How to keep the poinsettia beyond Christmas
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If, like me, you consider poinsettia part of the decoration for Christmas, here are some things you may find helpful if you want the plant to survive beyond the holiday season.
An article by Chaya Kurtz for Networx, which was carried by the website Care2 Make a Difference, says the poinsettia can actually bloom for more than one season.
The plant likes cooler temperatures, but not too cold. According to the article, experts at Ohio State University Extension suggest keeping the plant at about 20 degrees Celsius during the day and a slightly lower temperature at night if you hope to prolong blooming. That may be difficult to do this season, given what seems to be an unusually hot December.
To avoid leaf drop, keep the plant away from heat sources and drafts. Only water the poinsettia when its soil is dry to the touch. The article quotes plant experts from the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, who “suggest watering until water seeps out the bottom of the drainage holes.”
It adds that while the poinsettia does not want to dry out, it also does not want to sit in water, so any excess liquid should be thrown away.
The article offers suggestions on how to make the plant “reflower,” but it is based on a four-season calendar. You can ask local experts—perhaps at King Louis Garden, which is the biggest seller of poinsettia this time of year—what to do with the plant after the holidays, given our two-season climate.
The vividly colored blooms of the poinsettia are actually not flowers, but bracts or modified leaves. The real flowers are the tiny yellow things in the center of the bracts. Experts at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, according to the article, say the bracts drop off the plant after the flowers shed their pollen.
So, to enjoy the bloom longer, select a plant whose flowers show no or little yellow pollen.
As we now know from the display of colors in commercial gardens, poinsettia does not only come in red, though it still remains the most popular. It seems we have only seen a fraction of its many colors so far.
The University of Illinois Extension says there are over 100 poinsettia colors, the article reports.
The article also says poinsettia is not poisonous, contrary to what some people believe. While poinsettia can sicken pets because of its sap that can irritate, it is not fatal, according to research done by Ohio State University.
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