Caring for your Poinsettia
The length of time your poinsettia will give you pleasure in your home is dependent on (1) the maturity of the plant, (2) when you buy it, and (3) how you treat the plant. With care, poinsettias should retain their beauty for weeks and some varieties will stay attractive for months.
- After you have made your poinsettia selection, make sure it is wrapped properly because exposure to low temperatures even for a few minutes can damage the bracts and leaves.
- Unwrap your poinsettia carefully and place in a sunny window. Keep the plant from touching cold windows.
- Keep poinsettias away from warm or cold drafts from radiators, air registers or open doors and windows.
- Ideally poinsettias require daytime temperatures of 60 to 70°F and night time temperatures around 55°F. High temperatures will shorten the plant's life. Move the plant to a cooler room at night, if possible.
- Check the soil daily. Be sure to punch holes in foil so water can drain into a saucer. Water when soil is dry. Allow water to drain into the saucer and discard excess water.
- Fertilize the poinsettia if you keep it past the holiday season. Apply a houseplant fertilizer once a month.
If you want your poinsettia to flower, you will need to give it a few weeks of mroe than 12 hours of darkness a day. A little piece of trivia: The Poinsettia plant was named after Joel Robert Poinsett who as an American Ambassador to Mexico. He introduced the plant in 1820 to the United States by bringing clippings from Mexico to his greenhouse in South Carolina. The Poinsettia sap has been used in the past to help control fevers. (Do not attempt to use this method at home.)
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