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Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are vibrantly-hued, beautiful plants with long lasting color that add instant holiday decor. It seems weird that a tropical plant is the one we choose as a symbol for our winter holidays, but this is when poinsettias choose to flash their brilliant “bracts” at us. The huge colorful parts poinsettias are not the actual flower, they are the “bracts”, or the colorful leaves of  poinsettias. The actual flower is the small cluster of yellow and green nodules in the center of the plant. Here are some quick care tips for poinsettias to keep them looking beautiful all season long.

Poinsettias are cold sensitive. When you purchase poinsettias from Rainbow Gardens, it’s best if you make this errand your last stop, so you don’t need to keep the poinsettias in a cold car while you run other errands. If the plant is exposed to cold temperatures even for a short amount of time, it can become damaged.

  • Place your poinsettias near a bright, sunny window, but not where the leaves are all scrunched up against the cold glass, or you will cause your plant some damage. The ideal temperature for poinsettias is 60-70 degrees.
  • Keep your poinsettias away from direct draft from heaters or air conditioners, they absolutely hate these drafts!

Contrary to what many think, poinsettias are not poisonous. Their stems do excrete a milky substance that may be irritating to some people’s skin if it comes in contact with it. Remember that regardless the toxicity, all plants should be watched around children and pets.

Leaf drop can happen with poinsettias when the plants are too dry or too wet.

  • If you notice the leaves first wilting and then dropping, it is a lack of water that is causing the problem.
  • If you notice the leaves yellowing first and then dropping, it is usually excess water that is the problem.

 To water poinsettias correctly, poke you finger into the soil down to about an inch, if the soil feels dry, then water it thoroughly. Water under the leaves of poinsettias and give enough water to soak the soil and run out the bottom of the pots. Before watering, remove any decorative foil liner or drain saucers, and let the excess water drain away completely. Don’t let poinsettias sit in standing water where the roots wont get air.

Forget the ice cube method you may have heard from well-meaning friends. An ice cube on top of the soil doesn’t adequately water your poinsettias. To enjoy these beautiful plants for several months, fertilize with a water soluble solution, like Miracid, once or twice a month.

Be sure to come by one of our stores and see the selection we have for you this month. Poinsettias can instantly bring holiday cheer to your home. They are the perfect gift to take to a host of a holiday party, or to brighten up the work room and bring in some Christmas cheer. We look forward to this time of year, but it goes by too fast, so swing by soon.

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy