How to Buy and Care for Poinsettia
The most popular house plant for the holiday season is undoubtedly the Poinsettia. Approximately 65 to 70 million plants are purchased by consumers yearly. The traditional Red Poinsettia tops the list accounting for nearly 80% of all sales.
A Little Poinsettia History
Poinsettias were originally native to Mexico. A fellow by the name of Joel Poinsett introduced the plant to the United States in 1825. Since then many outstanding hybrid varieties have been developed in nearly ever color of the rainbow.
Purchasing your new Poinsettia
As with most anything offered to consumers... Poinsettias are produced in varying grades of quality. Low to medium quality Poinsettias are offered at low prices, usually in the mass markets. To achieve a low price point corners have to be cut during the production of the crop. The majority of these low cost Poinsettias are shipped in from out of state. Factor in shipping stress coupled with cut corners... the shelf life of a low price Poinsettia will normally only be a couple of weeks.
Colorado has several excellent Poinsettia growers who invest an enormous amount of time, labor and energy into their Poinsettia crops. The result of this investment can be easily seen in the quality... and shelf life of their plants. Your local Garden Center or Floral shop will have Colorado Grown Poinsettias available in a multitude of sizes and colors.
Tips for selecting a quality plant...
Transporting your new Poinsettia
Being native to Mexico... Poinsettias are sensitive to cold temperatures. Both the root system and leaves can be damaged if exposed to freezing temps for to long. Newly purchased plants should be sleeved or wrapped to protect the plant on the trip home. The purchase of your Poinsettia should be your last shopping errand of the day... go straight home with your new plant.
Poinsettias are relatively easy to care for. To get the most from your plant... place it bright natural lighting. Direct sunshine for more than a couple hours a day can burn the Poinsettia or give it a wilty appearance. Refrain from placing your Poinsettia in hot or cold drafts, or in high traffic areas.
If your new Poinsettia has a plastic or foil pot cover... poke a few holes in the bottom to permit drainage. Allow the surface soil to dry to the touch between waterings. Poinsettias dislike having wet feet... any standing water should be removed from the drip tray.
Normal house temperatures are perfect for Poinsettia care. Daytime temps should not exceed 75 degrees. Night temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees is optimum.
Next month we'll tell you how to Re-
Flower a Poinsettia.
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