How to Take Care of Poinsettia – The Holiday Plant
During the holidays, poinsettias are everywhere, and for this reason, they are known as the holiday plant! These lovely, festive, and simple-to-maintain flowers are also known as the Mexican Flame tree or the Christmas Star. Classic red ones are always a popular choice, but you can pick from more fascinating types developed every year. While adding these popular plants to your Christmas decor, there are a few tips to remember about choosing and caring for poinsettias so they stay alive throughout the festive season. By taking care of your poinsettias, you can easily keep them thriving throughout the year or rebloom them in time for the following holidays.
Interesting Facts About Poinsettias
Poinsettias are just not a beautiful plant. There are many interesting facts about this festive plant, like:
- Poinsettias are named after Joel Robert Poinsett (1779-1851), a famous statesman and a passionate amateur botanist who brought poinsettias to the US from Mexico in 1825 while serving as ambassador.
- Poinsettias is a plant that is part of the spurge or Euphorbiaceae family. Botanically it is known as Euphorbia pulcherrima.
- December 12th is celebrated as Poinsettia Day. On this day in 1851, Joel Roberts Poinsett died.
- Poinsettias are a kind of tropical flower. They thrive as perennials in the wild, reaching over 10 feet tall.
- Poinsettias’ vivid colored petals are actually leaf bracts, not flower petals. Leaf bracts are specialized or modified leaves. The blooms are tiny and situated in the stalk’s yellow core.
- Poinsettias were the native plant of Egypt, growing much before the 1860s. In the 1860s, they came to Mexico from Egypt.
- Poinsettias are not toxic, contrary to popular belief. They produce a milky sap that, like other Euphorbia plants, can cause you (or your pets) a stomach ache or irritate your skin if exposed to or consumed in excessive quantities, but they’re harmless otherwise.
- Poinsettias are the second most popular houseplant in the UK after the Phalaenopsis orchid.
- Poinsettias are available in more than 100 different sizes and colors, ranging from red to yellow to multi-colored to speckled. These plants have more than 100 varieties.
- The poinsettias are also known as flame-leaf flowers or lobster flowers due to their red color.
How to Pick the Best Poinsettias
Poinsettias may appear to be short-lived since their brilliantly colored bracts fall off, and they start looking scarce shortly after the holidays are gone. However, current varieties last considerably longer than those of even a few years ago. Some poinsettias can keep their color bracts for months rather than weeks. Look for plants with healthy green leaves that aren’t curled, brown, or dropping off the bottom stem at all when choosing poinsettias to buy for the holidays. Also, look for actual flowers in the bracts’ centers. Choose the ones where the poinsettias are firmly wrapped with no yellow pollen visible for long-lasting poinsettia plants.
Before purchasing, inspect the plant from all sides to check that it has a complete, almost bush-like form. It’s also a good idea to double-check for pests. Whiteflies and aphids might appear in the greenhouse at any moment, so check under the plant’s leaves to make sure it’s pest-free.
Types of Poinsettias
There are well over 100 different poinsettia types. However, you won’t find such a large selection in shops. Here are some of the popular poinsettias types:
1. Solid Colours Poinsettias
You may be the most familiar with this type of Poinsettias. Poinsettias with solid red bracts are the most popular throughout the Christmas season, but you can also see poinsettias in solid pink, white, orange, yellow, and even purple.
2. Marble Poinsettias
These plants have lovely two-tone bracts with a deeper color in the center, such as red or pink, and lighter hues around the margins, such as yellow or cream.
3. Jingle Poinsettias
These poinsettias, sometimes known as glitter poinsettias, have bracts of one solid color, red or pink, with specks of a lighter color sprinkled throughout, such as white or cream. These plants stand out even more when paired with traditional all-red poinsettias.
4. Rose Poinsettias
Rose poinsettias feature bracts that curve slightly back and under, giving them the appearance of clusters of roses in full bloom, rather than the straight, pointed bracts. This kind is most commonly seen in conventional poinsettia red, although white and pink rose-shaped bracts are also available.
