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‘Tis the season of the year when the transformation occurs from the darkness of winter to the joyful brilliance of colorful lights and decorations of the holidays. The poinsettia plant, introduced to the US by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Ambassador to Mexico, remains the all-time favorite of decorators. I know because before I turned to writing full time, my husband, Gardener Ted, and I owned and operated a floral shop, greenhouse, and garden center for almost twenty years. Our top-selling holiday plant was the poinsettia. Today I’m passing along the 10 pointers on poinsettia care we offered our customers.
12 Pointers on Poinsettia Care by J.Q. Rose
Purchasing a poinsettia
|The poinsettia flower is|
in the center of the pink leaves
Photo by J.Q. Rose
· Do you know the beautiful shades of red, pink, and white are not the poinsettia flower? The flowers are located in the center of the colored leaves or bracts. When purchasing, look for buds. The freshest plants have the buds and will last longer than plants with flowers opening or already opened or missing.
· Check the rest of the plant to be sure leaves are a rich green, not yellowed, wilted, or curled.
Wrap it up
· In cold areas, your newly purchased plant should be wrapped or sleeved before taking it outside to your car or truck. Poinsettias hate cold drafts.
· Don’t leave the plant in the vehicle for a long time in the cold weather even if it’s wrapped.
Watering and Fertilizing
|A red poinsettia plant, the traditional favorite|
Photo by J.Q. Rose
· When you get home with the plant, immediately unwrap it.
· Dig your fingers into the soil to see how wet it is. Go about an inch deep. Poke a hole through the foil wrap or remove the
foil before watering to allow the water to drain.
· Always set the poinsettia in a tray to catch the water that drains through. After an hour or two, empty the tray of remaining water. Just like you and me, the roots of the poinsettia don’t like their feet wet all the time.
· Don’t fertilize while the plant is blooming. To keep the leaves green after blooming, fertilize once a month with a liquid fertilizer.
· With any plant you have in your house, always feel the soil to determine how wet or dry it is before watering.
The Best Location in your house
· Poinsettias do well in bright light, but not hot sun. Find a brightly lighted area in your home.
· Don’t put the plant in a cold window or near a heat vent.
Poinsettias have been wrongfully accused of poisoning pets and children. The Pet Poison Helpline states, “While poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonous plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated.” PetMed adds “If the leaves are ingested, they will often cause nausea and vomiting, but it would take a large amount of the plant’s material to cause poisoning, and most animals and children will not eat such a large enough amount because of the irritating taste and feel from the sap.” You can be assured the poinsettia can safely claim its place adding a pop of color and beauty to your home or workplace during the holidays.
If you have any questions about caring for your poinsettia plant, please ask in the comments section below. I’d be happy to answer. Do you usually have a poinsettia plant in your home during the holidays? What is your favorite color? (I’m traditional because I prefer red.) Do you have other holiday plants like the Christmas cactus, amaryllis, and cyclamen?)
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About J.Q. Rose
Mystery author J.Q. Rose has been working with flowers most of her life. She began by helping in the family’s funeral business setting up flowers for visitation and
funeral services. Later
she and her husband owned and operated a floral shop, greenhouses, and garden
center where she designed floral arrangements which included casket sprays, wreaths, and more.
In her latest mystery, Deadly Undertaking,
her main character is the daughter of a funeral director performing many of the
jobs J.Q. knows so well. Visit J.Q. online at the J.Q. Rose, Author site.