Nothing in the plant world says Christmas like a good 'ol fashion Poinsettia. These iconic plants can be found at almost any grocery store, nursery or market this time of year. December 12th is Poinsettia Day, so we decided to mark this momentous occasion (insert slight sarcasm) with some information and growing tips.
Quickie History: Establishing Poinsettia Day was literally an Act of Congress to honor Joel Roberts Poinsetta, who died on December 12, 1851. Poinsetta was the first Ambassador to Mexico and brought this intriguing plant back to his plantation in the U.S. He cultivated the Poinsettia in his Greenville, S.C plantation and gave them out as gifts to friends.
Okay, so how to grow them:
Check the Bracts....Say What?!?!...The beautiful red you see is not a flower petal, rather they are called Bracts. There should be at least 6 bracts or more when selecting your Poinsettia.
Check your poinsettia daily, keep moist but do not let water stand and cause “wet feet”. Letting the poinsettia stand in water for more than 30 minutes can cause defoliation or kill the plant. The best way to keep your Poinsettia moist is to put 4 med size ice cubes (1/4 cup) for a 6 ½ inch pot (the standard size sold) and 8 cubes (1/2 cup) for an 8 inch pot and so on. Do this daily. If the soil becomes, dry re-hydrate immediately and begin ice regimen again.
Keep them out of drafts. Front door foyer or hallways are not a good spot unless there is no drafts and bright sunlight. Heat from heaters and extreme cold will shorten the plants life if not kill them.
Place your plant in bright light but not straight sun.
Finally, after blooming discard or prepare plant for blooming next year.
You can place your poinsettia in the ground after the last frost in spring, fertilize normally as with any flowering plant. Make sure out door poinsettias only receive natural light. Pinch out tips of new growth until August. DO NOT pinch after August 15th. Plant should flower right in time if these procedures are followed.
Enjoy your holiday season and give the gift of Poinsettias!