My “I can fix that plant” complex made me buy a mostly dead poinsettia for 93¢ after Christmas in 2020. I now have proof the complex is totally justified.
Like a lot of people with an admitted plant problem, I have a crusader complex that compels me to “rescue” a lot of things that should be or, often enough, already are, dead.
After Christmas that usually means a lot of leftover “holiday” plants piled into retail’s version of the Island of Misfit Toys, the clearance corner. Abused Christmas cactus, rosemary pruned to look like little (now browning) Christmas trees, and, of course, the most mistreated holiday plant of them all, the poinsettia.
The week after in Christmas in 2020, I came across a whole rack of distressed poinsettias piled into a corner with expiring bread, dented cans of cranberries, and truly strange “As Seen on TV” merchandise that hadn’t made the “last minute gift from the grocery store” cut.
They all looked pretty sad, and I couldn’t save them all (though at 93¢ each I could have tried), but there was one tiny one that really seemed to need help.It was in a 2 inch-silver pot, it’s leaves sprayed with glitter at some point to make it more “Christmas”, I guess. Most of the leaves had fallen off by that point. Those that hadn’t we’re sticky from the glitter spray which attracted hair and who knows what else.
If Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree had been a poinsettia instead of a pine, this would have been it. I plopped down my dollar and took the little plant home with me.
For the first new months it lived in the sun room, lost all its leaves, and sat there, a green stick jammed in a shiny silver pot. Then, in April, it began to leaf out again. A few weeks later I transplanted it into a larger pot, and set it out on the back deck with the other rescues and oddball plants to enjoy the warming weather.
Summer came and went, the poinsettia continued to grown, and come fall I moved it back indoors for the winter. While it continued to look healthy and grow, sadly that year, it remained all green, without as much as a spot of red. It moved back outdoors in the spring of 2022 and got a bigger pot in early summer where it continued to grow. A healthy plant, but all green.
This fall we got a cold snap in mid-November, so the poinsettia and a few of the other subtropical plants were moved indoors. The Poinsettia got a choice spot at the south end of the sun room, which is all it needed. because a few days later, boom, there were red leaves — just in time for Christmas.
Here’s the rescued poinsettia in the sun room today. I put its original shiny silver cup at the base for reference.
Well worth the 93¢-plus-tax-investment, don’t you agree? Sometimes the plant crusader complex pays off. (A lot of times no, but once in a while…)