How To Care For Your Poinsettia This Christmas
These beautiful blooms are a symbol of holidays. Make sure yours lasts for as long as possible with our florist-approved tips.
It's this time of year again. The holidays are here so you are busy decorating your house with all the symbols of the season. We all know that a great way to add a colorful touch to your decor is with a poinsettia. The trick is taking care of it.
PHOTO CREDIT: CECILA ABBOT
Last week, the number one seller at my pop-up at the RUMC Gift & Craft Show in Roswell were our baby poinsettia. Naturally, the most popular question was "how do I take care of it?" I thought I'd put together a few tips, that I know work.
Beyond picking out a healthy plant with dark leaves and bright bracts there are a few things you can do to keep it looking good all season long. Follow these florist approved tips to help your poinsettia survive the trip home and keep it's luster all season long.
PHOTO CREDIT CLEMSON UNIVERSITY HORTICULTURE DEPARTMENT
A LITTLE PLANT-ISTORY
This pretty plant was first offered commercially in the States in 1836, and aPhiladelphia nurserymen dubbed it “poinsettia.” It became so popular that even the wife of a newly elected president wore a dress with embroidered poinsettias to the inaugural ball.
The mass cultivation and marketing of poinsettia that we know today was initiated by the commercialization of Christmas. When the railroad expanded westward these plants were really moving and this is when the growth of the plant exploded
PHOTO OF POINSETTIA AT MAYESH CUT FLOWER AND MY REP, AMANDA, IN ATLANTA
Using a Plant Sleeve During Transport Is a Must
When delivering I always use sleeves. And, I also make sure people have always left the shop with a sleeve. Poinsettia arms are fragile! When you buy your plant, be sure you have it wrapped in paper or plastic so that the leaves are exposed to the cold weather because exposure to cold weather even for short periods can cause the leaves to turn black and drop. It also helps to protect the stems.
PHOTO: AMANDA, MELISSA AND MELISSA IN FRONT OF THE SHOP WITH POINSETTIA, ROSES, AND A NORFOLK PINE
Have Nice Indoor Growing Conditions
You may think that since poinsettia don't like cold weather that they like heat; but, that isn't true. Warm temps can be damaging. When you get your plant home put it on the kitchen counter ideally displaying near a sort or east-facing window. You're going for bright indirect light. The real trick is avoiding placement near cold drafts, like near windows, or heat sources, like fires. This plant does best in room temperatures that are between 60 and 70°F.
PHOTO: MAYESH CUT FLOWER, ATLANTA DISPLAY
Check Soil's Moisture Regularly
The biggest problem I have seen with customers and poinsettia over the years is overwatering. Poinsettia are like succulents they don't need much water. The most common cause of leaf dropping in these plants is too much water, which makes the leaves turn yellow and fall off. Conditions that are too dry will cause the same thing so the best thing to do is check it regularly. I recommend every day. All you have to do is put your finger in the soil and see if it's dry. If it's dry water it until the water flows from the bottom of the pot.
If the sleeve has a bottom (some of the sleeves look like little pots) you best move that thing off or it will hold water. I learned the hard way when an employee didn't let the pots drain. The water poured into the sleeves and created a bubble of water the plants sat in -- every one of them died from too much water.
PHOTO OF TONYA, CHRISTY AND ROBIN IN FRONT OF COLONIAL HOUSE OF OF FLOWERS SHOP
PHOTO CREDIT: PICK YOUR POINSETTIA: INSIDE THE (SECRETLY) DIVERSE WORLD OF A HOLIDAY ICON, THE HORTICULT
Get Your Plant Facts Straight
How can you enjoy your plant in it's full pretty if you or your guest are afraid of it. It's really important to get your plant facts straight so you can educate others about it's features and strengths. These plants are accused of being toxic but according to the National Capital Poison Center they are not.
In The Southern History of the Poinsettia posted by Garden & Gun, Jim Faust, a Clemson University horticulture professor says, “There are so many legends attached to the flower, but the most pervasive is that it’s poisonous. It isn’t."
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