Poinsettia care

Poinsettia is perhaps the most common plant gift of the Christmas season. It is colorful, traditional and looks like it should be tough to withstand any conditions in the home. Many recipients assume that it will last for months in the home environment. Cared-for properly and the poinsettia will give weeks of color and pleasure to its owner.

poinsettiaBut, it can be challenging to grow poinsettias in the home under normal house conditions. Many homes are kept too hot, causing the air to dry out and leaves to drop. Occasionally the plant was fertilized in the greenhouse only minimally. Or the plant may have gotten a draft in the store where it was sold. If the plant already had leaves with a yellowish cast to them when you received it, then they will not last long into the winter. Often the red, white or pink bracts (often thought of as the flower itself) will stay on the plant longer than the green leaves.

Perhaps the most important thing you need to care about is proper watering.

The first thing you need to do to care for your holiday Christmas poinsettia is remove the foil. This keeps water from getting trapped in the foil. Set it on a plastic tray or ceramic dish to protect your furniture or sill.

Keep the soil damp but not sopping wet. The dampness should feel cool to the touch. Lift up the pot after you have watered it. Take note of the weight of the pot with freshly watered soil. The weight will get lighter as the water is absorbed by the plant roots, but there reaches a point when it gets so light weight that is noticeable. It almost feels like a feather when it is dry. Get in the habit of feeling the soil every day. It takes 5 seconds of your time.

Now how often should you water? In the home, there is inconsistency with temperature and air movement. Some homes are kept warmer than others. Sometimes you move the plant to a warmer or cooler spot for display. Displaying it in a window might be different from displaying it in a dark corner of the room. Sometimes the door opens more often over the holidays putting the poinsettia in a draft. You will just have to monitor the plant for yourself and figure out how often it needs water.

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