Christmas has a way of creeping up on you while you are busy getting on with the business of life, but I've decided to outsmart it this year. I've actually started covering my poinsettias at night to force them into bloom for Christmas.

I have one huge poinsettia that looks rather like a twisted little tree. It is at least three feet tall and stands chest high, counting the pot. I've had this poinsettia for at least five years and have never managed to force it into full bloom for Christmas - mostly because I tend to forget to place it in darkness early enough for it to bloom. This poinsettia is of the bright red variety.

I have another poinsettia that I got last year. It is about 18 inches tall with a nice woody stem. It is a gorgeous variegated pink and white that creates a color sensation when in bloom.

I began covering them last week with black garbage bags for 12 hours a night. Without total darkness for 12 hours a night for 4 to 6 weeks, these lovely little plants remain green - although my oldest one does produce some blooms naturally in late winter even if I forget to cover it.

I'm not letting Christmas sneak up on me this year and I will have poinsettias in bloom to prove it.

(Photo: Muffet/Flickr)

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