Bottle brush trees are my favorite Christmas decoration, but a very close second on the favored holiday decor list are poinsettias! I love this flower’s festive color and bushy shape. Many people find this holiday flower a bit finicky, but with a little knowledge you’ll know how to care for poinsettias.
A quick email to our local greenhouse resulted in permission to take photos of their beautiful poinsettias. Shady Hill has so many varieties from which to choose. I always want to buy at least one of each. Approximately 100 varieties of poinsettias exist today.
What to Look For
When buying poinsettias, look for fully-colored leaves with no green edges. The colored leaves are called bracts. The actual flower is the yellow center and is known as the cyathia. It should be tight with little to no pollen.
Choose poinsettias with sturdy stems and no sign of breakage or wilting. Try to find plants that look good from all sides. Be sure to wrap your poinsettias before taking them outdoors. Any exposure to extreme cold can harm the leaves.
How to Care for Poinsettias
Once home, place your poinsettia in a sunny location for at least 6 hours per day. Make sure the leaves aren’t touching a cold window. Keep the plant away from drafts, whether it’s a heating vent or a location near the door where cold air blows in when opened. Don’t be alarmed if a few leaves turn yellow and fall off when you first bring your flower home. It’s simply the poinsettia’s way of adjusting to its new environment.
Poinsettias don’t like wet feet so allow the soil to become dry to the touch between waterings, and don’t let the plant sit in a saucer of water. The festive flowers enjoy temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and enjoy tropical climes, so be sure the air in your home isn’t too dry. Place a humidifier in the room from time to time, if needed.
Of all the varieties available at Shady Hill, my current favorite is the Sparkling Punch Poinsettia.
I love the shape of the bracts and leaves, and the plant has a mounding, cascading shape that looks so pretty no matter what container you use to display it.
A Few Poinsettia Varieties
I found several pretty varieties of the traditional Christmas flower at the greenhouse. Here are just a few that tickled my fancy.
Jingle Bell Rock
Christmas Rose Topiary
You might remember seeing quite a few poinsettias during my Christmas Home Tour. I always love having flowers in my home; seeing them lifts my spirits and puts me in a better mood.
Poinsettia Fun Facts
Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous! I had to reassure my hubby that our kitties would not get sick from having them in the house.
Joel Roberts Poinsett introduced the festive flower to the United States from Mexico, thus the name poinsettia. December 12th is Poinsettia Day, which is the day Mr. Poinsett died in 1851.
Today, the plant in Mexico is known as La Flor de la Nochebuena, which translates to Flower of the Holy Night.
I hope you enjoyed these tips on how to care for poinsettias. Your holiday flowers should last four to eight weeks with proper care.