Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Poinsettia Care

Around this time of year I receive many calls about caring for newly purchased poinsettias. This information from the NCSU Department of Horticulture Science should help to answer some of those questions. For additional information, please feel free to contact me.

The poinsettia that you bought or received for Christmas should retain its beauty for many weeks if you take proper care of it. Horticulturists have done an excellent job of breeding new poinsettia varieties with long-lasting qualities. Here is what you should do to extend the beauty of your poinsettias:
Place your poinsettia in the sunniest portion of the room. It needs a minimum of 75 foot candles of natural or artificial light.

Avoid cold drafts from doorways or excess heat from television sets, radiators or heating ducts. Water your plant thoroughly when needed. Make sure a small amount of the water that is applied drips through the drainage holes of the container. If your poinsettia came wrapped with decorative foil, punch a hole in the foil beneath the pot to allow excess water to escape. Place the plant on a saucer to prevent damage to furniture.

To retain the bright color of the bracts, keep your poinsettia at temperatures not exceeding 70 degrees F. The temperatures should not dip below 50 degrees F.

If you are going to try to keep your poinsettia for a couple of months, you should fertilize it with a dilute fertilizer solution. Use a soluble, complete fertilizer, such as 20-10-20, twice each month.

Contrary to frequent reports, the bracts and foliage of poinsettias are not poisonous. So enjoy your poinsettias.

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