by Lars H
As the holiday season approaches, the vibrant red and white hues of poinsettias begin to adorn homes, grocery stores, and nurseries. Renowned for their festive appeal, these plants, if properly cared for, can add a touch of holiday cheer well beyond the season. Experts from Texas A&M AgriLife share invaluable tips to ensure your poinsettias thrive.
Bill McKinley, the Benz Endowed Chair in Floral Design, and Navreet Kaur Mahal, Ph.D., both from Texas A&M’s Department of Horticultural Sciences, provide a comprehensive guide to selecting and maintaining these cherished holiday plants.
Selecting the Perfect Poinsettia
When choosing a poinsettia, McKinley advises focusing on the plant’s center. “The little center of the poinsettia plant, the true blossom, shouldn’t be fuzzy,” McKinley explains. “They should be tight and yellow.” This advice is crucial in identifying a healthy plant that will last through the festive season.
Ensuring Plant Longevity
A common mistake with poinsettias is overwatering. McKinley suggests a careful approach: remove the plant from its container to allow water to drain before replacing it. This prevents root rot, a common issue with these plants.
Ideal Conditions for Thriving Poinsettias
Positioning is key for poinsettia health. McKinley recommends bright but indirect sunlight and avoiding extremes in temperature. Mahal adds, “The ideal room temperature for plants is between 65-70 degrees. Avoid exposing them to temperatures below 50 degrees.”
Poinsettias and Pets: Debunking Myths
Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not significantly toxic to pets. “The sticky white sap can irritate the mouth and cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms,” Mahal clarifies, “But they are not a threat to animals.”
Year-Round Poinsettia Care
Poinsettias can last beyond the holiday season. McKinley advises pruning the plant post-holidays and maintaining it in suitable conditions for annual blooms. “In late October and the first part of November, your plant will start to show color,” he says, “And by Christmas, it should be in full bloom.”
With these expert tips, you can ensure your poinsettias not only survive but thrive, bringing joy and color to your holiday celebrations and beyond.