How to Choose and Care for Poinsettias
(Photo by MSU Extension)
Other than the Christmas tree, there’s no holiday plant more sought-after than the poinsettia. Although the most popular color for this winter favorite is Christmas red, you may find white, pink, yellow, maroon, and multi-color versions at your local garden store. Poinsettias are fragile and finnicky indoor plants, but they can add a bit of holiday cheer to any space with the right care! Here are a few tips on how to choose the best-looking poinsettias, and how to maintain them throughout the season.
How to choose poinsettias:
- Look closely for damaged stems and branches. Shuffle around the metallic sleeve covers to inspect for any damage.
- Pick plants with vibrant colors that have unopened or partially opened yellow flowers on them. Avoid choosing poinsettias with faded or torn leaves or bracts.
- Check for any hidden pests. Poinsettias have heavy foliage, so it’s easy to miss any whiteflies, aphids, or other pests on the underside of the leaves.
How to care for poinsettias:
- Place plants in a bright window where they can get at least six hours of indirect light. Do not let the leaves or stems touch the window, because cold temperatures can damage the plant.
- Don’t place these plants near air drafts. Poinsettias love room temperature and do best in temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees during the day.
- Water your poinsettias only when they need water. When potting soil feels dry, water thoroughly until water drains out the bottom of the pot. Remember to empty the water in the saucer. Poinsettias don’t like wet feet.
Poinsettias have very fragile stems. If you’ve ever removed the sleeve covers from around the plants, several leaves might have fallen off. To minimize this, cut or tear off the sleeves instead of sliding it off the container. Extension Publication 2573, “Selecting and Maintaining Poinsettias,” offers a multitude of information on poinsettias.
With proper care and attention, your poinsettias can remain vibrant throughout the holiday season!
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