Caring for your holiday Poinsettia

Photo used under Creative Commons from SusanReimer

A beautiful poinsettia plant is a wonderful addition to the home to decorate for Christmas. Whether you purchased one for yourself or have received one as a gift, questions often arise about how to best care for it. Poinsettias come primarily in red but are also available in white, pink and peppermint.

Here are some tips for keeping your poinsettia in top shape throughout the season:

Water: Check the soil daily and water if the soil is dry to the touch. If your poinsettia has been placed in a decorative pot or basket take the plant (still in its plastic container) and water over the sink allowing the water to drain out of the holes in the bottom. Then place the plant back in its pot or basket making sure the plant doesn’t sit in water.

Photo used by Creative Commons from ewen and donabel

Light: Lots of light are ideal for these tropical plants. South, west or east facing windows are preferable over a north facing window. Don’t let the poinsettia actually touch the window, however, as the cold pane will damage the plant.

Temperature: Poinsettias enjoy a consistent temperature of 65-70 degrees during daylight hours. Avoid placing the plant in areas that are exposed to hot or cool drafts (near a heater or door). At night, move the plant to a cooler location but not below 60 degrees.

Problems:

Wilting: A poinsettia without enough water will begin to droop. Give the plant a good soak and allow the water to fully drain out the bottom.

Leaf Drop: Although this is a natural process of the plant, premature leaf drop can be a sign that the plant is exposed to hot or cool drafts. Check its location and the temperature where it is placed.

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