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Christmas is in the air and the stores are full of colorful poinsettias. A native of Mexico, the poinsettia (Euphorbia family) is a popular holiday addition with its brightly colored bracts (leaves).   During the winter month, after the days grow shorter, the bracts turn bright but the rest of the year, the poinsettia makes an attractive green-leafed house or yard plant. 

The Many Colors of Poinsettas 

Many people mistakenly believe that poinsettias are only available in red but the plants actually boast a great deal of color bracket variation. The brackets can range from pink to white, orange, or green, with red being the most common hue. 

Growing Poinsettias

One of the things that make poinsettias so appealing is that they are remarkably easy to grow as an indoor houseplant. 

Light Requirements

Place the poinsettia in a south or west-facing window to ensure that it receives an ample amount of light. When growing outdoors, it needs from four to six hours per day of sunlight

Temperature Needs

The poinsettia grows best when kept at a temperature that ranges from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Do not keep poinsettias in an area that experiences extreme temperature extremes or the plant might start to dry out. Avoid placing the plant near cold drafts, fireplaces, space heaters, fans, or heat ducts. 

If the temperature dips blow 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant will suffer damage. Freezing temperarures will easily kill your poinsettia. 

Watering Requirements

Keep the soil evenly moist around the poinsettia. When the soil’s surface feels dry, waterthe plant until the water drains freely from the holes in the bottom of the pot. Do not let your poinsettia sit in standing water o rit could sustain root rot. Never allow a poinsettia to wilt from lack of water or it might not recover. Water until March when the plant starts to go dormant. 

Fertiliizing the Poinsettia

During the holidays, you dn’t need to worry about fertilzing the poinsettia. However, you’ll need to start providing nutrients when new growth appears on the plant after dormancy. At that time, you can fertilize using a general purpose nutrient solution. Contact Humboldts Secret Supplies to learn more about nutrients. You’ll feed the poinsettia once very three to four weeks while the plant produces new growth to meet all of its needs. 

Transplanting the Poinsettia 

Transplant your poinsettia in late spring or early summer. Choose a pot that is at least two to four inches bigger than the plant’s pot. You can also transplant the poinsettia directly into your garden bed in a partial sun location. Use a soil miexture that contains a heavy balance of organic matter such as peat moss. Ensure that the pot you pick has drainage holes to allow the water to freely drain. Water the plant thoroughly after transplanting. 

After flowering, poinsettias make lovely green plants for you house or  yard. Getting the plant to again produce its colorufl brackets is no easy task. You just sequester the plant from light for a set period of time to force the plant to stop producing chlorophyll which is the pigment that keeps the plant’s leaves green. The reduced light causes the changes in the poinsettias brackets.

This holiday season, why not invest in a couple of of poinsettias? You can then enjoy the plants in your garden or as a valued houseplant.  

If you need nutrient supplies or more information on nutrient options, please contact Humboldts Secret Supplies to learn more.

 

2 comments

  • I’ve been working with a poinsettia that was red last Christmas. It’s outside and doing great. I’m Alabama is in 90’s or greater. It has wiled a couple times. But bounced right back. I’m hoping to get it to bloom this Christmas.

    Charles Stewart
  • When a white poinsettia plant loses its leaves where should the stems be cut back before replanting outside?

    Sydney Thibedeau

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