Question: How do I care for my holiday plant?
Answer: Poinsettia plants are commonly found in homes, churches, and businesses during the Christmas holidays. There are many cultivars and colors available to the consumer. Poinsettias colors can range from reds, pinks, marbles, and whites. With proper care, poinsettias will provide color and beauty for several weeks during the holidays.
The poinsettia is a small tree native to the tropical area of Mexico and Central America. Joel Poinsett first introduced poinsettias to the United States in 1825. He was the first United States ambassador to Mexico.
To keep your poinsettias looking good during the holidays starts with a good selection at the store. Choose poinsettias that are in full color with fully expanded bracts. Bracts are the colorful leaves of the poinsettia. The poinsettia you select should have dense foliage that is about 2 1/2 times larger than the size of the pot. Check to make sure the poinsettia selected has strong, stiff stems that are not broken. Do not select or purchase any poinsettia that shows signs of wilt.
After getting home with your poinsettia there are some things you can do to keep poinsettias looking good. Place your poinsettia in the sunniest location of a room. Avoid placing the poinsettia near cold drafts or near things like radiators, televisions, and heating ducts that could generate excess heat. Water plants thoroughly when the soil completely dries out.
If the poinsettia has a foil wrapper make sure the wrapper is not preventing water from draining freely to avoid drowning the plant. You can remove the foil or punch holes in the bottom of the wrapper and set the plant on a container to catch excess water. Poinsettias are best kept at temperatures below 70° but above 50°.
It is often asked as to whether poinsettias are poisonous. Poinsettias are not considered poisonous, but it is recommended to not eat them. Some who are sensitive may experience minor eye and skin irritations if they come into contact with the milky, white sap.
Poinsettias are a common scene in many homes and decorations during the holidays. Please use these helpful hints to maintain a healthy plant. We would also like to take this moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Reminder: A growing program this year is the “Sampson County Friends of Horticulture.” This program offers monthly “How To” Horticultural Seminars. Please call (910) 592-7161 for more information. Please call the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center at (910) 592-7161 with your horticultural questions and to register for any upcoming events. Be sure to check out the Ask An Expert Widget at sampson.ces.ncsu.edu for any questions you may have.