Home Grown Notions: Poinsettia Care
by Beth Cook, Mammoth Cave Transplants
It’s Christmas time, and what flower do we associate Christmas with? Poinsettias! They add just that extra touch to your Christmas decor, but how do you take care of them to keep them looking good during the holiday season? These plants are very finicky and require specific needs in order to maintain those magnificent blooms. With the correct care, they should maintain their beauty through Christmas and weeks after.
Poinsettia care begins with proper lighting, water, and temperature. While they are in bloom, they enjoy semi-cool, humid locations that have indirect lighting. It is very important not to expose them below 50° F. Indoor temperatures between 65°-70°F are ideal for long plant life. Placing the plant in a room a few degrees cooler at night will extend the color show of your poinsettia. Keep the plant away from warm or cold drafts, as this will cause leaves to drop.
Poinsettias need to be watered thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch. Be sure they have proper drainage to ensure they won’t drown. Avoid letting them sit in water filled saucers. After watering empty the pot’s saucer and be sure to punch holes in the decorative foil to drain. Do not overwater. It is the #1 killer of poinsettias, as it leads to root rot.
Poinsettias also like indirect lighting. 6 hrs of indirect sunlight is ideal. Humidity also plays a vital part in the care of poinsettias. Adding plants nearby can help increase humidity levels in dry rooms, as well as humidifiers.
Fertilizing poinsettias while they are in bloom is not recommended. Only fertilize after the holiday season if you plan on keeping them through the next year.
Once the final bloom bracts fall off and if you plan to keep them, decrease watering to allow the plant to dry out some. Don’t let it dry out completely though. Relocate the poinsettia to a cool, dark area until spring. Apply fertilizer about once a month using a complete houseplant fertilizer. If proper conditions are given, it should begin to regrow and you can enjoy it for another holiday season.
From all of us at Mammoth Cave Transplants, we want to wish everyone a very Blessed, Safe, and a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank You for your business this year and we look forward to seeing you in 2016!
“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more.” -- The Grinch
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