Guide To Happy, Healthy Poinsettias
Its that wonderful time of year when almost everyone has received or purchased a poinsettia plant or two, maybe even more. They come in an array of sizes and colors, and like most of us, I did not know the proper way to insure that they live longer than just the past Christmas season.
Did you know that poinsettia originated on warm, subtropical mountain slopes near the Pacific Ocean in Mexico? This is why proper care involves recreating these environmental conditions in your home and keep your plants warm and cozy. The plant needs warm temperatures in order to thrive. The indoor temperature of your home should be sufficient for most plants. Be sure to avoid placing your poinsettia in drafty areas, like near doors or windows.
Next important thing to remember is not to over water your plant, which is the leading cause of house plant death. Check your plants soil daily and when it becomes dry to the touch water thoroughly.
Poinsettias need 10 hours of light per day, which is ideal for the longest possible blooming period. The potted plants will use up the nutrients found in their in their soil, so make sure to fertilize your plants regularly.
Poinsettias are a perennial shrub and can grow 10 to 15 feet tall. In order to keep your potted plant to a manageable size, pinch off the new bubs that exceed the desired size and prune any dead or dying leaves and branches. Plants can be moved outside once all chances of frost is past.
The tropical plants enjoy warm weather and sunshine but do not place your plant in direct sunlight immediately. Because they are used to full shade indoors, you must do the same and place them in full shade for two weeks.
Then move to a partially shaded area for two weeks and then to your sunny location and leave it there for the remainder of the season. Follow your normal procedure when bringing your outdoor plants back inside.
Fun fact, did you know that the large "flowers" on a poinsettia plant are not flowers at all. They are specialized leaves called bracts, which are used to direct pollinating insects to the plants tiny flowers.
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