Poinsettias are very popular blooming potted plants for about a month prior to Christmas. Then, most quietly disappear prior to spring. A few become foliar houseplants.

Fewer go into home gardens to likely succumb to frost or neglect. Very few survive for more than a few years. It is not easy to recover from the procedures that forced them to bloom so well.

Forcing bloom is stressful. It provides unnaturally indulgent doses of stimuli that optimize floral performance. It involves any combination of deceptive environmental and chemical manipulation.

Horticulturist Tony Tomeo can be contacted at tonytomeo.com.

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