Poinsettias are a popular holiday plant. They are so popular that U.S. Congress has declared December 12 National Poinsettia Day.
Choosing your Poinsettia
Look for a nice broad plant with rich, deeply coloured leaves. The coloured leaves of the poinsettia are called bracts and the cluster of yellow flowers in the center is call the cyathia. You want to choose a plant that the cyathia buds are still clustered tight together. This means your plant is still young and will last for awhile.
Caring for your Poinsettia
Light Requirements: Poinsettias prefer bright, indirect light. Place your plant near a sunny window where it can receive filtered sunlight for at least six hours a day. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for extended periods, as this can lead to leaf scorching.
Temperature Requirements: Maintain a consistent temperature. Avoid placing it near drafts, vents, or radiators, as sudden temperature fluctuations can cause stress to the plant.
Watering Guidelines: Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering, but don't let it become bone dry. Water your poinsettia thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Be cautious not to overwater, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Ensure the pot has drainage holes as well as empty the saucer to prevent waterlogging.
Poinsettias are Poisonous?: Poinsettias are commonly mistaken as toxic plants. This is a myth. A 50 pound child would need to eat 500 leaves before reaching toxic levels. (They would start vomiting well before this time). There are reports of people having an allergic reaction to the white sap. If you are concerned about small children or pets, keep your plants out of reach.
Poinsettia Fun Facts:
- There are over 100 different colours of poinsettias. Most common is red; however there are also white, pink, purple and yellow varieties. Some even have patterns.
- Poinsettias are native to Mexico, where they are known as "Flores de Noche Buena," meaning "Flowers of the Holy Night," as they bloom during the Christmas season.
- Poinsettias can grow up to 12 feet in the wild!