Hello everyone, and welcome to Good to Grow’s Ask the Experts, the best, funniest, smartest and only plant blog panel of experts on the web.

Today we have a special Thursday holiday version of Ask the Experts to celebrate the new year, 2010, which starts tomorrow. Woohoo!

Those high-end graphics kill me every time.

For those of you new to Good to Grow, each Friday (except when it’s a Thursday), I gather my panel of experts and ask them a plant-related question. Hopefully they can answer it. Thing is, I never said they were a panel of plant experts. Of course, I also never said what constitutes a winning answer. That’s solely my discretion! Hahahahaha! It’s great fun, I promise.

Want to meet the panel? (Counts nodding heads.) Ok! First up is Tina Quintana!

Tina’s an expert on plants, both indoor and outdoor, as well as a great friend. She and I both started small plant care businesses in Albuquerque after Conroy’s shut its doors abruptly and left us both unemployed. We’ve pooled our resources, time and friendship ever since. Thanks for being here girl!

Ok, now it’s time to meet EZ Ed Johnson!

EZ is not an expert in houseplants, but he is an expert in lots of other areas, like sports, films, books. He’s the sports editor for the Albuquerque Journal – we became friends when I worked there years ago. He gets his nickname because he’s so laid back. Except when he talks about his Jayhawks, then he gets excited. And why not? They reign supreme over college hoops right now. Thanks for being here EZ!

Next up is the lovely and talented Dottie Correll!

Gosh I will never tire of looking at that sunflower head – she’s just adorable, isn’t she? Dottie’s 83, and has spent most of her life dedicated to making the world a better place, by volunteering with the Red Cross (since 1963), by being patriotic, by being a Mom and Grandma to bright, compassionate kids. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times – she should be declared a National Treasure. Thanks for being here Dottie! Glad you’re feeling better!

Rounding out the panel is expert Lewis Casey!

Lewis and I both volunteer for the Mid-Rio Grande Chapter of the American Red Cross. He’s much more devoted than me – he’s a Disaster Action Team Captain (I’m a mere DAT member), meaning he’s the one who gets the call when there’s a natural disaster and people need help. He’s also the Director of Safety for the New Mexico Department of Health. He’s looking out for all of us, thanks Lewis!

Hi, I’m Liza the moderator for Ask the Experts and the author of this blog. Thanks for reading, and thanks again to all our panelists.

Once again, this week’s question comes from me. One day, people will actually read this blog, and hopefully then they’ll submit their burning plant questions. Until then, it’s all me. And I’m still not asking EZ a sports question (maybe next week buddy!).

So this week’s question is, “What should I do with my Poinsettia after the holidays?”

CHUCK IT! Oops, sorry for blurting that out. I am not fond of Poinsettias. They’re beautiful, yes, but they’re also extremely high-maintenance. They’re like the prom queens of the plant world.

But that’s just me. Let’s see what the panel thinks. Tina, the question goes to you first!

Q. What should I do with my Poinsettia after the holidays?

A. My first instinct was to say throw it away, but I won’t. If you have a Poinsettia in your house, cut it back after the blooms fall off. About 4 inches. Then you put it in a bright spot and fertilize it to grow it out for the next season. If you make it that far. Lol!

Dingdingdingdingding! That sounds so believable, I’m not even going to fact check you. Good job, Tina. Next time, though, go with your gut!

Ok, EZ Ed Johnson is up next. Hey EZ, before we get to the Poinsettia question, do you think you could use your contacts to get legendary men’s basketball coach Bob Knight to be a guest expert on this blog one day?

A. No.

Really? Because I’d be super hospitable. I could throw him a softball question, or maybe just ask him to share a funny story. I’m a big fan, and he might enjoy it.

A. Um, no.

Drat. Well, ya can’t blame a girl for trying. And believe you me, I’m going to keep trying! Ok, back to business. EZ, here’s your question.

Q. What should I do with my Poinsettia after the holidays?

A. Poinsettias? Aren’t the leaves supposed to be poisionous? I guess that rules out making a salad. I guess just toss it with the Christmas wrapping, credit card bills and old fruit cake.

Dingdingdingdingding! That’s correct, throw it away, that’s what I’ve been saying all along. However, EZ you won’t be earning any points for your correct answer until you agree to help me get Bob Knight as a guest expert one day. Hah! Sole discretion baby!

Dottie, you’re up next.

Q. What should I do with my Poinsettia after the holidays?

A. What kind of a question is that? You put it in the safe until the next appropriate holiday!!!  Of course the initial selection from a well known “gardener”  is essential. Oh ladies, make sure you take your very own “care taker” along when making the selection. My very favorite “nursery” is Mason Metal Design.  They offer poinsiettas with a 5-leaf sterling silver design with a 5 mm diamond center; artist signed and quality stamped. Guaranteed to keep that sparkling bloom and last forever.

Hahahahahaha! You are one funny lady, Dottie! Do you know Bob Knight by any chance? No? Ok. I’m still calling that a correct answer. Good job!

Ok Lewis, here’s the question to you my friend.

