URBANA, Ill. – It is hard to think of the holidays without conjuring up images of red poinsettias and a snowy landscape. These beautiful plants are easy to care for, with a few simple tips.
“There is no need for people to experience difficulties with their poinsettia plants,” says University of Illinois Extension educator Kim Ellson. “Here are some tips to ensure your poinsettia looks its very best this season and well into the new year.”
- Purchase a healthy, high-quality plant.
- Make sure the cyathia remain tight and have not opened. The cyathia are the green buds in the centers of the flowers, surrounded by the colorful red bracts. They eventually open into tiny yellow flowers.
- White and healthy roots are a great indicator of good plant health.
- Wrap plants before transporting them home.
- Avoid cold drafts; poinsettias are highly sensitive to direct drafts and suffer damage easily.
- Let plants go completely dry between waterings, without stressing plants. Poinsettias are prone to suffer from overwatering as they have sensitive root systems that easily rot out.
- Always water thoroughly.
- If possible, select a cool area in your home. Avoid heating ducts or placing plants in overly warm areas during the holiday season. This will ensure vibrant, colorful bracts.
- There is no need to fertilize your poinsettia during the holidays; save the fertilizer for March.
- Monitor the plant for pests such as whiteflies by checking the undersides of the leaves. Treat early before infestations become unwieldy.
“These basic guidelines should help ensure you get the very most out of your poinsettia this holiday, and enjoy a colorful season,” Ellson says.