Poinsettia


Latin pronunciation: (you-FOR-bee-uh pul-KER-ri-muh)

+ enlarge image Poinsettia

Poinsettia's bright pink, red, or white colors match the festive nature of the holiday season, and have made it one of the most popular gift plants in history. Unfortunately, poinsettias require special care to bring into bloom each year.

  • LIGHT: Place in high light (southern exposure) when in flower, darkness for a time after bloom, then medium light when growing foliage. Strictly control light conditions in fall.
  • WATER: Allow soil surface to dry out between thorough waterings in spring and summer. Water less during fall and winter. Mist frequently and raise humidity during active growth.
  • TEMPERATURE: Maintain average temperatures during day and cool temperatures (low 50s) at night, except after flowering, when cooler temperatures are needed. Avoid all drafts.

Comments:

Water less and place in cool (no less than 45 degrees), dark place after flowering, when plant looks ragged. In spring, cut plant to height of 8 inches, leaving three nodes (where branches join stem) on each stem. On older plants, trim weak stems, leaving three to seven strong ones. Place outside in bright indirect light after frost danger passes. Keep moist. When growth starts, feed regularly. Pinch branches for bushiness, leaving four leaves on each. Bring in before frost. From October 1 to November 30, place plant in closet or bag from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. This darkness is the key to getting red flowers (bracts) by Christmas. Repeat yearly. Propagate by tip cuttings.

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