Q. What should I do with my Poinsettia after the holidays?

A. What to do with a Poinsettia after Christmas is an age old question,

Besides bringing it into our safe and happy home in the first place

We have not done it any favors by bestowing it a place to languish

Its good health away in our home

Poor, poor poinsettias, we invite them in, give them a place of honor

To bring us a measure of good cheer,

To brighten and color our humble hovel, Reds, Pinks, faded Yellow

And a horde of spotted, splashed and dappled mixes, and

Don’t forget the Have we no shame Blues.

So after we have taken our pleasures from them and the day of Peace is past

Off to the side they are shuffle

To stand next to our eternal Aloe, our perpetual Spider Plant,

Our faithful Boston fern,

Our stoic Jade and Philodendron

There is last summer’s Cherry Tomato pretending to be happy,

A sad looking Amaryllis sharing a spotlight in the sun

With an overgrown Geranium yearning to be free

Now our variegated pink poinsettia is relegated to thrive, enjoy life,

Live long and prosper on a sun-baked

cramped and dingy window shelf we proudly call our Green Space.

After a few months of special treatment by our wondrous hands most of

its leaves have the color of baked sand or have fallen off, it is tall and spindly

looking just like all of our other poor victims/plants

But still we love them so, as we boastfully tell our friends “Oh how pretty plant are cleaning

the air and adding oxygen to our homes”. What joy they give us, as we over water them because

Of the four week of desertification we imposed (forgot to water)

So when someone asks what to do with a Poinsettia after Christmas

I say that “I just love them to death” not far from the truth is it

Peace and Happy annual rotation around the Sun


Wow! What an answer! You are an amazing person, Lewis Casey, amazing. But you realize I’m going to have to call that INCORRECT because even though you are elegant with your words and have an obvious love of plants, you’re still promoting keeping the Poinsettia in your home. You know how I feel about that [insert buzzer sound].

Hahahahaha! I’m drunk with power!

Let’s give a round of applause to our panel of experts, everyone! We never know how they’re going to answer the question, but it’s always entertaining. Well, I’m entertained, anyway, and since I’m the author of this blog, I’m the only one whose entertainment really matters. Still, I hope you enjoy it, too.

Name that Plant Problem!

Last week, I asked you what was wrong with this plant, a Pothos in the kitchen of a mortgage company client of mine.

There were multiple correct answers, and multiple correct guesses! Gray.com (my Mom) noticed that it needs trimming, and she was correct. Diane guessed correctly that it had been relocated. But James over at Jamesandthegiantcorn took it to another level by piecing it together correctly.

He guessed, “Is it supposed to be lying on its side? And there are clearly wires for the pot to be hung somewhere, so maybe someone decided it was blocking christmas decorations and stashed it on the shelf. Though I’m not sure that’d even qualify as a plant problem.”

It definitely qualifies as a plant problem if you’re the plant caretaker. James was right – the employees in this office moved the plant in here to make way for the Christmas tree in the lobby.

If you look really closely, you can see the hook from which the plant used to be hanging.

Another reason that it qualifies as a plant problem is because they put it in such a precarious location up on that cabinet mostly sideways. So I took it down, pruned it, and stashed it a safer location.

Congratulations to James, Diane and Mom, and thanks for submitting your guesses. There are no prizes for winning, just my gratitude for playing, and of course, glory. James, you’re now the first ever two-time champ. Everyone else, he’s the man to beat!

We’ll have another installment of Name that Plant Problem when we return to our regular schedule next Friday. Today, I have a new segment specifically designed for the New Year.


I went to water the plants in another one of my mortgage company clients in Albuquerque a couple days ago, and found this.

It totally cracked me up. It’s a paper airplane.

The employees in this office definitely know how to have fun while they work (and they do work, really). A few years ago, I went in to water the plants, and I found rubber bands everywhere. I asked, and sure enough, they’d had a huge rubber band war the day before. They’re funny people.

But why do I share that with you? Because a lot of people feel anxious and stressed when a new year rolls around. It’s so easy these days to look around and only see terrible things happening. We are fighting two wars and there seems to be no end in sight for either of them. Our military men and women, and their families, are suffering unimaginable pain and sacrifice. It’s awful.

But even so, there is a lot of hope to be had in the coming year. We live in a beautiful magical world, and 2010 has the potential to help a lot of people look around with wonder and delight at our gorgeous planet.

We have to remember that the most important thing is to help each other. The lessons of the coming years will be about unity and humanity, and our relationships with each other, nature, animals, our whole universe. We would do well to represent, each in our own unique, beautiful way.

You’ll find no doom and gloom from me about 2012 or after. I’m excited to be alive at this most interesting point in history. I plan on spending the rest of my life dedicated to making the world a better place in any and all ways I can. If that’s through revealing the secret magical life of houseplants to people who haven’t yet been exposed, or rejuvenating the love others already have for nature, well, I think that’s pretty good.

Happy New Year to you all. And I sincerely hope 2010 is the best year of your life.

I’ll be back on Monday with a post about my own houseplants. Until then, happy indoor gardening, all! Here’s to peace on Earth.