Saturday, December 5, 2009

How to care for a Poinsettia

Euphorbia pulcherrima

The Christmas plant!  Poinsettias have become a tradition at Christmastime. Their vibrant red leaves display the message of peace of joy to the world in the quietest way, impeccably.  They definitely add to the spirit of Christmas~ I have developed a  lot of appreciation for these sturdy and showy plants. They are available in a wondrous selection of colors. It seems like almost every year a new hybrid is out on the market.

The poinsettia is actually a succulent plant botanically known as Euphorbia pulcherrima. One of their native habitats is Southern Mexico and I've heard they are used as hedges in Jamaica. 

Their flowers are the small yellow and red blooms at the top of the plant. Their bracts are often confused as the flower. What appears to be red leaves are actually called bracts. They naturally start appearing on the plant as the temperature becomes cooler and daylight is shorter.

Care Instructions--
  • Some direct sun. That will help keep its color longer. It does tolerate lower light for a little while, if you want to display it in less light for the holidays.
  • Water thoroughly when the top of the soil is dry.
  • Plants in a 6" diameter (15cm) pot should take about 1 pint (almost 1/2 liter) of water.  Plants in an 8" diameter (20cm) pot should take about 1 quart or almost a liter of water, when necessary. 
  • If they wilt, they can be revived. If that happens, it is probably best to put your plant in the sink or bathtub and really soak it, then let the water drain out for a few minutes before returning it to its place.

  ***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click here:


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