to reduce the plant further, although probably taking off less plant material. Make sure to fertilize the plant through the growing season to ensure green healthy leaves.

What is the best thing to use to fertilize my rose bushes?

In part, the answer will depend on what kind of gardener you are. One of the sources I checked included a comment that commercial fertilizers feed the plant, while organic amendments feed the soil which then feeds the plants.

Another way of seeing it is that the commercial blends are relatively short term, especially with our rainfall amounts, while the organic matter added to the soil stores nutrients well and releases them slowly. Organic material also adds to the soil millions of microorganisms that make the plants healthier and more vigorous.

That said, if you talk to 10 rose growers, you will probably get about 15 different formulas for success. This doesn't mean any of them are wrong. It just means you have to find a formula that fits your site, fits your energy level and satisfies you as much as the plants.

Consider what the fertilizer is. There are 16 elements considered critical for growth. Gardeners know that the most common are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, the big three numbers on the package label. …

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