Caring for poinsettias

December 19, 2010

Jennifer Brennan with Chalet Nursery visited the ABC7 Chicago studio on Sunday, Dec. 19 to talk about the right care for poinsettias. She displayed several varieties and offered the tips listed below.

The plants have their name because they were first discovered in southern Mexico in 1828 by the American Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett.

    The Do's and Don'ts of Poinsettia Care:
  • DO place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day. If direct sun can't be avoided, diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain.
  • DO provide room temperatures between 68 - 70 degrees F. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable so is your poinsettia.
  • DO water your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.
  • DO use a large, roomy shopping bag and a paper sleeve to protect the plant when transporting it.
  • DO fertilize your plant after the blooming season with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.
  • DON'T place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat. Avoid placing plants near appliances, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.
  • DON'T expose plants to temperatures below 50 degrees. Poinsettias are sensitive to cold, so avoid placing them outside during the winter months.
  • DON'T overwater your plant, or allow it to sit in standing water. Always remove a plant from any decorative container before watering, and allow the water to drain completely.
  • DON'T expose your plant to chilling winds when transporting it.
  • DON'T fertilize your plant when it is in bloom.

Extra touches
Dress up a plain container by adding cut evergreens like white pine, which has narrow enough stems that will not disturb the roots of the Poinsettia, and red twig dogwood. Wrap the pot with decorative foil, but cut an 'X' in the bottom to allow drainage.

Companion plants
White flowered Shooting Stars Hydrangeas complement poinsettias well, or can be used to decorate instead of poinsettias.

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