Poinsettias’- A Symbol of Christmas
Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are one of the most popular holiday flowers and have become as much a part of the festive season as eggnog and tinsel. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and were brought to America in 1825 by Joel Poinsett, hence their name. Though often thought of as an annual plant they are in fact perennials; in nature, poinsettias are perennial flowering and they can grow up to ten feet in height.
The bright red leaves, actually called bracts, add cheer to any environment although Hybridizers have expanded the range of colors to yellow, pinks and other hues; yet red remains the most popular and is has come to symbolize Christmas and the holiday season. The popularity of this winter bloom is undisputed and their flame red leaves are a signal that December has arrived and the good news is that they can last all year round, but Poinsettias’ are fussy plants that need a lot of tender loving care if they are to last.
They are relatively inexpensive and are priced according to how many blooms there are on the plant. Many people choose to purchase a new one every season as they are so affordable, if however you wish to keep your poinsettia all year round here are some tips to keep it growing:
. Poinsettias like heat and to keep them blooming maintain a temperature of 65-75 degrees as too many shifts in temperature will cause them to wilt and the blooms will fade. Avoid placing them near drafts as this will cause damage to the plant.
. Place your poinsettia near a sunny window. Poinsettias need as much direct sunlight as possible as they are a tropical plant.
. Water your poinsettia only when the soil feels dry and never overwater or let the plant sit in water as this is will cause root rot and the plant will die. Lack of humidity during dry seasons, in particular winter, is an ongoing houseplant problem. If your home tends to be dry and your poinsettia is in direct light, you will find yourself watering frequently, possibly every day.
. After Christmas until March, keep watering the poinsettia whenever the surface is dry and then in the spring, around April, decrease the watering, allowing the plant to dry out between watering. Then move the poinsettia to a cooler place in your home such as your basement where the temperature is about 60 degrees.
. In May you can cut back the stems back to about 4 inches and place the plant in a bigger container with fresh potting soil. Water and put the plant in a sunny spot that maintains a temperature of 65 – 75 degrees, watering it only when the soil feels dry.
Happy holidays and keep the brightness of the festive season alive all year long by keeping your poinsettias blooming throughout the four seasons, now that is holiday magic.