NDSU Extension - Williams County


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December 2, 2015

Holiday Poinsettia

Around the holiday season we start to see a lot of winter greenery. One plant that we see a lot are Poinsettia’s, with its beautiful bright red and dark green colors. There are many colors available; white, pink, peach, yellow, marbled and speckled bracts. The actual flower on the poinsettia plant are the small, yellow blossoms in the center of the colorful bracts. Most commercial growers produce the red poinsettias simply for the holiday season. When selecting a Poinsettia there are a few things to look for; plants with fully mature, thoroughly colored bracts. Plants with an abundance of dark, rich green foliage with no drooping leaves or bracts. An attractive, well balanced and full plant from all sides.

If you plan to take care of your Poinsettia after the holiday season there are a few things to know. Growing poinsettias requires some knowledge of their growing requirements. Poinsettias require short days, in general, the light period is from 6 to 8 hours and 12 hours of complete darkness. Covering your plant with a cloth or a box might be needed to give the required darkness hours. Their native range is in Central America and Mexico, which required warmth and moisture. Maintaining a temperature between 70 75 degrees Fahrenheit is idea, keeping the plants away from any drafts, heat vents or fireplaces. The moisture part may be taken care of by occasionally misting the plant, using a humidifier, keeping the soil evenly moist and setting the pot in a tray of moist pebbles. Maintaining moisture and warmth may also help prevent poinsettias from dropping leaves while adjusting from greenhouse environment to home conditions.  With poinsettias being a tropical plant, they are extremely sensitive to cold weather. In subfreezing temperatures, chill damage can take place within seconds and will show on the plant within 24 hours. Covering the plants during transportation with paper sleeving, plastic or both while transporting into a preheated car will help lessen the chance of damage.


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