The Poinsettia On The Kitchen Table

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::  Some of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while know that this poinsettia came into our home the weekend after Thanksgiving Day 2011.  It has lived, bloomed, grown while sitting on our kitchen table ever since.

This is unprecedented for me.  Never once has a poinsettia, entrusted to my care, lived more than a couple of months after it came into our house.

Yet this wonderful plant has shown me that with the right amount of indifference and the right amount of sunlight, a poinsettia can thrive, at least for a year or so, in our home.

Truly this is a case of… who knew?

::  I was staring at this plant the other morning as I sat at the kitchen table and drank a mug of coffee.  Bay windows surround the table on one side so I had the choice of looking outside into the grayness or looking inside at this colorful, drooping poinsettia.

I went with the colorful alternative.  I mean… who wouldn’t?

::  According to a fast bit of research on the topic, a poinsettia can live for years inside someone’s home.  I like knowing this, but doubt that this will be the case with our poinsettia on the kitchen table.  It is beginning to look frazzled and worn out.

I’m not going to do anything in particular to encourage it to keep on growing, but at the same time I’m not going to withhold water and sunlight from it.  I’m just going to let it go through its process of aging gracefully.

This plant’s sense of purpose has charmed me.  All plants are like this, of course;  but seeing the process unfold in slow motion in front of me each day for well over a year, reminds me that we need to define ourselves as we see fit.

Do your own thing, says our poinsettia on the kitchen table.  And all that I think is… why not?

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

22 thoughts on “The Poinsettia On The Kitchen Table”

  1. The miracle is that you have not tried to replant it every two weeks like many of our new arrivals. Sorry – had to take the shot.

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    1. Zen-Den you are so right. I adopted an attitude of indifference regarding this plant and it grew. Henceforth, I shall do the same for all plants in the house. Who cares about that plant, I will say. Not me, I’ll answer. And all will be well.

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  2. Very nice post. Encouraging. However, I killed the poinsettia that was delivered to my office prior to Christmas. Seems that over the Christmas holiday (we were closed for almost a week including the weekend) it died of thirst. I totally forgot about watering it before we left! So hats off to you for your patience and care. You’re a good mama 🙂

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    1. Cheri, I’ve never had a poinsettia last this long! I think that the key to it might be that it was in a very sunny spot all year long. I’m pleased that this happened, but it is so not normal for me that friends asked me if I was sure that the plant was a real one– and not some clever fake. As if I wouldn’t know the difference! 😉

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  3. I can’t believe this is the same poinsettia! I thought I was doing well with my one from last Christmas that lived until early spring (I think, from memory), so this is amazing. Poinsettias are notoriously fussy plants and difficult to grow but yours clearly feels at home. I wonder if it will last until next Christmas?

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    1. Polly, it is welcome to continue to live on our kitchen table for as long as it wants to, however I can’t imagine that it can survive much longer. My green thumb is usually limited to outside plants, not inside ones. But we’ll see what happens next…

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  4. Mom had poinsettias for years. Some would grow big and bushy and bloom, others became straggly sticks with a couple leaves sticking out the top. In our family, we can’t throw out plants that aren’t completely, undeniably dead. I’m a poinsettia killer so I’m always impressed when one lives. I like your caring indifference.

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    1. Zazzy, thank you. I’m convinced that the key to my success is what you have perfectly described as “caring indifference.” This is an approach to houseplanting I can embody. 😉

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  5. I didn’t know they could live indoors. I always seem to end up with one during the holidays – can’t thrown them out like other people do – I mean, it’s alive. So they end up sitting in pots in the flowerbed in an odd spot out of sight…One (2010) actually thrived and even turned red on time for this Christmas ( so it was moved to a spot with a view) another group is about 2 feet tall ( 3 small ones from 2011 got stuck in a larger pot out of pity – trying to make their last days comfortable…now sitting on porch). They seem to be managing themselves if left to themselves….but no more allowed – they are getting like stray cats showing up at the door!
    Love your observation of plants and life here

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    1. philosophermouse, I knew that poinsettias could thrive outside in the southernmost U.S. garden zones. I’ve seen some that have grown into large bushes, which is what might happen with yours given time and the opportunity.

      But around here the only poinsettias that we ever see are inside ones. And rarely do they last until Easter, let alone through the next Christmas. This particular one that we have is a rarity– and has become a conversation piece in our home. No one can believe it is still alive. Somehow.

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    1. Margaret, I imagine that you’re right about the sun. Last winter was the warmest one on record, so we had more sun than average– which I think helped this poinsettia survive. Still, it’s tenacity is one for the books.

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  6. We had a poinsettia live for 4 or 5 years once, though it never bloomed again. Just green. Now you’ve reminded me that I should go water the ones downstairs. It’s one thing to let them do their thing, another to torture them.

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    1. J, you are a marvel! I’d be pleased if this one went green, but right now it looks more like it is dying. I will, however, go talk to it and mention how your plant lasted for years. Maybe that’s the pep talk that my poinsettia needs. Just a bit of attention and encouragement.

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    1. MikeP, I remember seeing a few poinsettia trees like the one in the photo when we were in Hawaii. I guess I could give my poor little specimen a dose of fertilizer & see what happens. Not a bad idea at all.

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