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Home Care Tips for Your Poinsettia -      

Purchase Tips

Millions of poinsettias are purchased each year during the holiday season by people who enjoy the color and warmth they provide to the home. Proper selection will help to insure a long lasting plant that you will enjoy throughout the season.

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.

Poinsettia Facts
The assigned botanical name is Euphorbia pulcherrima. The United States’ first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Robert Poinsett, sent several plants back to his home in Greenville, South Carolina in 1825.  The common name, poinsettia comes from his last name.

The poinsettia is not a poisonous plant. Research at a major university has proven that the poinsettia is not lethal to humans and pets.  However, your poinsettia and all houseplants should be kept out of reach of small children since varying degrees of discomfort may be experienced if the plant is ingested.


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