Though I’ve managed to keep last year’s poinsettia alive all year, in true Grinch fashion it has elected to remain green and deprive me of my Christmas miracle.
It’s not hard to keep poinsettias alive year-round as humble green houseplants, but it takes some doing to make them turn red again in time for the holidays. Back in May, I started the tricky regimen we’ll call the Carrie treatment because it involves locking the plant in a dark closet for hours on end, but maybe I didn’t take it far enough because I didn’t offer up prayers.
The light-dark cycles, along with strategic pruning and carefully timed fertilizer applications, were supposed to turn the plant red again. By now, my poinsettia should be awash in scarlet, but it’s not, and I feel like setting a high school gym ablaze.
I named the poinsettia John Travolta because I just knew it was Staying Alive, but it’s not exactly hale and hearty. It’s fuller than it was when you last saw it in May but its leaves don’t look so hot.
Incidentally, the real John Travolta has a small, malevolent part in Carrie. He dies in the end, so, whatever its fate, John Travolta seems an apt name for my poinsettia.