Poinsettias are everyone’s holiday season favorites. These brightly colored flowers offer some color during the cold days of winter. Here are some interesting thoughts about these wonderful plants.
Poinsettias have been used for Christmas celebrations since the 17th century. They are found naturally in Mexico and tropical islands where they can grow 10-15 feet tall. They are a member of the Spurge family.
These houseplants cannot survive winter temps in most of North America. Their name came from the first US Ambassador to Mexico in 1825. Joel Poinsett gave them their common name and introduced them to the US.
The colored red, pink, white, and marbled bracts are not flowers but are leaves. The small yellow centers are the flowers.
Poinsettias are not poisonous.
These plants do best at temperatures between 60-80 degrees. They tend to wilt if it is too hot or dry. Keep them evenly moist but allow drainage. Put a base plate under the plant to catch the extra water. It is also a good idea to remove the pot wrapper or at least punch holes in it so that extra water can drain.
After the holidays you cut the plant back to about 6 inches tall. If you want to repot, now is the time. In March or April begin watering and use a water-soluble houseplant food fertilizer. After frost danger is past, place your plants out of direct sun with an eastern exposure. Semi plant the pot into the ground about halfway deep. Pinch back the tips to promote branching. During September, bring the plants indoors so they do not freeze. Reduce watering and fertilizer.
You can enjoy the same plant for years! The real trick to having a blooming Poinsettia by Christmas begins now. From the end of September to December 15th, keep the plants in the total dark for 14-15 hours a day. Keep them in a place with temperatures around 60-70 degrees. These are tropical plants. Once the red bracts have developed, you can add more water and fertilizer.
Have a colorful Holiday season!
For more Montana Grant find him and his green thumb at www.montanagrantfishing.com.