Avoid plants that appear wilted and neglected. Check for signs of insects by looking at the underside of several leaves and avoid plants whose leaves are spotted or yellow. Next, check to see if the flowers are still on the plant. Remember the color of a poinsettia is provided by the modified leaves called “bracts.” The flowers are the golden-yellow clusters located at the center of the bracts. Finally, never buy a plant that is displayed with a paper or plastic sleeve pulled up around the entire plant. The leaves will turn yellow and may fall off prematurely if a plant has been sleeved too long.
Taking your Plant Home
If you live in an area where freezing temperatures are common in December, you will have to provide some protection to your poinsettia when transporting it to your home. The store should provide a paper or plastic bag that you can use to cover the plant. Even so, never expose the plant to cold temperatures for more than a few minutes; a chilled or frozen plant will begin to drop leaves very quickly. Once inside, remove the protective wrapping immediately and prepare to enjoy your new poinsettia.
Taking Care of your Poinsettia
With proper care your poinsettia will last through the holiday season and retain its bracts well into the New Year.
Pay close attention to the following care tips:
- Place in a room where there is sufficient natural light to read fine print but not where the sun will shine directly on plant.
- Avoid hot or cold drafts or excess heat from appliances, radiators or ventilating ducts.
- Place the plant high enough to be away from traffic, and out of reach of unmonitored children and animals.
- Set the plant in or on a waterproof container to protect your furnishings.
- Water the plant thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Remember to discard excess water from the saucer.
- To prolong the bright color of the bracts temperatures should not exceed 72°F during the day or 60°F at night.
Reflowering Your Poinsettia
If you have a gardener’s green thumb, you may want to try your hand at re-flowering your poinsettia next year.
If you follow these directions very carefully, it is possible to have your poinsettia in flower by the Holiday Season.