Care of Poinsettias 2016

Take care in transporting poinsettias home from the store. Use a paper bag or plant wrap if available to protect plants from cold and wind. Poinsettias are tropical and prefer temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees F.  Rapid changes in temperature can cause leaves and bracts to curl and drop.  Water once a week, do not over water or leaves may turn yellow and drop, or root rot may set in. Remove from the decorative wrap to water and place in the sink to allow excess water to drain away. Plants that are too dry may start to wilt. Do not set your poinsettia near a draft or heat vent.  These plants need bright light, but not direct sun. Small white insects that flutter around are most likely whiteflies, common on poinsettias. Whiteflies are difficult to control, although plants can be placed in a shower and washed gently with a hand held shower head.  Discard affected plants after the holidays, since whiteflies also affect a number of other plants.

Production of poinsettias can be severely affected if Pythium root rot infects the crop. poinsettia with Pythium root rot Symptoms include reduced growth, off color leaves, and wilting of leaves (sometime on one side of the plant).  If plants are pulled out of the pot, roots may look dark and water-soaked.  Discard a plant if it does not rebound after watering and roots look dark and sparse. For greenhouse professionals, sanitation is critical in preventing this disease.  A clean water source is also crucial, do not irrigate with water from ponds or re-use water in greenhouse systems.  Severely affected plants should be discarded from greenhouses.  Fungicide drenches may help manage Pythium root rot if applied early.

12/12/2016 NFG