Poinsettia is a Christmas pot plant which is widely grown and very popular in subtropical climates like Australia. From its humble origin in Mexico, it has come a long way to brighten up winter season in most of the countries around the world providing spectacular hues to the surroundings. The coloured leaves of the pot are called the ‘Bracts’ which flourish when the days become short and nights become long. This happens in the winter season. When summer comes, the days become longer than the nights and thus the poinsettia begins to develop its green leaves. The plant then goes into its growing phase.
Poinsettia is a quick-growing plant. However, it is a delicate plant which requires care from the very moment you step out of the nursery or store after buying it. Besides caring, selecting the best Poinsettia for your home is equally important.
Here are a few buying tips:
Choose the poinsettias which are not drooping or wilting.
Buy the plants which are in full colour. The bracts should be completely hued.
The plant should be full of dark green foliage down to the soil line. But do not buy poinsettias with a lot of green around the bract edges. The plant should look full, balanced and attractive from all sides.
The height of the poinsettia should be 2.5 times taller than the diameter of the pot.
Do not pick poinsettias having wet soil or those poinsettias that have been placed close together or displayed in paper or plastic sleeves. All such plants will deteriorate quickly.
Few tips to grow a flourishing poinsettia:
Place your poinsettia near a sunny window (window facing east, west or south) where it can get sunlight at least five hours a day. Avoid placing the plant in areas which receive air movement from windows, doors, fans or radiators.
The soil in which poinsettia grows should be kept moist at all times but at the same time, it should not be excessively wet. Poinsettias exposed to high light and low humidity require more frequent watering.
Because the plant requires a long night and short day to flower, make sure they get totally dark nights. Keep them away from all types of artificial lights such as street lights or garden lights at night. With 60-70 degree F night temperature, the plant will flower during December
The plant grows well with the help of water-soluble fertilisers. However, fertilising the plant is never recommended while it is still in bloom. Fertilise poinsettia only if keeping it after the holiday season. Apply fertiliser once monthly using a complete house plant fertiliser.
When the plant starts dropping its leaves, withhold water to encourage dormancy and store in a cool location (50-60 degrees F).
It is the best season to grow Poinsettias. Undoubtedly these plants hold Christmas charm. Blooming in white, cream, lemon, pink, peach, red and gold-splashed leaves, these plants are the most popular among the holiday plants.