Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Poinsettia Plant Profile


Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are perennial flowering shrubs that can grow to 10 feet tall in their native Mexico. Poinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett.

 They are part of the Euphorbia family. Many plants in this family ooze a milky sap. Despite their reputation, poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child who ate 500 bracts might have a slight tummy ache.

 To choose the freshest poinsettia, look at the very center of the bracts or leaves for a cluster of very small green “buds” with a small amount of yellow, this is the actual flower. It is a direct indication of the age of the plant. The tighter the buds with small amounts of yellow showing can mean a longer shelf life at home.

 After you purchase your plant, make sure it is wrapped properly and take it directly home, because exposure to low temperatures even for a few minutes can damage the bracts and leaves.

 You can make your poinsettia last longer through the holiday season by placing them in an area that gets bright, indirect sun. This area should also be free of drafts or direct heat sources.

 Water the plant by removing the foil or decorative pot cover. Place the plant in the sink and give the soil a good soaking. After the plant has stopped leaking water, place the plant back into its foil pot cover or decorative pot.

 In recent years, poinsettias are being bred in many color ranges, patterns, and leaf shapes. There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available. Most sales are still of the classic red kinds; followed in popularity by white and then pink.

 Florists and garden centers are also applying paints to the bracts to come up with fun color combinations (like blue and purple) as well as glittering them. Another fun practice is to train poinsettias into tree forms and topiaries

 If you keep it past the holiday season, apply a houseplant fertilizer once a month. Do not fertilize when it is in bloom. After the New Year, cut it back to the green leaves, then new growth will sprout and then you can condition it to have in display for the next holiday season.

 Poinsettias: You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Audio, Video, Photos, and Text by Kathy Jentz

Editing by Melinda Thompson


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~ Podcast: GardenDC


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