Gardening Tips > December > ‘How to’? Look after your Poinsettia…

‘How to’? Look after your Poinsettia…

No flower says Christmas more than the poinsettia. In the lead up to Christmas they are sold in their millions, making them the most popular houseplant in the world. Poinsettias are renowned for their colourful bracts. These are often mistaken for flower petals but they are in fact a form of leaf. The real flowers are actually tiny and are found within the small yellow buds at the centre of each set of bracts. Though once only available in red, there are now over 100 varieties of poinsettia. New colours include pink, white, burgundy, yellow, marbled and speckled.

Yellow Poinsettia sold at Perrywood

Yellow Poinsettia available at Perrywood

Poinsettias have a reputation as being hard to look after. However, if you follow a few top tips, you should be able to help them retain their beauty until well after Christmas.

Correct care for your poinsettia begins with careful selection. Select a plant that looks full, well balanced and attractive from all sides. Do not choose a plant that shows signs of drooping or wilting as this can often be irreversible.

Speckled Poinsettia for something a little different!

Speckled Poinsettia for something a little different!

When transporting your poinsettia home it must be well wrapped in a protective sleeve. This will keep your plant protected from the cold outdoor temperatures. Poinsettias do not respond well to temperature fluctuations and they hate being exposed to the cold as this can cause damage to the plants foliage.

Here at Perrywood our poinsettias are cared for lovingly within our houseplant greenhouse at a regulated temperature. To allow you to choose your poinsettia easily we remove all protective sleeves from our plants on delivery. This allows the poinsettias to breathe and keeps them looking their best until they are purchased. Once you have chosen your poinsettia we will re-sleeve your plant to provide the protection it needs against outdoor temperatures.

The Poinsettia house at Perrywood!

The Poinsettia house at Perrywood!

Once home you will need to unwrap your plant as soon as possible as the stems can droop and twist if left wrapped for too long. For maximum plant life, place your poinsettia near a bright windowsill, avoiding direct sunlight. Poinsettias do not tolerate warm or cold draughts so keep them away from radiators and open doorways and do not let any part of your poinsettia touch cold window panes. Poinsettias originate from the warmer climate in Mexico. As such they require a steady daytime temperature of 15-20°c and cooler night time temperature of 13-15°c.

Lots of beautiful Poinsettia colours to choose from!

Lots of beautiful colours to choose from!

One of the most common causes of poinsettia death is incorrect watering. In their native environment poinsettias grow in semi-desert conditions. As they are used to drought conditions poinsettias hate being over-watered. Wait until the surface of the compost begins to dry out before you consider watering and never allow your plant to sit in water afterwards as this can lead to root rot.

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