Poinsettia Care

Dec. 12th was #NationalPoinsettiaDay. Popular for red flower-like bracts, poinsettias are great additions to holiday decor!  There are new cultivars that are compact, or have unique colors such as pink, yellow and orange (Thanksgiving poinsettias?). Take care in transporting poinsettias, and use a paper bag or plant wrap to protect plants from cold and wind. Poinsettias prefer temperatures between 60 and 72 degrees F and bright light, but not direct sun. Rapid changes in temperature can cause leaves and bracts to curl and drop. Water once a week, careful not to over-water or leaves may turn yellow and drop, or root rot may occur. Remove from wrap to water and place in a sink to allow excess water to drain. Do not set poinsettias near a draft or heat vent, plants that are dry will wilt.  Small white insects that flutter around are probably 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. Discard affected plants after the holidays, since whiteflies also affect a number of other plants. Flower development is light dependent, so it is difficult for a homeowner to save poinsettias to bloom next year.