Caring Tips For Poinsettias
To keep poinsettias healthy for a long time is easy through proper care. Just follow the below poinsettia care instructions:
1. Right Environment
Caring for poinsettias starts with maintaining the right environment for the plants. They should be kept in a humid and semi-cool climate. Poinsettia care indoors requires them to receive bright yet indirect light with ample moisture. Poinsettias plants can be kept near other plants to scale up the humidity or near humidifiers. Often people keep moving these plants from cold to hot areas – this shouldn’t be done as it hampers their growth.
2. Extensive Watering
Poinsettias should be extensively watered. However, they are not to be overwatered. To ensure no overwatering, proper drainage should be present. Also, don’t keep poinsettia pots in saucers as the excess water drained will be collected leading to overwatering. To ensure there is no overwatering, water poinsettias till the compost surface appears completely moist.
3. Proper Fertilizing
Use suitable fertilizing techniques to ensure the proper growth of your poinsettias. Fertilize the poinsettias plants while they are blooming. Apply fertilizer every few weeks or once a month, or you can use houseplant fertilizer weekly to feed the plant.
4. Dropping Leaves
If the leaves of poinsettias are dropping or turning yellow, then find out the correct reason to revive their growth. You may be exposing the plant to extreme heat or dryness or watering it erratically. Keep the plant in the right environment and water adequately for good growth.
5. Proper Light Exposure
Poinsettias should receive adequate light for proper growth. However, their growth gets hindered due to direct sunlight. So, they should be kept in spots with indirect light.
6. Maintain the Soil Moisture
Keep a regular check on the soil moisture level for the healthy growth of your poinsettias. Use a pebble tray that will keep the soil and pot moist, prolonging the plant’s life.
7. Keep at Correct Temperatures
Poinsettias should be kept at the right temperature to boost their growth. Average room temperature is ideal for them. They are sensitive to extreme temperatures – making sure they are neither kept near any heat source nor any cold drafts. Too much heat or cold will shorten their life and blooming period.
Some FAQs commonly asked about poinsettias:
1. Are Poinsettia Poisonous?
Poinsettias are not harmful to humans or pets if one or two leaves are consumed. Ingesting few leaves of a poinsettia can cause vomiting or nausea. However, it can have a poisonous effect when consumed in large quantities. Poinsettias expel a milky, sticky sap that is generally considered toxic. It can irritate the skin or eyes when it contacts the body part or, when consumed, can irritate the tissues of the esophagus or mouth. However, it is not poisonous, so no one can get harmed when the sap comes in contact with the skin.
2. Can Poinsettias Be Left Out In The Cold?
Poinsettias are plants from tropical regions, so they can’t tolerate cold temperatures. So when left out in the cold, they start dropping their leaves. For poinsettia care outdoors, ensure proper protection when bringing them from store to home. It can help to ensure that the low temperatures cannot harm them.
3. How Long Do Poinsettias Last?
Generally, a poinsettia lasts upto 4 to 6 weeks until its colored bracts start to fall off. However, with proper care, they can be made to last longer. One needs to water and fertilize them well and ensure they are kept away from harsh heat, direct sunlight, and cold temperatures.
4. How Often Should I Water The Poinsettia?
Poinsettias should neither be dry nor drenched. It should be watered when the topsoil is noticeably dry. Overwatering can lead to waterlogging, causing the roots and leaves to rot, leading to a dead plant. Even when they are watered less, the poinsettias plant can wither due to dryness. So adequate water is required for proper growth. If you see the soil drying in a day, then water the poinsettias plant every day, and if you notice the soil drying in 2-3 days, then water it accordingly. To check the dryness of the soil, carefully lift the poinsettias plant; if it feels light, water it.
5. How do I Revive a Dying Poinsettia?
To revive drying poinsettias, first remove the dead stems, leaves, and other dead plant parts. Then change its location to place it near a window that gets bright, indirect sunlight so that the plant receives plenty of light to promote growth. Ensure you are adequately watering the plant. It shouldn’t be soaked or dry. Prune the poinsettia regularly and fertilize the soil. Lastly, cover the plant or place it in a dark cupboard every night till new buds come out. Poinsettia requires approximately 14 hours of complete darkness to bloom again.
Poinsettias are beautiful plants that can decorate your home in multiple ways. However, to ensure these colorful plants keep looking beautiful for long, follow these tips to lengthen their lives beyond the festive season. By following these tips, not only will your poinsettias last long, but you can also get them to rebloom next year.