Poinsettias are know as holiday decoration and in Minnesota they are normally sold in the months of November and December.
The Poinsettia, often referred to as the “Christmas Plant”, was first brought to the United States from Mexico, in 1825 by the first US ambassador Joel Robert Poinsett. Today, with the multitude of colors, sizes and shapes available, poinsettias offer an abundance of holiday cheer for every décor.
Thinking about the following tips while making your poinsettia selection will help you to have a plant that will last throughout the season. Remember when purchasing your poinsettia to choose the one that is not wilted and has lush green foliage.
The actual flowers of the poinsettia plant are the golden yellow clusters (cyathia) in the center of the colored bracts (the colored bracts are the plant’s leaves that changed color to attract insects and not flower petals as most people think). As you choose your poinsettia, make sure the plant you choose still has the cyathia.
Poinsettias are tropical plants and therefore are very susceptible to damage from the cold. Keep in mind that the plant needs protection from the cold weather. A paper sleeve provides the best protection. Additionally, your poinsettia should not be exposed (even in the wrapping) to the freezing conditions for more than a short trip to the car. Do not leave your poinsettia in your car while you finish shopping. If the poinsettia is chilled below 50°F it may begin to drop leaves.
Immediately unwrap your poinsettia when you arrive at your destination. Poinsettias naturally produce ethylene. Keeping them boxed and/or sleeved too long can trap the ethylene, which could lead to droopy plants. At home temperatures between 65-75°F are perfect.
Light Requirements and Placement
Locate your plant in a spot with bright, natural light, but not exposed to direct sunlight for more than one to two hours. If in a sunny location, make sure the plant never dries out. Do not place your plant in an area that is exposed to hot or cold drafts from appliances, radiators, ventilation ducts or windows. Your poinsettia should be placed in an area that is not exposed to heavy traffic. Though not poisonous, the plant should be placed away from small children and animals. Ingestion of the plant could cause discomfort.
Watering Your Poinsettias
Poinsettias prefer to be kept evenly moist. Check soil dryness by sticking your finger in the soil about an inch deep. Do not let the soil dry out completely. If the soil is slightly dry, add water. Another way to check to see if the plant needs watering is to pick it up. If it feels light, add some water. Watering is usually only needed every 2 -3 days. Empty any water that drains into the saucer or foil pot cover. If you let the plant sit in this water, the leaves will turn yellow and drop off. With proper care it is not uncommon to see poinsettias keep their color into March or April.
Stop in today at our Minneapolis garden centers to pick up your holiday plants and accessories in time for this holiday season!