It’s time for what?! 時間に従う?


One day in mid-February, when everyone forgot about Christmas, I found bunch of small red leaves springing up on the top of my poinsettia plant that I bought in November, 2019. I first thought that it was dying because of the red colour. The next moment, I realized that my poinsettia finally decided to turn red. In February? I thought, “Hey you! Christmas is so over. I was a month and half ago?! You came so late!”

Right after Christmas day, at one of the houses that I pass on my walks, I began to notice this sad looking poinsettia being left outside of the front door. The first few days, I saw some red leaves still left on top of the plant. Within a week, the red was all gone. If I only saw it then, I would have not realized that it was a poinsettia plant. Most of the leaves fell within 10 days in the cold weather. Who would have believed that this plant pleased and brought a joy for the holiday season in a warm happy home? 

I used to believe that poinsettia was an annual plant that comes one year and dies. I never knew that my guess was wrong until I started to take care of my poinsettia. 

Because of its colour, poinsettia is known as a Christmas flower and people seem to like to buy them as one of the Christmas decorations. Yes, that’s exactly what I had been doing for decades. Back in 2019, I bought another one at a neighbouring grocery store. That year, I didn’t forget to water my poinsettia. This poinsettia kept its Christmas colour during and even after Christmas. I began to think, “Oh …. Poinsettia is just like other plant. If I water, they live.”  Silly me … 

One early spring day, I realized that my poinsettia started turning green. At this point, I was thinking that these green leaves will somehow turn into red ones as Christmas come. I wasn’t too concerned, then. October came, and the plant was still green. Then, I wondered how this poinsettia would know the arrival of Christmas. My room temperature does not change much since I have a heating system. I didn’t think the plant reads a calendar….like I obsessively do.  

I googled. “How does poinsettia turn red?” According to numerous pages, poinsettia needs to be in a completely dark space for several hours from September to November. That somehow makes the poinsettia produce its red leaf! I didn’t know. So, I covered the plant with a big-tall box from 4pm to 9am to see what happened. 

Christmas came, and my poinsettia was still very green. Nothing happened … I totally gave up. I mean, I still watered the plant and made sure not to kill my dear friend. I just thought the google was sharing some sort of conspiracy theory to get plants-lovers’ attention to have me involve with marketing strategies until one day in February…. (and you can go back to the beginning of this story!) 

In this post, I decided not to make a final point, yet I will leave you with some questions and curiosity.  You know, some movies do that, like do not really show the ending – it’s kind of up to you how the people in the story ended up being or doing – It could be annoying not to have conclusion, but it also opens conversations, movement of thoughts, and wondering, I believe.  

Anyway, now I know what some of the websites suggested to cover the poinsettia in September. From my experience (I only covered the plant almost at the end of October and got the result 3 months later), poinsettia takes about 3 months to prepare the red leaves, and they must be new leaves. The remaining leaves stays green. So, if you want to make this plant as part of your ‘Christmas decoration’, then September is the time to do so. Ah …. yeah. Humans trick the plants or control their life. What is created here?  

Perhaps, if this plants lived where it should grow, this plant grows with what the nature provides accordingly. I wonder if these plants are even supposed to turn red at Christmas time? I wonder where poinsettias are supposed to live and in what condition do they should grow? What do they want?

This kind of thought even took me further. Looking back the history of the land wherein I live, displacement of first people, over-hunting, replacing culture, imposing ways of doing, thinking, and knowing … 

April has come and my poinsettia still happily does what it wants to do. On my walk, I still pass the house. The house looks different with the spring flowers. I feel like the day that I saw the dying poinsettia outside is far away past. When I look at my poinsettia today blooming with Christmas Cacti, which also came “late”….. Well … late for what? Perhaps, plants may follow or live in different time. While I read a calendar, they feel the time. I often remember the cold wind blowing at the sad looking plant. I still water mine and enjoy the colour contrast just because.