Poinsettias Brighten the Christmas Season

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The striking beauty of a red, white or pink poinsettia can be enjoyed throughout the holiday season. Poinsettias should retain their beauty for three weeks or longer in the home. Some of the new varieties will last much longer if they are kept at the proper temperature and are given adequate light, water and fertilizer.

The first step in ensuring long‑lived splendor is selecting a healthy plant. Look for small, central flowers that are tightly clustered. The plant also should have crisp, bright foliage. Green foliage down to the soil line indicates that the plant has active, healthy roots.

Poinsettias are grown in greenhouses with night temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees F, with high relative humidity and with maximum sunlight. When you take a poinsettia home, you should put it where it will receive natural or artificial light.

Don’t put the plant where it is subject to temperature fluctuations and drafts. Avoid cold drafts from doorways or excess heat from television sets, radiators or heating ducts. Your plant will last longer if it is moved at night to a cool room where the temperature is no lower than 50 degrees F.

Examine the plant regularly and water it whenever the soil looks and feels dry. Fill the pot to the top with water, and allow it to soak into the soil. Repeat until water begins to trickle out of the base hole of the pot, showing that the soil is wet to the bottom.

If the plant is wrapped with a decorative foil, punch a hole in the foil beneath the pot to allow excess water to escape. To prevent dripping water from damaging your furniture, place the plant on a saucer.