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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Poinsettias in Arrangements - from David Robson

Posted by John Fulton -

While poinsettias are tough tropical plants, occasionally stems break off or bend during transport or when accidentally bumped. If caught soon enough, you can use those bloom stems for decorations.

Poinsettias are members of the Euphorbia family, characterized by milky sap in the stems. To use the flowers in arrangements, it's important that the stems are sealed.

Whether you accidentally break a stem or want to use the brightly colored leaves and flowers in an arrangement or vase, cut the "blooms" with at least four inches of stem. Immediately seal the cut end by dipping in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds. Another alternative is to hold the cut end over a flame for 15 seconds. Make sure hands are protected with a kitchen mitt to avoid burning. Sealing prevents the sap from oozing from the cut; and, thus, it prevents the cut stem from wilting.

If stems are too long and need to be shortened, you'll have to reseal the end again.

"Blooms" should last a week or more. Make sure the cut end is in water or a wet florist block such as Oasis. Discard flowers when wilted and leaves start falling.

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