Plants have their own quirks which need to be addressed and tended to personally

While colder climates in tropical region aids the growth of many flowering varieties, all blooms do not behave in the same fashion. Each has its own quirks which need to be addressed for the plant to grow healthy and add copiously to the concert of colours.

Poinsettias, to begin with, are propagated through tip cuttings from early August and are potted in partial light. If they are exposed to full light, the nodal distance between the branches increases, making the plant grow lanky with no blooms.

At a very short height, the tip of the plant is pruned for it to throw out more branches which mean more blooms. If these plants are to be grown a little bigger, they should be pruned in stages and shifted to progressively bigger pots every time.

These blooms last for period of about three months, along with colourful bracts. These can also be grown in ground in the form of bushes, albeit with less watering. Any plant which produces bracts (colourful leaf-like parts) should be watered less for better blooms. The plants can also be continued for the next year with a pruning as mentioned earlier. Many new cultivars of this plant are being introduced in the market with more impressive colours and sizes of bloom. Euphorbia leucocephala (White Poinsettia) is a perennial plant and good both for big pots and ground planting. This is a very weak and brittle-stemmed plant with a weak root system which can get uprooted during heavy winds. Even this plant needs to be pruned in early August for blooming in time. The bracts here are tiny but are produced in mass and are highly fragrant. During early morning or evening the fragrance can be felt from a good distance. Watering has to be reduced during blooming time.

Succulents

Kalanchoe are succulents and hence need less water. These are good pot plants and are available in many colours with new cultivars generated every year. These are also perennials and can be propagated by stem cuttings as well as leaf cuttings. They can be grown in small to medium sized pots in June or July. Flowers in various colours are produced from late October up to January.

Chrysanthemums are available in various types such as Snow Balls, Spider types, Incurved, and Pompon-mum. Snow Balls, Spider types & Incurved ones are large in sizes and only one bloom should be preferred for a stem to maintain the size of the flower. On the other hand, the Pompon – mums (Pom - Pom) are grown in bunches with numerous flowers, hence the size of the flower is always small. These plants are highly susceptible to insect attack. Spray of insecticide should be regular during the growth of plants. Plants from tip cuttings show more vigour. Same is the case with Dahlia as well.

Fertilizers have to be given from the early stages for size and shape.

Cake solution (like Gingelly Oil Cake or Castor Cake or Neem Cake) can be given once in ten days to these plants. The cake has to be soaked in water (One Kg Cake in 10 Litres of Water) for about three days, with lid over the container to avoid bad smell. The solution has to be stirred well before use and can be given as a pot feeding. Foliar spray of N.P.K (Water Soluble - Poly Feed) can be given at a dosage of 3 to 4 grams per litre of water once a week, only till the flowers start.

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