Friday, December 08, 2006

Poinsettia Care

Winter Rose Pink: Breeder - Ecke

I still have a few pictures from the Cabrillo College Holiday Plant Sale and Open House, so I'm going to post them with a reprint of the poinsettia care sheet that they handed out with the plants. Enjoy.

Cinnamon Candy: Breeder - Selecta

The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), one of the most popular winter holiday plants, is a native to the area around Taxco, Mexico. Joel R. Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico, introduced it into the United States. In Mexico, poinsettias grow to be large woody shrubs, often reaching heights above 10 feet.

Poinsettia is a member of the spurge family and is characterized by small, inconspicuous flowers called cyathia and large, brightly colored, leaf-like bracts. Poinsettia bracts may be red, pink, white, yellow, speckled or marbled; the most popular color is red.

Poinsettias are often thought of as poisonous, but research indicates that poinsettias contain no chemicals commonly considered toxic; however, eating the plants is not recommended. (The SPCA still lists Poinsettias as poisonous to pets and pet owners should keep the plants away from their animals.) While most people are not sensitive to the milky sap, it can cause a mild skin irritation.

Christmas Time Crazy Marble: Breeder - Fischer

  • Place the plant where it will receive a maximum amount of indoor sunlight.
  • Premature leaf drop is one of the main problems in poinsettia care. The plant needs to be kept out of drafts, as rapid temperature fluctuations will cause premature leaf drop. Even to be touching a cold windowpane can cause injury to the bracts. Night temperatures should be no cooler than 60 to 65 degrees F. Day temperatures should not exceed 80 degrees F.
  • Another cause of leaf drop is wilting. The soil must be kept slightly moist but not soggy. Water thoroughly and make sure the pot has good drainage. Empty out any water that may be left in the pot saucer after watering.
  • Fertilization is typically not needed for the first month because the potting mix includes a slow release fertilizer. After the first month, fertilize once every two weeks until the plant loses its brightly colored bracts.
  • Many of the new poinsettia cultivars will keep their leaves and remain attractive even in summer. If the plant retains its leaves, treat it like any houseplant. Place it in a sunny location and apply a complete fertilizer containing trace elements once every two weeks. As soon as night temperatures reach a minimum of 60 degrees F, the plant can be set outside.

It is possible to reflower your poinsettia but we would like your continued support, plant it outside and buy new ones next year! (But of course!!)

Sonora White Glitter: Breeder - Fischer

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